Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

Liberalism in Mexican Economic Thought, Past and Present


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I outline the development of economic and political thought in Mexico, with an emphasis on the fortunes of liberalism. Since its independence in 1821 Mexico struggled to establish background conditions—a national identity, a stable polity, a broad cultural allegiance to liberal principles, and a corresponding sense of law—that are conducive to a liberal market order. Some of the thinkers treated here emphasize the basic liberal formulas and formulations, such as individual liberty or mutual gains from voluntary exchange. Others favored statist policies to realize the background conditions and thereby arrive at a state in which liberalism can be more meaningfully advanced. I discuss the leading figures in 19th century Mexican economic and political thought, and focus in the 20th century on issues of the economics profession, reforms of the 1980s and 1990s, and disputes about ‘neoliberalism.’ Finally, I list individuals and organizations in Mexico who represent current aspiration for a more classical-liberal state.

Podcast related to this article: Pavel Kuchař on Liberalism in Mexico (EJW Audio, March 2016).