Why is Mexico Happier than the United States?

I am came across this article and I thought I would share today.  I know I am very happy in Mahahual and Mexico, and I will go into detail later why I am happy in Mahahual.


Why is Mexico happier than its neighbor?
Because the foolish economic dogma of the U.S. gave it hope

By Glen Olives Thompson
Mexico News Daily | Saturday, November 28, 2015

Mexico has consistently ranked above the U.S. on the World Happiness Report index. Not by much, but given the gargantuan socioeconomic differences, one might reasonably expect Mexico to be in the bottom quartile with, say, Lesotho or Honduras.

Instead it finds itself sharing the top quartile (of the 106 countries surveyed) with Iceland, Finland, Norway, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, among others.

The United States’ GDP dwarfs that of Mexico’s. America’s middle class, adjusted for population, is larger by a large margin. Americans don’t witness the mass murders of students by local government officials in cahoots with drug gangs, or the escape of her most notorious criminals from federal prisons with the help of government officials.
Violent crime has been declining in the U.S. for over three decades, and has been increasing in Mexico during the same period, with more Mexicans killed in the narco wars than Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

Understandably, then, Yankee migrants are not exactly clamoring to slip over the border into Mexico, while the poorest Mexicans still reach for economic opportunities by entering the U.S. illegally (although now the best evidence suggests that the number of illegal Mexican immigrants crossing the border is outpaced by the number returning home).

But surely there must be an explanation as to why Mexicans are happier than Americans in spite of the obvious dichotomies of governance, economies and socioeconomic well-being.

To help guide meaningful public policies, in 2011 the United Nations initiated the Gross Happiness index to complement the Gross Domestic Product index, which ranked countries solely on wealth. The obvious impetus for this new index was the rather forward-looking proposition that there might be things more important than money to provide a barometer measuring the well-being of a country’s residents: per-capita GDP, social support, generosity and life expectancy, to name a few.

Countries like Switzerland expectedly rank near the top, while other countries like Nigeria, also expectedly, rank near the bottom.

I think Paul Krugman’s November 9 column in the New York Times, “Despair, American Style,” is a plausible if not a prescient explanation of this conundrum. Krugman notes, citing the work of Princeton social scientists Agnus Deaton and Anne Case, that mortality rates among 55 million blue-collar white Americans has been rising steadily since 1999.

They’re killing themselves softly not with song, but rather prescription drug overdoses, chronic liver disease from alcohol abuse, and often not-so-softly with self-inflicted bullets to their brains. Interestingly, Hispanic Americans enjoy a much lower mortality rate than whites, despite being poorer and less educated.

Could it be that, as Deaton suggests, middle-aged American whites, traditionally the most privileged of the privileged socioeconomic demographic, have “lost the narrative of their lives” leading to “a darkness spreading over part of our society,” as Krugman then wonders?

Could it be that the proverbial cat has finally escaped from the bag, and the promise of the American Dream is being increasingly recognized for what it is – a lie? Untangling the many causal possibilities contributing to this phenomena may be an impossible task, but I think Krugman is on to something.

Neoliberals both on the Left and Right prescribed America three bad medicines, which when combined, became a toxic cocktail. The first, NAFTA, resulted in the “great sucking sound” of jobs going to Mexico (Ross Perot was bat-shit crazy but sometimes even a blind bird catches a worm).

The second, deregulation, among other disastrous side effects such as increasing environmental degradation, gave us ENRON. Finally, the third ingredient of the cocktail (the catalyst if you will) – and the perfidious dream of Milton Freidman – gave us a globalized free market system where the rich enjoyed the spoils of the war against the working class, and nothing trickled down. It never even dribbled.

The result was a boon to Mexico and a bane to the US. Since 1994 the U.S. has lost a million well paid manufacturing jobs – the majority going to Mexico. American corporate profits boomed, as did wealth and income inequality.

Mexico is now a net exporter of many agricultural products such as avocados and tomatoes, and the U.S. now has a $181 billion trade deficit with Mexico and Canada. The Mexican middle class grew from 9.1 million 15 years ago to 14.6 million today – almost half of the country’s households.

Rigidly clinging to a purblind neoliberal economic ideology (that Keynes warned us against) led to this. And Mexico was the largest beneficiary. After suffering centuries of bullying, cooptation, military invasion and belittlement by the U.S., all I can say is – good for Mexico.

