The Malthusian Controversy: Volume 7 (Economic History (Routledge))


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The concordance of chapter and section titles which follows demonstrates the degree of reordering and renaming of parts which helped transform the first version of the Principles into the second. Routledge Historical Resources. Back to top. Loading content We were unable to load the content. The Works of Thomas Robert Malthus.


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Set Contents. Volume 7. Essays on Political Economy. Volume 8. Volume 1. An Essay on the Principle of Population Volume 2. Even today, travel through these regions is challenging. Lacking both the wheel and draught animals, the indigenous peoples relied on human transport, or, where possible, waterborne exchange. However we measure the costs of transportation, they were high. In the colonial period, they typically circumscribed the subsistence radius of markets to 25 to 35 miles. Under the circumstances, it is not easy to imagine that voluntary exchange, particularly between the coastal lowlands and the temperate to cold highlands and mountains, would be profitable for all but the most highly valued goods.

In some parts of Mexico—as in the Andean region—linkages of family and kinship bound different regions together in a cult of reciprocal economic obligations. Yet absent such connections, it is not hard to imagine, for example, transporting woven cottons from the coastal lowlands to the population centers of the highlands could become a political obligation rather than a matter of profitable, voluntary exchange.

The relatively ambiguous role of markets in both labor and goods that persisted into the nineteenth century may perhaps derive from just this combination of climatic and geographical characteristics. It is what made voluntary exchange under capitalistic markets such a puzzlingly problematic answer to the ordinary demands of economic activity. Mexico was established by military conquest and civil war. In the process, a civilization with its own institutions and complex culture was profoundly modified and altered, if not precisely destroyed, by the European invaders.

The catastrophic elements of conquest, including the sharp decline of the existing indigenous population, from perhaps 25 million to fewer than a million within a century due to warfare, disease, social disorganization and the imposition of demands for labor and resources should nevertheless not preclude some assessment, however tentative, of its economic level in , when the Europeans arrived. Recent thinking suggests that Spain was far from poor when it began its overseas expansion.

The reaction of the Europeans was almost uniformly astonishment by the apparent material wealth of Tenochtitlan. The public buildings, spacious residences of the temple precinct, the causeways linking the island to the shore, and the fantastic array of goods available in the marketplace evoked comparisons to Venice, Constantinople, and other wealthy centers of European civilization. While it is true that this was a view of the indigenous elite, the beneficiaries of the wealth accumulated from numerous tributaries, it hardly suggests anything other than a kind of storied opulence.

It is hard to imagine that the average standard of living in Mexico was any lower than that of the Iberian Peninsula. The conquerors remarked on the physical size and apparent robust health of the people whom they met, and from this, scholars such as Woodrow Borah and Sherburne Cook concluded that the physical size of the Europeans and the Mexicans was about the same.

Borah and Cook surmised that caloric intake per individual in Central Mexico was around 1, calories per day, which certainly seems comparable to European levels. Certainly, the technological differences with Europe hampered commercial exchange, such as the absence of the wheel for transportation, metallurgy that did not include iron, and the exclusive reliance on pictographic writing systems.

They were expert at soil management. The essentially political and clan-based nature of economic activity made the distribution of output somewhat different from standard neoclassical models. Although no one seriously maintains that indigenous civilization did not include private property and, in fact, property rights in humans, the distribution of product tended to emphasize average rather than marginal product. If responsibility for tribute was collective, it is logical to suppose that there was some element of redistribution and collective claim on output by the basic social groups of indigenous society, the clans or calpulli.

It is more likely that the tensions exploited by the Europeans to divide and conquer their native hosts and so erect a colonial state on pre-existing native entities were mainly political rather than socioeconomic. It was through the assistance of native allies such as the Tlaxcalans, as well as with the help of previously unknown diseases such as smallpox that ravaged the indigenous peoples, that the Europeans were able to place a weakened Tenochtitlan under siege and finally defeat it.

