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Mexico : the 4th transformation has not involved a change in the economic model
The CADTM International spokesperson in “La Jornada”.
by Eric Toussaint , Dora Villanueva
7 May 2022

Éric Toussaint interviewed by Dora Villanueva (La Jornada – Mexico)

Mexico – The so-called fourth transformation of Mexico, led by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), has not involved a change in the economic model as such, only a few political adjustments within the boundaries of social assistance, this in spite of a historic opportunity for the country to retrieve its sovereignty, explains Éric Toussaint, spokesperson for the international network of the Committee for the abolition of illegitimate debts (CADTM). It should be noted that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, whose term of office began in 2018 and will end in 2024, has promised to achieve the fourth transformation of Mexico. The first transformation corresponds to the first decades of independence, which was won in 1821; the second transformation corresponds to the liberal and republican reforms in the third quarter of the 19th century under the presidency of Benito Juarez; the third is part of the Mexican Revolution, which began in 1910, and above all, the sextennium of Lazaro Cardenas from 1934 to 1940. The fourth seeks to put an end to the neoliberal policies that have dominated since the 1980s and to resume and deepen the course set by the first three transformations [1].

“It is not a genuine transformation, merely less inhumanity on the part of the State”, the historian claims in an interview given to La Jornada about some of the policies implemented by President AMLO and his government. Yet from a financial point of view, “they remain within a neoliberal capitalist model with minor adaptations, but the logic is the same, and I find this worrying.”

Mexico could take measures to nationalize and socialize public services such as electricity, the finance and production systems

The country misses the opportunity to use a historic possibility to act in a sovereign way, for with the high price of oil and the inter-imperialist contradiction – between Chinese, Russia and American capitalism – Mexico could take measures to nationalize and socialize public services such as electricity, its finance and production system.

Toussaint stresses that in spite of the threats from electricity companies, Mexico is in the best possible situation to change its economic model and nationalize its resources “if it really wants to transform, otherwise it will carry on as before”. This change involves putting a stop to planning the country’s development to meet the needs of its northern neighbour but also socializing banks and the finance sector.

Mexico has been dependent on the US for two centuries. If there is no deeper transformation to achieve a more independent, more sovereign, more self-relying growth, then there is no transformation”, states the CADTM spokesperson.

If there is no deeper transformation to achieve a more independent, more sovereign, more self-relying growth, then there is no transformation

He adds that as a rule global economies are caught in a predicament that exposes the flaws of the neoliberal model imposed by the International Monetary Funds (IMF) since on top of some twenty countries that are partly defaulting on debt repayment several others are close to defaulting.

For instance, Ukraine owes more than $15 billion to the IMF, and since it cannot repay because of the war, an agreement has been found with the World Bank and the IMF for a new loan of $8 billion so that it can carry on repaying.

All the ingredients of a major crisis are present, but a new debt crisis has not occurred yet”, he warns. It depends on how the US and EU central banks will respond, and there will always be a risk of a massive flow of capital from the South to the North with several indebted economies being unsettled.

In this respect, it is necessary for countries to be less dependent on both external and internal debt, which is possible thanks to fair tax policies that tax the wealthiest and the large transnational companies while making sure that the finance sector is a public service and not a business. “It is essential to make it possible for peasants to get loans at very low-interest rates,” Toussaint explains.

Similarly, energy must be socialized, “so that it works better”, not just to give control to the State but “for users and society to supervise companies to avoid bureaucracy and projects that do not serve the population”. Even in the field of production, small units close to consumers have to be promoted to avoid wastage.

Translated by the CADTM

Footnotes :

[1See the message by the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly

Eric Toussaint

is a historian and political scientist who completed his Ph.D. at the universities of Paris VIII and Liège, is the spokesperson of the CADTM International, and sits on the Scientific Council of ATTAC France.
He is the author of Greece 2015: there was an alternative. London: Resistance Books / IIRE / CADTM, 2020 , Debt System (Haymarket books, Chicago, 2019), Bankocracy (2015); The Life and Crimes of an Exemplary Man (2014); Glance in the Rear View Mirror. Neoliberal Ideology From its Origins to the Present, Haymarket books, Chicago, 2012, etc.
See his bibliography:
He co-authored World debt figures 2015 with Pierre Gottiniaux, Daniel Munevar and Antonio Sanabria (2015); and with Damien Millet Debt, the IMF, and the World Bank: Sixty Questions, Sixty Answers, Monthly Review Books, New York, 2010. He was the scientific coordinator of the Greek Truth Commission on Public Debt from April 2015 to November 2015.

Dora Villanueva

es reportera en el área económica para el periódico mexicano La Jornada.