May 3, 2013
Washington Post, 5/3/2013
Calling for an end to “old stereotypes,” President Barack Obama on Friday portrayed Mexico as an emerging nation that is remaking itself and said the U.S.-Mexico relationship should be defined by shared prosperity, not by threats that both countries face. “It’s time to recognize new realities,” he declared.
In a speech to a predominantly student audience, Obama conceded that the root of much violence in Mexico is the demand for drugs in the United States, and acknowledged that most guns used to commit crime in this country come from the U.S. But he said an improving economy is changing Mexico and improving its middle class.
March 8, 2013
By Tim Padgett, TIME, 3/8/2013
I couldn’t be happier that Mexico’s economy is rebounding. After barely 2% average annual growth between 2000 and 2010, the country’s GDP expanded almost 4% in 2011 and 2012. Investment is booming and the middle class is enlarging. Mexico’s manufacturing exports lead Latin America, and its trade as a share of GDP tops China’s. Its No. 53 spot on the World Bank’s ease-of-doing-business rankings far outshines the No. 126 grade of its main regional rival, Brazil; it has signed more free trade agreements (44) than any other country, and it’s enrolling more engineering students than any south of the Rio Grande.
But I emphasize: it’s a trend. It’s not the miracle, the economic version of the appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe, that so many Mexico cheerleaders from government officials to foreign investors to embassy diplomats are insisting we call it. Yes, good news from Mexico is more than welcome after a decade overshadowed by horrific narco-violence; a more positive conversation about the country is a relief. But no matter how loudly the enthusiasts scold the media for dwelling on Mexico’s mayhem, the cartel killing hasn’t stopped, and many of the socio-economic ills that help breed the brutality persist. The media didn’t just make up the 60,000 gangland murders of the past seven years, or the relentless massacres and beheadings, or reports like the one released last week by Human Rights Watch about the 27,000 Mexicans who have disappeared during the drug war.
November 14, 2012
Americas Quarterly, 11/12/2012
Ever since Aristotle, conventional wisdom has been that a robust middle class is a sine qua non for stable democracy. Put simply: no middle class, no democracy. For decades, modernization and democratization theorists believed the prospects for stable democracy were grim in Latin America since there was “no middle class to speak of.”1 Conversely, others found evidence of a growing middle class, but warned about the potential for political destabilization in the face of middle-class mobilization2 and the breakdown of cross-class alliances.3 And more recently, multilateral banks and the media have hailed the growth of the middle class in Latin America, attributing it to a felicitous mix of economic stability, economic growth and innovative social programs.
September 25, 2012
Arizona Daily Star, 9/23/12
Overshadowed by drug violence, Mexico’s emerging economy surprises many.
Forbes Magazine reports that Mexico is “the little darling of emerging market investors” and poised to become Latin American’s largest economy, surpassing Brazil…
In their report, “Mexico: A Middle Class Society, Poor No More, Developed Not Yet,” economists Luis De La Calle and Luis Rubio of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, discuss the impact of this growth.
“The implications of this change are immeasurable, and among its consequences is the appearance of a society that values stability and demands more accountability from its authorities,” they wrote. “The rise of the Mexican middle class is the most relevant development of the last decade in the country.
“Therefore, the consolidation of this sector is perhaps the most important issue on the agenda for the future.”
July 24, 2012
The Washington Post, 7/23/12
In the United States, they were illegal aliens. Back home, they are new entrepreneurs using the billions of dollars earned “on the other side” to create a Mexican middle class.
The migrants “did something bad to do something good,” said Mexican economist Luis de la Calle.
Where remittances from El Norte were once mostly used to help hungry families back home simply survive, surveys now reveal that the longer a migrant stays up north, the more likely the cash transfers will be used to start new businesses or to pay for homes, farm equipment and school tuitions.