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Mexican Gas

Instapundit linked to this interesting piece in the New York Times today about economic stagnation in Mexico, despite positive improvements in recent years. 

I’m no economist, but my initial reaction would be to add that Mexico may not be making much more progress yet because they had gone so far down into the doldrums of socialism.  I don’t think most of us Norteamericanos realize just how leftist Mexico has traditionally been. 

A few years ago, my wife and I got to go on a short cruise, which stopped for a day in Mexico.  We did the tourist bit, even going on a bus tour of local civic landmarks.  At one point on the tour, the guide pointed out the sign by a gas station and crowed about how cheap gasoline was in Mexico, compared to the United States.  She explained that this was because the Mexican government had nationalized that industry and controlled the prices to keep them low. 

It was deeply worrisome just how many of the people in our tour group oohed and ahhed over that little tidbit.  Maybe they were the beneficiaries of rent control or some other such similar scheme in the U.S.  The problem, of course, is that such artificial control is profoundly unnatural, and ultimately does far more damage to the larger economic engine than good. 

Gas might be dirt cheap in Mexico, but look what their socialist philosophy has done to the country as a whole.  If anything, that big picture should be a stark cautionary tale for Americans who favor the steps we’ve been taking in that very direction…