Life in a low-trust society

Mexico is collapsing. It has never been a nation-state in the same sense as Western states but it was much more stable with a semi-functioning government. The cartels used to report to the government and it was relatively safe if you minded your own business – safe in the Latin American sense. Now, the government reports to the cartels and even defeats Mexico’s military.

All this has lead, predictably, to an increase in violence. In the past, you could write-off the violence as cartel members killing each other. Not any more. The violence has spread well-beyond the drug trade into adjacent markets: extortion, prostitution, kidnapping, and other forms of theft. This is what it’s life living in a low-trust society, which is what the USA is now. Even if the Mexicans were armed – and many are armed illegally – it still takes trust between neighbors to repel gang predation. It takes cooperation with honest government officials to fight crime. If your neighbors and government have even a 10% chance of being on the payroll by the cartels, what are the odds you’ll ask them for help? You could be asking one of their informants for help and then you’re dead.

Gang extortion has wider implications than just poverty – it also means you lose your property rights. If a gang decides to use your property for storage or trafficking, it’s no longer yours. If this is likely, why buy property or capital equipment? If you can’t buy property or capital equipment, how do you earn a living? Most poor people throughout the world have a home-based business: all their possessions and income are within the 4 walls of their house and co-located shop.

It’s not long before we have the same problems here, enabled by the elites and the voters. The elites play this game by building low income housing in your middle class area and moving section 8ers and immigrants into it. But the cartels are more skilled and ruthless at extortion and they’ll eventually figure out our law enforcement are no match for them. (Many of our state, local, and federal bureaucrats want completely open borders). They’re already crossing our borders armed and having gunfights right on our Southern border.

Put yourself in the shoes of these Mexicans and think about what you’d do if the cartels moved into your town. They’re probably already there, in fact.

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