Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Unfortunate First

La Laguna is now mentioned on the State Department's travel warning because of recent violence in the region. As a result, business groups are worrying that investment will be driven elsewhere.

This kind of thing illustrates why the standard narrative about political collusion with the organized crime --politician X sold the city to drug gang Y-- is a bit simplistic. Politicians are much more products of the surrounding business community than the criminal community. Given that it's horrible news for local business, the travel alert is bad news for the elected officials. In other words, a surge in violence is decidedly not in the interest of local politicians interested in continuing as politicians. There certainly are cases where local officials do in fact sell the plaza to one group (although often in such cases the guilty parties are federal appointees whose popularity among the local voters is largely irrelevant to their career), either because he (or she) is scared, or he has a skewed view of his interest, or he values the kickback more than his future electoral prospects, but it doesn't seem logical in most cases.

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