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Geoeconomics, in pictures

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July 31, 2009

This post is by Brad Setser and Paul Swartz of the Council on Foreign Relations.

No doubt today’s GDP release will attract the lion’s share of the econoblogosphere’s attention. But sometimes it is a good idea to counter-program.

Paul Swartz, I and others at the Council’s Center for Geoeconomic Studies have been – at the prodding of our boss – trying to come up with indicators that capture “Geoeconomic” risk. Or at least to develop measures some key “geoeconomic” concepts, with geoeconomics defined as anything that touches on both the economy and geopolitics. An example might be the gapminder chart we did for the Council’s multimedia spectacular on the financial crisis that touches on the question of whether the G-7 still brings together the world’s most economically powerful countries.

I am not sure that we have succeeded, though I do think we have come up with some interesting ideas – ideas, though, that need to be stress tested with a bit of external scrutiny. Call this a very rough working draft.

One idea has been to look at what share of the world’s total economic output is produced by democratic countries. To do this, we weighted output by a measure of a country’s political openness (from the Polity IV project). A low score implies that all of the world’s output is produced in countries that are not democracies. A high score means all the output is produced by countries that are well-functioning democracies. And a score in the middle means something in the middle – either there are a lot of economically large democracies and a lot of economically large autocracies, or that a lot of global output is produced by countries that aren’t total autocracies nor perfect democracies.

The results are interesting; the end of the Cold war increased the share of output produced by the world’s democracies. But China’s ability to grow rapidly with significantly democraticizing has made the global economy a bit less “democratic” (in the sense that less of the world’s output is produced by democracies).

gdpbygoveranceforms

That implies that if current economic trends – meaning the gap between the rate of growth between autocratic and more democratic countries — continue, the share of global output produced by democracies will decline over time.

gdpbygoverancewithranges

Why does the “politics” matter — two potential reasons:

First, democracies are likely to prefer a world populated by other powerful democracies to one that is not. And second, democracies allow for peaceful political transitions; they are less brittle than autocracies — and thus arguably more stable, economically and politically.

Geostrategists are also interested in how concentrated economic power. Paul came up with a measure of that, one that looks at the distribution of global economic output (actually the distribution of output over a basic threshold for poverty, so if one country is rich and the rest are poor, we assume that power is concentrated not dispersed). The United States’ economic rise in the twentieth century (prompted in part by wars in Europe) had the effect of concentrating economic power. The rise of the BRICs by contrast has had the effect of dispersing power (some might call a greater dispersion of economic power a kind of democracy … ).

orginaleconpolarity

Our other ideas are variants, in some sense, of the first idea.

We compared the share of global oil output produced by democracies to the share of global economic output from democracies. While most global output is produced in democracies, most oil isn’t – and most oil exports come from non-democratic states.

oilproduction

oilandgdp1

It is interesting though that the share of oil exporters coming from democracies rose after 73; increasing the price of oil made production in the North Sea attractive – and Mexico’s oil exports rose along with its democracy score. That trend though also changed a bit recently.

And finally, we looked at global reserves and the global flow of funds. Reserves are rising relative to world GDP – and most reserves are still held by democracies (if we counted the assets of sovereign funds, the graph wouldn’t be as favorable to democracies).

levelofreserves

But recently reserve growth has been weighted toward countries with low scores on a democracy index.

changeinreserves

And it turns out that if you weight the global current account surplus by a countries political regime, the surplus countries are significantly less democratic than the deficit countries. In broad terms, non-democracies now finance democracies. The result here is sensitive to whether or not the eurozone is treated as a single unit or a set of different countries. 

cabygoverance 

Three questions:

Do our indicators make sense?

Are they at all useful and interesting?

Are there better avenues/ approaches to try? Different types of risks that are worth tracking?

46 Comments

  • Posted by Indy

    It would be nice to see each country’s share of the pie, especially in the forecast regions.