When comparing the social and economic histories of Mexico and the United States, one thing becomes abundantly clear. The reality of the uniquely American idea of exceptionalism – where the future would always be brighter, where an economic dream was achievable by everyone who had the will and daring to reach for it, has only really existed for three decades, and those decades have been behind us for some time now.

By way of contrast, for five centuries Mexicans saw the middle class as an aberration rather than a right. When the foolish economic dogma of her northern neighbor inexplicably dumped into her lap enormously beneficial trade policies, she was suddenly allowed something previously forbidden – hope.

And hope is the sine qua non for happiness.

Conversely, America’s plutocrats with their spurious attachment to an ideological model that can be summed up with the simple idiomatic (and idiotic) expression “a rising tide raises all ships” turned out to be, for the dystopian yet hopeful underclass, a shadow of an illusion.

The purchasers of tickets (steerage deck) on the once-thought unsinkable ship of upward economic mobility, have now had to reluctantly redeem their coupons for their current market value – despair.

Glen Olives Thompson is a professor of North American Law at La Salle University in Chihuahua, a specialist in law and public policy and a regular contributor to Mexico News Daily.


Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina


Costa Maya Mahahual


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How to get a credit card as a foreigner in Mexico

How to get a credit

card as a foreigner in


Photo: Agency
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If you plan to settle down in Mexico, you may want to consider using the local financial services.





Stop getting charged more than you should in money transfers and fees (as ATM usage).

As a foreigner in Mexico it is difficult, but it is possible, to have access to financial services. To save you some time, we asked several banks what is required to get a credit card. All banks have the same basic requirements. Here they are:

  • Immigration form

Santander and HSBC require you to have the Temporary Residence Visa. Banamex asks for the Temporary Residence or Permanent Residence Visa. Bancomer also requires the Temporary Residency.

  • Passport

It is used as an official identification.

3. Proof of address

They will send your account balances to this address. They accept telephone, water and electricity bills. These should not be older than three months. Some banks ask for the last three monthly bills.

  1. Monthly income

It depends on the financial product you want. We checked the monthly income necessary for basic credit cards in five banks.

  • Santander:  For the Santander Light you need $7,500 MXN.
  • HSBC: The Classic credit card requires an income of $5,000 MXN.
  • Banamex: For the B-Smart you need $7,000 MXN.
  • BBVA Bancomer: The Blue Credit requires $6,000 MXN.
  1. Proof of Income

You can use your pay slips, status of investments or checks or your last tax declaration. These should not be older than these months. Some banks ask for the last three monthly pay slips.

  1. Good credit score

If you have a bad score, your application won’t succeed. If you don’t have a grade, ask for a small personal loan and pay it on time. So you can have a good grade.


If you already have a bank account, it is easier to get a credit card, because you already have a record with that bank. If not, open a savings account with the bank before applying for a credit card.

Final recommendations

  • A credit card is a financial commitment. You HAVE to pay, if not your credit score will be bad.
  • Because it is credit, you pay more for your purchases.

Good luck on getting established!


Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina

ZIHI Boutique Spa Mahahual, Mexico

There are a lot of new businesses springing up around Mahahual lately, and Zihi spa is one of them.  Izela Rincon and Gaby Hernadez, two local Mahahual women, have opened a new boutique and spa in downtown Mahahual adjacent to the Matan Kaan Hotel.

They are a full service spa and boutique, and you can get manicures, pedicures, and also massages there.  They also sell clothes and lingerie also.  Izela and Gaby both have years of experience in the spa business.

Izela Rincon and Gaby Hernadez in front of their new business Zihi spa.

Izela Rincon and Gaby Hernadez in front of their new business Zihi spa.

So if you are Mahahual on a cruise ship, or here on a vacation, you might want to go by and see the girls at Zihi, it is right downtown and easy to find.

Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina

How to get to Mahahual on the same day as your flight.

How To Buy Your Plane Tickets If You Want To Bus To Mahahual The Day You Arrive

With the addition of another ADO, tourist class bus to Mahahual each day, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how to coordinate that service with their flights into and out of Cancun. In the past, the only bus ADO had to Mahahual was so early, most had to plan on spending a night in Cancun or Playa Del Carmen in order to catch it the day after they arrived. With the addition of the second afternoon bus, many can now fly in and still easily bus to Mahahual that same day.

