Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, June 11, 2012

Losing legitimacy?

If the political system in Mexico loses the trust of the growing middle class, what happens to government and politics?

For Mexico’s middle class, drug war deepens trust deficit
By many measures, this country has made great strides in recent decades toward becoming a middle-class society, with broader access to education, consumer goods and professional careers that promise upward mobility.

And yet, while prosperity has expanded here, researchers and polling experts say Mexico remains stricken with a form of social poverty that presents a vexing obstacle to the emergence of a more developed, democratic neighbor on the southern U.S. border.

It is a deficit of social trust, characterized by weak levels of confidence in public institutions — police, courts, politicians — but also the erosion of interpersonal trust among neighbors and co-workers.

Mexico’s trust gap is considered especially threatening as the country struggles to keep the corrupting powers of billionaire drug cartels from further undermining democracy and the rule of law. If Mexicans don’t trust police and political leaders, and they’re too wary of fellow Mexicans to join citizen campaigns and social movements, scholars say, there may be no one left to turn to…

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