11th Apr, 2016. Some argue that these are just growing pains, a natural phase in the evolution of young capitalist economies. Interestingly, Slim defends the monopoly charges by comparing himself to Gates (Microsoft has a 95 percent market share, compared to 92 percent for Telmex); Slim complains that he is held to a different standard because he hails from the developing world. Companies that survive the onset of competition later prosper and generate jobs worldwide; Airbus, Telefónica de España, and Daewoo are all global companies that benefited from a period of state protection.
The resulting lack of jobs has driven millions of Mexicans to seek opportunities in the United States. Slim has also given $100 million to the Clinton Global Initiative. Data show that, since the Berlin Wall fell, economic inequality has been on the rise in a great many countries, even in the developed world. Does the shift of investment and production to emerging markets herald a rise in "crony capitalism" worldwide? That honor now goes to Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim.
A study published last year showed that half of the billionaires in Mexico benefited in some way from the privatization process of the 1980s and 1990s. The problem with this approach is that it can be just as unfair and arbitrary as the situation that created the trouble in the first place. In Mexico, Felipe Calderón won the 2006 election by just 243,934 votes, or .58 percent of the electorate — the other candidate, a leftist former mayor of Mexico City, would surely have taken the country in a very different, more Chávez-like direction.
Is the guilty verdict in the prime minister’s corruption trial a sign of hope or business as usual?One year on from mass protests, Puerto Ricans are still questioning how to refresh the island’s relationship with the United States.With inflation running at 700 percent, the pandemic has left an already weak state on the brink.An alliance of international health organizations are competing with the United States and other rich countries in an effort to secure vaccines for the world’s neediest. In too many countries, it was assumed that embracing free-market capitalism was an end in itself; that the first wave of reforms (slashing tariffs, encouraging foreign investment, privatization) was sufficient to simply coast to broad prosperity. Telmex is indisputably the crown jewel of them all, the acquisition that transformed Slim from merely rich to outlandishly wealthy, and here again the numbers are staggering. For his wealth to be on a scale in the United States similar to Slim’s in Mexico, Gates would have to be worth $909 billion. Whatever the outcome, it’s possible that the Carlos Slims of the world could lead to one of the first great ideological battles of the 21st century. Countries from Eastern Europe to Latin America did not undergo painful reforms during the 1990s just so a handful of people could get very wealthy. Some of this is due to Slim’s apparently genuine frugality; he has lived in the same relatively modest house for three decades (Gates, for the record, lives in a 66,000-square-foot waterfront compound with a pool that has an underwater sound system). In all, Slim’s net worth is equivalent to a stunning 6.6 percent of Mexico’s gross domestic product (GDP), easily eclipsing Gates (0.4 percent of U.S. GDP) and even John D. Rockefeller at his peak (slightly less than 2 percent in 1937).
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