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The End of Nostalgia

The End of Nostalgia: Mexico Confronts the Challenges of Global Competition

Diana Villiers Negroponte editor
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    The End of Nostalgia
    Book Description:

    Today's Mexico is strongly determined to become a full player in the globalizing international economy. It has increased its manufacturing output in areas such as automobiles and electronics, and both corporate and government sectors would like to take greater strides toward being a full global player. But do the underlying institutional and cultural elements exist to support such an economic effort?

    InThe End of Nostalgia, editor Diana Villiers Negroponte and colleagues from both sides of the Rio Grande examine the path that Mexico will likely take in the near future. It remains a land in transition, from a one-party political system steeped in a colonial Spanish past toward a modern liberal democracy with open markets. What steps are necessary for this proud nation to continue its momentum toward effective participation in a highly competitive world?


    Armando Chac?n is the research director at the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness.

    Arturo Franco has worked with Cementos de Mexico (CEMEX) and the World Bank. He was a Global Leadership fellow at the World Economic Forum on Latin America, 2008-11.

    Eduardo Guerrero is a partner at Lant?a Consultores in Mexico City, where he works on security assessment. He joined the Secretar?a de Gobernaci?n in December 2012.

    Andr?s Rozental holds the permanent rank of Eminent Ambassador of Mexico. He is president of Rozental & Asociados and is a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

    Christopher Wilson is an associate at the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

    Duncan Wood is a member of the Mexican National Research System and editorial adviser to Reforma newspaper. Since January 2013, he has been the director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-2255-7
    Subjects: Political Science, Economics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. 1 The End of Nostalgia: Mexico Confronts the Challenges of a Global Era
    (pp. 1-9)

    Mexicans are proud of their noble ancestors: the most ancient Olmecs; Zapotec artists; Mayan traders; and Aztec warriors, who created a century long empire. Later, Spanish conquerors, bringing with them both disease and Catholicism, melded with the indigenous populations to form a complex people whose adherence to a glorious past and whose fierce nationalism have become an integral part of the national discourse. Every school child absorbs tales of conquest, religion, and art derived from Mexico’s ancient roots. The oversized national flag, emblazoned with an eagle devouring a serpent, reminds citizens that they are both a conquering and a conquered...

  5. 2 Piecing Together the Puzzle of Mexico’s Growth
    (pp. 10-39)

    By the end of the twentieth century, Mexico had convincingly positioned itself as one of the most promising emerging economies in the world. After several episodes of economic instability, marked by high inflation, fiscal excesses, and recurring financial crises, the country, following the economic orthodoxy of the time, experienced an impressive transformation. Moreover, Mexico’s entrance into powerful trading blocs and groups that had included only more developed economies was seen as a promising sign. Heading into its first democratic transition in modern history, this geographically privileged, globally integrated, and resource-endowed country seemed set for a prosperous future.

    Yet for at...

  6. 3 Unlocking Mexico’s Political Gridlock
    (pp. 40-56)

    As the Mexican congress approached the end of its final spring session in April 2012, it became clear that the inability of the country’s major political parties to reach consensus would continue to deter progress on both the political and the economic front. The prolonged failure of more than a decade to approve so-called structural reforms has created the widespread perception of political gridlock. Mexico’s future has been said to be kidnapped inside the legislative palace of San Lázaro. To add insult to injury, a recent article inThe Economistreferred to Mexico’s legislature as the do-nothing “Siesta Congress” for...

  7. 4 Energy Challenges for the Peña Nieto Administration
    (pp. 57-72)

    As Mexico enters a new political era following the presidential election of July 2012, its energy sector faces the prospect of radical reform. Mexico’s problems with oil production and reserves are, of course, well known in the global energy community, and after years of discussion in the relatively elevated circles of national and international energy experts, Mexico’s political elites finally appear to have accepted the fact that a crisis is looming. They have now shown that they are ready to engage in debate and dialogue aimed at reforming the sector.

    This chapter examines the remaining challenges facing the energy sector...

  8. 5 Toward a Regional Competitiveness Agenda: U.S.-Mexico Trade and Investment
    (pp. 73-91)

    Though hidden from the public eye behind headlines on organized crime, violence, and illegal immigration, the economic relationship between the United States and Mexico is strong and growing. Economic cooperation has the potential to act as a strategic driver for the entire bilateral relationship. While migration and security are understood primarily as problems to be solved, trade and investment are areas of immense opportunity. In this respect, a significant and high-level focus on regional economic issues could deliver real economic benefits to both countries while improving the tone of their relationship, thereby facilitating progress across the bilateral agenda.

    As shown...

  9. 6 The Priority of Education in Mexico
    (pp. 92-111)

    Countries with the highest productivity per employed person are, with no exception, countries where education levels have grown consistently and the average education level has reached thirteen years of schooling or more. While in Mexico access to education is nearly universal at the primary and secondary levels, the average length of schooling of the labor force is about eight and a half years.

    Education has a positive return in all countries where it has been measured consistently. Mexico is no exception. Despite the evident deficiencies in the quality of education in Mexico, an additional year of schooling increases the lifetime...

  10. 7 Security Policy and the Crisis of Violence in Mexico
    (pp. 112-151)

    Since 2006 Mexico’s federal government has implemented a series of bold interventions to fight organized crime. The last three governments developed vigorous security policies that required each of them to choose among different security priorities, implementing some policy alternatives and rejecting others. In this chapter I discuss those interventions and related issues in an effort to present a balanced overview of the current security situation in Mexico.

    Widespread violence has proved to be an increasingly salient feature of criminal activity in Mexico, and much of the current debate among Mexican security pundits and policymakers focuses on violence: its causes, its...

  11. 8 The Mérida Initiative: A Mechanism for Bilateral Cooperation
    (pp. 152-169)

    Historically, relations between the Mexican and the U.S. governments have been most productive when both governments share common goals but work independently to achieve them. Close collaboration over time produces friction, with Mexico asserting national sovereignty and rejecting integration of common projects. In the early 1990s the U.S. government collected and passed on to the Procuraduría General de la República (PGR) (Federal Attorney General’s Office) information on Colombian aircraft carrying shipments of cocaine that were using landing strips in Mexico. The federal police, sometimes in conjunction with the Secretaría de Defensa Nacional (SEDENA) (Ministry of National Defense), would then take...

  12. 9 Mexico and the United States: Where Are We and Where Should We Be?
    (pp. 170-188)

    Mexico and the United States are not only neighbors—distant or close depending on where you sit—but two equally proud nations with their respective histories of struggles for independence and bloody civil conflicts. Each is fiercely jealous of its sovereignty, although each benefits enormously from our geographical vicinity. The movement of people and goods across the land border, through airports, and by other means of transport is among the most intense anywhere in the world. As befits two countries with such vast disparities in economic strength and political influence, we sometimes find ourselves on different sides of the fence...

  13. Acronyms
    (pp. 189-192)
  14. About the Authors
    (pp. 193-196)
  15. Index
    (pp. 197-208)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 209-209)