Tuesday, November 15, 2005

NAFTA and Mexico

My son laughed when they served the quail. He thought it was the funniest thing to get a plate with a little bird on it minus the head. He ordered quail and I ordered the quail/steak combo. We both actually liked quail.

I've been quail hunting twice, and both times didn't see a single quail the whole time we were out there. When it's not hunting season, you see quail everywhere. I think someone tips them off and lets them know when hunting season is so they can hide. So, I've never had quail before that night.

Sitting next to me was a guy going to Grad School for Latin American Studies. And you thought your major was not economically viable.

He explained to me why NAFTA screws over Mexican farmers. I've heard a lot about what NAFTA does to American workers from both Ralph Nader and Ross Perot, who Great White Bear calls "that funny little guy with the big ears." I've never heard what NAFTA does to Mexican farmers though, so I was all ears.

Four things I'd like to make straight about Mexico before I continue:
1) Mexico has more proven oil reserves than America does,
2) Mexico has a tremendous amount of silver,
3) Mexico has enough arable land to feed Mexico, and did quite fine before NAFTA,
4) Mexico's gorgeous.

Mexicans eat a lot of corn and beans, so a lot of farmers grow one or the other, or both. They work a plot of land then sell their food on the open market. It worked fine for centuries, long before the United States of America existed.

America subsidizes its farming industry. It kind of screws over the little man, but that's another post. With America subsidizing its farming, it allows American farmers to grow their crops even more cheaply than Mexican farmers, even though Mexican farmers make less.

NAFTA forces Mexico to trade food with America. Before NAFTA, Mexico bought their food from Mexicans. With NAFTA, Leonardo explained how the little guy farmer can no longer compete on the open market and has to sell his farm and either move to Mexico City in search of work or go to El Norte (that's America). In the meantime, the rich buy out the land from the poor and gobble up tons of farmland, then employ other poor to work on it and thus accelerating the bad business model that screws over the average Mexican farmer.

So we'll soon have the same situation that existed before the Mexican Revolution.

With a lot of them coming here illegally, it really does do a disservice to Mexico. These are the people who should be pissed off and fighting for change. Instead, they're fleeing the situation, which does absolutely nothing to change the political climate, where the big dog exploits the little dogs. Like I said before, I like what Edward Abbey said. He said we should hand them a rifle at the border and tell them to finish the revolution. And us Americans should have listened to that funny little guy with the big ears.

26 Comments:

Blogger Scott said...

It all stinks to me Zombie. I read Victor Davis Hanson a lot, and he has a goodly amount to say about subsidies, and he has the same attitude as you do. I don't understand it all that much, but I get a flutter in my stomach to know that so many small farmers are put out of business by corporate greed.

What are you going to do about it Zombie? Lead me and I will follow!

As for the Cowboys, let's just say that I may have spoke a little too glowingly about my team. They still have some work to do. They won, but man was this the reverse of the Redskins game earlier this year, where they snatched it away from us in the final two minutes. Amazing finish, and a win is a win, but I hope what I saw last night was a breakdown and not the blueprint.

11/15/2005 9:05 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

Almost forgot. I just finished Self-Editing (will be buying a copy) and started Elements of Style.

11/15/2005 9:29 AM  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

Mexican Food kicks butt! My grandparents owned a Mexican Resaurant for 30+ years--my grandfather being from Corpus Christi Texas--so it was the most flavorful Mexican food, Tex-Mex.
It's like the cheapest kind of food to make what with the staple food items being, tortillas, beans, rice and pork butt!
I have never tried Quail before because I think those little birds are adorable! I think it's cute how they will run as fast as they can and not take flight until the last possible second.
I don't have much to say about the political nature of your post--as you can see.
:)

11/15/2005 9:33 AM  
Blogger Raemius said...

Subsidizing unprofitable busnesses is my biggest beef with North American government.

11/15/2005 10:04 AM  
Blogger bsoholic said...

Well that sucks! They should be standing up and fighting. The little guy gets the ole screw job - tis the American way. Ugh

11/15/2005 10:55 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

American farm subsidies screw a lot of people over - esp. in the developing world. I think it's a plot by the corporations to increase the cheap labor forces in Asia and Latin America - see, they can't make a living anymore farming, because the imports are cheaper and more available, so they have to leave their farms (land now open to develop), move to the cities and work for American corporations...

11/15/2005 11:16 AM  
Blogger Slade said...

that is interesting...thanks for informing!

I am anticipating the drawing, and so glad that you have "my bod" done already..hehe

11/15/2005 11:33 AM  
Blogger lime said...

thank youfor this post. i also was unaware of the effect NAFTA had in mexico. it wasn't a particularly good thing for Trinidad either.

11/15/2005 12:01 PM  
Blogger tshsmom said...

