Drug Cartels: A Relief for Mexico
AMLO, the new President of Mexico, announced a plan that will confront the drug cartels which, in their struggle for territory, commit wholesale assassinations causing a feeling of insecurity in the country.
I suggest that the remedy he is planning can have side effects which are worse than the disease he is trying to treat.
I work in Mexico often, and I have noticed that one of the characteristics of Mexican culture is a high level of (I). People are connected to each other. The relationships between family members and childhood friends are close and strong. Mexican society is not regulated by (A) but by (I). If you scratch my back, I scratch my friend’s back, and he scratches yours: it’s a back-scratching chain built on connections, on who you know. Through the chain, I can get the services or benefits that I want.
This connectedness exists on two different levels. The connections within the upper-echelon of society, between the well-educated and the well-to-do, form one level of connection. But, the upper-class is not connected to the lower strata of society, which makes up the second level.
The lower strata of society— those with an elementary school education or less, those who work as servants, mechanics, and street cleaners—is paid extremely poorly. A maid, is paid less than $500 a month for full-time, six days a week, sleeping over and not seeing her family the whole week. A mechanic earns $150 a month, and a bank clerk earns $350 a month. It’s not only that they’re paid poorly but also that their access to upward mobility is practically non-existent.
In Mexico, there are two different countries: the upper echelon that lives in its own sphere with its own connections and benefits and the lower echelon with no upward mobility. Mexico is not like India, where people are born into a certain caste system, accept their destiny, and pray to God. (Then again, even in India, the situation is changing) The lower echelon in Mexico watches television. They see the luxury in which other people live. They see how the people they serve live, but they have no way to reach that status and standard of living.
What do people do when they are paid poorly and have no capability to improve their life? They will try to find an exit from their poverty. The pressure to exit will build.
The drug cartels provide release. They give people in the lower-class hope, hope that they can make money and reach a level of richness that’s denied to them otherwise.
The other pressure release is the hope of crossing the border. In the United States, there is a future. Building the Trump Wall will close this pressure release route.
Drug cartels and the possibility of immigrating to the United States keep relative peace in Mexico. True, there is crime, but just imagine what would happen to that crime rate if these two routes of release did not exist, if the pressure only continued to build. Mexico could blow up.
In the beginning, it will probably be a bigger mushrooming crime, in murders and abductions. In the long run, if the increase in crime does not free enough of the accumulated negative energy, there might be a revolution.
Dr Ichak Kalderon Adizes
Founder and CEO, Adizes Institute Worldwide