With the subjection first of Tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco and then of other polities and peoples, a process that would ultimately stretch well into the nineteenth century and was never really completed, the Europeans turned their attention to making colonialism pay. The process had several components: the modification or introduction of institutions of rule and appropriation; the introduction of new flora and fauna that could be turned to economic use; the reorientation of a previously autarkic and precapitalist economy to the demands of trade and commercial exploitation; and the implementation of European fiscal sovereignty.

These processes were complex, required much time, and were, in many cases, only partly successful. There is considerable speculation regarding how long it took before Spain arguably a relevant term by the mid-sixteenth century made colonialism pay. The best we can do is present a schematic view of what occurred. Moreover, all generalizations are fragile, rest on limited quantitative evidence, and will no doubt be substantially modified eventually. The message is simple: proceed with caution. The Europeans did not seek to take Mesoamerica as a tabula rasa.

In some ways, they would have been happy to simply become the latest in a long line of ruling dynasties established by decapitating native elites and assuming control. They died in such large numbers as to make the original strategy impracticable. The number of people who lived in Mesoamerica has long been a subject of controversy, but there is no point in spelling it out once again.

The numbers are unknowable and, in an economic sense, not really important. The population of Tenochtitlan has been variously estimated between 50 and thousand individuals, depending on the instruments of estimation. As previously mentioned, some estimates of the Central Mexican population range as high as 25 million on the eve of the European conquest, and virtually no serious student accepts the small population estimates based on the work of Angel Rosenblatt.

By , or thereabouts, the indigenous population had fallen to less than a million according to Cook and Borah. This is not just the quantitative speculation of modern historical demographers. The homes of the commoners mostly empty, roads and streets deserted, churches empty on feast days, the few Indians who populate the towns in Spanish farms and factories. There was a smallpox epidemic in when 5 to 8 million died.

The epidemic of hemorrhagic fever in to was one of the worst demographic catastrophes in human history, killing 5 to 15 million people. And then again in to , when 2 to 2. The death toll was staggering.


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Lesser outbreaks were registered in , , , , , , , , , and The larger point is that the intensive use of native labor, such as the encomienda, had to come to an end, whatever its legal status had become by virtue of the New Laws The encomienda or the simple exploitation of massive numbers of indigenous workers was no longer possible. As a result, the institutions and methods of economic appropriation were forced to change. Sheep and cattle, which the Europeans introduced, became part of the new institutional backbone of the colony.

The natives would continue to rely on maize for the better part of their subsistence, but the Europeans introduced wheat, olives oil , grapes wine and even chickens, which the natives rapidly adopted. On the whole, the results of these alterations were complex. Some scholars argue that the native diet improved even in the face of their diminishing numbers, a consequence of increased land per person and of greater variety of foodstuffs, and that the agricultural potential of the colony now called New Spain was enhanced.

By the beginning of the seventeenth century, the combined indigenous, European immigrant, and new mixed blood populations could largely survive on the basis of their own production. The native peoples continued to produce cottons a domestic crop under the stimulus of European organization, lending, and marketing. Extensive pastoralism, the cultivation of cereals and even the incorporation of native labor then characterized the emergence of the great estates or haciendas, which became a characteristic rural institution through the twentieth century, when the Mexican Revolution put an end to many of them.

Certainly, Mexico before the Conquest was self-sufficient. The extent to which the immigrant and American Spaniard or creole population depended on imports of wine, oil and other foodstuffs and textiles in the decades immediately following the conquest is much less clear. Scholars who have closely examined the emergence of land markets after the conquest—mainly in the Valley of Mexico—are virtually unanimous in this conclusion. To the extent that markets in labor and commodities had emerged, it took until the s and later elsewhere in New Spain for the development to reach maturity.

Even older mechanisms of allocation of labor by administrative means repartimiento or by outright coercion persisted. Purely economic incentives in the form of money wages and prices never seemed adequate to the job of mobilizing resources and those with access to political power were reluctant to pay a competitive wage. In New Spain, the use of some sort of political power or rent-seeking nearly always accompanied labor recruitment. The reasons behind this development are complex and varied. The evidence we have for the Valley of Mexico demonstrates that the relative price of labor rose while the relative price of land fell even when nominal movements of one or the other remained fairly limited.

