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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press The Washington Post Keeps Up the NAFTA Cheerleading

The Washington Post Keeps Up the NAFTA Cheerleading

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Sunday, 18 March 2012 08:26

Developing countries are supposed to grow more rapidly than rich countries. For example, China has maintained a growth rate of close to 10 percent annually for three decade. India has recently approached this range. Argentina's growth averaged almost 7 percent over the last decade.

By contrast, Mexico's per capita GDP growth has actually trailed that of the United States. This naturally leads the Post to run a front page piece today telling readers that "Mexico's middle class is becoming its majority," a fact which it attributes in part to NAFTA.

Yes, this always happens in slow growing countries. Those who care about data will note that per capita income in Mexico fell from 32.4 percent of per capital income in the United States in 1993, the last pre-NAFTA year, to 31.4 percent in 2011. But hey, why let the data get in the way of a good story? At least the Post didn't try to claim that Mexico's GDP had quadrupled from 1987 to 2007, again.

This NYT front page story on the surge of kidnapping in Mexico provides an interesting contrast.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.

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