December 6, 2018

Francisco E. González, Associate Professor of International Political Economy and Latin American Politics
Richard Miles, Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of the Americas Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Moderated by Kent E. Calder, Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs and International Research Cooperation

The Foreign Policy Institute and the Faculty Research Forum hosted a discussion on the new book authored by Professor Francisco González, "Mexico under Misplaced Monopolies: Concentrated Wealth and Growing Violence, from the 1980s to the Present."

After his first two books surveyed the comparative political and economic systems of Latin America, González took a focused look at Mexico and the transitions Mexican society has experienced over the last three decades, featuring a shift away from autocratic rule toward electoral democracy and a steadily globalizing and more open economy. Despite these important shifts, the benefits have struggled to reach the Mexican people, more than half of whom live below the poverty line. Wealth inequality remains very high in Mexico, ranking near the most unequal countries in the world. To assess progress in Mexico's development, González used the framework of monopolies and competition to analyze the barriers to entry that affect daily life, such as a person's ability to run for public office, use freedom of speech, start a business, gain an education, or enter the labor market.

González found that Mexico struggles to join the ranks of free and advanced economies where access to participate in society is widely shared. Instead, the wealthy and powerful elites have too much control over access and they distribute it to serve their own interests.

Richard Miles of the Center for Strategic and International Studies joined González to discuss Mexico's current challenges of inequality, violence, organized crime, and the path forward for the country to improve quality of life for its citizens.