The Revolution Inside

From Latin American Odyssey, to a profound investigation of the Bolivarian revolution. Hugo Chavez says: Socialism or Death! Leftists rejoice, and Capitalists squeal. But what do the people of Venezuela think about all of this?

Saturday, October 15, 2005

A World Without Gringos

It´s been a month now since I quit my job, trying to figure out a way to take this massive privilege and turn it into something useful, for chrissakes. While it wasn´t a surprise, but this whole cross-cultural bridge-building thing has its ups and downs, for sure. I know that we´re developing thick callouses from climbing a pretty steep learning curve.

I just left San Miguel de Allende, an attractive small puebla with a very european seeming center. A european seeming center that, for all practical purposes, is owned by North Americans, whom you will, on occasion, hear referred to as "gringos".

It´s like the globalization of gentrification, and oddly, I had never once considered that gringos might own a whole town. I don´t know why I didn´t... I mean, I´ve thought of N. Americans buying large tracts of land, and I´ve thought of them invading as haplessly destructive tourists...but buying the town?

It has caused me to reflect, more than once, over the four days or so that I was there, that probably just opening up the borders to everyone would have complicated results. I´m not saying I changed my mind or anything.. and I definitely think.. if large companies have a free hand at moving across borders, seeking the cheapest labor market they can find, then certainly people should be able to move across borders... at least level the playing field a bit.

But now I know part of what would happen - gringos by the score - probably artsy or intellectual types who already hate America anyway - would flock to buy the cheap land and set up their little intentional communities. Meanwhile, Mexicans who previously might have died trying to find a better job en el otro lado would suddenly be free to seek work wherever their skills were better valued, and there would be a mad influx of immigrants into theUS.. at least until labor markets restabilized themselves.

And then I think.. if all the gringos left the states, and all the immigrants took over the US, would it be so bad? It probably would, but it would be nice to kick all the gringos out of the US, we don´t want them there, either.


At 11:09 AM, Anonymous Jodi said...

I had not thought about "global gentrification." Wow--that is a worry. I like the suggestion that if business can cross borders, people should be able to cross borders without repercusions, too.


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