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I disagree with Adam Johnson’s statement [“Postmarks
,” Nov. 25] that Latin America’s main problem is crony capitalism rather than wealth concentration.
Just as in the U.S., the concentration of wealth in Latin America stymies political change. In 2006, Mexican presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador promised sweeping reform. A group of Mexico’s wealthiest businessmen responded by illegally financing a massive media campaign portraying him as a “danger to Mexico.” López Obrador lost the election by 0.56%, and Mexico’s establishment remains firmly entrenched.
Similarly, Mexican Carlos Slim, declared by Forbes
to be the world’s richest person, uses his vast wealth to deter any government regulation which would undermine his telecommunications empire. The resulting high telecommunications costs discourage investors.
Finally, Latin America’s high degree of wealth concentration undermines sound economic development. Billionaires such as Carlos Slim simply don’t buy that many TVs, stoves, or houses, thus dampening domestic demand and job creation.