On the whole, the price of labor relative to land increased by nearly percent. The evolution of relative prices would have inevitably worked against the demanders of labor Europeans and increasingly, creoles or Americans of largely European ancestry and in favor of the supplier native labor, or people of mixed race generically termed mestizo.

There were repeated royal prohibitions on the use of forced indigenous labor in both public and private works, and thus a reduction in the supply of labor. All highly speculative, no doubt, but the adjustment came during the central decades of the seventeenth century, when New Spain increasingly produced its own woolens and cottons, and largely assumed the tasks of providing itself with foodstuffs and was thus required to save and invest more.

No doubt, the new rulers felt the strain of trying to do more with less. The overall role of Mexico within the Hapsburg Empire was in flux as well. Nothing signals the change as much as the emergence of silver mining as the principal source of Mexican exportables in the second half of the sixteenth century.

While silver mining and smelting was practiced before the conquest, it was never a focal point of indigenous activity. But for the Europeans, Mexico was largely about silver mining. Again, there has been much controversy of the precise amounts of silver that Mexico sent to the Iberian Peninsula. What we do know certainly is that Mexico and the Spanish Empire became the leading source of silver, monetary reserves, and thus, of high-powered money.

Over the course of the colonial period, most sources agree that Mexico provided nearly 2 billion pesos dollars or roughly 1. The graph below provides a picture of the remissions of all Mexican silver to both Spain and to the Philippines taken from the work of John TePaske. This production has to be considered in both its domestic and international dimensions.

The residual claimants on silver production were many and varied. There were, of course the silver miners themselves in Mexico and their merchant financiers and suppliers. They ranged from some of the wealthiest people in the world at the time, such as the Count of Regla , who donated warships to Spain in the eighteenth century, to individual natives in Zacatecas smelting their own stocks of silver ore. In the Iberian Peninsula, income from American silver mines ultimately supported not only a class of merchant entrepreneurs in the large port cities, but virtually the core of the Spanish political nation, including monarchs, royal officials, churchmen, the military and more.

And finally, silver flowed to those who valued it most highly throughout the world. Mining centers tended to crowd out growth elsewhere because the rate of return for successful mines exceeded what could be gotten in commerce, agriculture and manufacturing. Because silver was the numeraire for Mexican prices—Mexico was effectively on a silver standard—variations in silver production could and did have substantial effects on real economic activity elsewhere in New Spain.

For this reason, the expansion of Mexican silver production in the years after was never unambiguously accompanied by overall, as opposed to localized prosperity. Mexican silver accounted for well over three-quarters of exports by value into the nineteenth century as well. If there was any threat to the American Empire, royal officials thought that Mexico, and increasingly, Cuba, were worth holding on to.

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From a fiscal standpoint, Mexico had become just that important. In , the last of the Spanish Hapsburgs died and a disputed succession followed. The ensuring conflict, known as the War of Spanish Succession, came to an end in The dynasty he represented was known as the Bourbons. For the next century of so, they were to determine the fortunes of New Spain. One of them dealt with raising revenue and the other was the international position of the imperial economy, specifically, the volume and value of trade.

A series of statistics calculated by Richard Garner shows that the share of Mexican output or estimated GDP taken by taxes grew by percent between and The number of taxes collected by the Royal Treasury increased from 34 to between and An entire array of new taxes and fiscal placemen came to Mexico. They affected and alienated everyone, from the wealthiest merchant to the humblest villager. If they did nothing else, the Bourbons proved to be expert tax collectors. From the mid-sixteenth century onwards, ocean-going trade between Spain and the Americas was, in theory, at least, closely regulated and supervised.

Ships in convoy flota sailed together annually under license from the monarchy and returned together as well. Since so much silver specie was carried, the system made sense, even if the flotas made a tempting target and the problem of contraband was immense. The point of departure was Seville and later, Cadiz. Under pressure from other outports in the late eighteenth century, the system was finally relaxed. As a consequence, the volume and value of trade to Mexico increased as the price of importables fell.

