Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Mexican growth

Can legitimate economic growth overcome the power and wealth of organized crime? Will it change politics? Will Mexican society become multi-cultural?

For Migrants, New Land of Opportunity Is Mexico
Mexico, whose economic woes have pushed millions of people north, is increasingly becoming an immigrant destination. The country’s documented foreign-born population nearly doubled between 2000 and 2010…

Rising wages in China and higher transportation costs have made Mexican manufacturing highly competitive again, with some projections suggesting it is already cheaper than China for many industries serving the American market. Europe is sputtering, pushing workers away. And while Mexico’s economy is far from trouble free, its growth easily outpaced the giants of the hemisphere..

But the effect of that opening varies widely. Many economists, demographers and Mexican officials see the growing foreign presence as an indicator that global trends have been breaking Mexico’s way… but there are plenty of obstacles threatening to scuttle Mexico’s moment.

Inequality remains a huge problem, and in many Mexican states education is still a mess and criminals rule. Many local companies that could be benefiting from Mexico’s rise also remain isolated from the export economy and its benefits, with credit hard to come by and little confidence that the country’s window of opportunity will stay open for long…

But the most significant changes can be found in central Mexico. More and more American consultants helping businesses move production from China… In Guanajuato, Germans are moving in and car-pooling with Mexicans heading to a new Volkswagen factory … and sushi can now be found at hotel breakfasts because of all the Japanese executives preparing for a new Honda plant opening nearby.

Mexico’s immigrant population is still relatively small. Some officials estimate that four million foreigners have lived in Mexico over the past few years, but the 2010 census counted about one million… Many Mexicans, especially among the poor, see foreigners as novel and unfamiliar invaders.

Race, ethnicity and nationality matter. Most of the immigrants who have the resources or corporate sponsorship to gain legal residency here come from the United States and Europe. The thousands of Central American immigrants coming to Mexico without visas — to work on farms or in cities, or to get to the United States — are often greeted with beatings by the Mexican police or intense pressure to work for drug cartels. Koreans also say they often hear the xenophobic refrain, “Go back to your own country.” …


See also: Migration to Mexico

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