Almost two months after going on sale, the book “Mexico on the precipice” is already the best seller in the Political History section on Amazon. For almost seven weeks it has maintained average sales of over 1,000 copies and the trend is upward, according to Editorial Planeta.
Its author, Macario Schettino , expresses his surprise: “I didn’t expect people to like it so much. It fills you with satisfaction and as I have done until today, I am going to continue working on trying to make things as clear as possible”.
But how close is the country to the precipice? Or has it already fallen into it?
Macario Schettino on Mexico on the precipice
In an interview with Expansión, the professor and academic from the Tecnológico de Monterrey assures that the debacle can be avoided and even, if a commitment is made to clean electric energy, the path of economic growth can be resumed, but that there is one detail: “the only thing that What we would need is that President López Obrador will cease to be President López Obrador and that is the bad news,” he says.
From the academy, Schettino says he helps initiatives that seek to generate an option for political opposition, mainly from the National Civic Front, although he rules out seeking public office.
How was the idea for the book born?
This book is the result of a request from Gabriel Sandoval, director of Editorial Planeta, who told me why I did not write a text about the infrastructure projects that the Government was developing, such as the Airport, the Refinery or the Train, since some of the articles I had written had seemed interesting to him.
When we talked about it, I told him about the time I met and worked with Andrés Manuel López Obrador, 26 years ago, and he suggested that I start the book with that and continue with the infrastructure projects. Later I realized that the topic had to be broadened a bit to also incorporate the government’s social policy and that is how the book is being written.
Are we on the edge of the precipice?
According to my numbers, the Mexican government has a very serious resource problem and this is nothing more than the current government. This has been going on for a long time. In fact, the government of Mr. Enrique Peña Nieto was about to enter into a fiscal crisis and decided to act responsibly and correct, in what we call the “gasolinazo”. At that time the government decided to stop spending and raise taxes to hand over the accounts more or less in order to the next government.
The government of President López Obrador is in the same circumstance, but it does not act responsibly and instead of correcting the excesses they are amplifying them, so we are headed for a circumstance that is not going to be easy.
How do you see the changes that are happening in the economic cabinet?
In the current government there is no other leadership than that of López Obrador. There is no leadership in Economy, Finance or social policy. All power is concentrated in one person. That is what is making life difficult for us. You cannot have a person who has everything in their hands because it is normal for them to make mistakes and that is what is happening to us. The most important problem now associated with the replacement of the Secretary of the Economy (Tatiana Clouthier) is that this occurs when the conciliation period in the dispute we have with the United States within the T-MEC has already ended and now at any time they can uproot the arbitration panel the arbitration panel that we are going to lose and that is going to cost us a lot of money.
Is there salvation for Mexico?
There is a very simple solution and that is for the President to understand that the only thing we need right now is to have clean electricity and allow companies that are leaving China to come and settle here. The geopolitical moment we are in is very important because the great growth of China has already ceased to exist.
Very likely there will be a recession in 2023 and this will most likely cause the companies that went to China to return to the United States. A part of them can be installed in Mexico if there is clean electricity, if not, no. All we need is that. If we focused everything on clean energy, then we could attract that investment and forget about the cliff; On the contrary, what we would have is a very important growth path.
If we look at the manufacturing data, there is an impressive growth in computer equipment precisely. Then we could be growing faster, the only thing we would need is for President López Obrador to stop being President López Obrador and that is the bad news, that is not going to happen. Instead of realizing this, he removed Ms. Tatiana (Clouthier) and put Ms. Raquel (Buenrostro) because he doesn’t want to reach an agreement with the United States, he wants to fight and in that lawsuit it’s going to cost us a lot.
So there would be a solution, but the president doesn’t want it.
How to start over? Would there be a rebuild?
We do not know if this crisis will occur before or after the elections. Regardless of whoever is in the presidency, it is necessary to rebuild, on the one hand, the capacity of the government to finance what it has to do, that is, collect taxes well and spend more adequately.
It is necessary to have qualified people in government again: they fired everyone. I estimate that this is going to take two or three years of work, but I would insist, if we do it taking advantage of this milestone that the United States is going to give, it can be much less painful and we can achieve it with some ease.
What do you think will happen to the flagship works of the Government once the six-year term ends?
I believe that the refinery, with some luck, will be completed during this six-year term, but it will not operate yet. By 2025-2026 it can already produce, but the investment will never be recovered.
I don’t think they finished the Mayan Train because they never planned it and it’s not a simple thing to make a train of that size. The best thing would be for us to forget about this train and return as we were.