Mexico is beginning to beat China as a manufacturing base for many companies despite its higher crime rate, according to a new report from Boston Consulting Group. Mexico’s gain is a plus for the U.S. because Mexican factories use four times as many American-made components as Chinese factories do, says the consulting firm. Here are Mexico’s four key advantages:
1. Manufacturing wages, adjusted for Mexico’s superior worker productivity, are likely to be 30 percent lower than in China by 2015. China’s wages have soared. They were about one-quarter as high as Mexico’s in 2000 but are catching up rapidly and will be slightly higher by 2015. And labor productivity remains higher in Mexico, even though the gap is narrowing. The crossover point was 2012, when unit labor costs in China (i.e., wages adjusted for productivity) grew to equal those in Mexico. By 2015, Mexico will be around 29 percent less expensive.
Every country has its entitled rich kids. Even China has its so-called Princelings, the sons of high-ranking Communist Party officials who race the streets of Shanghai in Ferraris. But the phenomenon has long been particularly acute in Mexico. Perhaps the country’s first Junior was Martin Cortés, son of conquistador Hernán Cortés. Along with several other sons of conquerors, he allegedly conspired to be named the King of New Spain in the years that followed the death of his father. The Spanish crown was not amused, and his fellow conspirators lost their heads—literally—but Martin was spared because of his dad’s legacy.
Unlike many other Latin American countries such as Chile and Colombia, where powerful families trace back their roots to colonial Spain, Mexico’s 1910-1917 revolution that killed an estimated million people largely laid low its own pseudo-aristocracy and their large land holdings, opening the door for other classes to take power. While that is largely seen as a good thing, it also ended any sense of noblesse oblige—the aristocratic urge to give something back to society, or at least not flaunt one’s wealth.
It is fashionable in the United States these days to assert that Mexico has arrived on the world stage economically and politically. Certainly, Mexico’s political, business and union elites have acquired great wealth — explained and unexplained — since the signing of the North American Free Trade Association with the United States and Canada in the 1990s.
Yet the vast majority of Mexicans face a daily struggle to survive under a government that is often either absent or corrupt, high levels of common and organized crime, a chronic lack of formal employment opportunities, and the highest levels of insecurity since the Mexican Revolution. Though it is now caught in a painful political transition, Mexico has the potential to become a world-class economic and political powerhouse. But it’s not there yet. Several necessary ingredients are missing.
In 1913, Francisco I. Madero – who arrived at the presidency after helping put an end to Porfirio Diaz’s dictatorship – had been murdered while Victoria Huerta, former secretary of defense, took power with the support of the United States Embassy in Mexico City. Politicians and local governments faced two options: recognize the new government as legitimate, or reject the usurpation of power and oppose it. The government of Coahuila, through Venustiano Carranza, chose the second.
A housing project in Guadalajara is going solar with help from Mississippi’s Solar America Corp., an innovator in the cost-saving technology. Mexico leads Latin America in solar energy production but analysts say the country has yet to exploit its full potential. More solar power generation in Mexico will free up its oil output for exports and save the state precious resources that are currently spent on producing non-renewal energy.
Industry analysts say Mexico can combine solar power with wind energy production to get the best results from its existing potential of the two natural resources. The latest solar energy deal takes development of the resource a few steps forward. Solar America Corp. said Monday it signed a memorandum of understanding with Valdez Cueva Constructores Asociados S.A. de C.V., the principal contractor for the housing project.
Letras Libres, August 2012
In this article Krauze discusses López Obrador’s potential effects on Mexico should the Tribunal rule in his favor. He says if this occurs it will damage Mexican democracy because AMLO does not believe in limited personal power, which is why he fundamentally is not a liberal but a populist, a caudillo in the style of Porfirio Díaz. He says that the thinks this of López Obrador because of his rhetoric regarding the law (that is a way for the bourgeoisie to dominate the proletariat) and because for him the “people” are those who follow him, not everyone in the nation who has the right to vote. He says that this might be worse than the PRI’s long time in power because they had some limits on personal power, in that they had institutional limits on the amount of power a president could have even if he went too far with his own personality cult…
At least 150,000 people protested in Mexico City against the surprise closure last weekend of a state-run electricity company, police and unions said.
Helicopters hovered above a mass of demonstrators Thursday, many clad in red, carrying Mexican flags and banners slamming President Felipe Calderon as they marched down a main axis to end up in the capital’s giant Zocalo square.
The powerful Mexican Electricity Workers Union (SME) said that more than 350,000 people had taken part, while police put the figure at some 150,000.
Associated Press, 4/23/2009
A bill that would let Mexico declare temporary states of emergency and expand the army’s power in a bloody fight against powerful drug gangs drew immediate fire Thursday from human rights activists who say soldiers should not be doing the job of police.
President Felipe Calderon’s proposal, which centers on the idea of declaring drug trafficking hotspots “domestic security” zones, would give the army access to civilian court and police files.
The measure was submitted to Congress late Wednesday.
The expansion of organized crime poses new challenges for democratic societies,” it reads. “That requires the government to bring to bear all the force of the state to confront it.”