    I was especially taken with the current account chart. It may be misleading – but it seems to indicate a real, longstanding, and distinguishing feature of how democratic vs. autocratic societies manage their budgets, currencies, and imports/exports. Somewhat disturbing in my view.

  • Posted by anon

    Despite being on CFR’s website, the most helpful contributions here are related to the flow of funds. Please leave this type of political survey elsewhere on your site, and don’t crowd out the usually valuable content.

  • Posted by Mike Laird

    Let me second the thought from anon. The strong value of this web site is its data and reasoned analysis of central banks and international funds flows. I don’t mean to throw cold water on new ideas, but pulling the geopolitical analysis back towards your areas of unique competence may yield more results. Today’s charts struck me as “boy, that’s debatable” and “so what?”. I have real problems with the idea of the “autocratic part of the world” – as in – says who and in what scope of power. Maybe strong case examples and analysis of clusters of countries would produce insights in your core areas of central banks and funds flows.

  • Posted by jonathan

    Well, I thought this was very interesting and connected to the general blog trend. It’s particularly interesting to note how autocracy finances democracy.

    (The 1st chart turned on its side looks like a lamp.)

    As feedback, I’d love to see more of a scatter type plot, perhaps with different sized circles representing countries or groups of countries. I also think it’s important to break out China in any of these graphs.

  • Posted by Twofish

    bsetser: First, democracies are likely to prefer a world populated by other powerful democracies to one that is not.

    Not clear to me at all that this is the situation.

    bsetser: Second, democracies allow for peaceful political transitions; they are less brittle than autocracies — and thus arguably more stable, economically and politically.

    This is sort of tautological. If you have a democracy that fails to create a peaceful political transition, then it is no longer much of democracy.

    The other problem is that problem of the fish. It’s not terribly useful to classify the world into “things that are fishes” and “things that are not fishes” because then you come up with the mistaken idea that snails, dolphins, and amoeba have something in common just because they aren’t fishes.

    If you want to see some research that I think is extremely useful, then look at Adam Przeworski.

    The other problem is I really wonder how much of this is just due to China. If in 2025, China very suddenly shifts to something like a liberal democracy then this can change the numbers quite dramatically.

  • Posted by Cedric Regula

    I’m all for taking a stab at something different now and then for variety. But I still like the old focus of this blog.

    As far as this post goes, we all know democracies are toast in the long term, and it’s just a fluke the USA and Europe have been around this long.

    As the CFR commentator on space alien relations, I do know that Vorlon has a Czar of Geoeconomic Risk. But they bought him a telescope and he watches out for comets and large meteorites, and that’s about all he has to do.

    The reason is of course on Vorlon there is only the One World Government, One Economist, and a single biological currency, the Vorlon Sand Dollar. It doubles every year so there is no banking system, equity markets or credit markets. It’s a cash economy and there are no taxes because the Vorlon Federal Preserve owns the oceans, and takes the government allotment of Sand Dollars off the top. If any large projects need financing, they publish the deal on Vorlonet, and investors can buy into the project.

    Only bad thing is most municipal swimming pools have been converted into saltwater aquariums to store the neighborhood’s excess Sand Dollars.

    But other than that, there is not much that can go wrong.

  • Posted by don

    Well, I thought this was interesting, but it leaves too many questions unanswered. It would have been better if it could be tied somehow to some hypothesis as to why the form of governemtn matters, such as government policies towards currency interventions and forced saving of consumers.

  • Posted by WStroupe

    Well, seems most people here on this blog much prefer the exact sciences rather than a post like this one. Understandable, I guess. But don’t you think it’s valuable and necessary to put the exact sciences into perspective in the bigger picture, as this post does very nicely? I mean, if you get too focused on your calculator you could get mathematical answers that all seem to add up, but when you look up from your LCD and see what’s actually taking place in the real world, you might find your equations didn’t accurately predict or describe all the real important developments. It’s happened that way plenty of times in recent history, in a number of spheres.

    So I applaud the Big Boys who nudged bsetser and associates to do a more abstract, less exact-sciences post like this one. I don’t think this is a distraction at all. Instead, it’s a pretty decent effort at peeking outside the comfortable box and thinking along abstract, but very important lines. I’d like to see more of this, with more effort to harmonize the bigger geopolitical perspective with the math and economics, and with theories posited about how they might harmonize. Maybe if we had a post like this one roughly about 1 or 2 times a month, then our detailed and brutal number-crunching and related theories would actually gain enhanced geopolitical perspective and relevance – not that these are by any means irrelevant – they are not. But I think this kind of post is a real enhancer.

  • Posted by Rien Huizer

    Brad,

    Interesting, or, perhaps very entertaining. Twofish is right Pzreworsky and a few other practitioners of comparative politics got into this too and if you look at the methodological problems in getting something that could lead to robust conclusions, you quickly realize that only the very brave or very foolish would risk an academic career on going beyond the blog format.

    One of the obvious areas for academic concern would be the weighting and the Polity database itself. There are only 200 countries, and of those at least two thirds are irrelevant. Lots of country profile, when you know the country and look at the scores, make you nod your head. A ver small number of entities with many, difficult to compare (and scale) features. Plus semantics and propaganda.

    I suspect that using (a) a narrow concept of democracy (Russia would be out because of lack of constitutional practice and Japan for lack of rotation (although that may change soon) ) and (b) linking that to one portion of output: manufacturing, would make this both more robust and truly meaningful (meaningful meaning scary). Despite the growth of the democratic area (even under the narrow definition) since the fall of communism, i suspect that “the west/democracies”) has lost at least 35% of its share of manufacturing in the world economy by value and maybe even more by volume. And that process has hardly touched car production.

    I read that as the subliminal message here.

    The world of hardware is pretty Ricardian and democracies, with their low thresholds for collective action by interested people (farmers, residents, environmentalists) are expensive places to make things or drill for oil and gas). In the case of oil, the west has managed to nurture a sense of insecurity among citizens, leading to western replacement/substitution costs as a sort of world equilibrium price (and obscene profits for the autocrats who personally own inexpensive oil).

    Are you trying to lay the foundation stone for something similar in manufacturing?

  • Posted by Rien Huizer

    Twofish,

    “This is sort of tautological. If you have a democracy that fails to create a peaceful political transition, then it is no longer much of democracy.”

    Right: democracies rarely take the initiative to go to war but their successor regimes (and those successor regimes emerge when the democratic system alienates its members because no reasonable politician can make credible promises of improvement) do. Look at Nazi Germany, or even much more recently the Argentinian Junta who went to war against the UK over the Shetlands.

  • Posted by yoda

    Fed and Obama is destroying capitalism.

  • Posted by yoda

    Obama, Pelosi, and Democrats no moral or ethic or integrity or character. plus lie/steal from hard working America people via taxation. they are no different from BUSH.

    http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2009/07/free-money-runs-out-congress-authorizes.html


    I have noticed that dealers uped their prices to account for the $4,500. I know this since I went down to a Dodge Challenger dealers with my old old pontiac to see what would happen. I would get the clunker money but had to pay list and they low-balled any trade in on my junk (which internet research put at $2,500 or better). “

  • Posted by Dennis Redmond

    Dividing up the world into “democracy” and “autocratic” is a non-starter. Three of the BRICs are electoral democracies, while China has democratized enormously over the past 30 years.

    Charting multipolarity, however, is important and useful. It might be useful to broaden the index to include things like media production, communications systems, information technology, R & D and science.

  • Posted by sunbin

    i think this is an interesting topic.

    but just curious, could you list the data and how you defined ‘democracy’?

    eg
    1) Nazi Germany, certainly there was free election
    – if you argue that election is nazi germany is not entirely free, then what about singapore?

    2) s korea pre-1980s, and “the island of taiwan” pre-1980s?

    3) exchange rate: we know the value of rouble (also RMB) changed significantly during the 1980-90s

  • Posted by sunbin

    4) India before 1948. they certianly did not elect their own leaders?

    – also about Hong Kong, which group did/does it belong to?

    5) re-exchanhge rate: perhaps you could do a nominal vs PPP chart as well.

  • Posted by sunbin

    6) one idea:

    how about tracking certain country, or group of countries when it ‘switched side’

    eg Japan, CIS, Eastern Europe, India/Pakistan, French African colonies, British African colonies, etc.

  • Posted by sunbin

    … the measure should be done over a period of time, and relative to certain reference geography or the world

  • Posted by Rachel

    I like the charts. Along the lines of looking at the distribution of economic clout by democracies/non-democracies, have you thought about portraying global manufacturing or consumption in such a way. Of course a lot would be skewed by the US and China as one of your commenters notes.

    It’d be interesting to see your oil chart extended out a bit into the future. It would make your point a bit more. might be interesting to add in some other commodities too (nat gas or the like).

    might be worth displaying some of ideas by regions to see the breakdowns.

  • Posted by yoda

    bottom-line, over time China will be democratized? After all, Taiwan didnt democratized over night.

  • Posted by sackerson

    I’m not sure about your boundary between democratic and autocratic systems of government. Provided (and it’s getting to be a big ask) you Americans understand and live by your Constitution, then you’ve got a democracy. I live in the UK, and I don’t feel that we here have a secure hold on freedom or democracy. Perhaps it’d be more useful to analyse the tidal shift within our “democracies” towards oligarchy.

  • Posted by OGT

    An interesting outbreak of moral (and political) relativism in the comment section. While granting that the categories are a bit overly broad, I’d argue that it’s at least interesting to look at the world in this light. Politics certainly matter, anyone investing without at least one eye on politics is apt to suffer nasty surprises.

    Will China try to not only hold on to its system of autocratic state capitalism but export it as a rival to liberal democracy? Hard to say at this point.

  • Posted by Twofish

    Also, I’ve found that it’s also better in these situations to not classify between (“democracy” and “autocracy”) but rather between “liberal democracies” and “non-liberal democracies” or better yet “multi-party states” and “non multi-party states”

    The problem is that “democracy” is a vague, emotionally charged word. It’s wonderful when you are making political speeches, but horrible when you are doing any sort of serious analysis. When you are doing serious analysis, what you want are precise terms with few emotional connotations. One problem with using emotionally charged words to do analysis is that after you’ve looked into things, you may end up finding that “democracy is horrible for economic growth” or something else that you really don’t want to find.

    The other problem is that if you use “democracy” you run into the problem that the PRC claims that they are a democracy. At this point you get into an argument over the meaning of democracy, which just wasted time and energy. If you use the term “multi-party state” and “non-multi-party state” you avoid this useless argument and get into useful ones.

    Once you’ve done the analysis then you hand things over to PR people, than they’ll twist meanings of the vague, emotionally charged words.

  • Posted by Twofish

    Also not all “non-democracies” are autocracies. Somalia is not a democracy, but not an autocracy. Iran is another situation.

  • Posted by bsetser

    2fish — you are right, a lot of the shift in output away from “democracies” comes from China’s growth and an assumption of “frozen” politics, i.e. no political change. If China becomes as democratic as India, the shift in global output away from democracies more or less ends.

    Rachel — agree that it would be interesting to forecast oil out. Hard though.

    Sunbin — We relied on the Polity rankings for democraticness. I’ll try to add a link. We certainly did not want to make these kinds of decisions ourselves.

    Rien — We don’t really plan to branch into political science. Only develop a set of indicators that tell us something interesting and new about the world that can be tracked over time.

    To all those who pushed back against weighting global output (or oil output) by the Polity scores on democraticness. What are better variables to use? We thought about trying to weight global output by some measure how allied a country is to the US (the same method could be used for other countries, but the CFR focuses on the US). Some autocracies are US allies. but how could this be defined in a way that can be tracked quantitatively over time?

    Or should we abandon the goal of tracking something over time and just do snapshots?

  • Posted by apachecadillac

    Given that the American republic seems ever more Venetian and ever less Jeffersonian, I’m not sure that the charts are anything other than entertaining and misleading. They are clean and simple, and Churchill liked his propaganda clean and simple.

    However, as a long time reader of Foreign Affairs, I read it knowing that what appears in it is generally hews to a party line (or some variant of a party line). I think the CFR is abusing the audience you have built through your outstanding personal work to offer that mindset here.

  • Posted by Jonathan Landesman

    Drs. Seltzer and Swartz,
    The analysis is fascinating, even if the implications are not yet fully apparent.

    The points about the vagueness of democracy indices and the difficulties of assuming that democracies share a set of common interests that are opposed to autocracies are well taken.

    Perhaps it would be useful to combine the analysis with other geopolitical assumptions. How about starting from the “civilizations” analysis of Samuel Huntington? While obviously individual countries face different interests within a given “civilization,” it seems logical that broadly speaking, the US and Europe have similar geopolitical goals, the Arab world has similar political goals, et cetera. What do the current accounts of the various civilizations look like?

    One purpose of your geoeconomic indicators is to study how power is spread throughout the global system. A vague but starting point for a definition of power might be “the ability to get other countries to do what you want them to.” Here is the question: does the fact that reserve accumulation is rising quicker in autocracies mean that autocracies will have greater relative power? Or is it a sign of internal concern about the vulnerabilities of autocratic economies?

    I am looking forward to seeing the next step you take in your analysis.

  • Posted by bsetser

    Apachecadillac — while the CFR pushed us to try to find ways to quantify geoeconomic risk — or at least develop indicators that tracked geoeconomic trends, i am — alas — solely responsible for the final choice of variables. Unless it shows up in the polity index, I am not quite sure how you would track a fall from Jeffersonian ideals, but I am open to clever ideas.

    Jonathan: “Here is the question: does the fact that reserve accumulation is rising quicker in autocracies mean that autocracies will have greater relative power? Or is it a sign of internal concern about the vulnerabilities of autocratic economies?”

    Good question. My answer is a bit of both. The reserves autocracies built up in part to protect against external pressure (and in some cases as a hedge v loss of internal control) potentially give them a new source of financial leverage v other players in the system. Look at my monograph on Sovereign Wealth and Sovereign Power.

  • Posted by Cedric Regula

    I think the CFR has asked Brad to travel down a very long, dark path to nowhere.

    The way I understand the mission, it is to
    “find ways to quantify geoeconomic risk”.

    But I think history tells us most political collapses happen after financial collapses. Usually it occurs when the old government can no longer pay the military, and the military decides to find a new employer.

    Many have noted that definitions matter when talking in broad terms like “democracy” and “autocracy”. Also, freedom is usually associated with one but not the other. And that is at least as difficult to quantify. And what is the proper amount of freedom, because too much is bad too. Then consider who is happier, the citizens of Singapore or the citizens of the Soviet Union?

    So I think covering these things are best left to book format, perhaps once every 5 years or so. I don’t think we will get nice numbers we can graph.

    But the “good” news for Earthlings is we do have geoeconomic risk stemming from financial system risk. But here we don’t get numbers either, other than the ones Brad works with already. But clearly something else has to happen on the legal and regulatory side to mitigate the risks we have seen so far. Part of that would entail data collection that no one has yet, and things like standardizing the derivatives market so it can be traded and regulated on an exchange, and many other things like that. Again, not an easy thing to graph.

    But I think it would be useful for someone to develop a checklist of things that need doing in the financial world, and then check off our progress in getting them implemented.

    Which reminds me, what ever happened to privatizing Fannie and Freddie?

