Saturday, November 1, 2008
The Bill Gates of Mexico: Carlos Slim
Peces Seafood Restaurant - "The only place that isn't owned by Carlos Slim"
In summer of 2007, a small daily e-newsletter broke the news that Mexican mogul Carlos Slim had unseated Bill Gates as the richest man in the world. The story was quickly picked up by major news outlets who estimated his total fortune at some $59 billion, edging Bill Gates' $58 billion.
There is something obscene about any single person amassing such a fortune, but somehow it is even more obscene when that person does it in a poor country. According to Fortune, "His family's holdings represent more than 5% of Mexico's 2006 gross domestic product, and Slim-controlled companies make up one-third of the $422 billion Mexican Bolsa, or stock exchange."
ONE-THIRD of the stock exchange.
If you live in Mexico, you are paying Carlos Slim. His bread and butter is Teléfonos de México, which was privatized about 15 years ago. Rather than opening up to competition, it remains a monopoly, controling 92% of the country's phone lines, with his mobile wireless service claiming a 70% market share. A study by World Bank found that Mexico's rates for monthly service and residential phone hookups are some of the the highest in the developing world.
But if you ever get tired of paying the Man, well, you can grab a meal at Peces in La Roma.