Monday, March 30, 2009

Once Upon a Time in Mexico

"Is there any way to know what's really going on in Mexico?" asks Wretchard. Matt Beck opines with the following:

"Perhaps some useful information may be gleaned from watching the currency exchange rates and the commodity price indices in Mexico. It would be even more useful to watch Mexican leading economic indicators like trade patterns and orders, but these are probably well-doctored and well-laundered in order to conceal corruption, and we simply don’t have the economic intelligence-gathering apparatus. The exchange rates and indices, however, are public information, and to the discriminating eye might offer grist for analysis. Once we factor into account the effects of official changes in Mexican monetary policy, any discrepancies will serve as a rough indicator of the degree of leverage exerted by non-state actors.

"Should the peso strengthen relative to the dollar without a rise in commodities prices, it probably means the situation isn’t that bad. In that case, remittances are likely to be steady and the level of corruption tolerable. Should the peso strengthen and commodities rise, that means aid is being back-channeled to Mexico and corruption is on the march. If the peso weakens however, we know that the dollar influx has dried up and the Mexican fief is firmly in the hands of a narco-diocletian keiretsu. The hyperinflation of Mexican money will be the most obvious outward sign that something is wrong."

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