Problems with Semantics

An article in The Economist talks about the little-known fact that Mexico is largely depending on Oil Money; in fact, almost 40% of its tax revenue comes from the state-owned oil company Pemex.
 
But there is trouble ahead: Pemex, as a state-run company, does a lot to for politics and little for investment. In addition, Mexico's constitution does not allow for foreign investment - Pemex can only hire "service providers".
 
But change is in the air:
 
 
A law approved last year is supposed to make Pemex more agile, by appointing independent directors and separating its contracts from government-procurement procedures.
 

 

Unless, of course, politics kick in:
But to gain the opposition’s votes in Congress [the President of Mexico Felipe Calderon] dropped a key proposal that would have allowed contract prices to vary according to the success or failure of exploration. Pemex will be able to pay extra in some circumstances, but is explicitly barred from linking these incentives to production.
 
"Some circumstances" usually means that somebody figures out how to "circumvent" the limits and do exactly what they wanted to do in the first place - find a legal loophole, use some creative language and bang! your "service provider" can be remunerated in whichever way you deem fit.
 
 
Also in semantic terms.
 
 
Of course industry analysts would never put it that way. They would rather adapt their language to something like this:
 
 
To ensure continued growth, Pemex is pursuing a strategy of maximizing value for the Mexican government and its people. The effect of the recently passed law [on contracts with third-party suppliers] will be most clearly seen in an uptake of cooperative developments of existing and new oil fields.
 
But neither this, nor anything similar, was quoted by The Economist as the opinion of a partner of a leading Mexican Energy Consultancy. Instead it was this (emphasis mine):
 
 
“Companies are used to calling things by their names,” says Luis Miguel Labardini, an energy consultant. “This game of syntax, of finding a semantic formula to match ‘productivity improvements’ or ‘cost efficiencies’ to output, is going to be too much for them.”
 
How could such a quote be printed in The Economist? Three possibilities come to mind:
 
1) The author is clueless.
2) The correspondent of The Economist is clueless.
3) Pemex is clueless.
 
Given that the author of these quotes has reasonable academic credentials and was adviser to the CFO of Pemex, and that The Economist usually is rather thorough, it leaves option 3 as the most likely scenario. Not a good sign for Pemex.