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Thursday, July 06, 2006

COLUMN: ODD THING IN MEXICO - THE YOUTH VOTED FOR THE STATUS QUO

MEXICO CITY -- What surprised me the most about Mexico's presidential elections Sunday was not the razor-thin preliminary victory of center-right candidate Felipe Calderon, but the fact that so many young people voted for the candidate of continuity, globalization and closer ties with the United States. The vote of the young was pivotal: Of the 13 million registered new voters, 12 million were ages 18 to 23. And most young people voted for Calderón. Read the full column here.

14 Comments:

Blogger paco said...

Mr. Oppenheimer:
Excellent conclusion. The problem with AMLO is that he never said, showed, or mentioned being a good economic global player. In the 2nd debate his words about "exterior politics" were: "The best exterior politics are the interior politics". Valgame Dioooos!! Nowadays, we can see that the success of an economy, independently of being, rightofcenter or leftist, depends ALOT of how well they compete globally. I think that the left that AMLO proposed was TOTALLY irresponsable. He never showed responsablity, NEVER. In summary, it was going 20 years back, why? because all his people worked in the government 20 and + years ago. If someone doesnt agree, I invite him or her to show the opposite.

12:54 PM  
Blogger A.M. Mora y Leon said...

Dear Andres,

I love you but you have a 1960s idea of what is dynamic and progressive and youthful.

As a blogger on this site that explicitly examines world democratic revolutions here we have found free trade to be a dynamic, revolutionary force.

The old style of revolution that once excited the young used to be 'guerrillas in the mountains.'

The new style of revolution is democratic, it's like the Velvet Revolutions of 1989, peaceful, democratic, and these revolutions are increasing as the desire of the young for democracy spreads through the world.

In all cases, these revolutions are led by the young and they feature beautiful young women who are unafraid to come out into the open.

The retrograde stuff features angry men in ski masks burning stuff, pretending to be Che coming down from the mountains, and a lot of them are 1960s leftovers or people who've been educated by 60s leftovers.

Mexico's revolution is purely the new kind. It involves greater democracy, greater freedom, building things, not tearing them down, getting rich, putting one's youthful energies to work and youthful people with high expectations of prosperity.

That's what Calderon's voters voted for. What AMLO's people voted for (and you could see in the photos that it was mostly angry old people) were welfare handouts and someone to take care of them. That's an essentially old person's desire.

Mexico is a YOUNG nation so it's necessarily revolutionary. Free trade is the ultimate revolution.

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Flavio said...

Mr. Oppenheimer:

I am not surprised, the same thing happened in Peru a month ago. Its just a matter of a more globalized and informed segment of the population that are not buying the usual lies that we are poor because the developed nations are rich. This is also good when you see the trend in the future. In 5 years, when Peru votes again, and in 6 years in Mexico, there are going to be more free-market enthusiasts and less of the old gang.

6:56 PM  
Anonymous Ronaldo said...

Mr. Oppenheimer,
Historically, the Mexican people were kept in the dark in whatever information the 70 year long ruling party considered necessary. We were treated like children, uncapable of making our own decisions. We allowed the PRI to attain such an amount of power by sitting in the back seat and leaving the driving to them ("Que Papá Gobierno lo resuelva"/"Let Poppa Government resolve the situation")
To make a decision, a better decision, one must be informed and also have the liberty of expression.
Two major developments took place that have changed this, the Information Highway and an historical moment when President Zedillo of the 70 year ruling party (PRI) in Mexico supported and allowed free elections six years ago, elections in which his party (PRI) lost and president Vicente Fox (PAN) was elected.
So, I don't believe that the younger generations voting for a globalized free trade economy is unusual. If you are an informed people and have the liberty to express and vote for the party/candidate of your choice....age is irrelevent, and the younger generation casting its vote as it has is quite logical. They are the Net-surfing generation. Any available information is at their fingertips, a few key-strokes away!
There is one condition for the success of any ruling Party though, it must be a true democracy and work for its people, all of its people, starting by the most vulnerable, poor and ignorant.
We have our work as a nation cut out for us. The elections were very close, and if the elected government wants to show us that we have made the right choice, it must work not only for its 50% constituents, but for the 100% of the Mexican population.
Reciba un afectuoso abrazo.
Ronaldo

11:49 AM  
Blogger Colombia es Pasion said...

Kudos to the Mexican nation! As a Colombian national I congratulate the peoples of Mexico that chose a government representative of the majority. That is democracy at its best! Latin Americans of all nationalities are all saying the same thing: we want to compete globally, we want jobs, we want education and health care, investment, foreign markets for our products. The candidates who listen and connect with what people are saying are winning. As an example, see Colombia. Felipe Calderon's task is to work with congress to push the reforms and continue the growth path Fox initiated. Viva La Democracia!

