Wednesday, January 31, 2007

AMLO put in place by tortilla protestors

For the past six months, AMLO has looked a lot like "Subcomandante" Marcos. No, Lopez Obrador did not take up smoking a pipe and wearing a mask, but after being rejected by the Mexican populace, AMLO ran around to existing local conficts and tried to pretend that he was leading them. When he was rejected by the courts, then by the polls, and then by the voters in his home state of Tabasco, he seemed to become more desperate.

A good example would be the Toluca outdoor market last fall. The municipal government has long tried to move the market in order to ease congestion. Most of the vendors represent marginalized microbusinesses. When Lopez Obrador first appeared at their demonstrations, there was some added excitement, but as things went on it became apparent that he was there to promote his cause, not theirs.

The poorer half of the Mexican populace has been focused on the proposed price hike of tortillas. This will become a textbook example of an economic Giffen Good.

Tortillas are such a staple in the diet of the poor, and still the cheapest commodity in that diet (even with the price increase), the increase will not decrease tortilla consumption, but only impoverish the poor even more so that they will become more dependent on tortillas, having to cut out other parts of their diet which were previously purchased as discretionary or "luxury" items. In short, the increased price of tortillas may actually increase the demand for tortillas.

In a recent street protest, AMLO was not allowed to speak. The local leaders of this genuine movement have figured out that the progressive cause in the republic cannot be held hostage to one man's delusions.

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