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Free-Market Anarchy and Nihilism in Mexico

For the future of unchecked global capitalism, look to the savagery of the drug war in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, says The Guardian’s Ed Vulliamy.

The chaos wrought by the drug cartels of the U.S.-Mexico border — motivated solely by profit and having taken torture and murder to new levels of brutality — and the officials who craft the legal and economic policy that enables them signals a new, nihilistic social order characterized by unceasing national and international conflicts fought for little more than money, rather than the glory of one’s country or control of territory and resources, Vulliamy writes. –ARK

Ed Vulliamy in The Guardian:

On the surface, the combatants have the veneer of a cause: control of smuggling routes into the US. But even if this were the full explanation, the cause of drugs places Mexico’s war firmly in our new postideological, postmoral, postpolitical world. The only causes are profits from the chemicals that get America and Europe high.

… But this is not just a war between narco-cartels. Juarez has imploded into a state of criminal anarchy — the cartels, acting like any corporation, have outsourced violence to gangs affiliated or unaffiliated with them, who compete for tenders with corrupt police officers. The army plays its own mercurial role. “Cartel war” does not explain the story my friend, and Juarez journalist, Sandra Rodriguez told me over dinner last month: about two children who killed their parents “because”, they explained to her, “they could”. The culture of impunity, she said, “goes from boys like that right to the top – the whole city is a criminal enterprise”.

Not by coincidence, Juarez is also a model for the capitalist economy. Recruits for the drug war come from the vast, sprawling maquiladora – bonded assembly plants where, for rock-bottom wages, workers make the goods that fill America’s supermarket shelves or become America’s automobiles, imported duty-free. Now, the corporations can do it cheaper in Asia, casually shedding their Mexican workers, and Juarez has become a teeming recruitment pool for the cartels and killers. It is a city that follows religiously the philosophy of a free market.

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