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mattbrowne's avatar

Poverty in Mexico - Why is there no EU-like North (and Middle) American Union?

Asked by mattbrowne (31588points) June 7th, 2009

Sure there are NAFTA and DR-CAFTA and approaches like FTAA, but all of those are about trade, not politics and solidarity. There is no North (and Middle) American Parliament like the one in Europe with elections being held right now. If we compare examples like Spain and Portugal to Mexico it makes me wonder why is this so. Why is there so much poverty in a country right next to the richest country in the world? The richer countries in Europe have supported the poorer countries in Europe for many decades so that some of the poorer ones are actually now among the richer ones. There’s mutual benefit. What about the Americas?

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22 Answers

ru2bz46's avatar

I think the Mexican Government is too corrupt, which is why the country is in the bad shape it is. Now, if the US or Canada would simply annex Mexico…~

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I think it has to do with the sheer size of the space. If you look at the size of the countries in the EU, and compare it to the size of states in the US. The US functions in a way like the EU, and Canada and Mexico aren’t included for the same reason Russia isn’t part of the EU.

Mr_Callahan's avatar

Mexico had a revolution early LAST century and is still a rising nation. America is old by comparison. Give them time….another Japan in the next 50 years.

mattbrowne's avatar

@PandoraBoxx – I would see population as the major ‘size’ factor. The population of all EU countries combined is about 500 million. The population of the US, Canada and Mexico is 450 million.

oratio's avatar

There has been some talk about a North American Union and an Amero. I have no idea about how substantiated that is. American patriotism would probably be a problem like it is in Europe, and Mexico would probably never join the USA as another state. They are too big.

It feels like hell would freeze over before they would create an Amero union, but NAFTA will probably be developed though.

South american USAN is growing, with inspiration from the EU. Seeing as Mexico has much more trade with the US than any other, I don’t see them joining USAN either. But who knows.

ragingloli's avatar

The EU has 27 autonomous members, each with their own laws, and (until the Euro) their own currency. It can be said that the EU was born out of necessity to alleviate trade and to provide a set of rights that apply continentwide.
In comparison, there is no real need for a North American Union, as there are only 3 countries. There is a huge difference economically in trading across borders with 3 countries as opposed to 27.

mattbrowne's avatar

@ragingloli – There are already many European laws to be copied into national laws. In the past it was about trade, yes. Today it is about a lot more.

If I compare the history of Spain with Mexico, my diagnosis would be that there’s some need to do something differently in North America (and Middle America). Look at all the prosperity of former poor European countries. And the change is not only due to trade.

Mamradpivo's avatar

Mexico is not nearly as developed economically as the US and Canada. But also, we benefit greatly when Mexico remains almost a vassal state, a source of cheap labor, energy and manufacturing.

kheredia's avatar

I think @Mamradpivo has a point. The US does benefit from Mexico’s poverty. Plus, if the US ever wanted to help Mexico it would have to be well beyond just economically. Mexico’s government is too corrupt to hand them over some money and hope for them to do the right thing. The US would really have to get in there and get rid of all the corrupt politicians and get some legitimate people to run the country. I hardly think that would be possible unless the US wants to come across as dictators. I’d say this would be a tough one.

oratio's avatar

@kheredia Do you think that Mexico doesn’t prosper from NAFTA? In your opinion, has there been no real change politically since 1989 and the defeat of PRI?

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Enough of the American voting public has loudly professed they don’t want to help out many of their own citizens let alone those in another nation.

AstroChuck's avatar

I’m not sure how a third world country would fit into an EU type of union.

El_Perseguidor's avatar

@oratio Do you know Mexico? Have you ever been in Mexico for more than a weekend or vacations? the “defeat” of PRI doesn’t mean anything. Is just a political makeup. NAFTA just help rich people.

oratio's avatar

@El_Perseguidor Those where clearly questions and not statements because I wanted to know. And here you are. Thank you snippy man.

Darwin's avatar

Interestingly enough, Simon Bolivar, the “George Washington” of many different South American countries actually dreamed of having a United States of America that would extend from Canada to Patagonia. He even traveled north to meet with George Washington yet no compromise could be made. The two men were too different and neither was willing to yield to the other.

This blog discusses some basic differences between Spanish-speaking Central and South American countries and the North American duo of the United States and Canada. As first discussed in Montalvo’s study of the way in which the two cultures diverged, these differences are attributed to the varying approaches taken by Washington and Bolivar.

He says: “Washington’s successors sought to serve the state, and then themselves (“A Washington le rodeaban hombres tan notables como él. . . . Y éstos y todos los demás . . . eran uno en la causa, rivales en la obediencia.” ). Bolívar’s successors sought to serve themselves, and then the state. They became, from the founding of the Colombian Republic, a distraction to the founding of the state. (“Bolívar tuvo que domar a sus tenientes, que combatir y vebncer a sus proprios compatriotas.”

In essence, Washington’s refusal to accept a third term or be crowned King set an example of selfless leadership, which has been the idealized model for US politics. Bolivar served as the great tragic figure and his successors keep copying his pattern of warrior-hero ultimately falling from grace.

Thus, there is a great difference in the political philosophies between Anglo America and Hispanic America and common ground needs to be found. The OAS/OAE is a step in that direction as is NAFTA. However, the situation I believe is made complicated because the US is so much larger than most of the other countries in the Americas. There is a very real fear of the US dominating any united effort, as the US has had a tendency to do in the past.

The United States is actually somewhat like the EU. It is made up of fifty separate entities (states and Commonwealths) that agree to abide within a federal framework and with a common currency, yet each has its own laws, taxes, and ways to accomplish governmental goals.

Perhaps over time a larger united America can result, but bear in mind that the members of the EU have been living side by side for many more centuries than the political entities that make up the Americas.

Mr_Callahan's avatar

Mexico is a good neighbor and is on the rise. Low paying jobs there making our sub-assembly products and cheap labor for us here as they come to fill jobs we dont want + all of those nice paying government jobs with ICE and DEA along the border, et cetera.

YARNLADY's avatar

I’m not so sure you basic premise is even correct. Ask the Basque how they like it, or the Georgians how well it is working for them. There is still a lot of crime, corruption, thug rule in Europe, so you can’t use it as an example of peaceful co-existance.

AstroChuck's avatar

@YARNLADY- Georgia is not yet a member of the European Union.

kheredia's avatar

@oratio to answer your question. No, I don’t believe that Mexico prospers from NAFTA. Perhaps the rich companies in Mexico do, but not the common worker. Large, rich companies will always benefit over the common workers, making the rich richer and the poor poorer. And no, I don’t believe there has been much change since the defeat of PRI.

Mr_Callahan's avatar

Before American companies set up shop in Mexico there was tourism and agriculture which is still big in Mexico, now there are hundereds of thousand of jobs in manufacturing that pay approx. 50–100 dollars per week, a step up for those who expected to pull a plow behind a mule for a living….or and old John Deere.

Strauss's avatar

NAFTA, CAFTA, and all the other “free” trade agreements have been opposed by labor and human rights groups. The “free” trade concept has nothing to do with “fair” trade. These agreements allow companies (mostly large multinationals) to move manufacturing from developed economies like US, Canada to less developed countries, such as Mexico, or any of a number of Central and South American countries. By doing so, the corporations move their manufacturing operations away from labor environments with safety laws, workers rights (including regulations of child labor) and decent wages for manufacturers and to move them to environments where workers can be exploited in the name of profit.

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