ADO bus

To get to Mahahual the same day you arrive in Cancun, you must get a flight that arrives before 2:30 PM. This is important because that bus does not come from the airport and requires that you first take an airport shuttle to either Playa Del Carmen or Cancun, and catch the Mahahual bus from there. From Cancun, that Mahahual bus leaves at 3:30 and from Playa Del Carmen, it leaves at 4:45. I always suggest that you catch the bus in Playa Del Carmen, because the terminal there is on 5th Ave, a much more fun place to wait on a bus than the busy downtown depot in Cancun. In PDC, you can walk to any of many close by restaurants, bars and such to wait on the bus. If you have time, the shopping is the best in Quintana Roo!

Here is the math on that trip so you can better see how to schedule your flights. If you arrive at 2:30, the airport shuttle to PDC ($140 MX or $10 US) runs every hour but the schedule is a little different each day. ADO does not have the shuttle on its web site anymore, but it runs about every hour. The drive from the airport to PDC, takes about 50 minutes. If you arrive at 2:30 and it takes 15 minutes to clear customs and immigration, you’ll leave the terminal at 2:45. If the shuttle had just left and you had to wait an hour, that means you would leave for PDC at 3:45 and arrive at 4:35, 10 minutes before the bus to Mahahual will leave at 4:45. ($310 MX or $25 US) I know, that is tight but it shows how the timing works and remember, most of the time, you will have less than an hour wait in Cancun for the shuttle, so even if you arrive at 2:30, you’ll still make the afternoon 4:45 shuttle to Mahahual. If you arrive before 2:30, consider it a bonus and get over to PDC and have some fun before you take the last 3 1/2 hours to Mahahual.

How do you actually catch that shuttle? Really, very easy actually. As you leave the customs and immigration checks, you’ll walk through the terminal exit where all the rent car and tour company booths are located. The last booth as you are leaving is the ADO ticket center. You can buy your ticket to PDC, and also your Mahahual ticket at this location, and even use your credit card as well. (FYI, there is a bank ATM also there and you can get pesos there too if you need them) If there is nobody at the booth, they will have someone outside by the bus and you can buy your ticket there but need cash and it is best if you pay in pesos. The ticket people outside will give you a really bad exchange rate, usually 10 to 1, and the real rate is usually much higher. An ATM will disperse money at the high bank rate, so get your cash from the ATM before you leave the terminal.

As for scheduling return flights, if you want to schedule a flight out the same day you leave Mahahual on the bus, you’ll need to schedule a flight out at about that same 2:30 PM and be ready to take a 7:00 AM bus out. That bus arrives in PDC a little before 11:00 AM and again, you have to wait for the next shuttle to the airport from there. If you have to wait a full hour, that has you leaving PDC at 12:00 noon and arriving at the airport at about 12:50. Be aware, the shuttle only drops at terminal 2 inside the airport, so you will need to transport or walk the 10 minutes from terminal 2 to terminal 3 if your flight is to the US or Canada. Almost all of those flights are at terminal 3. That has you there by 1:00 PM and should be fine for most 2:30 flights.

To buy your tickets for that return, you can buy from Fernando’s store, right across from the bus departure area, and they will take cards for that. If you want to buy those though, you’ll need to do that at least the day prior, because they will not be open at 7:00 AM when the bus leaves. Fernando doesn’t get up that early and I don’t blame him. You can pay the driver, but will need cash to do that.

There is also still the early bus from Cancun/PDC that arrives in Mahahual at about 11:30 each morning and leaves again each afternoon at 5:00 PM. Those buses are for those who arrive late or for anyone wanting to spend a night, or two, along the way in PDC or Tulum. That morning bus leaves PDC at 8:00 AM and Tulum at 9:00 so it is great for anyone wanting to do a stop-over night along the way. For more info on how to do that trip, check this old blog of mine on The Fun Bus Trip.

mayab bus white

If you arrive too late for the afternoon shuttle and must still get to Mahahual, you can. It just requires you use the second class bus service, Mayab, to Lemones, the last town on the highway before Mahahual. From there, you taxi the last half hour. Check this blog onUsing The Second Class Buses for more on how to do that.

So now you know. Now get on the bus, and come down and see us. Hurry too, we’re keepin’ your drinks cold!