Import-competing industries in Mexico, especially textiles, suffered under competition and established merchants complained that the new system of trade was too loose. But to no avail. There is no measure of the barter terms of trade for the eighteenth century, but anecdotal evidence suggests they improved for Mexico. On the other hand, the few accounts of per capita real income growth in the eighteenth century that exist suggest little more than stagnation, the result of population growth and a rising price level.

Admittedly, looking for modern economic growth in Mexico in the eighteenth century is an anachronism, although there is at least anecdotal evidence of technological change in silver mining, especially in the use of gunpowder for blasting and excavating, and of some productivity increase in silver mining. So even though the share of international trade outside of goods such as cochineal and silver was quite small, at the margin, changes in the trade regime were important.

There is also some indication that asset income rose and labor income fell, which fueled growing social tensions in New Spain. In the last analysis, the growing fiscal pressure of the Spanish empire came when the standard of living for most people in Mexico—the native and mixed blood population—was stagnating. During periodic subsistence crisis, especially those propagated by drought and epidemic disease, and mostly in the s, living standards fell. Many historians think of late colonial Mexico as something of a powder keg waiting to explode.

When it did, in , the explosion was the result of a political crisis at home and a dynastic failure abroad. What New Spain had negotiated during the Wars of Spanish Succession—regime change— provide impossible to surmount during the Napoleonic Wars The abdication of the Bourbon monarchy to Napoleon Bonaparte in produced a series of events that ultimately resulted in the independence of New Spain. Internal commerce was largely paralyzed.

Silver mining essentially collapsed between and and a full recovery of mining output was delayed until the s. Thus neglected, they quickly flooded.

Thomas Robert Malthus

At the same time, the fiscal and human costs of this period, the Insurgency, were even greater. With a reduced fiscal capacity, in part the legacy of the Insurgency and in part the deliberate effort of Mexican elites to resist any repetition Bourbon-style taxation, Mexico defaulted on its foreign debt in For the next sixty years, through a serpentine history of moratoria, restructuring and repudiation , it took until for the government to regain access to international capital markets, at what cost can only be imagined. Private sector borrowing and lending continued, although to what extent is currently unknown.

What is clear is that the total internal plus external indebtedness of Mexico relative to late colonial GDP was somewhere in the range of 47 to 56 percent. This was, perhaps, not an insubstantial amount for a country whose mechanisms of public finance were in what could be mildly termed chaotic condition in the s and s as the form, philosophy, and mechanics of government oscillated from federalist to centralist and back into the s.

Leaving aside simple questions of uncertainty, there is the very real matter that the national government—whatever the state of private wealth—lacked the capacity to service debt because national and regional elites denied it the means to do so. This issue would bedevil successive regimes into the late nineteenth century, and, indeed, into the twentieth. At the same time, the demographic effects of the Insurgency exacted a cost in terms of lost output from the s through the s.

A rough estimate of output per head in the late colonial period was perhaps 40 pesos dollars. By the time United States troops crossed the Rio Grande, a recovery had been under way, but the war arrested it. Further political turmoil and civil war in the s and s represented setbacks as well. In this way, a half century or so of potential economic growth was sacrificed from the s through the s.

This was not an uncommon experience in Latin America in the nineteenth century, and the period has even been called The Stage of the Great Delay. On the other hand, it is clear that there was a recovery in agriculture in the central regions of the country, most notably in the staple maize crop and in wheat. The famines of the late colonial era, especially of , when massive numbers perished, were not repeated. There were years of scarcity and periodic corresponding outbreaks of epidemic disease—the cholera epidemic of affected Mexico as it did so many other places—but by and large, the dramatic human wastage of the colonial period ceased, and the death rate does appear to have begun to fall.

Very good series on wheat deliveries and retail sales taxes for the city of Puebla southeast of Mexico City show a similarly strong recovery in the s and early s, punctuated only by the cholera epidemic whose effects were felt everywhere. Ironically, while the Panic of appears to have at least hit the financial economy in Mexico hard with a dramatic fall in public borrowing and private lending , especially in the capital, [29] an incipient recovery of the real economy was ended by war with the United States.