I keep waiting to see who NAFTA IS helping. Canada's getting screwed, US workers are getting screwed and NOW I hear Mexican workers are getting screwed.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that ALL of N America. So who's getting the advantage of "free trade"? Ahhh, what a surprise; it's big business again!
BTW, "the little guy with the big ears" was the LAST candidate I voted for that I actually believed in!

Yeah, raemius, look at all the money we've dumped into unprofitable airlines!

Laura, I think you're right!

11/15/2005 1:20 PM  
Blogger The Zombie Lama said...

You know, Sadie has a point. It is the cheapest food to make. So then, why do I have to pay so much for something that barely resembles Mexican food here in the Midwest????

I can't wait to move back to New Mexico....

11/15/2005 1:26 PM  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

You know, Sadie has a point. It is the cheapest food to make. So then, why do I have to pay so much for something that barely resembles Mexican food here in the Midwest???

I'm tellin' ya. There's a Mexican restaurant in our local neck of the woods and you'd think they had some something special going on because they are always packed! I don't get it. If you can't make decent rice and beans, how can you claim to be "authentic" and why are you charging me 20 bucks for a bean burrito?
I miss my grandpa's food BAD!!

11/15/2005 3:38 PM  
Blogger dave said...

it's cool that you had some good father-son bonding time. keep it real in no-cal, son.

11/15/2005 4:20 PM  
Blogger Bhakti said...

Hi Zombie-Slayer--I just wanted to introduce you to my new and improved profile picture! Your buddy, Gyrobo, drew it for me!!

11/15/2005 6:16 PM  
Blogger mal said...

I have no problem with NAFTA,,what I have a problem with is subsidies that benefit a small group of people, like the sugar growers

I do agree, Mexico is gorgeous and if you are courteous, they are even more so

11/15/2005 8:15 PM  
Blogger Bridget Jones said...

The trend in Canada was the opposite for a while but don't know now.

There is a huge security issue about putting all the food producing power in the hands of a few. That's why Canada has all the weird little things that it does for farmers.

Now, how come you haven't commented on my cuban paintings post that you asked for?

Hmmmmmm?

Bridg

11/15/2005 8:21 PM  
Blogger mal said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/15/2005 9:01 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Scott - The whole league is up for grabs. Carolina has a slight edge in my book over the other teams in the NFC, but they're not far ahead the Cowboys at all.

I'll have to read Victor Davis Hanson. Never heard of him. But I do know that the destruction of family farms is causing not only destruction of families and meth addiction, and a lot of environmental destruction.

Sadie - my grandfather being from Corpus Christi Texas--so it was the most flavorful Mexican food, Tex-Mex.

Yummy. One thing I mix about Texas is their Tex-Mex. Funny thing is we'd be in a cowboy bar, drinking heavily and listening to country music and suddenly, the singer would do a song in Spanish.

Raemius - Subsidizing unprofitable busnesses is my biggest beef with North American government.
If a business cannot make it on its own, let it die.

Bsoholic - Agreed. Sad thing is The Man (Mexican version) is buying up all that farmland. It will be just like before the Mexican Revolution.

Laura - You may be on to something. I don't like to use the word "plot" because people will often dismiss what one is saying as conspiracy, but I'm sure in the back of their minds, it's an added bonus that they're getting cheap labor out of it.

Slade - I am anticipating the drawing, and so glad that you have "my bod" done already..hehe

You're too cool for me to do a shoddy job, so I want to get it right before showing you.

Lime - i also was unaware of the effect NAFTA had in mexico.

I was too until I talked to this guy. I knew a lot about it from an American labor perspective, but never from the Mexican farmer perspective.

Tshsmom - Well, almost. We still have Central America in North America technically. But I'm sure they're getting screwed as well. It's a win-win for American big business and the super rich in Mexico, while the middle and working classes in both countries lose. I was unaware of it being a lose in Canada as well. I'm so embarassingly ignorant about Canada.

ZL - If you move back to New Mexico, please don't bite Jenn. She's too hot to be undead.

Sadie - Southern California has a lot of good Mexican food. And Texas has good Tex Mex. Here, it's kind of the "corporate" Mexican food, you know, overpriced generic Mexican food that tastes good, but you just can't put your finger on why you only moderately enjoy it. It's just not the real deal.

Dave - You'll get that sooner than you realize. You're going to be a good father.

Bhakti - That's cute. I love drawn ones. I really like the Zombie Lama's too.

Mallory - I do agree, Mexico is gorgeous and if you are courteous, they are even more so

I'll second that.

As for NAFTA, it needs to be re-written by some real good economists, who think in the best interests of everyone, not just the corporate interests. How it is now is not working, but as I've said many times, I wish we'd do more trade with Mexico and stop trading with China all together. I'd love to see Mexico develop a solid middle class. But how it is now is not working for the common man and woman for either country.

Bridget - There is a huge security issue about putting all the food producing power in the hands of a few.

Very true.

Now, how come you haven't commented on my cuban paintings post that you asked for?

