Thursday, March 10, 2011

Protectionist PRI Tendencies, Revealed

A silly proposal by PRI deputies to cut back on the number of foreign footballers playing for any team in La Liga Mexicana's first division serves as a nice reflection of the arguments against protectionism. The idea is that Mexican soccer would be supported through this measure, but exposure to a higher level of foreign talent forces the Mexicans to raise their game, just as the introduction of foreign businesses forces Mexican firms to improve efficiency in order to compete. Furthermore, one must consider the talent spillovers resulting from the free flow of players; Messi wouldn't be Messi had he spent the last ten years of his life with River Plate, and Oribe Peralta has likely picked up a thing or two playing with Christian Benítez and Darwin Quintero.

Of course, this argument actually works much better in soccer than in real life, because a few dozen footballers being forced out of the first division isn't much of a problem for the nation, while several million workers being dumped from businesses who are no longer competitive requires, on both a moral and political level, action from the government.

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