It’s gotten to the point with business, and with my personal life, that I needed my own form of private transportation. Of course, Mexico is a major auto producer and foreign visitors are often surprised (and sometimes disappointed) that the cars and trucks and buses on the road are the same as those in the “first world” for the most part, but I had a limited budget to work with — not to mention the VW I was looking at becoming not available at the last minute — so ended up with this…
This is not a Volvo… it’s a VOLORD. Or maybe a FORVO. I’m not sure. OK, it looks like a 1983 Volvo, but appearances can be deceiving. The engine is from a Mexican-made Ford pickup truck. Try getting Volvo parts here… or finding a use for seat-warmers in the tropics (or even getting power windows to work). But it runs well enough, and I needed something to haul myself and books and whatnot around the country.
That slightly shabby retro European exterior hiding Mexican power (resulting from a U.S. investment) and not quite working as intended, it’s, I suppose, “typically” Mexican.
I’m somewhat apologetic for driving something this huge, but perhaps that’s “typically Mexican” too… not in buying more than I need, but in finding what was available wasn’t originally intended for a modest market, or for a modest country.
OK, it’s only a car (er… truck…er… caruck?) but I wouldn’t normally mention my own affairs, but I think I can stretch a metaphor or two out of this.
Last week, the United Nations Human Development Index was published, which usually elicits head-shaking concerns by the professional yakkers and denizens of the international blogo-swamp. Mexico is at 56th place in “development”. The charts are useful in measuring things like educational levels (we need to work on that), it hardly means Mexicans are “less developed” as human beings than, say, Norwegians (#1 on the chart) … who incidentally have a lot of Volvos — with Volvo engines.
It’s a problem I have with these kinds of studies… all they can measure is access to goods and services, whether or not the goods and services are needed or not. Levels of consumption are measurable, whereas the things that make us human are not. Does our reliance on historical memory, for example, make us less developed humans than the people of the United States who have more access to books and information, but still make stupid decisions (and consume more than their share of the planet’s resources)?
56th place isn’t bad or good in itself — we’re “Highly Developed” as the world goes, just not “Very Highly Developed, ” but how much that means is a mystery to me. Is it a sign of under-development of us as humans when we rely, say, on informal networks for access to credit (you don’t think I had the cash on hand to buy that Forvo out of my pocket, do you?) as opposed to the system in “more developed” countries? How do we account for familial or social network support (and how do we offset that against the “underdevelopment” of the individual within that network?) ?
I suppose “Very Highly Developed” means you can get a Volvo, with Volvo parts and there is a significant portion of the population that can go to the bank, fill out forms and buy one. But in Mexico we need to develop our own solutions… meaning perhaps, we’re e-Volvo-ing into a Very Highly Developed people. Or that we’re figured out that we can’t always get what we want, but if we try some times, we get what we need.