Globalization and its Effects in Mexico

By Anna Cortes

            The world today is characterized by rapid changes. These changes are reflected in all areas of human relationships. Globalization brings new challenges to every country and opportunities for economic growth, but it may also bring income disparity and poverty. This is the case in Mexico, a country in which the consequences of globalization have affected the economy and widened the gap between the rich and the poor.

First of all, globalization has integrated the world into one single economic system. In the mid 1980s, Mexico fully entered into the globalized economy when it joined the World Trade Organization. The resulting rapid growth of the manufacturing industry has forced many of the small and mid-sized companies into bankruptcy. Many manufactures are attracted to Mexico because of its proximity to the US , cheap labor and relaxed rules for foreign investment. Numerous landowners in the northern region have grown financially by selling their land to the developers of foreign-owned factories. Due to this large-scale sale of agricultural land, agricultural production in Mexico has dropped considerably. This has led to an increase in poverty particularly in the rural regions. Today, approximately 22 million Mexicans live in poverty.  

Secondly, in the interest of furthering economic development, Mexico has excluded the vast majority of its population and even worsened their living conditions. Whether or not individual Mexicans benefit from globalization can be determined by two factors: their level of education and their economic circumstances. Many of the rich have invested money in the manufacturing industry while the underprivileged are being exploited. Culturally, due to media saturation via internet and television, the marketing of products and entertainment has also resulted in a revaluation of Mexican traditions. Many unique characteristics of Mexican culture are being lost due to this type of exploitation. This is the case with both the Indigenas (native Indians) and the Mestizos (mixed European and Amerindian) who live in the rural areas. These groups are being pressured to adopt more secular attitudes and behaviors which would phase out their individuality. 

In Mexico , globalization has had strong effects on the poorest members of Mexican society. Although it has brought opportunities for economic growth, globalization has also created inequality and marginalized entire groups. Furthermore, not only has this phenomenon altered the balance of the local and national economies, but it has also alienated the people living in the areas with the least exposure to the benefits of globalization and created a greater disparity in their living standards.