countries -- Brazil, Russia, India, China South Africa, Mexico, Nigeria Turkey identify critically evaluate key economic, political technological factors conditions enabled a 'Rapidly Developing Economy' 'Emerging Economy'.
Mexico as a rapidly developing economy
The economic sector of the modern day society reveals increasing levels of interdependence between countries, especially as the phenomena of globalization and market liberalization intensify. This virtually means that the stability and role of one country within the global market place spreads consequences and impacts for the other states as well.
In this dynamic and intertwined global economic context, the emergent countries come to play an increasing role due to their increasing economic sector, developing labor force and strengthening competitive position. Mexico is one such emergent country and the current project sets out to assess the features which contribute to the rapid development of the country.
Mexico is an intriguing country from a social and economic standpoint, being the home to the wealthiest man alive (Carlos Slim is even richer than Bill Gates or Warren Buffet), but also the country where more than half of the population live below the poverty line. This feature, alongside with numerous other traits, make Mexico an interesting state, worthwhile a more detailed analysis.
Throughout the analysis, emphasis would be placed on three distinctive dimensions, namely the economy of Mexico, its political environment and the level of technologic development in the country. Before launching the analysis however, the country would be briefly introduced from a generic point-of-view.
2. General information about Mexico
Mexico's cultural heritage lays in the advanced Amerindian civilizations (including Mayan and Aztec), but also in the more recent colonization by Spain, which lasted from the 16th up to the 19th century. Today, Mexico still holds its cultural values, but is also modernizing. The country embraces liberalization and globalization in the form of international trade, as a source of prosperity.
Mexico has a total area of 1,964,375 square kilometers, being the 14th largest country of the globe. The climate in the state is tropical to desert and the terrain is formed from high and rugged mountains, low coastal plains, deserts and high plateaus; only 12 per cent of the country's land is arable. Mexico's most common natural resources include petroleum, silver, copper, lead, gold, zinc, timber and natural gas.
Mexico is exposed to natural hazards of tsunamis along the Pacific coast, volcanoes and earthquakes to the center and south of the country, and hurricanes on the coasts of the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Aside from the natural hazards, the country also faces numerous challenges at the level of environmental threats. Some of the more relevant examples in this sense include the following: lack of facilities to manage hazardous waste; high levels of migration from the rural areas to the urban areas; scarcity of the fresh water resources, combined with the high levels of pollution in the current sources; high levels of river pollution through the sewage systems; air pollution in the cities; deforestation, desertification and ongoing loss of the agricultural land (Central Intelligence Agency, 2012).
There are 114,975,406 million people living in Mexico currently, most of whom are mestizo (about 60 per cent), followed by Amerindian (30 per cent), while (9 per cent) and other ethnicities (1 per cent). People commonly speak Spanish and mostly belong to the Roman Catholic religion. The median age of the population is of 27 years and the life expectancy at birth is of 76 years. 86 per cent of the population can read and write and the unemployment rate among the young population (ages between 15 and 24) is of 10 per cent.
3. Economy of Mexico
The Mexican economy is a free and open economy, focused on massive exports as a source of national revenues. The country exports mainly manufactured goods, oil and oil products, fruit and vegetables, silver, coffee and cotton and the primary destination of these exports is represented by the United States, with nearly 80 per cent of Mexican exports going to the U.S.
The Mexican economy relies heavily on its exports and its industrial sectors are less developed. The country is as such the largest exporter in Latin America, but also the largest importer. The primary sources of Mexican imports are represented by the United States, China and Japan. Currently, Mexico's balance of trade is a negative one, meaning that the imports exceed the exports. The country as such consumes more than it sells and this model is economically unsound. Furthermore, such an outcome has raised vast criticism against NAFTA, as a source of more imports than exports (Vaidya, 2006).
From a more factual standpoint, the Mexican economy is currently the 12th largest in the globe, registering a gross domestic product of $1.667 trillion. The GDP growth rate in 2011 was of 3.9 comparative to 5.6 in 2010 (Central Intelligence Agency, 2012). This growth in the gross domestic product is indicative of emergent economies.
In 2009, the country's economy had been impacted by the economic crisis, which decreased the demand for Mexican exports. This impact was explained by the decreasing purchased powers on American consumers and investors, revealing Mexico's dependence and sensitivity towards its international partners. Such low level of economic diversification and reliance on international partners is yet another sign of an emergent economy.
Despite the impressive GDP figures however, the living standards of the population remain low and the income per capita is only the 86th in the world, with $14,700 per individual. 51.3 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line and the unemployment rate in the country is of 5.2 per cent.
At an analytical level, this very low living standard among the Mexican population represents an important trait in the country's rapid evolution. The most relevant example in this sense is represented by the low wages of the Mexican workers, and the possibility of foreign investors to use Mexican labor force and reduce personnel expenditures, to as such support the profitability objectives of the foreign investors.
Aside from the economic developments explaining the rapid development of Mexico, its status of emerging economy is also obvious in terms of the challenges still faced by the country. These include a poor infrastructure or a little trained and specialized labor force.
4. Political environment in Mexico
Mexico, by its official name of United Mexican States, is a federal republic with the capital in the Mexico City. It has declared its independence on the 16th of September 1810, but this was only recognized in 1821 by the Spanish occupants. The country is formed from 31 states and one federal district, and its constitution is based on the civil law system, heavily influenced by the constitution and legislation in the United States (Central Intelligence Agency, 2012).
Throughout the past recent decades, Mexican politics have focused around the opening of the country to international operations in an effort to stimulate trade. Today then, Mexico has free trade agreement with over 50 countries, including states such as Japan, Guatemala or countries in the European Free Trade Area. 90 per cent of the Mexican exports as such are delivered through these free trade agreements.
The most common free trade agreement signed by Mexico has been represented by NAFTA, or the North American Free Trade Agreement between the three partners, namely Mexico, the United States of America and Canada. NAFTA is however subjected to intense criticism as it is viewed as a mechanism by which the U.S. And Canada increased their share of exports into Mexico; in the aftermath of the treaty, U.S. exports into Mexico increased from 7 to 12 per cent, and the Canadian ones increased from 2.5 per cent to 5 per cent.
The focus of the Mexican government has nevertheless remained on the creation of a free economy that would welcome foreign investors. Emphasis has also fallen on increasing the competition in the Mexican fields of communications, seaports and others, as well as on the creation and implementation of reforms that create social and economic benefits for the Mexican population.
"Recent administrations have expanded competition in seaports, railroads, telecommunications, electricity generation, natural gas distribution, and airports. […] In 2007, during its first year in office, the Felipe CALDERON administration was able to garner support from the opposition to successfully pass pension and fiscal reforms. The administration passed an energy reform measure in 2008 and another fiscal reform in 2009" (Central Intelligence Agency, 2012).
Starting with 2011, a new political program was implemented by the Calderon administration and it seeks to address numerous social and economic problems in the country. In this order of ideas, the political focus would fall on the creation of new employment opportunities, the reduction of poverty, the provision of better health care, the stability of the financial system, the reformation of the energy sector, or the reformation of the regulatory system (Graybeal, 2011). The scope of the policies is to help the country overcome the recession, increase economic stability, as well as support the growth of…