I haven't blogged since Sunday. :(

It's been a very busy past few days unfortunately. Don't worry, tomorrow I'm hitting the internet cafe and will be there all night. :)

11/15/2005 10:04 PM  
Blogger Bo Salisbury said...

Ah, Mexican food... now there's something I'm passionate about. Here's the hot tip for finding real down-home Mexican grub (like Mike's grandma in East LA used to make us). You go in and see if they have tortas on the menu. Yes? Okay, you're a third of the way there. Next, you make sure that they have at least five different kinds of meat for the tortas and one has to be lingua. I would never eat a lingua torta, but I know real Mexicanos do... you will never find tongue at a foo-foo Mexican restaurant. Finally, I ask if they make their torta rolls on site. There are only two acceptable answers: "Yes" or "no, we get them from the panaderia" over at the strip mall. Regular sandwich rolls? We're outa there!

Another good indicator is a lineup of folks outside with their pails or pots on a Sunday morning at 7AM, waiting to get some menudo.

11/15/2005 10:58 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Bo - Killer tips. I'll keep those in mind. :)

you will never find tongue at a foo-foo Mexican restaurant.

Only tongue I've ever had was at a Jewish restaurant in L.A. It was wonderful.

11/15/2005 11:51 PM  
Blogger United We Lay said...

Okay, let's get this straight, any business deal that include America will only benefit Americans. Everyone else will get screwed, over and over again, until they have nothing left to give us. Then we will stop business dealing with them, most likely do something attrocious to their government, and claim that it was all their fault. It's a pattern we've been seeing for years. Why does it surprise anyone? If Mexico would get out under the thumb of the US and grow hemp, many of their problems would be solved. Everyone is afraid of us. That's why I like Chavez. He may be a little crazy, but when was the last time any South American country stood up and said, "Enough is enough. Get out of our country you fat pigs (or substitute the word I'd really like to use) and ruin your own people"? NAFTA is bad for everyone. The only way for it to be a better deal is for us to stop outsourcing to China and start outsourcing to Mexico. They're coming here for jobs anyway. Why not create some for themin their own country so that they can improve their situation? The answer: We need migrant workers and the money they put into our economy. It is good business for us to keep them poor and illegal.

11/16/2005 7:41 AM  
Blogger Bhakti said...

I just read this post ('twas half asleep last night when I left the last comment...)

It a shame that NAFTA is giving the 'little people' the shaft. One of my dad's best friends owned a HUGE farm in Pennsylvania. He was forced to go out of business--the government actually bought him out for an astronomical amount of money. But what's money when he no longer has the life he loves? Who wants to sit on a 100 acre farm and just see it go to waste?

It stinks.

I went to a brand new farmers market in my hometown--which had the facade of being a local produce market--and everything was imported from other countries. No offense to other countries...but I live in New Jersey. We're famous for our tomatoes. Why would I want tomatoes from half way across the world?????

I wish NAFTA stood for North Americans For Tomatoes Americana!

11/16/2005 8:02 AM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

PC - The only way for it to be a better deal is for us to stop outsourcing to China and start outsourcing to Mexico. They're coming here for jobs anyway. Why not create some for themin their own country so that they can improve their situation? The answer: We need migrant workers and the money they put into our economy. It is good business for us to keep them poor and illegal.

Agree with you here 100%. This would build a middle-class in Mexico, which for one would be better suited for not dealing with the corruption in gov't.

Bhakti - But what's money when he no longer has the life he loves? Who wants to sit on a 100 acre farm and just see it go to waste?

See, that's the attitude family farmers have. They actually care about the land, which corporate farmers don't. Corporate farmers are out to make the bucks and if it destroys the land long-term, no problem, they'll just sell it to developers so developers could make strip malls and suburbs.

Sad about the farmer's market. Ours in Chico, CA actually has local farmers. They say exactly where the stuff is grown, and a lot of organics too. Geez, they shouldn't even call it a farmer's market then if it's not local. Kind of deceptive.

11/16/2005 8:32 AM  
Blogger Bhakti said...

Yeah..I agree. They should call it the UNfarmers Market. Or Farmers AREN'T Us!

11/16/2005 4:01 PM  
Blogger Bhakti said...

p.s. The Word Verification for my last comment was so difficult to decipher I felt like I was taking a bloody I.Q. test!

11/16/2005 4:02 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Bhakti - Yeah..I agree. They should call it the UNfarmers Market. Or Farmers AREN'T Us!

Yeah. Where's Ralph Nader when you need him? ;)

As for word verification, no exaggeration, but I get about one out of five wrong. i's and j's, forget it.

11/17/2005 12:18 AM  
Blogger Bhakti said...

Oh my gosh--me, too! I can't tell the q's from the g's!!

I ALWAYS have to either retype the word verification, or I've forgotten to 'close a tag' on my html!

Alright Bhakti, breathe...

11/17/2005 8:22 AM  

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