Rural Mexico, Drugs, and Migration

The Narcoeconomy and Small-town, Rural Mexico
Author: McDonald, James H.
Citation: Donald, J. (2005). The Narcoeconomy and Small-town, Rural Mexico. Human Organization, 64(2), 115-25. Retrieved from OmniFile Full Text Mega database

Though estimates vary, something on the order of 80 percent of the cocaine, 80 percent of the marijuana, and perhaps 30 percent of the heroin entering the U.S. is either produced in or comes through Mexico (Andreas 1998:160).

The unfortunate reality in this part of rural Mexico is that young people, primarily men, have three options. First, they can be farmers with little or no land who can only aspire to a life that will result in poverty. second, they can migrate, most likely to the United States, in search of jobs and higher wages. Third, they can get involved with the local narcoeconomy, sometimes in conjunction with being a migrant. The final option will have an increasingly strong attraction for young men living on the poor margins as the rural economy continues to collapse and the U.S. economy continues to falter, further constricting the job market for U.S.-bound migrants.

NAFTA was once heralded as a means to slow down migration to the United States and reinvigorate the Mexican economy. By contrast, data suggests that NAFTA has stimulated migration because of greatly reduced options for achieving a viable livelihood in rural as well as urban Mexico. From 1990-2000, the number of migrants living in the United States has more than doubled from an estimated 2 million to 4.8 million (Ferriss 2003). It could equally be argued that rural poverty, spawned by NAFTA, has also provided fertile ground for the narcoeconomy in rural areas and narco-migration to the United States.

Gullette, G. (2007). Development Economics, Developing Migration: Targeted Economic Development Initiatives as Drivers in International Migration. Human Organization, 66(4), 366-79. Retrieved from OmniFile Full Text Mega database

This paper explores how market liberalization, privatization, and deregulation can result in low economic growth or unequally distributed economic expansion, which may lead to social inequality and new motives for emigration.


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