Colby, tome 3 : Bombardier pour Mexico by Greg, Michel Blanc-Dumont

By Greg, Michel Blanc-Dumont

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The economic consequences of this organization were to reduce the geographic and occupational mobility of the labor force, distort the allocation of productive factors, and inhibit enterprise in new activities, thus reducing the allocative efficiency, productivity, and growth potential of the economy. At the same time, the state did not perform a number of functions much needed to increase the overall productivity of the economy, including improvements in the road and transport system and investment in human capital (Coatsworth, 1982).

The chief obstacle was the nature of the state itself, its operating principles, the basis for all its acts. Mexico’s economic organization could not have been made more efficient with- 21. In contrast to other Latin American countries, independence in Mexico began as a radical, popular movement directed against gachupines, officials, and landlords. Knight (1992) traces this peculiarity back to the increase in rural protests during the economic expansion of the late 18th century combined with agricultural crises and political instability.

The creation of a fully free labor force—that “most difficult and protracted process” by which the population’s ties to the land are broken (Gerschenkron, 1952)—was still far from complete due to the prevalence of peonage in the rural economy. More precisely, in many regions outside central Mexico, haciendas in the rural economy strictly depended on the use of peonage; close to Mexico City, however, haciendas basically operated with temporary workers employed in a wage earning relationship (Katz, 1980).

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