It is not possible to put numbers on the cost of the war to Mexico, which lasted intermittently from to , but the loss of what had been the Southwest under Mexico is most often emphasized. This may or may not be accurate. Certainly, the loss of California, where gold was discovered in January , weighs heavily on the historical imaginations of modern Mexicans. In the long run, the loss may have been staggering, but in the short run, much less so. The northern territories Mexico lost had really yielded very little up until the War. In fact, the balance of costs and revenues to the Mexican government may well have been negative.

The reasons are several. In , the government essentially went broke. While it is true that its financial position had disintegrated since the mids, marked a turning point. The entire indemnity payment from the United States was consumed in debt service, but this made no appreciable dent in the outstanding principal, which hovered around 50 million pesos dollars.

The limits of debt sustainability had been reached: governing was turned into a wild search for resources, which proved fruitless. While only the French actively prosecuted the war within Mexico, and while they never controlled more than a very small part of the country, the disruption was substantial. By , with Maximillian deposed and the French army withdrawn, the country required serious reconstruction. Their beginnings actually went back several decades earlier, to the last presidency of Santa Anna, generally known as the Dictatorship But Santa Anna was overthrown too quickly, and now for the last time, for much to have actually occurred.

A ministry for development Fomento had been created, but the Liberal revolution of Ayutla swept Santa Anna and his clique away for good. So it is appropriate to pick up with the story here. Where did Mexico stand in ? For the moment, let us look at the period leading up to , when the French withdrew from Mexico. Since the share of the illiterate population was clearly larger, we might infer that living standards for most Mexicans declined after , however we interpret other quantitative and anecdotal evidence.

The regimes after were faced with stagnation. It would then appear growth from the s through the s was slow—if there was any at all—and perhaps inferior to what had come between the s and the s. Real per capita output oscillated, sometimes sharply, around an underlying growth rate of perhaps one percent; changes in the distribution of income and wealth are more or less impossible to identify consistently, because studies conflict.

Its key elements were the creation of a secular, bourgeois state and secular institutions embedded in the Constitution of This was the beginning of the end of the Ancien Regime. This was effectively the largest transfer of land title since the late sixteenth century not including the war with the United States and it cemented the idea of individual property rights.

With the expulsion of the French and the outright repudiation of the French debt, the Treasury was reorganized along more modern lines. Equally, if not more important, Mexico now entered the railroad age in , nearly forty years after the first tracks were laid in Cuba in The educational system was expanded in an attempt to create at least a core of literate citizens who could adopt the tools of modern finance and technology.

Literacy still remained in the neighborhood of 20 percent, and life expectancy at birth scarcely reached 40 years of age, if that. Yet by the end of the Restored Republic , Mexico had turned a corner. It was a rural, agrarian nation whose primary agricultural output per person was maize, followed by wheat and beans. For the most part, the indigenous population lived on maize, beans, and chile, producing its own subsistence on small, scattered plots known as milpas.

Population growth in the Southern and Eastern parts of the country had been relatively slow in the nineteenth century. The North and the center North grew more rapidly. The Center of the country, less so.


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Immigration from abroad had been of no consequence. The nature and effect of these changes remain not only controversial, but essential for understanding the subsequent evolution of the country, so we should pause here to consider some of their essential features. While mining and especially, silver mining, had long held a privileged place in the economy, the nineteenth century had witnessed a number of significant changes.

Until about , the coinage of gold, silver, and copper—a very rough proxy for production given how much silver had been illegally exported—continued on a steadily upward track. In , coinage was about 10 million pesos. By , it had reached roughly 15 million pesos. There was something of a structural break after the war with the United States its origins are unclear , and coinage continued upward to about 25 million pesos in Then, the falling international price of silver, brought on by large increases in supply elsewhere, drove the trend after sharply downward.

By , coinage had collapsed to levels previously unrecorded since the s, although in and , it had skyrocketed to nearly 45 million pesos. It comes as no surprise that these variations in production corresponded to sharp changes in international relative prices. For example, the market price of silver declined sharply relative to lead, which in turn encountered a large increase in Mexican production and a diversification into other metals including zinc, antinomy, and copper. By the time he had decamped in exile to Paris, precious metals accounted for less than half of all exports.