4:58 PM  
Blogger Colombia es Pasion said...

Kudos to the Mexican nation! As a Colombian national I congratulate the peoples of Mexico that chose a government representative of the majority. That is democracy at its best! Latin Americans of all nationalities are all saying the same thing: we want to compete globally, we want jobs, we want education and health care, investment, foreign markets for our products. The candidates who listen and connect with what people are saying are winning. As an example, see Colombia. Felipe Calderon's task is to work with congress to push the reforms and continue the growth path Fox initiated. Viva La Democracia!

4:59 PM  
Blogger Colombia es Pasion said...

Kudos to the Mexican nation! As a Colombian national I congratulate the peoples of Mexico that chose a government representative of the majority. That is democracy at its best! Latin Americans of all nationalities are all saying the same thing: we want to compete globally, we want jobs, we want education and health care, investment, foreign markets for our products. The candidates who listen and connect with what people are saying are winning. As an example, see Colombia. Felipe Calderon's task is to work with congress to push the reforms and continue the growth path Fox initiated. Viva La Democracia!

4:59 PM  
Blogger Boli-Nica said...

In April, I noticed a lot of noise in the Mexican blogosphere:

http://bolicarreras.blogspot.com/2006/04/mexico-mexican-bloggers-take-on-lopez.html

Turns out there has been a very strong anti-AMLO campaign among younger net savvy Mexicans. And it has been a one-sided affair for the most part.
Something like 3/4 of a million people have seen one video clip uploaded to YouTube.

The sheer numbers show that web access goes beyond the upper classes, there are a lot of working class and middle class kids with web access through school or work.

10:10 AM  
Blogger A.M. Mora y Leon said...

I remember that - useful info.

You did good work, Boli!

10:54 AM  
Blogger Boli-Nica said...

AM as weird as it sounds, through years on Spanish auto racing sites -- almost since they started and on selling through Ebay to Latin America, I got to meet a lot of people on-line in Mexico and Latin America. At first it was the really rich and/or the hardcore techies, but you could almost see it see it spread exponentially -- though of course I am limited to autoracing fans, hardly a representative sample.
But you still can see the differences for example in college students and young professionals in Mexico with their peers in Argentina. And there is a big gulf IMO.

8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Mexican youth felt prey to the power of good marketing. Similar to what occurred during the last election in the US, poor people voted against their own economic and political interests and elected a powerful elite to continue enriching themselves. Wishful thinking is very different than real analysis of what a country needs to get ahead in the global market place. In fact, the posts above are filled with idiotic, empty slogans: “the success of the success of an economy… depends ALOT of how well they compete globally.” said one. “The new style of revolution is democratic” said another.

The so-called Asian tigers, for example, reached the first world by implementing thought economic measures that were anti-corruption, very protectionist and heavily involved in the management of the economy. They understood that HUMAN CAPITAL was essential for the growth of the country. Before globalization, a country needs to feed and educate their young people. Only by a) having a protected economy and heavy subsidies for food, education and jobs, and b) putting a stop the terrible corruption that Mexico has suffered (Durazo? Hank Gonzalez? Salinas?) the conditions of the country can improve.

Calderon will be as successful as Echeverria, Lopez Portillo, De la Madrid, Salinas and Fox in bringing Mexico into the first world. Unless thought measures are taken to eliminate the perks received by the economic elite (such as being corrupt, not paying taxes, not being held accountable for huge economic mismanagement such as FOBAPROA) poor Mexicans will continue with only a duality as option for their future: delinquents in Mexico or illegals in the US.

1:04 PM  
Blogger Boli-Nica said...

Hey anon... before you start generalizing about the Asian tigers, remember the fact that Hong Kong had no industrial policy whatsoever - and little protectionism, and Taiwan had haphazard planning at best. And where there was such a policy it involved developing export markets, so any tight industry-government coordination,ultimately relied on external market forces to determine what got made. So there was an external orientation.

You seem to advocate policies that failed in the past. Not only do they rely on too much central direction, they would theoretically require strong institutions to be done effectively - lacking in Latin America. And these measures, by and large failed not only in Latin America, but also in Eastern European countries where there was a strong educational system, and in theory also strong control of labor and resources. Behind the obvious failure of the command economy, there were also decades of experimentation with mixed models that failed. In the end you had countries like Poland becoming indebted to the West, because they had found they needed capital like everyone else and even with that they could not compete.

I do agree that developing human capital through education, and taking care of basic human is a must to any development. I just do not think that you can go back to failed models.

8:29 PM  
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