Tuesday, March 9, 2010

NYTimes to Mexico: Give US corporations back your oil

Read the NYTimes screed against nationalization here. Man, the Times is terrible when it comes to Latin America. The "argument" in this article is pathetic. It's the same old shopworn right-wing rhetoric about nationalizing resources: "those dumb Mexicans are happy that they booted out the foreign oil companies... but they are too inept to know how to properly extract it... better invite the US corporate experts back in to take the oild back".

As readers of their foreign coverage have come to expect, the Times conflates an important issue of political/economic power with one about efficiency and instrumental virtues. But we can separate these matters. The issue of efficiency of extraction is separate from the issue of whether or not the Mexican people should collectively own their natural resources. If the problem is merely with the former, why not suggest ways in which the extraction could be more efficiently undertaken? Of course, the whole point of the article is not to solve this problem, but to offer us the facile conclusion that the only problem is nationalization. The obvious solution, the article seems to leads us to believe, is that privatization and control of the oil by a small group of wealthy foreign investors is the only way to go.

Of course, nationalization as such is not necessarily a good thing. It matters who "owns" the national state and it matters how the revenues are spent. But even with all of the problems with the Mexican state apparatus, I'll gladly take public ownership of that sort (and the loads of money it provides for education spending) over private ownership by a small clique of foreign capitalists.


Jenny said...

It doesn't really matter- the mexican president plans to start up the oil fields again anyway.

Richard said...

yes, you are right, the NYT is horrible when it comes to Latin America, but it is important to observe that the Times would oppose nationalization just as strenously within the US and the Eurozone, which it has done when it comes to Europe

T said...

Yes, this is true. But the Times seems particularly indignant when it comes to Latin American nationalizations.

fwoan said...

I wonder, as these newspapers continue to lose money and readers, whether I am soon going to be having to pay them a bailout. They do an excellent job of trumpeting Washington's massage.