Since Calderon's decree, the union has turned out tens of thousands of demonstrators to protest the "authoritarian" decision. But there also was support for the liquidation among ratepayers fed up with poor service and alleged fraud in the reelection of union boss Martin Esparza. Many Mexicans are tired of a lack of public accountability -- for union dues or government funds -- and welcomed the move.Note how the last paragraph seems to equate "politics" as a motivating factor to "privatizing electricity in the hands of foreigners or friends of Calderon". That's asinine. I also don't think there's any need to separate pesos from politics here; both can, indeed they did, simultaneously play a role. As I've said, I think it's a good idea for Calderón to frame this not merely as a budget issue, but as part of a broader political problem that has existed for generations. What's important is that he not let the idea of politics playing a role become indistinguishable from his adversaries' worst caricatures of his actions.
But experience tells Mexicans to beware of hidden agendas. Many suspect that breaking this union was a precursor to privatizing electricity in the hands of foreigners or friends of Calderon, as was the case previously with banks and television. It would be a terrible mistake for the government to perpetuate a system of crony capitalism that has cost the state legitimacy and created monopolies impeding economic growth. Instead, many Mexicans are asking whether Calderon will go after corruption in other unions, notably ones that have backed him. Doing so would go a long way toward convincing his countrymen that the dissolution of the electricity company was more about pesos than politics.
Monday, October 19, 2009
The LA Times on LyFC
Courtesy of Boz, the LA Times on the LyFC takeover: