Page 9


THE TEXAS se THE MAY 5, 1995 VOLUME 87, No. 9 FEATURES Dialing for Dollars By Robert Bryce 6 High-Tech Hard Labor By Kyung Sun Yu 9 Ex ‘Post’ Facto By Juan R. Palomo 12 DEPARTMENTS From the Publisher Evolving and Observing 2 4 5 14 Editorials Deschooling Society Civil Liberties in the Rubble Molly Ivins White Power Militias and Hate Jim Hightower Iceman Still Cometh; Son of S&L; Wall Street Primary Survival in a Chemical World Cancer and Vietnam By Marvin S. Legator and Amanda M. Howells-Daniel Bad Bills By Mary O’Grady and Kendyl Hanks 16 Books and the Culture David Talamantez on the Last Day of Second Grade Poetry by Rosemary Catacalos 18 In Other Words Book Review by Elzbieta Szoka 19 WorldFest Movie reviews by Steven G. Kellman 21 Afterword Writing and Opacity By Michael Erard 22 Political Intelligence 24 14 15 Cover art by Michael Alexander For the Record… Jefferson, in Notes on Virginia, while discussing the work of Monsieur de Buffon, wrote: “One sentence of this book must do him immortal honor: ‘I like a person who points out a mistake just as much as one who teaches me a truth, because, in effect, a corrected mistake is a truth.'” I think my friend Jim Simons and I should do each other a little immortal honor. In a letter you accurately entitled “When Liberals Failed Progressive Politics” [TO 3/24/95] Jim wrote: “In the late ’60s Dugger wrote off the radical movement with the ridiculous assertion that we all favored violent revolution.” I agree with Jim, that’s a ridiculous assertion, and I never made it: In and from myself I know that I never thought, said, or wrote it. Jim, please either prove me wrong or accept my correction. Now it’s my turn to earn Monsieur de Buffon’s immortal honor. You also wrote eloquently, Jim, in that letter: “Traditional electoral politics had failed but I did not advocate violence. I continue to believe… that in the roll call for progressive reform in America…the libs were a no-show…In the great crossroads of history that presented the last best hope of a real popular flinched…. It was 27 years ago, but what a moment in history to turn away from the new voices of progressivism that could have metamorphosed in the country.” So you have pointed out a mistake that you believe that I made, and what I want to know is what, specifically, is the truth that you are pointing to. That is, Jim, what should the left have said or done in the ’60s that it did not do, from what did The Texas Observer and I flinch, what, exactly, should we have done or said, but did not do, that could have metamorphosed the country then. Please be more specific than repeating the general damnation of “the libs,” which, whatever else it is, is not specific. Let’s get down to cases. Tell me what weany of us, all of us should have done or said, and help us understand how and why it would or might have worked. Perhaps the truth you are pointing to will help us now. What is it? Ronnie Dugger Wellfleet, Massachusetts Chicago Boys in Mexico According to Barbara Belejack’s “Mexican Soap Opera,” \(TO on a speech given to Mexican executives by MIT economist Rudi Dornbusch, Dornbusch “stated emphatically” that he does not answer “political questions,” although he blames Salinas for the Mexican crisis, and referred to him as the “Nick Leeson of Mexico.” Readers of The Texas Observer should be aware, however, that Dornbusch is not always chary of political questions. In an article in the Financial Times of October 16, 1991, entitled “Lessons that Brazil can learn from Mexico,” he said that “President Salinas has brought about a revolution by making accountable government the central focus of legitimacy. This change goes far beyond rooting out of corruption.” There is more on the “revolution of governance”: a new “accountability of officials, continuity, competence and courage,” “jail sentences for tax fraud became part of the culture,” privatization “was left to professionals,” etc. \(In reality, the corruption of the privatization process was the principal factor in the rise of the number of billionaires from two to 24 in the Salinas era, and an inequality level in which the top wealth holder owned as much as the lowest 17 million, reflecting one of the great looting sprees in modern history, making even Mobutu look like an apologetics for a perfect dictatorship. Salinas had, in fact, stolen the 1988 election and followed this by abandoning the populist promises of that election campaign. He then put in place exactly the kind of neoliberal projectessentially supplyside and trickle-down economicsthat was dear to the hearts of the IMF and transnational corporate community, and which was eventually incorporated into the NAFTA treaty. In this project, populist aims and small matters like income distribution and the increasing immiseration of the bottom 60 percent of the population are of no concern. In his 1991 article, Dornbusch congratulates Salinas for “having made inflation Public Enemy Number One,” implemented an effective “incomes for “recognizing the need to make peace with the world capital market.” Then NAFTA. Obviously a Great Statesman, even if representing illegitimate authority in a perfect dictatorship and redistributing income from the poor to the rich. That Dornbusch’s enemy also is populism, and that accommodation to the de .mands of the “world capital market” is this basic criterion of sound policy, is also clear in his co authored book, The Macroeconomics of Populism in Latin America view is similar to that of the Chicago Boys. helping Pinochet’s “restructuring” in a cruder political enterprise of “supply-side economics with machine guns.” It is amusing to see how the Mexican Continued on p. 4 DIALOGUE THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3