From HR to CSR: management lessons from Mexico’s drug lords
Jul 28th 2012
MEXICO has 11 billionaires, according to Forbes magazine. Ten are often pictured smiling at charity dinners and other posh bunfights. One, Joaquín Guzmán Loera, has a rather different mugshot. Wearing a cheap anorak, he is pictured shivering in the rain inside the concrete walls of a high-security prison. Mr Guzmán, who is better known by his nickname El Chapo, or “Shorty”, is one of Latin America’s most successful exporters, having made perhaps $1 billion as chief executive of the Sinaloa drug “cartel”. There haven’t been many photos of El Chapo since he escaped from jail in 2001, hidden in a laundry trolley.
Other billionaires look down on Mr Guzmán. But unlike some of the entrepreneurs on Mexico’s rich-list, he seems to have weathered the American recession rather well. Conditions in his hideout in the Sierra Madre may not be luxurious, but his fortune is believed to have remained intact despite the efforts of the imbéciles on Wall Street that brought the Mexican economy to its knees in 2009. Armed with no more than a phrasebook and some Pepto-Bismol, Schumpeter went to the desert to see what lessons Mexico’s narcotraffickers might offer to other businesses.