  • Posted by Flute

    Interesting, perhaps, but I second the opinions of others that you must first start by defining what you mean by democracy/autocracy. You seeing things from a US perspective and me from a Swedish perspective could have widely diverging opinions on many countries. And democracy/autocracy is definitely not black and white, but many greys in between.

    I think it would be more interesting to grade countries by a combination of various factors of freedom, e.g. freedom of speech, political freedom, freedom of business, etc. There are many such studies published which you could use. Then you could take those countries which get high rankings in an index like this and compare them to those with low rankings.

  • Posted by yoda

    come to think of, if you let those too big to fail to fail and then break them up into smaller pieces, then we will not have to deal with too big to fail again. but Obama, Pelosi, Geithner, and Bernanke did the opposite, they made too big to fail even bigger to fail, oh boy. if these too bigger to fail step into risk spectrum and screw up again, then we will be back to square one again -> creating much bigger to fail.

  • Posted by yoda

    solution is not more Obama+Cracy regulation. the solution is you need to let the company fail when their risky bet destroy themselves regardless of the size.

  • Posted by bsetser

    flute — we relied on the polity index. it isn’t a black/ white; democracy/ autocracy. Rather it allows shades of gray (i.e. it is a scale). and that scale was preserved in our index of how much of world output is produced in democracies. if a country becomes more democratic (but isn’t a perfect scandinavian democracy) it gets a higher score and the global economy gets a bit more democratic.

    this isn’t perfect, to be sure. we played with an arbitrary cutoff on the polity index. but we also didn’t rely on our own judgements about democracy or not.

  • Posted by Cedric Regula

    yoda

    I think it’s more the size of the total risk out there is the thing to worry about, rather than the size of individual institution. Tho I would like to see them just disappear F&F so that banks would have a legitimate biz to get into.

    There are good derivatives and bad derivatives. We have many cases where risk management does work.

    For instance, in traditional insurance like fire, wind and flood, it has always been insurance industry practice to “re-insure” and spread their risk among multiple institutions. This market was recently stress tested by Katrina, and the world was not brought to its knees. So it seems to work ok.

    Also, commodity futures markets are trading derivatives, and if oils runs up to $147 and back down to $35, then I would call that a successful stress test of market mechanics. But I still think what caused the run needs fixing.

  • Posted by Dikaios Logos

    This type of post is a welcome addition. Too much material is produced that assumes this is an exact science. The political implications are very, very important, even though they aren’t conducive to the precision some mistakenly think is necessary.

  • Posted by Cedric Regula

    Brad:

    Did our financial freedom component of the polity index go up during the GWB years?

    It’s becoming neccesary to know!

  • Posted by Cedric Regula

    I’ve figured out what bothers me about this.

    I think the main problem the economic world faces at the moment is that there is too much sausage in the world and no one understands how it’s made.

    This is creating another layer of sausage by mixing in equally hard to understand political ingredients, a sort of meta-sausage.

    Now the Economist magazine has the Big Mac Index, which is sort of a fun novelty, and people can even figure out what it means.

    So maybe this could turn into the Oscar Meta Index?

  • Posted by glory

    this post is approved by moldbug :P

    cheers!

  • Posted by Rien Huizer

    Brad,

    “o all those who pushed back against weighting global output (or oil output) by the Polity scores on democraticness. What are better variables to use? We thought about trying to weight global output by some measure how allied a country is to the US (the same method could be used for other countries, but the CFR focuses on the US). Some autocracies are US allies. but how could this be defined in a way that can be tracked quantitatively over time?”

    1. There is no comparable database. However (but a lot more work) there are ways to use this in a less ambitious way.

    For instance, counties with democracy scores over 8 tend to include most of the countries one would associate with a community with shared/similar sociopolitical values. I suspect that these countries would also have high scores on the human development index. There are also clear cases at the bottom (including a few US allies as you note). The moddle is a mixed bag of countries with a variety of defects (some risky from an IR point of view, others not) and some with great historic volatility.

