Mexico Facts of the Day

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Mexico is the country of inequality. No where does there exist such a fearful difference in the distribution of fortune, civilization, cultivation of the soil, and population.”
- Alexander von Humboldt, Problems And Progress in Mexico, c. 1800

In Mexico the law is an aspiration, not the norm. We made many laws to look good, not to obey them. There is no public condemnation of lawbreakers.”- Bernardo León, a lawyer who advised Mr Fox on judicial reform.

- By most estimates, as many as 80 percent of Mexicans do not have bank accounts.

- Compared with countries that have similar levels of development, World Bank figures show that Mexico is well behind Brazil and Chile in an important measure of banking activity — private credit as a percentage of total output. In Mexico that figure was 18 percent in 2003, compared with almost 40 percent in Brazil.

- Mexican workers are only a third as productive as those in the United States. Foreign direct investment, apart from a couple of big bank takeovers, has fallen from 3.5% of GDP in 1994 to less than 2% a decade later.

- The Inter-American Development Bank estimates that remittances from Mexicans abroad will total $24 billion this year, about a third more than the flow of foreign direct investment

- Mexico has fewer phones per person than any other OECD country or Brazil, which privatised eight years later but encouraged competition

- Informal sector accounts for slightly more than half of total employment in Mexico

- Drug-related killings last year were running at twice the rate in 2004, and numbers have been rising further this year, to 1,500 in the first eight months.

- Over the past decade the locus of power in the drug trade, as in so many other businesses, has moved closer to the final consumer. That means it has shifted from Colombia to Mexico, which is now the gateway for up to 90% of cocaine entering the United States, as well as ever-increasing amounts of marijuana and methamphetamine.

- Mexico has some 400,000 police in hundreds of different forces. On average policemen have spent just six years at school, have received only two weeks' training and are paid just $370 a month for the job. Some 35% of them use drugs, and two-fifths leave each year.

- Official figures show that one Mexican in two still lives in some degree of poverty; in much of the south that figure rises to three in four.

- Since 1960 the number of years the average Mexican child spends at school has gone up from 2.6 to nearly eight. But that still means some 35m adults have failed to complete the nine years of basic primary and lower secondary schooling.

- At present 95% of education spending goes to the producers and only 5% to the consumers in the form of scholarships.

- Total tax revenues in 2004 (excluding oil income) amounted to only 11.4% of GDP. That is not only much less than the average for the OECD countries (36%), but also below the average for Latin America (13.7%)

- Most railways and roads were built in a radial pattern, with Mexico City as the spider in the centre of the web. That pattern met the needs of centralised political control and the policy of import substitution pursued until 1982. At the peak in 1970, half of the country's industrial production took place in Mexico City alone

The above data are from recent survey of Mexico in The Economist and from the article on Wal-Mart in Mexico which Bob referred to below- it’s also on the NYT.


A discussion with Michael Reid, the author of the Mexico survey in The Economist (podcast)

Mexico - Poverty in Mexico : an assessment of conditions, trends, and Government strategy

Mexico : Income generation and social protection for the poor

Doing Business in Mexico

1 Comment

A good chunk of Mexicans get their first bank account in the U.S. using their Matricular Consular card to get it. I'm sure many of them ask themselves why they can't do the same back in the puebla.


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This page contains a single entry by Paul published on November 24, 2006 6:23 PM.

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