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Boo Hoo, Americans Are Investing In Mexico's Economy!
Mike Davis (author of what California state librarian Kevin Starr demeaned as a historical "work of imagination" on California, and, in Jill Stewart's words, a "city-hating socialist raised in a remote desert town so small it no longer exists") strikes again. This time, via Alternet, his problem is all those gringos pouring money into dirt-poor Mexico:

The visitor crossing from Tijuana to San Diego these days is immediately slapped in the face by a huge billboard screaming, "Stop the Border Invasion!" Sponsored by the rabidly anti-immigrant vigilante group, the Minutemen, the same truculent slogan reportedly insults the public at other border crossings in Arizona and Texas.

...The ultimate irony, however, is that there really is something that might be called a "border invasion," but the Minutemen's billboards are on the wrong side of the freeway.

The Baby Boomers Head South

What few people -- at least, outside of Mexico -- have bothered to notice is that while all the nannies, cooks, and maids have been heading north to tend the luxury lifestyles of irate Republicans, the Gringo hordes have been rushing south to enjoy glorious budget retirements and affordable second homes under the Mexican sun.

Yes, in former California Governor Pete Wilson's immortal words, "They just keep coming." Over the last decade, the U.S. State Department estimates that the number of Americans living in Mexico has soared from 200,000 to 1 million (or one-quarter of all U.S. expatriates). Remittances from the United States to Mexico have risen dramatically from $9 billion to $14.5 billion in just two years. Though initially interpreted as representing a huge spike in illegal workers (who send parts of their salaries across the border to family), it turns out to be mainly money sent by Americans to themselves in order to finance Mexican homes and retirements.

American money pouring into Mexico? How tragic! This must be stopped, so Mexico can be maintained as a giant slum teeming with poor brown people! (Oh, the romance!) Hint, Mike: Maybe if they had infusions of dollars at home, they...wouldn't be endangering their lives crawling across the border?

Here's Veronique de Turenne on Mike Davis' "imaginative use of facts" in the past.

Posted by aalkon at September 26, 2006 10:43 AM

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Shame on you. You have advanced a false dilemma.

It's your blog, so you can do what you want, but you might want to clean up a little bit.

Posted by: Radwaste at September 26, 2006 5:20 PM

Actually, Amy, the AlterNet story that creeped me out was the one about what the presence of all the Reservist Militia was doing to the, shall we say, ambience of Texas life :

Posted by: opit at September 26, 2006 9:23 PM

First, this guy's rant about those evil Republicans is exactly why I stay Independent. Due to his blind hatred of the opposing party, he states jibberish.

I know many people who've moved, or have second homes in Mexico, and they all happen to be liberal - and rock musicians, at that; not Davis's stereotyped Republican. And does this guy truly believe only Republicans have nannies? Again, the only people I know personally who have nannies or housekeepers are liberal Democrats. Not to say all Dems have nannies...just that the subset of nannie employers I know are of that party.

But then, I don't know any Republicans in L.A. None! Which makes dinner parties interesting, since I'm the only one who ever seems to upset everyone with my contrary views.

With this nonsensical scribble, Davis proves political discourse has hit bottom. He, like so many, doesn't seem the least bit interested in solving problems, finding truth, facts, ideas. It's only about proving the other party wrong, ignorant, evil, etc.

Last, I agree with you: What, exactly, is the problem with money going into the Mexican economy? Obviously they need it. Their govt. doesn't seem to be handling the problem well.

And, cool! Kevin Starr's my mom's cousin. I always knew common sense ran through my gene pool... I just never knew where exactly.

Anyway, sorry for the long spew, but I've just had it.

Posted by: Michele at September 26, 2006 10:00 PM

Advanced a false dilemma? Huh? I think I criticized him, unless there's something up there in invisible ink I can't see. I'm of the "light and air" school -- thinking, as Dennett does, that what's brought out in the open can't maintain its nefariousness (or its idiocy, in this case) vis a vis reasonable people.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 26, 2006 10:23 PM

Amy, the false dilemma is the juxtaposition of border restrictions on immigration to America while Americans go to Mexico.

Americans doing business in and living in Mexico are doing so legally, while those sneaking into the USA are doing so illegally - with the blessing of the Mexican government and a curious disregard for the law in the USA.

Posted by: Radwaste at September 27, 2006 5:54 PM

The guy's obviously a deluded idiot. I'm a capitalist, and think Mexico needs as many of our dollars as it can get.

P.S. Didn't you read my comments on this post? Just below the link to his piece? I thought I was making it pretty clear that he's got his commie-pinko head up his ass.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 27, 2006 5:59 PM

> I'm a capitalist, and think Mexico
> needs as many of our dollars as
> it can get.

Capitalists *make money*, they don't just move it around. This is the crux of the problem: Why can't people in Mexico create value? They're industrious, often educated...

... And often corrupt, apparently. If there's a good side to all the gringos moving down there, it's that they probably don't put up with shit that the natives do.

Posted by: Crid at September 28, 2006 8:56 PM

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