Mexico 1940-82: Higher Priority on Political Stability and Economic Growth than on Social Change

Mexico 1940-82: Higher Priority on Political Stability and Economic Growth than on Social Change

Length: 1190 words (3.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Mexico 1940-82: Higher Priority on Political Stability and Economic Growth than on Social Change

Mexico’s political and economic stability from 1940-1982 can be well understood by looking at one of Sergio’s televisions. In Mexican Lives, Judith Adler Hellman introduces the reader to Sergio Espinoza, a businessman who once employed some 700 workers to produce televisions, stereos and sound systems. His televisions’ high production costs, low quality, high prices and inaccessibility to the poor sketch a rough microcosm of the period from 1940-1982 by laying bare the inefficiencies of import substitution industrialization and the vast inequalities in Mexico. From 1940-82, economic growth and stability came at the expense of social justice and political pluralism. In particular, the Mexican campesinos, the backbone of the revolutionary Zapatista uprising, suffered from the economic development model and from the PRI’s ability to muzzle dissent.

The basic model employed after Cardenas to promote growth in the Mexican economy was Import Substitution Industrialization (ISI), whereby Mexico attempted to build domestic industry and a domestic market. The strategy quickly started paying dividends, and the “import-substitution policies of the Mexican state were successful in generating rapid and sustained economic growth” (Sharpe 28). ISI ushered in the “Mexican Miracle” of economic growth; the Mexican growth hovered around 6% annually for some thirty years (Hellman 1). The government created incentives for investment and lowered taxation to spur domestic investment. Despite the strong economic indicators, the spoils of growth were not shared by many.

Those groups who bled and died from 1910-1917 for a more just and equitable Mexico were subsequently denied the fruits of economic growth and transparent political representation. Efforts to accelerate growth since the mid 1930s “have tended to produce- or at least, to reinforce- a highly inequitable pattern of income distribution” (Hansen 71). According to Roger Hansen, the author of The Politics of Mexican Development, “no other Latin American political system has provided “more rewards for its new industrial and commercial agricultural elites” (87) since 1940 and “in no other major Latin American country has less been done directly by the government for the bottom quarter of society” (87). Mexico’s development created a middle class and brought a certain measure of industrialization but further disenfranchised the poor.

Mexico’s leaders implemented a development policy which violated the ideals of the revolution by shirking the responsibilities of a social democracy. In his essay “Guatemalan Politics: The Popular Struggle for Democracy,” Garry H.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Mexico 1940-82: Higher Priority on Political Stability and Economic Growth than on Social Change." 28 Mar 2020

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Research Proposal: Political Affiliation and Climate Change Essay

- Global warming and climate change has ascended to prominence in normative, political, and scientific domains in recent years. The dangers of this salient yet contested concept implicate citizens and legislative officials across the globe, posing immediate and future threats to mankind, natural resources, biodiversity, and environmental stability. Proponents of the global warming theory support laws, regulations, emission standards, and international protocols that seek to control the phenomenon and mitigate its effects....   [tags: Global Warming Essays]

Research Papers
1759 words (5 pages)

Essay on Political Ideologies on Education in the UK

- Social policy is based around the ideologies of those in government to ensure that every individual with in society is treated equally thought out life so that they are able to receive the same opportunities and access to all areas such as health care, education and welfare help according to their needs. Because of the harsh conditions that the country was, experiencing after World War 2 the Prime Minister Winston Churchill commissioned a report, Beveridge (1942) to try to overcome the country’s social problems and to help those who were suffering from the effects of poverty....   [tags: Gender, Ethnicity, Social Class]

Research Papers
2171 words (6.2 pages)

The Theory Of Social Work Essay

- Compare the articles selected for this week 's module with the Razack and Badwall 's (2006) article from Module 1 about Canadian social work. The three articles conceive the concept of social work in a global context. First Razack & Badwall (2006) analyse social work education from two significant facts relevant in the North American context. One is globalization and its implications, as important changes have occurred since 9/11 terrorists attacks. The other fact is anti-oppression dialogue used in education institutions with a minor inspection of structural discrimination....   [tags: Social work, Sociology, Social justice]

Research Papers
796 words (2.3 pages)