The reason for this relative decline was the diversification of agricultural exports that had been slowly occurring since the s. At one level, it is a well-known story of social savings, which were substantial in Mexico because the terrain was difficult and the alternative modes of carriage few. That must be true at some level, although recent studies especially by Sandra Kuntz have raised important qualifications.

Railroads may not have been gateways to foreign dependency, as historians once argued, but there were limits to their ability to effect economic change, even internally. They tended to enlarge the internal market for some commodities more than others. The peculiarities of rate-making produced other distortions, while markets for some commodities were inevitably concentrated in major cities or transshipment points which afforded some monopoly power to distributors even as a national market in basic commodities became more of a reality.

Yet, in general, the changes were far reaching. Conventional figures confirm conventional wisdom. In , there were 19, km about 12, miles. Monterrey and Tampico in The lines were built by foreign capital e. Large government subsidies on the order of 3, to 8, pesos per km were granted, and financing the subsidies amounted to over 30 million pesos by While the railroads were successful in creating more of a national market, especially in the North, their finances were badly affected by the depreciation of the silver peso, given that foreign liabilities had to be liquidated in gold.

As a result, the government nationalized the railroads in Between railroads, ports, drainage works and irrigation facilities, the Mexican government borrowed million pesos to finance costs. The expansion of the railroads, the build-out of infrastructure and the expansion of trade would have normally increased output per capita. Any data we have prior to are problematic, and before , strictly speaking, we have no official measures of output per capita at all.

Most scholars shy away from using levels of GDP in any form, other than for illustrative purposes. Aside from the usual problems attending national income accounting, Mexico presents a few exceptional challenges. In peasant families, where women were entrusted with converting maize into tortilla, no small job, the omission of their value added from GDP must constitute a sizeable defect in measured output. Moreover, as the commercial radius of Mexican agriculture expanded rapidly as railroads, roads, and later, highways spread extensively, growth rates represented increased commercialization rather than increased growth.

We have no idea how important this phenomenon was, but it is worth keeping in mind when we look at very rapid growth rates after There are various measures of cumulative growth during the Porfiriato. By and large, the figure from through is around 23 percent, which is certainly higher than rates achieved during the nineteenth century, but nothing like what was recorded after This may well have represented a reversal of trends in the nineteenth century, when some argue that property income contracted in the wake of the Insurgency [41].

There was also significant industrialization in Mexico during the Porfiriato. Some industry, especially textiles, had its origins in the s, but its size, scale and location altered dramatically by the end of the nineteenth century. For example, the cotton textile industry saw the number of workers, spindles and looms more than double from the late s to the first decade of the nineteenth century. Brewing and its associated industry, glassmaking, became well established in Monterrey during the s.

Other industries, such as papermaking and cigarettes followed suit. The Mexican Revolution was no Bolshevik movement of course, it predated Bolshevism by seven years but it was not a purely bourgeois constitutional movement either, although it did contain substantial elements of both. From a macroeconomic standpoint, it has become fashionable to argue that the Revolution had few, if any, profound economic consequences.

It seems as if the principal reason was that revolutionary factions were interested in appropriating rather than destroying the means of production. For example, the production of crude oil peaked in Mexico in —at the height of the Revolution—because crude oil could be used as a source of income to the group controlling the wells in Veracruz state. This was a powerful consideration. Yet in another sense, the conclusion that the Revolution had slight economic effects is not only facile, but obviously wrong.

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As the demographic historian Robert McCaa showed, the excess mortality occasioned by the Revolution was larger than any similar event in Mexican history other than the conquest in the sixteenth century. There has been no attempt made to measure the output lost by the demographic wastage including births that never occurred , yet even the effect on the population cohort born between and is plain to see in later demographic studies.

