According to the CIA Factbook

Location: Middle America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, between Belize and the United States and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Guatemala and the United States

President: Felipe Calderón

Flag description: three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and red; Mexico’s coat of arms (an eagle with a snake in its beak perched on a cactus) is centered in the white band; green signifies hope, joy, and love; white represents peace and honesty; red stands for hardiness, bravery, strength, and valor; the coat of arms is derived from a legend that the wandering Aztec people were to settle at a location where they would see an eagle on a cactus eating a snake; the city they founded, Tenochtitlan, is now Mexico City

total: 1,964,375 sq km
country comparison to the world: 14
land: 1,943,945 sq km
water: 20,430 sq km
Natural Resources:
petroleum, silver, copper, gold, lead, zinc, natural gas, timber
113,724,226 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11
Population Growth Rate:
1.102% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105
Net Migration Rate:
-3.24 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 177
urban population: 78% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 1.2% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
note: Mexico City is the second-largest urban agglomeration in the Western Hemisphere, after Sao Paulo (Brazil), but before New York-Newark (US)
Major cities:
MEXICO CITY (capital) 19.319 million; Guadalajara 4.338 million; Monterrey 3.838 million; Puebla 2.278 million; Tijuana 1.629 million (2009)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 76.47 years
country comparison to the world: 72
male: 73.65 years
female: 79.43 years (2011 est.)
Ethnic groups:
mestizo (Amerindian-Spanish) 60%, Amerindian or predominantly Amerindian 30%, white 9%, other 1%
Roman Catholic 76.5%, Protestant 6.3% (Pentecostal 1.4%, Jehovah’s Witnesses 1.1%, other 3.8%), other 0.3%, unspecified 13.8%, none 3.1% (2000 census)
Spanish only 92.7%, Spanish and indigenous languages 5.7%, indigenous only 0.8%, unspecified 0.8%
note: indigenous languages include various Mayan, Nahuatl, and other regional languages (2005)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 86.1%
male: 86.9%
female: 85.3% (2005 Census)
Human Development Index (HDI):
country comparison to the world: 58
$1.039 trillion (2010 est.)
GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):
$1.567 trillion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
$1.486 trillion (2009 est.)
$1.582 trillion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
GDP (per capita):
$13,900 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85
$13,400 (2009 est.)
$14,400 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
Unemployment rate:
5.4% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 51
5.5% (2009 est.)
note: underemployment may be as high as 25%
Population Below Poverty Line:
note: based on food-based definition of poverty; asset based poverty amounted to more than 47% (2008)
Gini Index:
48.2 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 27
53.1 (1998)
Public Debt:
36.8% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79
36.9% of GDP (2009 est.)
4.2% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136
5.3% (2009 est.)
$298.5 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 15
$229.7 billion (2009 est.)
$306 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16
$234.4 billion (2009 est.)
Import Partners:
US 48%, China 13.9%, Japan 4.9%, South Korea 4.7%, Germany 4.2% (2009)

Mexico History timeline

Aztec capital – Tenochtitlan one of the largest cities in the world in early 1500s.  Conquered by Hernan Cortes in alliance with other native groups

Colonial Spanish economic system based on “repartimiento”, using indigenous labor.   Mexico part of the viceroyalty of “New Spain”

Mexican war of Independence

  • Started in 1910 by priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, who was captured and executed in 1911
  • Was in many ways a civil war between indigenous, criollos, and peninsulares.
  • José María Morelos assumed leadership of the rebel army
  • 1913 convened the Congress Chilpancingo, which issued the first official declaration of independence.
  • In 1921 a military coup in Spain led to conservative criollo forces in Mexico allying with rebel armies for independence.  The Treaty of Córdoba was signed with Spain, recognizing Mexican independence.  Iturbide was named “emperor”

1982 Mexican debt crisis

1986 Mexico enters GATT

1992 Agrarian Reform law

History of land tenure and migration patterns

Kligerman, Nicole S., “The Violences of Capitalism: Privatization and Land Tenure in Uganda, Minnesota, and Mexico” (2010). Latin American Studies Honors Projects. Paper 4.

This paper explores ” the process through which non-capitalist land tenure systems are forcibly incorporated into
capitalist production systems through a combination of physical, structural, and intra-community violences.”  In Southern Mexico, it examines the privatization of indigenous lands which were previously used communally for agriculture.

