Lynne Rienner Publishers Logo

Polarizing Mexico: The Impact of Liberalization Strategy

Enrique Dussel Peters
Polarizing Mexico: The Impact of Liberalization Strategy
ISBN: 978-1-55587-861-0
2000/240 pages/LC: 00-032859
Critical Perspectives on Latin America's Economy and Society

"The most detailed and penetrating analysis of the effects of the liberalization of Mexico's economy that this reviewer has encountered in English."—Ian Robinson, Industrial Relations

"A powerful empirical indictment of the perverse consequences of the economic strategy pursued by Mexico since 1988."—Ilene Grabel, Journal of Economic Issues

"Dussel Peter's discussion of industry, trade, and investment policy is fresh, provocative, and soundly based.... a welcome addition to the literature."—Mauricio de Maria y Campos

"Enrique Dussel Peters reintroduces the notion of structure into the analysis of contemporary Mexican economic development, and, with it, the capacity to think about the relationship between the economy and the texture of people's lives. He is one of the intellectual leaders in the process of rethinking the opening of the Mexican economy to trade."—Michael J. Piore, David W. Skinner Professor of Political Economy, MIT


Since the end of the 1980s, structural changes have profoundly altered Mexico's economy and society. But has the outcome been a positive one?

Dussel Peters argues that liberalization strategy in Mexico has been successful in achieving its stated, short-term aims. But in looking at fundamental issues of employment and income distribution, foreign trade, and industrial specialization—regional and overall—he demonstrates that the strategy has caused a polarization of both economy and society, creating unsustainable socioeconomic conditions.

This scenario, Dussel Peters contends, is not unique to Mexico, but is relevant for other nations following similar development paths. He concludes with a discussion of alternative strategies for economic development.


Enrique Dussel Peters is professor in the Graduate School of Economics and director of the Center for Chinese-Mexican Studies at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). His publications include Pensar globalmente y actuar reginalmente: Hacia un nuevo paradigma industrial para el siglo XXI (coedited).


  • Introduction.
  • The Debate Over Economic Development Since the 1980s.
  • Liberalization Strategy in Mexico Since 1988.
  • Macroeconomic Impacts of Liberalization.
  • Effects on Manufacturing and Foreign Trade.
  • Foreign Investments and Liberalization Strategy.
  • The Costs of Liberalization: Social Development.
  • Regional Development Since 1988: Two Case Studies.
  • Conclusion.