    I think that the patterns that should be watched can easily (and less normatively) be found by looking at the very strong democracies (scores of 8 and more have so few defects that most people would agree with the linear score, and that would allow inclusion of Mexico and Brazil but not Russia) on the one hand, and China on the other hand (no ill feelings towards that country and I guess I would rather live in China’s non-democracy than in democratic Haiti, even at the same level of affluence). There are hardly any non-democracies that count. If, in addition India is left out (this procedure will also leave out most of the former CIS) you may end up with a meaningful graph that shows China’s growing share in world output at the expense of the Western democracies.

    Do we need a graph for that?

  • Posted by Rien Huizer

    There is of course another way to look at this:

    Leaving e g South Asia, Africa and Indonesia out, the world consists of NAFTA + EU plus developed Latin America and European CIS+Japan/Korea with roughly 1.5 billion socialized people with OECD level human capital (but not always GDP/Cap). China’s 1.3 billion are still far away from equalling the former group in GDP, because their GDP, even per the say 60% people with equivalen human capital is much smalle, and given the fact that China is not in a poverty trap, it s likely that, barring renewed civil wars and protectionism from the ROW, China is likely to reach rough parity with the former group within a generation.

    Of course, by the time china is halfway there, India will probably also have grown so much that ignoring it is no longer appropriate. But, by then, the democracy or else discourse may be irrelevant too…

  • Posted by Rien Huizer

    Brad,

    2. Look at the (meanwhile dated) approach by Pzreworski et al in ‘Democracy and Development’ Cambridge University Press , NY 2000) p 54, and all of Ch 3. I do not believe that has ever been updated.

  • Posted by Flute

    Brad, now I know what index you are using, thanks! I checked their home page and found they center very much on the political side.

    I still think it would be more interesting to use some broader kind of index, that not only includes the political side, but also respect for human rights, freedom of speech, corruption, etc. Mexico, for example, has a high score in Polity’s democracy index, but corruption seems to be a serious problem from the news I hear in my corner of the world. The Mexican war on the drug cartels also seems to involve serious abuse of human rights. See e.g. http://www.hrw.org/americas/mexico

  • Posted by Cedric Regula

    Flute:

    Human rights for drug cartels is the very, very least of our problems.

    Some other news reports we get in Arizona:

    Reports of bribes to military officers are in the news.

    Bribes are rampant with government and police. That is why Mexico sent the military to the border regions.

    A few months ago, the police chief of the Nogales, MX border town was shot walking into the police station. You can’t say No to drugs.

    On the US side, the mayor of a US border town claims he has had death threats.

    In Phoenix, there are hundreds of murders a year of small time drug dealers that didn’t pay the drug ring for fronted drugs and got disciplined for the indiscretion.

    There are wars between drug cartels, and bodies show up in public places on a regular basis.

    This all is happening in a 100 mile stretch of Arizona border. Which used to be the quietest part of the 2000 mile US-Mexico border.

  • Posted by Flute

    Cedric Regula, I don’t particularly care for the drug cartels. What I meant was human rights for people who happen to live in the same area as the drug cartels are operating and get their human rights arbitrarily broken.

  • Posted by Cedric Regula

    Flute:

    Right, but it’s the drug cartel that is infringing on the rights of the average citizen, not the Mexican military as suggested by the website you posted. At least the military people that haven’t been bribed.

    Mexico also has an impoverished legal system, so there is also much opportunity to bribe and/or intimidate judges, prosecutors and jury.

    This is why we like to call these things “war”, because it overloads the civilian law enforcement and justice system, and you lose if you get too ideological.

  • Posted by Marian

    I would love to see these pictures with China, U.S. eventually too, excluded

  • Posted by Sekiera Daniel

    A very good and fine workrd our grafik. But I think there is more aspects and issues for the fall of the democrasy. And the main question is: Is there really any democrasy as it should be? What about corruption? What about all the lobbies?

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    Reiterstiefel

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