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Mexico responds

You urge Mexicans to vote against the president and his party in congressional elections (“The Puritan of Tepetitán, May 29). Your message is surprising, not because of The Economistideological position of, but because of the virulence of your writing and the fragility of your reasoning. You seem to believe that the majority of Mexicans, especially the poorest, are wrong and support the wrong person.

When Mexico elected Andrés Manuel López Obrador as president, it was predicted that he would lead the country to economic ruin due to devaluations, hyperinflation, indebtedness and a direct clash with the states. -United. None of this happened. On the contrary, President López Obrador’s administration has kept its promise to prioritize spending for our poorest citizens. At the same time, he maintained fiscal discipline and sound public finances. For example, it has achieved historic minimum wage increases, while keeping inflation at bay and the currency stable. He also quickly managed to establish a relationship of respect and collaboration with the administration of President Joe Biden.

The inability of the elites to understand the president is reflected in your pages; they paint a grim picture of Mexico, losing sight of the fact that although the Mexican economy has been ravaged by the pandemic, it will grow by around 6% this year, without going into debt, with healthy finances and significant levels of foreign investment direct investment. You also question the government’s response to covid-19, but ignore how Mexico managed, in a matter of months, to double its hospital capacity and ensure universal access to the vaccine.

But the claim that stands out most for its absurdity is the suggestion that President López Obrador has somehow undermined Mexican democracy, when he has done the exact opposite. Its decades-long struggle against a closed system has given birth to a strong, plural and diverse democracy, in which the people are directly consulted on substantive issues like never before. Freedom of the press and of thought is now total in Mexico. President López Obrador is accountable to the public and engages in dialogue with the press, which feels free to criticize him on a level incomparable with his predecessors (just open any Mexican newspaper).

The elitist point of view, defended ad nauseam, is that the majority are wrong and do not know what is good for them. Isn’t it time to ask if it is the elite – angry and exasperated with President López Obrador – and not the people who are wrong?

Secretary of Foreign Affairs

Support patent surrender

Your work showing that the death toll from covid-19 is almost certainly much higher than one might think, especially in developing countries, is exemplary. A year ago, the obstacle in the fight against this cruel disease was science. Today it is inequality. Contrary to what you argue, the price remains an obstacle (“Vaccinate the world” on May 15th). the MRNA the vaccines from Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna are among the more expensive vaccines on offer, averaging $ 18 per dose.

Shareholders become billionaires, while we fail to immunize the billions that need help. These high prices are beyond the reach of most countries and significantly reduce the number of doses that COVAX can afford. This despite up to $ 100 billion in government subsidies and studies showing production costs as low as 60 cents per dose for MRNA vaccines. A key way to lower prices and increase supply is to forgo patents, end these artificial monopolies, and transfer technology as quickly as possible to create more competition.

This is what we have learned in the fight against HIV / AIDS. It is the fastest way to end the pandemic and protect the populations of countries rich in new variants. Given your strong commitment to the power of the free market, it’s surprising that you don’t join Joe Biden and support patent waiver in the face of this health emergency.

Executive director

The olive revolution

Green investment is questionable due to the difficulty of filtering signal noise (“Hot air”, May 22). I suggest that some form of scale be designed so that businesses can be categorized as, say, green, olive, brown, and charcoal. Those who have no chance of being green can at least be encouraged to fight for the olive.


Actions as alternatives

Your tribute to the late David Swensen, who mastered the Yale endowment fund, pointed out that the shift to “alternative” college and university endowment investments began in the 1980s (“Holly and Ivy,” May 15) . Yale has clearly benefited from Swensen remaining at the forefront of this transformation. An earlier change in endowment management began in the 1970s. McGeorge Bundy, president of the Ford Foundation, wrote a report in the late 1960s that compared the ten-year performance of endowments among 15 “educational institutions”. important ”. Bundy called for a move to a modern, professional form of investment management which was later adopted by Swensen.

Bundy’s report also blamed the poor performance of endowments on their management by board of trustees, stating that their focus on maximizing income has led to bond allocations at the expense of top-performing stocks. The report cited the University of Rochester’s professional investment bureau, the first in the United States, to have achieved an annual return of 6% per year higher than the other 14 endowments. Without Bundy’s report backing equity investing, Yale’s switch to alternatives may never have happened.

Director of Investments
Rochester University
Rochester, New York

A Dickens of a twist

A letter (May 15) wondered where Charles Dickens had found the inspiration to weave fraudulent pyramid schemes in two of his novels. The model for the scheme in “Martin Chuzzlewit” was the Independent West Middlesex Fire and Life Insurance Company. The company had its own fire engines that rushed to put out fires for a few years; and life insurance was good for profit until too many people began to die. When the money ran out in 1840, the managers distributed the wine in the cellar under their headquarters and left for France.

Cullompton, Devon

The infamous Bank of Tipperary was the inspiration for the “Little Dorrit” project. John Sadleir, a Member of Parliament, was the key figure in the fraud. It was a standard pyramid scheme in which depositors were drawn to high interest rates and new deposits were constantly required to pay repayments. As his scam was about to be discovered, Sadleir went for a drink at Jack Straw’s Tavern and followed with a sip of acid. His body was found at Hampstead Heath.

Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

This article appeared in the Letters section of the print edition under the title “On Mexico, covid-19 vaccines, green investment, endowments, Charles Dickens”

About Kristina McManus

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