The Wall Street Journal, 6/15/2013
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.