"Fast Growing" Mexico

With the annual meetings of the IMF-World Bank in Singapore, there has been another round of stories about how certain fast growing countries are getting an increased voice at the IMF to correspond with their growing importance in the world economy. As I noted in prior posts, Mexico is one of the four rabbits on the list (along with China, Turkey, and South Korea.)

As I pointed out in my prior post, Mexico has no business being on this list because it is not a fast growing economy. Starting from before the NAFTA slump, it's per capita GDP has risen by just over 1.0 percent annually. It's growth rate has actually lagged the world average.

I am revisiting this issue because I just got my copy of the March OECD Observer in the mail. The "Databank" section on the last page has a nice little chart showing per capita GDP growth since 1980 for several of the poorer OECD countries, along with the OECD average. And, what do you know, "fast growing" Mexico is at the bottom of the list.

It would have been nice if just one of the reporters covering the topic had pointed out that Mexico is not a fast growing economy, and therefore this cannot be the reason that it is a getting an increased voice at the IMF. Clearly, there is some other reason. My guess is that Bush is using the U.S. dominance of the I.M.F. to give a small reward to a loyal ally, but that is just a guess.

--Dean Baker

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