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Tangentially Speaking

481 – Richard Schweid (Author of The Caring Class)

I first met Richard Schweid over a poker table many moons ago. He was born in Nashville but has lived in Barcelona for a good spell. He is a founder and senior editor of the city magazine Barcelona Metropolitan. His previous books include Consider the Eel, Hereafter: Searching for Immortality, and The Cockroach Papers: A Compendium of History and Lore. He served as production manager for the Oscar-nominated film Balseros, a documentary feature about Cuban refugees. Richard’s latest book is The Caring Class: Home Health Aides in Crisis.

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Intro music: “Brightside of the Sun,” by Basin and Range; “He was a Friend of Mine,” by Willie Nelson; “Smoke Alarm,” by Carsie Blanton.

One Comment

  • The story of the Mexican ‘ejidos’ (communal land owning) is an interesting one. President Carranza ordered the redaction of a new Constitution as a way to culminate the Revolution and put an end to the bloody conflict which torn Mexican society apart, and the Agrarian reform was naturally one of the thorniest issues to settle. Initially Carranza wanted the laws redacted in such a way that it would mimic the land ownership followed in the United States, because he saw it as a way to modernize the nation; but many young lawyers were adamant on fulfilling the promises of Zapata, so instead of looking to the modern American model, they took inspiration from the communal land management from the old days of the Spanish colony. Thus the XXth century ejidos were born.

    Were the ‘ejidos’ a good idea? Depends who you ask. To many they are one of the reasons why Mexican agriculture was never able to compete against the American farm industry. To others, the ejido was a just restitution of little communities’ rights to manage their own little patches of land as they saw fit. And now there are many disputes when foreign companies want to exploit the resources inside the ejidos, like for example when green companies want to install electric windmills inside an ejido, and some greedy rascal makes a deal with them claiming they are the community’s leader, when in reality the communities had never heard of them and end up getting screwed.

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