Brainstorming Method On The Formation And Transformation Of Social And Political Structure

-  Brainstorming Brainstorming method is mainly to guide students around a specific topic, to encourage students to actively think, creative thinking, and to talk about and discuss the form of mining a variety of useful information and ideas.  Contingency Contingency is the basic category of reflection on the formation and transformation of social and political structure.  Delphi technique Delphi technique refers to researchers for a theme, which inviting a number of experts anonymous written way to express their views, and through multiple exchange of views and gradually get the conclusion of a research method....   [tags: Risk management, Risk, Risk aversion, Uncertainty]

Research Papers
711 words (2 pages)

The Constitution's Accommodation of Social Change Essay

- 1. Unlike the North – a term in vogue today, among others, for highlighting the difference between the rich, industrialised nations of mostly Western Europe, North America, Australasia, and the rudimentary economies of Latin America, Asia and Africa – underdevelopment, characterised by low income levels, poverty, low living standards and other socio-economic ills seem to be a defining feature of countries in these regions, collectively described as the Global South. Thomas (2003), Hershberg and Moreno-Brid(2003), and, Solimano(2005) suggest, for instance, that the socio - economic structure of most Latin American countries remains defined by vast inequalities in income and wealth distributi...   [tags: Government]

Research Papers
2599 words (7.4 pages)

Does Facebook Change People? Essay

- Does Facebook Change People. When Facebook was invented, people became invested into the social media life. At first, Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook for college students to connect with each other. Instead, Facebook expanded to the world. Since Facebook is part of the technology world, many people think that they are included in the society of Facebook. However, in reality, they are isolated from the world like friends and family. Author Neil Postman wrote an article, “Five Things We Need To Know About Technological Change” and the article states his five ideas about how technology is affecting the world and the society....   [tags: Facebook, Sociology, Social network service]

Research Papers
1228 words (3.5 pages)

Essay on The Difference Between Case And Cause Advocacy In Social Work

- As a social worker, it is important to fully understand the elaborate and crucial connections between client hardships and the public issues that may surround them. It is also imperative to thoroughly encompass and embrace both case and cause advocacy. Case to cause is a type of advocacy that is expected and required of all social workers. According to Donna McIntosh in the article “The Difference Between Case and Cause Advocacy is U”, the difference between case and cause advocacy literally is YOU, the social worker....   [tags: Social work, Sociology, Social justice]

Research Papers
1184 words (3.4 pages)

Benefits That Can be Gained from the Social Sciences Essay

- 1. Benefits that can be gained from the social sciences It seems extremely urgent to extend the co-operation between social-scientists and policy-makers to improve the role of evidence-based science in decision-making. Social science must be at least as active as natural sciences have been in studying climate change and environmental degradation in the last decades. Fortunately, the development of the interface between the two areas has acquired high priority both at national and supra-national levels....   [tags: Social Science]

Research Papers
1868 words (5.3 pages)

Illegal Immigration Is A Political One Essays

- Like with many other issues, one of the biggest obstacles on the way of creating strict legislation to crack down illegal immigration is a political one. The influx of illegal immigrants creates the economic “winners” and “losers”. Agriculture, construction, retail and hospitality industries significantly benefit from availability of cheap undocumented labor. Illegal immigrants themselves, in spite of working for low wages are still making much more that they would make in their home countries and are able to send remittances to support their families....   [tags: Immigration to the United States]

Research Papers
1321 words (3.8 pages)

Political Philosophy in the 17th Century Essays

- The 17th century was a period of time dealing with a drastic change that has veered the world into a new state of affairs. Wars between countries and within countries were at a peak. What solutions were there to fix the mayhem. It was an answer that many philosophers were trying to figure out. This writing assignment's intentions are not on the study of philosophy, but rather on the philosophical figures that have helped mold what the world is today. John Locke, a philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, a political philosopher, and Bishop Bossuet, a theologist and bishop, are three people from the 17th century whose views has set courses in history....   [tags: war, english revolution]

Research Papers
957 words (2.7 pages)

Related Searches

Trudeau outlines the definitions of two different versions of democracy. The first, procedural democracy, guarantees a)“representational structures” (Hamilton 6) via elections to restrict absolute power of the government, b)civil liberties and civil rights which ensure political participation of citizens and c) certain “’inalienable’ rights” to allow citizens to “flourish individually” (6). Trudeau cautions against the limits of this system of representation, warning that “[i]mpoverished majorities may have little power beyond that of consenting to the overall system and choosing among elites who differ personal ambitions for holding office but pursue essentially the same social outcomes from it” (7). After Cardenas, Mexico possessed the accoutrements of a procedural democracy but abandoned the revolutionary quest for social justice.

