By Michael Werz | June 28, 2012
The United States is overlooking a real economic and political success story in Mexico. Our southern neighbor is going through a transformation of historic dimensions, yet a large gap remains when it comes to U.S. public perceptions of Mexico, which are too often breathtakingly simplistic views of drugs and migration combined with an un-American belief in building walls and exclusion.
Mexican society has undergone a deep change during its decade-long process of democratization. The country has enjoyed strong macroeconomic growth, and this year its GDP is growing faster than that of the United States. But the crucial dimension of Mexico’s hidden success story is the rise of a middle class that is younger, more educated, wealthier, healthier, and more able to integrate women into the labor force than any previous generation.
“Although widespread poverty still exists,” write Luis de la Calle and Luis Rubio in their seminal study, Mexico: A Middle Class Society, “Mexico is no longer a poor country.” Within a few decades Mexican society achieved what took over a century when European industrialization created the first modern middle classes in history. (more…)