July 8, 2013
By Luis Rubio, El Debate, 7/7/2013
“In a riot, as in a novel”, wrote Alexis de Tocqueville, “the most difficult thing is to invent the ending.” In this same book, Recollections, the astute French observer noted that “I am firmly convinced that chance can do nothing (without considering) antecedent facts, the nature of institutions, turns of mind, the state of mores are the materials from which chance composes those impromptu events that surprise and terrify us”. In the same fashion, the future of Mexican politics, and of the country, will be generated little by little as the result of the existing ingredients and of those added into the mix.
The first ingredient is without doubt the complex history that precedes us and that establishes inescapable frames of reference. For example, one peculiarity of the sort of authoritarianism that existed in the country is that practically no one in the political world recognizes or accepts it. The PRIists always believed the myth that Mexico was a democracy, which makes many of them inert to many of the changes that have occurred. Authoritarianism has not been discredited in many political sectors and many who exercised it (and who, in many instances, continue to be the instrument of its vices) do not assume it. The flip side of the coin is that democracy has become another myth to which bowing and scraping exists simultaneously with attempts to undermine it. The mechanisms for this objective vary, but the essence does not change: the attempt to recentralize the power, the multiple and renovated mechanisms of control, the manipulation exercised by the television networks, the unwillingness to overcome the de facto powers, the attack against the supposedly autonomous entities.
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June 24, 2013
The Economist, 6/24/2013
OUR report this week from the Mexican-American border points out that Mexicans are becoming too bourgeois to cross illegally into the United States. These days they’d rather stay in high school than risk deserts, rattlesnakes, murderous bandidos and La Migra (as the gringo migration authorities are known) just to bus tables north of the border. In fact, according to an exhaustive report in May by North American experts, known as the Regional Migration Study Group, Mexicans are much more likely to have a degree before going north than they were seven years ago, and the number of years of schooling of 15-19-year-olds is now pretty similar to that in United States. If more educated workers emigrate, it raises their earning capacity, which gives them and their families even more chance of rising up the ranks of the middle class when they and the money flow back to Mexico. In which case, even fewer will need to go to el Norte. That is real progress.
In Mexico, however, many are reluctant to admit that the country has become a middle-class nation. This is partly because so much of Mexico’s historical narrative is about poverty; half a century ago, 80% of Mexicans were poor. It is also because, for armchair socialists, the ways of defining the middle class includes access to things that are often considered abhorrently American, such as those sold through chains like Walmart. To them, it is almost as if those who cannot afford such trappings of middle-class life are somehow more authentically Mexican.
June 17, 2013
ABC / Univision, 6/14/2013
A new study on Mexico helps to explain the recent fall in Mexican immigration to the U.S. It suggests that Mexico is slowly becoming a “middle class country.”
The study by Mexico’s National Statistics and Geography Institute [INEGI] says that 42 percent of Mexican homes qualify as “middle class” while 39 percent of the country’s overall population falls into this social category. It also points out that at the turn of the century the middle class was only somewhat smaller, as it made up 38 percent of Mexico’s homes and 35 percent of the country’s inhabitants.