Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Globalization as nationalism

So, can you explain why Pemex, that supports so much public spending, doesn't have money to invest in new research and technology?

Energy reform in Mexico: Giving it both barrels
TO MEXICANS, state ownership of their oil is a bit like gun ownership in the United States—steeped in history. So President Enrique Peña Nieto’s proposal, unveiled on August 12th, to change the constitution to allow private investment in Mexico’s oil industry for the first time since 1960, is a taboo-buster.

To clear the historic hurdles, he niftily dressed up the reform proposal as a return to the regime that prevailed after Mexico’s patriotic hero, President Lázaro Cárdenas, seized the oil industry from foreign hands in 1938…

In fact his intention is nakedly economic. It starts from the premise that Mexico is running out of easy-to-access oil in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Pemex, the national oil and gas monopoly, has neither the funds nor the expertise to take advantage of the shale and deepwater deposits that have proved so bounteous across the border in the United States. So it needs partners…

Mr Peña has his work cut out to change the constitution. His Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), its small coalition partners and the conservative National Action Party (PAN) have enough votes between them to muster the two-thirds majority needed in the upper and lower houses of Congress to change the constitution. They also dominate the state legislatures…

Meanwhile, the left-leaning Party of the Democratic Revolution is incensed…

A bigger threat to reform may come from the street. An army of left-wing nationalists loyal to Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who came second to Mr Peña in last year’s presidential election, plans to stage protests in Mexico City…

[T]he president should explain why this reform will be different from some of the headline-grabbing privatisations of the 1990s, whose lack of transparency left a bad taste in people’s mouths. Given Mexico’s sinking oil production, Mr Peña’s proposals are undoubtedly a step in the right direction. But the more open the discussion about them, the better.

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