By Nathan Barton
Things are getting bad again, south of the border (of Texas, NM, AZ, and CA). Very bad.
It wasn’t in the radio or TV news, but the Guardian (British) reported it, and Zero Hedge picked it up. On the 1st of January, the United Mexican States’ Federal Government raised the price of gasoline and Diesel by 20%, as part of a planned “conversion” to allowing fuel prices to be set by the market: supply and demand, instead of being fixed by government fiat (with, presumably, subsidies by government). As a result, it now takes a worker getting the minimum wage TWELVE DAYS to earn enough to buy a tank of gasoline. (It takes an American worker at minimum wage less than 8 hours – a single workday.)
But the real news is that the price hike quickly resulted in massive, nationwide protests. Protests in which thousands of people went out and blocked highways and streets (similar to post-election protests in a few American cities), and in which gasoline stations and convenience stores were attacked and looted and in come cases burned, quickly followed by attacks and looting of grocery stores, furniture and appliance stores, and other businesses with no connection to selling fuel. Leading, so far, to 700 arrests and at least four killings. And it seems to be getting worse.
Society is clearly a fragile thing in Mexico, from the Rio Grade to the Yucatan. In the last six days things have gotten worse (See the Anti-Media and even Reuters.) It is not “just” society that is crumbling, it is their economy. Violence and acts of destruction are continuing to take place, in some cases within sight of the borders with four of the Fifty States. The border crossings at San Diego have been closed several times in the past week, according to reports.
What does this mean? First, that a fragile society is constantly at danger from often unforeseen (or ignored) situations and events. Were Mexican politicians too stupid or too out-of-touch to realize just what would happen? We know that many American politicians are that stupid and that out-of-touch. Not just Democrats: Republicans, Libertarians and Greens have just demonstrated that in the recent election.
Second, the results of statism, especially the socialist-progressive concept of nationalization (as Mexico did with the oil business a century ago) are VERY long-lasting and very damaging. Mexico is paying for what its people allowed their government (actually, encouraged) to do a long time ago.
Third, we may be seeing the straw that broke the camel’s back. The narco wars are still going on. The corruption in the various governments, the police forces, and the military is as bad as ever. Mexican society has been under stress for a long time, and the old revolutionaries from the 1980s are not THAT old: they may decide that their time has come.
But more important is what people in the Fifty States – especially in the four border states – need to realize.
First, the American (and world) mainstream media (and most of the alternative media) cannot be trusted to report on important events: although Reuters (see above) and the LA Times are talking about events in Mexico now and then, even their coverage is very low key and poor. If they aren’t reporting well on what is happening just across the river or fence from big cities in California, Arizona, and Texas, we know that their reporting stateside is just as bad.
Second, the society and economy of the Fifty States is JUST as fragile, if not subject to as many stresses, as that of the United Mexican States. More stresses could very quickly cause severe damage or even collapse of society in many places, and the overall economy – and because of integration of the economy on a world scale, even local economies will totter on the edge or collapse.
Third, American politicians and bureaucrats and government thugs are unlikely to respond any differently than Mexicans. There is a vicious, backbreaking cycle of actively ignoring unrest and incidents alternating with over-reaction. Further frustrating and infuriating the people who are already upset, and giving the nutcases opportunity and “motive” to shoot people, burn things, drive trucks into crowds, and all the rest.
Fourth, are we any better prepared than the people of Mexico were? I fear not.
Mama’s Note: Bad as it is, I do believe that there are a good number of people who are prepared to ride it out. Most of those people do not live in big cities, are not drowning in debt, and have supplies laid by to see them through. Most of those work hard to stay under the radar and NOT be mentioned in the “news.” That doesn’t mean those who are prepared will not feel the pain… only that they have a chance to survive. The survivors will decide what to do about it in the long run.