Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Carlos Slim: [Relatively] Uncorrupt Businessman Buys a Corrupt NYT

The New Yorker has a sideways report on Carlos Slim, the quiet Mexican multi-billionaire. CS is a man of simple and frugal habits and tastes---he owns no home in the USA, unlike the other nine Mexican billionaires, and does not even know how to use a computer.

Carlos is of Lebanese Catholic [Maronite] origin and like many Maronites, has made a fortune after emigrating [via his father in the early 20th c.] to the New World. V.S. Naipaul has written a sympathetic novel, A Bend in the River, about Lebanese [or rather Levantine] merchants in Africa. Carlos is a mathematical genius and taught his fellow students linear programming at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Linear programming is often used to calculate the optimum allocation of resources---which, like Warren Buffett, Slim employed to grow an autonomous personal empire.

The article goes on to speculate why Carlos wants to buy the NYT, which the current publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr, has effectively almost destroyed through disastrous business moves [buying back stock in the early 2000s at forty bucks which is now worth about four bucks, buying the Boston Globe for $1.1 billion & refusing to sell it for half that price & now having effectively been forced to close it down.] The otiose Sulzberger clan has ironclad control over the Class B and the incompetent Pinch is the captain of the Titanic as the NYT appears to have hit a financial iceberg.

Lawrence Wright of The Leaning Tower is the author, so suck-ups like Tom Friedman and Frank Rich, the failed Broadway critic who is fancied to have insights on American political processes, both kiss up to Pinch Sulzberger, the tiny midget standing on the shoulders on his giant forebears who built a great journalistic institution which he is demolishing through reckless editorial and business decisions.

A Mexican competitor to Slim's Telmex, Spanish Telefonica, headed by Francisco Gil Diaz whom I was acquainted with back in my Amoco years, calls Slim a "crony capitalist" and all the other bad things that the Statist political elites call successful businessmen.

But CS is much like another refugee from Lebanon, former culture-hero Ralph Nader, who made the mistake of being the difference between a POTUS named Gore and GWB, hence the MSM holds him now in its Groupthink Penalty Box. Nader, whose home was near Suq Al Gharb in the foothills above Beirut where I lived for a year studying Arabic, came from that legacy of Syrian genius destroyed by the advent of "The Religion of Peace" which corrupts everything it touches. The Lebanon and anti-Lebanon still retain clans of cultural brilliance not tainted by the crazed first-cousin marriages favored by Muslims. And of course, "honor killings," which are as murderous as abortion in the USA.

Slim may impose a premium or surcharge on his Telmex operations and other successful businesses, but he too is a refugee from the disastrous 60 years of PRI socialism which corrupted Mexico's economy to the point that the disasters of the early '80s were almost a foregone conclusion.

Interestingly, Slim considers the US's current economic problems more like the Dot-Com Bust of 2000 than the ginormous catastrophe Democrats are calling it---to impose the same socialism that led to the PRI's economic backwardness in Mexico.

Is the USA retreating from economic heights to dwell in the miasmal swamps of socialist uniform economic illness? Looks like Obambi and his henchboys Rahm & Axelgrease are intent on turning the US into a Chicago of today, a political facsimile of the PRI during most of 20th c. Mexico.

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