Thursday, June 29, 2006

They're Just Like Us

Not that you'd know it from how the NYT covers things. Dean Baker:
Do Mexican Voters Care About the Economy?

The New York Times apparently doesn’t think so. In an article assessing the Mexican presidential campaign in its final days, there is no mention of the economic performance of the current administration. Since one of the two leading candidates is from the same party as the incumbent president, and pledges to continue the same policies if elected, the recent economic record would appear to be relevant.

For those who care about such mundane things as economic growth, the cumulative per capita GDP growth in the first five years of the current president has been approximately 2.0 percent. By contrast, Mexico’s per capita GDP grew 4.0 percent annually over the years from 1960-80. In other words, in 5 years under the current president, Mexico’s economy grew as much as it typically did in 6 months over the period from 1960-80. As a general rule, weak economic growth will mean weak job creation and few gains in reducing poverty, and this appears to have been the case in Mexico.
President Fox of Mexico was elected in a widespread revulsion at the PRI, who had, among other things, gotten Mexico in to NAFTA (with weak results) and thereby spurred the Zapatistas. Fox has basically failed to deal with Mexico's underlying economic weakness. (I can't say whether he's helped the situation in Chiapas.) It's no wonder, though, that his successor is having a hard time.

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