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Geopolitics

Macron v. Le Pen, A 200-Year-Old War Over Economic Philosophy

The French election coincides with the bicentennial of British economist David Ricardo's seminal work. Never has it been more relevant.

Coin flip
Coin flip
Jean-Marc Daniel

PARIS — It so happens that the presidential election in France is taking place almost 200 years to the day after the first publication of On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, by the legendary British political economist David Ricardo.

Indeed, it was on April 20, 1817 that the initial 750 copies of the arduous but influential book went on sale. It would be asking too much to summarize the work here. But among the many ideas it contained, one that stands out — and first appeared, actually, in the book's third edition (1821) — is that a country's economic evolution faces two obstacles: The first is the Luddites (as English textiles workers of that era were called), the workers, in other words, who worry about job loss due to mechanization and may be tempted to lash out and break the machines; the second is the landowners, or rent-seekers, who fear that competition, as encouraged and introduced by the public sector, will decrease their earnings.

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Geopolitics

AMLO Power Grab: Mexico's Electoral Reform Would Make Machiavelli Proud

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, aka AMLO, says his plans to reform the electoral system are a way to save taxpayer money. A closer look tells a different story.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico votes

Luis Rubio

OpEd-

MEXICO CITY — For supporters of Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) the goal is clear: to keep power beyond the 2024 general election, at any price. Finally, the engineers of the much-touted Fourth Transformation, ALMO's 2018 campaign promise to do away with the privileged abuses that have plagued Mexican politics for decades, are showing their colors.

Current electoral laws date back to the 1990s, when unending electoral disputes were a constant of every voting round and impeded effective governance in numerous states and districts. The National Electoral Institute (INE) and its predecessor, the IFE, were created to solve once and for all those endemic disputes.

Their promoters hoped Mexico could expect a more honest future, with the electoral question resolved. The 2006 presidential elections, which included AMLO as a recalcitrant loser, showed this was hoping for too much. That election is also, remotely, at the source of the president's new electoral initiative.

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