Reply to CPATE

Tue, 29 Nov 1994 08:48:36 -0600

C.Pate's arguement that NAFTA will lead to Mexican prosperity that would
in turn slow the flow of Mexican and other Latino immigration to the USA
is a best case scenario. My hunch is it is wishful thinking. But then
perhaps that is because I have a penchant for the worst case scenarios,
which in this case would be the following: NAFTA will lead to some
prosperity in Mexico but do so in a way that fundamentally polarizes
that country politically, economically - and one might venture to add
given the nature of this list - culturally along euro versus native
Mexican cultural lines. NAFTA will favor those Mexican industries that
are big, rich and highly organized (that is mostly foreign owned ones)
that can compete with like entities in the USofA and Canada. Small
Mexican farmers will, essentially get the sh-t kicked out of them as
will all those from the middle classes who have depended upon Mexico's
traditionally high levels of government spending to sustain their
living standards in the past. From my vantage point here in the Rockies
I would venture to say that Mexico's Harvard trained rich will get
richer and the poor will get poorer setting in motion the preconditions
over the next 15 or 20 years for more variations on the Chiapas theme.
Harkening back to 1910 it appears that when social explosions break out
south of the border as they say that those folks do take their revolutions
very seriously and that the possibility that all hell will break lose
can not be ruled out. The impact that such a scenario would have on
immigration to the USA would be to greatly increase it. Even without a
major social explosion if the NAFTA-leads-to-polarization thesis-rather
than-generalized-wealth idea is vaguely on the mark, the immigration flow
from Mexico will continue to grow as increasingly desparate and impoverished
people look north. There are a number of ways to ease the possibility of
these consequences none of which any of the past 4 US administrations would
even begin to consider and in these days of what amounts to the bounty hunting
of even mild social welfare programs, ideas like the European Community's
solidarity fund to equalize the effects of development on countries like
Greece and Ireland, are not likely to happen in NAFTA.

Rob Prince Metro State College-Denver