In 1992 a law was passed which changed the constitution (from 1917), to allow the purchase/privatization of communal land through a majority vote of members.  This was enacted prior to the passage of NAFTA.  Also allowed for foreign investment in ejido land, as well as mortgages against the land.  Also a change in previous government subsidies for ejido farming, and changed a previous constitutional provision which allowed groups of peasants to petition the government for ejido land.  Tenure rights no longer required an individual to personally farm their own land.  A 1995 Zapatista conference declared that the 1992 law was particularly disastrous/ inequitable for rural peasant women.

“Article 27 no longer requires ejidatarios to work their land personally in order to maintain ownership rights” (Lewis 2002, 416); these challenging economic factors lead to high rates of emigration. Lewis (2002) argues that as increasing numbers of young ejido members emigrate to urban centers in Mexico and internationally, the value of ejido land as family patrimony will decrease” (Lewis 2002, 416).

Lewis, J. “Agrarian Change and Privatization of Ejido Land in Northern
Mexico.” Journal of Agrarian Change 2, no. 3 (2002): 401-419.

Latin America’s capacity for technological innovation

Science and Technology in Latin American and the Caribbean: An Overview.  Lea Velho, 2004.

The researcher posits that the transition to a knowledge society in developed countries was due to a robust investment in R&D from both public and private sectors, a cadre of well-trained research personnel available, and strong links between anchor institutions like universities and the business sector. Also research needs to be driven by the needs on the ground,, not by an international research bureaucracy.  The article compares Latin America with the developed world, as well as individual LatAm countries with the others.

Mexico stats – Amy

Unanswered question:  What impact is the continued recession and increasing wealth gap in the US having on Mexico?  What is happening now in Mexico’s economy?

From the Global Competitiveness Report highlights for 2011-12 (which I’ve got some issues with btw but can delve into that later):

Mexico improved (eight spots) in the rankings over the past year, and is now 58th.  Only Brazil and Chile (of latin american countries) rank higher.   The World Economic Forum saw improvements in reducing regulatory hurdles to starting a business.  Mexico has a large internal market (it’s ranked 12th here), and a good transportation infrastructure (47th).  But public institutions, security, and the higher educational system are weaknesses.  

Note:  The ESLAC 2010 p 178 says that exports account for 35% of Mexico’s GDP, and as a result the global recession of 2009 hit particularly hard).  also, remittances from the US dropped significantly in 2009, and again in 2010 due to high unemployment rates in the US.

Key indicators, 2010
Population (millions)………………………………………..110.6
GDP (US$ billions)…………………………………………1,039.1
GDP per capita (US$) ………………………………………9,566
GDP (PPP) as share (%) of world total………………2.09

Mexico is considered to be in transition from an efficiency-driven to an innovation driven economy.  Crime, corruption, and inefficiency are the leading barriers to doing business there.  (2011-12 full report, p 258)

Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 􀁳 2009-2010 – Mexico

“The international financial crisis took a serious toll
on the Mexican economy and highlighted its structural
shortcomings, close ties with the United States economy
(especially the heavy concentration of exports in that
market), a low tax burden as a proportion of GDP and
dependence on oil revenue, as well as the limited ability
of the development banking system to boost economic
activity and employment.” p 173

Economic activity declined by about 6.5% in 2009 (p175).

The unemployment rate was 5.1% in May 2010.

Come back to later:  Attitudes toward Democracy: Mexico in Comparative Perspective.
by Alejandro Moreno

On the World Values survey cultural map, 2005–08, Mexico is clustered with other Latin American countries, furthest to the right on the self-expression value axis (almost the same as Belgium and Luxembourg!), but low on the traditional / rational values axis (tending towards traditional values).  Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, and Argentina are all higher on this axis, towards more secular/rational values.

Mexico Oil / Energy sector

The oil industry was nationalized in 1938.  Pemex is the state-run oil company.

In 2009 oil revenue to the public sector declined 21.4%.  This was due to problems with Pemex in declining production, low reserves, and legal restrictions which limit investment in the industry, including in exploration.  Mexico passed legislation in 2008 designed to overhaul the industry and give Pemex greater autonomy, including to attract foreign investment through licensing production and service contracts to foreign companys.  In March 2011 Pemex announced its first production licensing round of bids in more than 70 years.

The Cantarell oil field has been the major producer of oil in Mexico but production is declining rapidly.

From the US Energy Information Administration:

  • Mexico is one of the top three sources of U.S. oil imports.
  • Mexico’s natural gas consumption is rising primarily due to greater use of the fuel in power generation.
  • Most of Mexico’s electricity generation comes from conventional thermal sources, chiefly natural gas.

The oil sector accounted for 14% of the country’s export value in 2010. Oil industry earnings account for 32% of the government’s revenue(!)

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