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Back You are here: Home Columns Columns Allyn Hunt The search for the real mexico continues

The search for the real mexico continues

“Friedman Gets Lost South of the Border” announced a headline from Center for Economic and Policy Research think tank February 23. In recent days, someone has been well-meaningly scattering around the internet a boosterish piece by New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman concerning Monterrey, Mexico, which contains enough spillover to, by implication, paint a picture of Mexico in general. Among others, I was surprised to receive it in July since it had appeared in the Times in February. In quick-time it was pretty well eviscerated, its innards exposed to the light of wider points of view, its bones well picked and scattered. This was accomplished in good part by Mexican analysts, academics and journalists. plus the foreign media and other experienced long-time observers of Mexico. That experience has given such folks practiced savvy in recognizing mascaraed-and-rouged public relations puffery — the flatulence of political, and board-room chest thumping and wool-gathering. (The NYT maintains a Mexico City bureau whose reporters quite consistently display quick-take skills regarding pertinent history and whose excavation of present leads is profitable. It appears the Friedman Monterrey encounter might have benefited from their input.)

Yet Friedman can be very good when he puts on his deer-hunter cap and goes into his thorough shoe-leather mode. But every once in a while, he gets a clever idea and seems to confuse it for a useful and dextrous tool for understanding what’s going on in some foreign cultural/political clime. Example: His book “The Lexus and the Olive Tree.” Were it not by Thomas L. Friedman, someone wrote, “the book could be dismissed as...another elitist corporate puff piece extolling the virtues of deregulation and the elimination of economic borders in the idolatrous pursuit of money. ....(his) current book has its use, not because it insights into globalization — it does not — but rather because it reveals so much of the mindset of those ‘liberals’ and ‘new’ Democrats who, like Friedman, have uncritically embraced economic rule by currency speculators and mega-corporations as the inevitable and beneficial future of humankind.”

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