There is also a subtler question that some scholars have raised. The Revolution increased labor mobility and the labor supply by abolishing constraints on the rural population such as debt peonage and even outright slavery. Moreover, the Revolution, by encouraging and ultimately setting into motion a massive redistribution of previously privatized land, contributed to an enlarged supply of that factor of production as well. The true impact of these developments was realized in the s and s, when rapid economic growth began, the so-called Mexican Miracle, which was characterized by rates of real growth of as much as 6 percent per year Whatever the connection between the Revolution and the Miracle, it will require a serious examination on empirical grounds and not simply a dogmatic dismissal of what is now regarded as unfashionable development thinking: import substitution and inward-oriented growth.

From to , the cultivated area in Mexico grew at 3. Nevertheless, the long-run effects of the agrarian reform and land redistribution have been predictably controversial. Under the presidency of Carlos Salinas the reform was officially declared over, with no further land redistribution to be undertaken and the legal status of the ejido definitively changed. The principal criticism of the ejido was that, in the long run, it encouraged inefficiently small landholding per farmer and, by virtue of its limitations on property rights, made agricultural credit difficult for peasants to obtain.

There is no doubt these are justifiable criticisms, but they have to be placed in context. The agrarian reform of his presidency, which surpassed that of any other, needs to be considered in those terms as well as in terms of economic efficiency. Like other countries in Latin America, Mexico was hard hit by the Great Depression, at least through the early s. All sorts of consumer goods became scarcer, and the depreciation of the peso raised the relative price of imports.

The effects of this movement—the emigration of the Revolution in reverse—has never been properly analyzed. Demand for labor and materials from the United States, to which Mexico was allied, raised real wages and incomes, and thus boosted aggregate demand. From through , real output in Mexico grew by approximately 50 percent. The growth in population accelerated as well as the country began to move into the later stages of the demographic transition, with a falling death rate, while birth rates remained high.

Mexico stabilized the nominal exchange rate at The substantive bias of import substitution in Mexico was a high effective rate of protection to both capital and consumer goods. Jaime Ros has calculated these rates in ranged between 47 and 85 percent, and between 33 and percent in The result, in the short to intermediate run, was very rapid rates of economic growth, averaging 6. Other than Brazil, which also followed an import substitution regime, no country in Latin America experienced higher rates of growth. But there were unexpected results as well.

The contribution of labor to GDP growth was 14 percent. The ratio of the top 10 percent of household income to the bottom 40 percent was 7 in , and 6 in The fruits of the Revolution were unevenly distributed, even among the working class. The CTM in particular was instrumental in supporting the official policy of import substitution, and thus benefited from government wage setting and political support. The leaders of these organizations became important political figures in their own right. The incorporation of these labor and peasant groups into the political system offered the government both a means of control and a guarantee of electoral support.

In a sense, import substitution was the economic ideology of the PRI. Labor and economic development during the years of rapid growth is, like many others, a debated subject. While some have found strong wage growth, others, looking mostly at Mexico City, have found declining real wages.

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Beyond that, there is the question of informality and a segmented labor market. This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access. Michael Drake ed. Population in Industrialization Methuen, p. Google Scholar.

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See: ibid. Glass and D. Eversley eds , Population in History Edward Arnold, ch. Michael Flinn ed. CrossRef Google Scholar. Philip D. Robert V. See B. The registration returns are at T. Joseph J. Philip Appleman New York: W. Norton and Co. For modern discussions of this question see W. Cedric A.

The Malthusian Controversy: Volume 7 (Economic History (Routledge)) The Malthusian Controversy: Volume 7 (Economic History (Routledge))
The Malthusian Controversy: Volume 7 (Economic History (Routledge)) The Malthusian Controversy: Volume 7 (Economic History (Routledge))
The Malthusian Controversy: Volume 7 (Economic History (Routledge)) The Malthusian Controversy: Volume 7 (Economic History (Routledge))
The Malthusian Controversy: Volume 7 (Economic History (Routledge)) The Malthusian Controversy: Volume 7 (Economic History (Routledge))
The Malthusian Controversy: Volume 7 (Economic History (Routledge)) The Malthusian Controversy: Volume 7 (Economic History (Routledge))
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