The Growing Middle Class in Mexico
Copyright (c) 2013 Baja Atlas
Despite hearsay of gory decapitations and cartel wars, I chose to accept a teaching position in Queretaro, Mexico in 2007. I was born in the United States, and despite the common, albeit untrue general opinion of Mexico’s threat level toward foreigners, most of my friends and family tried to convince me to stay closer to home. I would always be safe close to home, they told me.
Sadly, the schools and Colleges in my home state were overwrought with competing teacher’s resumes. Even the substitute positions were no longer accepting applications for employment. I accepted the position in Queretaro. Over the course of a few months, I still hadn’t seen any blood or gore. However, I did begin to notice a decidedly more important quality that modern Mexico had begun to offer: Mexico’s middle class had been growing for the past few years, and in Queretaro, the booming middle class had begun to influence the subtle economic changes that had been overshadowed by the well-publicized violence born from the illegal Mexican / American drug and weapons trade. My unbelievably chic Academic Instructor offered to take me shopping for some new clothes at some of Mexico’s hippest boutiques. Occasionally, I would be forced to scold my students for bringing their data-collecting smart-phones and MP3 players into class. After helping my students edit their University entry letters, I would sometimes stroll the downtown shops and nibble at Creperies and fancy cafes. The Mexico I saw was nothing close to the violent, backward country I had been convinced to fear. In fact, it had one quality unmatched by any other country in the Americas: A growing middle class.
If you paid attention in your middle-school economics class, you’ll remember many of the reasons that a growing middle class is often a fair indication of a growing economy: Countries with a growing middle class tend to be more focused on economic growth, education, and democracy. For a few years, Brazil and Mexico were tied for the gold medal of North American Middle Class. However, in 2010, Brazil’s economy was incapacitated by its citizens’ overwhelming credit card debt. Mexico is now the North American leader in middle class growth.
The fact that Mexico’s middle class is growing should not be a surprise to most people: As an industrious and family-friendly nation, it was only a matter of time. However, the timing of Mexico’s rise to the status of Middle Class Gold-Medalist is quite impressive: Mexico’s middle class has boomed in spite of some truly great hurdles: For instance, it should be noted that, despite the fact that American tourism has decreased due to the illegal Mexican / American drug & weapons trade, Mexico’s economy has still flourished. Though many Americans have been convinced not to travel to Mexico, the United States’ ban on tourism clearly hasn’t affected the economy enough to plateau the growing Mexican Middle Class. Those in the Mexican tourism industry adapted to threats quickly, marketing their businesses in Canada, Israel, Europe and Globally. Mexico’s Industrial entrepreneurs took a bolder approach, growing their international relations with the United States and establishing factories for American-Based businesses. A far greater number of Middle-Class Mexican nationals are bilingual than are their northern neighbors, and American-based businesses find relatively inexpensive commercial rent, and dedicated, hard-working staff quite intoxicating when considering international factory locations.
Of course, Mexico isn’t perfect: Inflation rates are still quite high, but said inflation seems to have stabilized with Mexico’s middle class growth. In 2007 and 2008, Mexico’s inflation was quite high, due to the global banking crisis. However, said inflation has stabilized in the last few years. The Peso currently hovers around a 12 to 1 value of the American Dollar. Since the worldwide financial crisis, Mexico has kept a watchful eye on the global economy: Mexico boasts relatively low fiscal deficits, as the Mexican banking institutions’ chose to resist monetizing existing debt by saying ‘No thank you’ to a portion of stimulus package offered by the G-20. It’s true: Most of Mexico no longer deserves the antiquated stereotype many have come to imagine when they consider countries with a reputation of wild wealth gaps. And thankfully, Mexico’s growing economy and urbanism still haven’t reached the traditional states in Mexico that I find so compelling. Still, much of urbanized Mexico more similar in form and function to many other industrialized countries than to the antiquated stereotypes often applied when foreigners think of Mexico. In the face of bad publicity via drug wars and immigration, Mexico has flourished economically. Mexico’s current economics truly reflect its people’s tenacity, affable nature and understanding of financial discipline. Because of these facts, we can admit Mexico is financially remarkable among many modern countries.
Mo Maya is the head writer for Baja Atlas. For more information about Baja California & beautiful photography of Baja’s beaches, deserts & cities, please visit http://www.bajaatlas.com