The principles of the Mexican revolution resonate with Hamilton’s definition of social democracy. Social democracy, according to Hamilton, requires more than “elections, political parties and the rights that guarantee access to these procedures” (7). Social democracy is characterized by the “majority’s power to restructure society, with a corresponding redistribution of wealth in favor of the working classes” (7) and a guiding principle of “human development (7). In short, a “government should have a role in improving the quality of life of its citizens” (8). Many Mexicans believed that the revolution would mean the advent of social democracy.

The Constitution which emerged in 1917 assimilated many of the revolutionary goals and priorities and “reveals the depth of the revolutionary commitment to a better life for the Mexican campesino and laborer” (Hansen 87). The constitution defined democracy as “not only a judicial structure and a political regime, but a way of life founded in the steady economic, social, and cultural improvement of the people” (87). Nevertheless, following the reformist presidency of Cardenas, Mexico abandoned social democracy.
The PRI, the overwhelmingly dominant party in the Mexican political system, became a “control mechanism” (Hansen 110) in a government that was neither “authoritarian nor pluralist” (Levy 125). The system was marked by its ability “to detect discontent and deal with it speedily enough to avoid potential threats to stability” and its “capacity to control- if not entirely prevent- elite competition for political power” (Hansen 198). Mexico feigned representative democracy and pursued its policies independently of the revolutionary legacy.

Mexico’s campesinos suffered particularly from 1940-82. The PRI was able to co-opt and corrupt the agrarian leaders and reduce their ability to improve the lives of the campesinos. The PRI exercised imposed leaders from above (Hansen 116) and undermined responsible leadership with the spoils of graft. The affiliation of ejidal leaders with corrupt politicians undermined the solidarity of the increasingly poor and exploited campesinos. The PRI made representative leadership impossible: “electoral frauds, imprisonment and assassination infrequently cut short the political careers of articulate and genuine campesino spokesmen” (117). Thus, the government could pursue economic policies which disenfranchised campesinos without suffering any significant backlash.

Changes to benefit the campesinos were sporadic and illusory. The government paid them lip service while seeking only to diffuse their discontent and co-opt their leaders: “initial commitments to social reform- where they did exist- were most often diluted as the mobilization of political strength put the new leaders in a position to reap the personal rewards which the political system had to offer” (197). The number of landless agricultural workers continued to mount (81). The central banks allowed few loans because the ejidal system offered no collateral. Moreover, large corporate farmers benefited from the majority of the irrigation projects. The government encouraged peasants to produce low-paying crops to provide the government with export revenue. Hansen characterizes the little redistribution which followed Cardenas’ Presidency as little more than the “opiate of the Mexican campesino” (81). The reforms and rhetoric of the Cardenas Presidency faded into the shadows of Mexican history.

Back to the television. Sergio Espinoza went out of business in the 1980s as the Mexican economy slowly opened up to foreign competition and the economy collapsed under Mexico’s staggering foreign debt. The era of import substitution had come to an end. Injustice and inequalities, on the other hand, did not. Mexico soon turned to another development strategy which emphasized its northern neighbor’s market. Maquiladoras sprung up along the American-Mexican border. The GATT and NAFTA have helped Mexico’s economy flourish, but have done nothing to address Mexico’s growing inequalities. The revolution seems farther away than ever.

Works Cited

Hansen, Roger D. The Politics of Mexican Development. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1971.

Hellman, Judith A. Mexican Lives. New York: The New Press, 1994.

Levy, Dan and Gabriel Szekely. Mexico: Paradoxes of Stability and Change. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, Inc, 1987.

Sharpe, Ken and Douglas C. Bennett. Transnational Corporations Versus the State: The Political Economy of the Mexican Auto Industry. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1985.
Return to