At the beginning of Enrique Peña Nieto’s government, in December 2012, the dollar was worth almost 13 pesos. Slightly more than three years down the line, and the United States’ currency is worth more than 18 pesos. In other words, in three years the Mexican peso has dropped in value by 40 percent, at an average of 13 percent per year.
If you take into account that the devaluation of the peso against the dollar is the most telling measure of inflation, it can be concluded that the Mexican rate of inflation is 13 percent per year. So, generally speaking, services and products which are bought and sold in the market are 13 percent more expensive every year.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that salaries have not increased by 13 percent every year for the past three years. The logical consequence of this difference in growth is a loss of purchasing power for the workers of this immense population.
This is the point: millions and millions of people are constantly, and on a daily basis, falling into poverty because their jobs do not provide sufficient income. The political economy of Enrique Peña Nieto, Luis Videgaray and Agustín Carstens has directly led to the constant decline in the quality of life of the vast majority of Mexicans. It is well known that “when there is no flour, everything is ruined.” It is also known that “when hunger knocks on the door, love jumps out the window.”
Here is one of the tangible reasons for the anxiety that currently rules Mexican society. One of the explanations for the daily anguish experienced by millions. The reason behind the poor humor expressed on social media and in the newspapers, and the motivation for social movements like those in Spain and around the world.
More important than listening to the explanations provided by neoliberal technocrats for the economic crisis which is taking hold of us yet again, we must understand that the crisis which is hurting us is most evident in precarious jobs and unemployment. Incomes are not sufficient to pay for the most basic needs: housing, medical costs and medicine, food, and that indispensible yearly trip to the dentist or eye doctor.
Peña Nieto, Videgaray and Carstens can say what they like. The people know that the announced cuts to public spending, including in Pemex, will lead to further unemployment. This announcement is, in reality, a warning of further hardships to come for Mexicans. It will affect everyone, except of course the established oligarchy.
The bad humor and violence experienced on a daily basis by Mexican citizens is based on, and explained by, the economic situation, as with all social phenomena.
As our grandparents said: “First eat and then be Christian.”
The political economy of Enrique Peña Nieto, Luis Videgaray and Agustín Carstens has directly led to the constant decline in the quality of life of the vast majority of Mexicans.
– Miguel Ángel Ferrer