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Mexico’s Hidden Success Story

10:19 PM

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…)

Time to look beyond Mexico drug violence

01:39 PM

Take a look at this BBC article written just before the election:

News about Mexico in the past few years has been dominated by gruesome drug violence. But as Mexicans prepare to elect a new president on 1 July, David A Shirk of San Diego University’s Trans-Border Institute argues for an end to overly negative views of the country:

If Mexico were a stock, now might be the time to buy. The country has been severely under-valued in recent years.

Despite high rates of crime and violence elsewhere in Latin America, the media tend to focus relentlessly on Mexico’s drug war.

The murder rate is nearly 20 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, but this is significantly lower than in Brazil, Colombia, and Puerto Rico.

And the Central American nations of Belize, Guatemala and Honduras have murder rates nearly twice that of Mexico.

Still, because of exaggerated fears that Mexico is becoming a “failed state” or sliding into a “narco-insurgency,” many tourists and investors have shied away from the country.

And these fears in turn fuel often unfounded concerns about Mexico. (more…)