Yearly Archives: 2009

December 27, 2009


Nobody can ignore the social inequality that Mexico suffers nor scorn the human cost that it represents or the huge missed opportunity that its sheer existence entails. Inequality goes hand in hand with poverty but it is not the same: they coexist and are the result of structural and historical circumstances. Although it is impossible […]

December 20, 2009

Mere spectators

Stalin once said that people who place their vote in the ballot box do not decide anything. According to the Soviet dictator, the true decision makers are the ones who count the votes. The reconfiguration of the IFE (Federal Electoral Institute) in the mid-nineties sought to respond to a quasi-Stalinist reality: the hypothetical Mexican democracy […]

December 13, 2009

Flash 18

“Flash 18” was the code that a policeman once gave a friend of mine so that nobody would stop her again for having failed to take her car to the twice yearly pollution test. After threatening to take her to the police station, the motorcyclist offered her the traditional alternative: for a small fee he […]

December 6, 2009

Life upside down

It is time to legalize the informal sector of the economy. For decades, we have lived in the fictitious world that claims that the real world, the good world, and the statistically relevant world is that of the formal, duly registered economy. Reality however, tells us otherwise. The informal economy is dynamic and employs millions […]

November 29, 2009

Political cost

Years ago, in a rural area near Calcutta, I watched fascinated a Hindu priest leading a worship ceremony of a cow. The devotee spent hours feeding the animal flower petals and washing its body as if it were a deity. It was a touching scene. In Mexico we have many sacred cows -from oil to […]

November 22, 2009

Missing the point

A legend, allegedly concocted by Voltaire, tells that Isaac Newton formulated his law of gravity when an apple fell on his head and wondered “why did the apple fall?.” Ipso facto his theory was born. Centuries later, the PAN (Partido Accion Nacional) is bent on defying Newton’s law. Instead of devoting themselves to the complex […]

November 15, 2009


The country has undergone radical changes in its political reality and perhaps there is no area in which this change has been greater than in the relative power of the states and their governors. After decades of subordination to the president, governors have become the owners of public expenditures and the main articulators of political […]

November 8, 2009

PRI: a lesser evil?

In Samuel Beckett’s play, two characters, Vladimir and Estragon wait for Godot, but Godot never shows up. The members of the PRI (Revolutionary Institutional Party) are convinced that the Mexican people are eagerly waiting for their return with open arms. The PRI may or may not win the presidency, but it has certainly not shown […]

November 1, 2009

Tax reform

Ever since I can remember, any discussion about the public purse is always framed within the context of the need for a “real” tax reform. What I have never been clear about is what is meant by “real” because everyone seems to have his or her own definition. It would not be very keen to […]

October 25, 2009

The big “how”

Mexico is not the first country in history to suffer from political conflict, institutional structures with little propensity towards understanding and paralysis in decision making.If one looks at the world in general, this is the typical scenario and it is why there are so many poor, backward nations, without much potential. But there are some […]