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« "Font" or "Typeface"? | Main | Half-Assed »

October 05, 2006

How Significant Is It?

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

An excellent San Fran Chronicle article by Carolyn Lochhead sets out some of the basic current-immigration-policy facts in high relief.

  • 10 percent of Mexico's population of 107 million is now living in the United States.

  • 15 percent of Mexico's labor force is working in the United States.

  • One in every seven Mexican workers migrates to the United States.

  • Is this a favor we're doing Mexico? A proud instance of our generosity and humanity? Perhaps not as much as some might hope. For one thing, so long as we provide an escape valve, the Mexican elites have no need to reform. "Every day, thousands of Mexico's most industrious people leave their families behind," says one of her sources, "leading many to wonder why Mexico's political class is not capable of creating economic opportunity for its citizens in a land rich in mineral wealth, hydrocarbons, agricultural potential and human capital."

  • Another non-favor we're doing our neighbors: "Migration is profoundly altering Mexico and Central America. Entire rural communities are nearly bereft of working-age men. The town of Tendeparacua, in the Mexican state of Michoacan, had 6,000 residents in 1985, and now has 600, according to news reports."

  • How big is the movement from there to here, really? I mean, in broad-view historical context? Lochhead consults with the experts, who tell her that it's "One of the largest diasporas in modern history."

Not a minor matter! Meanwhile, the U.S.'s population is on track to pass 300 million sometime later this month ...



posted by Michael at October 5, 2006


Okay, maybe it's because when I read, when I get the time, it's journal articles and not newspapers, but what are the sources for the statistics cited in this article? Am I too tired and just missed it? Do I need those dreaded reading glasses after all?

Posted by: MD on October 5, 2006 5:53 PM

The problem without end. Eventually, all of Mexico will be living in the US, and wealthy people in the US will skedaddle and will build gated communities with manmade lakes in...Mexico. Then all those domestic servants will follow them back south.

Posted by: annette on October 6, 2006 10:14 AM

"How significant is it?"

That's what she said. Har.

Posted by: the patriarch on October 6, 2006 1:18 PM

Hey Mike, where do you get your politics from? You're into liberal things like art, but you have a lot of conservative views, so I bet there's an interesting story here...

Myself I went from conservative to libertarian to liberal to libertarian to liberal, all before I turned 25...

Posted by: SFG on October 6, 2006 10:55 PM

ah yes, the war hawks dream...more cannon fodder !

Posted by: viktor on October 7, 2006 8:32 AM

I'm confused. If you think it's bad that their small-town farming communities have shrunk and become less vibrant and less productive due to the presence of fewer working-age men, shouldn't you think it's good that our small-town farming communities have grown and become more vibrant and more productive with more of those same working-age men?

Are you just opposed to change generally?

I mean, they're the same men. How can their presence be a boon there and a plague here?

Posted by: Glen Raphael on October 7, 2006 2:08 PM

Nice blog, Mike.

Many of us like things "liberal" (art, travel, diversity, differing opinions, courage to be something/somebody different than the norm, shunning tradition-when appropriate, etc etc)...but after digesting the world, tend toward "conservative" opinions.

This is a product of a genuine, independent thinker....the type of thinker that is too rare today...the type of thinker whose opinions I feel warrant consideration...the type of thinker whose opinions I seek out.

Posted by: James on October 7, 2006 2:26 PM

MD -- Sources? For a newspaper article? Sheesh. FWIW, I've run across the same figures in numerous other places. I wonder what the original source is ... Hmm, time to do some websurfing.

Annette -- I wonder if the smart thing for the rest of us to do right now would be to buy as much property in Mexico as possible.

Patriarch -- Indeed!

SFG -- You started sorting out your political P-O-V at a much younger age than I did! My own, such as they are, largely stem from a dislike of politics, a skepticism about most people drawn to politics, and a conviction that what works in one place might not work in another.

Viktor -- That's a wicked, but inspired, connection you're making.

Glen -- Let's say there's a genocide about to happen. It might happen in some country you've never heard of; it might happen on your block. It's too bad it's going to happen, of course. But are you saying it really doesn't matter to you where it happens?

James -- Tks, and tks for dropping by. I can't see any reason to go around wearing one label ("liberal," "conservative," "libertarian," whatever) and one label only, can you? I have a hard time imagining being someone who would even want to do such a thing. Although I guess some people have a yearning to ... I dunno, belong to a team, maybe? Believe in something? What's your hunch? Anyway, belieiving in anything political (I mean, much beyond the "some things seem to have a history of working a little better" scale) seems like a major mistake, doesn't it?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on October 7, 2006 3:47 PM

I know, it's a stupid comment, I don't doubt the statistics: I was pointing out a peeve of mine. Why not mention a general reference with a few words or so in articles? And, it's 2006. Why not include an internet link at the bottom of the article as a reference or a link to a newspaper website with links to references? And newspaper folks wonder why people don't read newspapers anymore. Is it so hard to think outside the box?

Posted by: MD on October 7, 2006 6:23 PM

I'm actually stumped by the line:

10 percent of Mexico's population of 107 million is now living in the United States.

If you count in the number of Mexicans that were amnestied in back in the 1980s, and their kids, to the number of recent legals and illegals I'll bet the number of Mexicans now living in the U.S. easily exceeds 20% of the what-would-have-been Mexican population (that is, one without the option of emigration to the U.S.), and quite possibly exceeds 30%.

And, of course, is that at least 40% of still-in-Mexico Mexicans would like to move here (and soon will if the Senate's "reform" of immigration is passed)--and that implies that a supermajority of the what-would-have-been Mexican population has either left, or would like to get out.

By that yardstick, that makes the Mexican elite a worse bunch of jerks, buffoons, bullies and thugs than the former leadership of East Germany. Quite a feat! And people used to say that it was just hyperbole to compare the Mexican one-party state to Stalinist Russia!

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on October 8, 2006 7:09 PM

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