MEXICO CITY — Mexico's economy, which was plunged into crisis in 1982, is only now beginning to recover. The crisis grew out of many of the problems the country had accumulated for decades--problems that had to be confronted decisively so Mexico could again attain rates of economic growth above the rate of growth of the population.
Many a change has taken place since the current administration came to office four years ago; undoubtedly, there is still much to be done; but what remains can only be carried out within the parameters of Mexico's traditions, culture and values.
Recently, major newspapers have carried series of articles about Mexico's problems. The issues those articles have dealt with are varied--ranging from the economy to corruption and from elections to foreign policy--but their thrust tends to be similar: Mexico has to undertake a number of prefabricated actions and policies to correct those problems. While the diagnosis made in each one of those articles might be debated, the conclusions arrived at are, more often than not, unwarranted. Indeed, Mexico requires reforms in many areas. The trouble, however, is that general prescriptions are not useful to specific situations.
It is quite fashionable to argue that the only solution for Mexico's ills is to adopt political and economic formulas that have proved successful in other countries. Such arguments, however, often fail to recognize the simple fact that what determines the right kind of policies for each country is, precisely, each country's reality and history. From this point of view, the worst possible prescription for Mexico's future would be to undertake actions and policies that are alien and utterly unfeasible, even though the same actions and policies might work magnificently when applied in other societies.