Made in Mexico: Regions, Nation, and the State in the Rise of Mexican Industrialism, 1920s–1940s

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9780271037608: Made in Mexico: Regions, Nation, and the State in the Rise of Mexican Industrialism, 1920s–1940s

The experiment with neoliberal market-oriented economic policy in Latin America, popularly known as the Washington Consensus, has run its course. With left-wing and populist regimes now in power in many countries, there is much debate about what direction economic policy should be taking, and there are those who believe that state-led development might be worth trying again. Susan Gauss’s study of the process by which Mexico transformed from a largely agrarian society into an urban, industrialized one in the two decades following the end of the Revolution is especially timely and may have lessons to offer to policy makers today.

The image of a strong, centralized corporatist state led by the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) from the 1940s conceals what was actually a prolonged, messy process of debate and negotiation among the postrevolutionary state, labor, and regionally based industrial elites to define the nationalist project. Made in Mexico focuses on the distinctive nature of what happened in the four regions studied in detail: Guadalajara, Mexico City, Monterrey, and Puebla. It shows how industrialism enabled recalcitrant elites to maintain a regionally grounded preserve of local authority outside of formal ruling-party institutions, balancing the tensions among centralization, consolidation of growth, and Mexico’s deep legacies of regional authority.

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About the Author:

Susan M. Gauss is Assistant Professor of History and Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Studies at the University at Albany, SUNY.

Review:

“Bucking the culturalist trend of much recent Mexican historiography, Gauss gives us an ambitious and cogent analysis of the postrevolutionary political economy, combining a perceptive national overview with illuminating regional case studies, the whole based on extensive original research, lucidly deployed. Among the best recent monographs on modern Mexico, the book sheds light on national politics, state-building, foreign relations, and the role of the PRI, business, and organized labor in forging the new Mexico of the postwar era.”

—Alan Knight, University of Oxford



“The strength of [Made in Mexico] is the author’s research in the state archives of Jalisco, Nuevo Léon, and Puebla. Gauss constructs the history of relations among the economic elites of the three main industrial areas outside the capital (Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Puebla), the state governments, and the central government in Mexico City. . . . The author is quite adept at sorting out the complex relations between the various levels of government and the three groups of regional industrialists, showing how they tied into the shifting politics and economic exigencies of the era.”

—Mark Wasserman, American Historical Review



Made in Mexico is a very important book that fills a number of gaps in the literature on postrevolutionary Mexico by tracing the national and regional development of the country's industrial sector. The book, which explores the conflicts among industrialists and labor leaders as well as state and federal policy makers over statist industrialism, is well written, thoroughly researched, and rests firmly on materials from Mexico City’s national depositories as well as the state archives of Jalisco, Nuevo León, and Puebla.”

—John J. Dwyer, Hispanic American Historical Review



“The relationship between state, capital and labour has a seminal place within the scholarship of Latin America’s statist political economy. Made in Mexico adds the dynamic variable of regionalism to the literature, which provides an important revision to traditional understandings of the Mexican case. . . . Gauss’s important study . . . illustrates how divergent industrial sectors and their particular histories of capital formation, from textiles to glass-making, generated Mexico’s many paths toward statism.”

—Glen David Kuecker, Bulletin of Latin American Research

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