A Spreading Cancer in Mexico

Reporting from Mexico for the December issue of the The Atlantic, author Philip Caputo writes that "drug trafficking and its attendant corruption are a malignancy that has spread into Mexico's lymph system."

Caputo cites:


• a Mexican law professor's conclusion that "17 of Mexico's 31 states have become virtual narco-republics, where organized crime has infiltrated government, the courts, and the police so extensively that there is almost no way they can be cleaned up."

• a U.S. government estimate that "the cultivation and trafficking of illegal drugs directly employs 450,000 people in Mexico."

Caputo's report is all the more distressing because of its moments of restraint. He uses the word "hyperbole," for example, to describe forecasts that "Mexico could become a failed state and the U.S. could find itself with an Afghanistan or a Pakistan on its southern border."

Among other places, Caputo traveled to Nuevo Casas Grandes, where the murder rate is "20 times as high as New York City." This blog last checked in on Mexico's drug war back in early October. So Caputo's piece amounts to a useful, specific, readable update.

One especially interesting passage explores the problems that arise when a country deploys tens of thousands of soldiers within its own borders to handle duties traditionally reserved for police. Caputo writes about "Javier Rosales, a medical technician who died after he and a friend were captured and tortured by soldiers." He continues:

Members of (Rosales') family went to the state justice office and the federal attorney general’s office to file a complaint against the soldiers and demand an investigation. They were turned away because, the officials said, charges of army misconduct fall under military jurisdiction. However, Enrique Torres, a spokesman for the Joint Chihuahuan Operation, told me that the army looks into such allegations only through internal investigations or when formal charges have been filed by state or federal prosecutors. It’s pure catch-22 ...

 

Setting a maximum wage for CEOs would be good for everyone

Could this be the long-awaited solution to economic inequality?

Apple CEO Tim Cook looks on during an Apple special event at the Steve Jobs Theatre on the Apple Park campus on September 12, 2017 in Cupertino, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs

Under capitalism, the argument goes, it's every man for himself. Through the relentless pursuit of self-interest, everyone benefits, as if an invisible hand were guiding each of us toward the common good. Everyone should accordingly try to get as much as they can, not only for their goods but also for their labour. Whatever the market price is is, in turn, what the buyer should pay. Just like the idea that there should be a minimum wage, the idea that there should be a maximum wage seems to undermine the very freedom that the free market is supposed to guarantee.

Keep reading Show less

How humans evolved to live in the cold

Humans evolved to live in the cold through a number of environmental and genetic factors.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Surprising Science
  • According to some relatively new research, many of our early human cousins preceded Homo sapien migrations north by hundreds of thousands or even millions of years.
  • Cross-breeding with other ancient hominids gave some subsets of human population the genes to contend and thrive in colder and harsher climates.
  • Behavioral and dietary changes also helped humans adapt to cold climates.
Keep reading Show less

Drill, Baby, Drill: What will we look for when we mine on Mars?

It's unlikely that there's anything on the planet that is worth the cost of shipping it back

popular
  • In the second season of National Geographic Channel's MARS (premiering tonight, 11/12/18,) privatized miners on the red planet clash with a colony of international scientists
  • Privatized mining on both Mars and the Moon is likely to occur in the next century
  • The cost of returning mined materials from Space to the Earth will probably be too high to create a self-sustaining industry, but the resources may have other uses at their origin points
Keep reading Show less