Saturday, April 10, 2010

ISI and drugs

The keynote speaker for the SECOLAS conference was the Mexican historian Lorenzo Meyer, who talked about US-Mexican relations.  One of his points was that the Mexican economy has been stagnant since the import-substitution model was forcibly discarded in the 1980s, and now drug trafficking is filling the gap, which makes it even harder to combat.  Both involve exports to the United States, but he argued that drug trafficking was even "better" than ISI because more of the inputs are Mexican, which means even more of the profit remains in the country.

The problem, then, is now well beyond simple violence.  As more and more Mexicans are engaged in the drug trade in one form or another, it becomes a source of employment that otherwise would not exist.  You are not just fighting drug traffickers, but rather the economy itself.


Tambopaxi 10:57 PM  

Just more arguments for legalizing all drugs.

I'd say the/the principal causes of violence and crime in the Western Hemisphere right now are laws regarding controlled substances and the failed efforts to enforce those laws.

Michael,  10:09 AM  

The direction of causality you seem to assume is pretty questionable. Drug market opportunities -> more corruption and crime -> economic stagnation seems every bit as plausible as that ISI was really working (or, indeed, that still existed as late as the 1980s).

It would be interesting to see some careful study on the timing of these developments. If anyone knows of such, please post.

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