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First World Dreams

First World Dreams

Alexander S. Dawson


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Mexicans have long dreamt of the First World, and in recent times it has landed with a thud. Under the guise of globalization, Mexico opened its borders, reformed its political system, and transformed its economy. The impacts have been paradoxical. In First World Dreams Alexander Dawson explores the contradictions and challenges which Mexico has experienced in embracing the market so wholeheartedly. A vibrant civil society is marred by human rights abuses and violent rebellion. Market reforms have produced a stable economy, economic growth and great fortunes, while devastating much of the countryside and crippling domestic producers. Mexico is today one of the world's largest exporting nations, yet has a perpetually negative trade balance. It is in a constant state of becoming a democracy, a nation where human rights are respected, a modern industrial nation, and a more violent, fragmented place where the chasms of wealth and poverty threaten to undo the dreams of modernity.
Alexander Dawson is Associate Professor of Latin American history at Simon Fraser University, in British Columbia, Canada. His research has focused on Indian-State relations in Mexico, and on the impact of globalization in Mexico. His publications include Indian and Nation in Revolutionary Mexico (2004).
'Finally, a book that examines the new Mexico that emerged from the 1982 devaluation and the 1985 earthquake. Alexander Dawson weaves the interplay of globalization, neo-liberalism, national politics, and the everyday life of the Mexican people into a complex, insightful narrative.' William H. Beezley, University of Arizona 'This insightful study successfully explains mexico's change from a one-party political system safeguarded by its control over the economy, to a society characterized by mulitiple political parties and a free market financial structure.' J. R. Anguila

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Cover\r Cover
Contents v
Acknowledgments vi
1 | Why 1989? 1
Before the global age 3
The crisis 6
September 19, 1985 11
Openings 13
Political challenges 18
2 | Salinastroika 23
Revenge of the technocrats 24
Openings 28
A difficult transition to modernity 30
Privatizing the social contract 32
Agricultural reform 34
Political openings 37
Winners, losers, and also-rans 41
3 | Nineteen ninety-four 46
The first rebellion of the cyber-age 47
Behind the masks 51
On indigenous self-determination 56
Things fall apart 60
The peso crisis 65
4 | The last days of the PRI? 70
The other kind of global trade 76
The most dangerous city in the world 80
Zedillo versus the PRI 83
Elections 88
5 | Border crossings in an age of terror 96
Lives of the migrants 101
Dollars and cents 103
Fox’s moment 105
What terrifies Mexicans 111
6 | A decade of NAFTA 118
The new Mexican economy 119
Two (or more) Mexicos 120
Poverty 126
The beleaguered middle class 129
The logic of the market 132
Troubling signs 134
Conclusion 139
7 | Conclusion: democracy in Mexico 141
Processes 142
The specter of human rights 147
Indigenous self-determination 156
The poverty of democracy 164
Epilogue: 2006 168
Notes 171
Further reading 179
Index 184