Thursday, July 28, 2005

CAFTA is approved

I generally recognize the potential benefits of free trade policies. However, I am also of the opinion that unregulated free trade does not necessarily improve the quality of all lives, even if it increases overall wealth. I guess you might call me more of a "fair" free trader -- someone who wants more open markets and understands the benefits that can be gained by creating more open markets, but who also wants the benefits to be spread out evenly and fairly among all involved.

That said, I am not at all convinced that CAFTA, in its current formulation, is structured to bring benefits to all affected parties.

The fact that the CAFTA as currently formulated is opposed by the U.S. Catholic Bishops, as well as by the Central American Catholic Bishops, is enough to give me pause. Free trade without justice is not worthy of support; and how can justice be present if workers have been excluded from the crafting of the CAFTA.

My two cents. I'd love to hear yours.

Are the PRI Dinosaurs Making a Comeback in Mexico?

Andres Oppenheimer is hinting maybe so. As a student of Mexican Politics for a long time now, I've often wondered if the Fox victory was part of a long-term political strategy by the PRI to shed its image as an anti-democratic Party but to create the conditions for its return to power without really substantively changing the way the machine operates. I've also been of the opinion that the true test of whether democracy has finally arrived in Mexico will take place in the wake of the 2006 presidential elections, especially if the PAN loses control of the Presidency, as it seems poised to do. Will the post-Fox Mexican political system return revert back to its PRI-dominated authoritarian past? Or will it turn into a PRD-style authoritarianism? In either case, will Mexicans prefer the certainty and security of authoritarianism or the continuation of democratic gridlock and uncertainty? We shall see.