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Updated: December 8, 2012 07:32 IST

Reading the future in Mexico’s malls

Arun Kumar
Comment (40)   ·   print   ·   T  T  

India may soon go the way of the North American country where small stores have vanished from the city, agriculture has declined and unemployment is huge

The driver of the taxi that took me from the airport to the hotel in Mexico city was a computer systems analyst. He was a cheerful English speaking man who talked about himself and his family’s woes in the hour it took to cover the 30 km. He wanted to know about the global economic crisis so that he could figure out why things were bad in Mexico for people like him. He complained about unemployment and his inability to get the right job without connections — a fate his children also face. He blamed the U.S. and its policies and corruption in society. This was a recurrent theme during my week-long stay in Mexico recently.

Big malls

The taxi passed through many commercial and residential areas but I saw no small shops. There were big malls, automobile dealers, petrol stations, restaurants, pharmacy stores and car repair shops. I wondered if the small stores were in the residential colonies. A friend who had been posted in the Indian Embassy in the mid-1980s had mentioned that there were fruit stores everywhere and one could make a meal of fruits in the evening but such shops were nowhere to be seen. I wondered if this was the future that awaited the Indian metropolises.

The absence of small stores was perplexing but more intriguing was the serious unemployment, given that Mexico has been a part of NAFTA since 1994 and which brought in much foreign investment. Many factories have relocated from the U.S. to Northern Mexico to supply the U.S. and Canadian markets and so on. The city was bustling with cars. It is prosperous compared to India with a per capita income 10 times ours. There are layers of flyovers — one on top of the other — but there are traffic jams. During day time, it takes two to three hours to cover a distance that takes 25 minutes early in the morning. The public transport system consists of rail, buses and trams but people are stuck in traffic for a good part of their day. The city has to spread horizontally since it is built on landfill and there is a lot of water below the surface, and multi-storeyed buildings require expensive deep foundations. So, most buildings are one or two stories high, forcing the city of 25 million to spread out.

Old timers remember that Mexico city had small stores until the mid-1980s. Only the organised sector stores survive now, like the Sanborn chain belonging to Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world. Sanborn has a unique model of a restaurant on the first floor and a gift shop, pharmacy and other such conveniences on the ground floor. The young I talked to did not remember seeing corner stores in residential colonies.

From my hotel window, perched eight floors up, I could see malls but no small stores. Sears, Walmart, McDonalds — they were there like anywhere in the U.S. In residential colonies, I did see a few small stores but most of them were American Seven Elevens. And there are pavement stalls and markets where the poor purchase their necessities. It was ironical to see workers in ties from malls cross the street to eat at pavement stalls — perhaps they could not afford to eat in the mall.

On a visit to the charming town centre, it was refreshing to see streets lined with small stores. My escort told me that many people came here to shop because it was cheaper. I went outside Mexico City to Teotihuacan to see the Pyramids. The huge pyramid of the Sun god is apparently a few times larger than the biggest Egyptian pyramids. It was part of an ancient city 2,000 years ago, which was over three miles long and had more than 1.5 lakh people. All this was awe-inspiring but it was tiring because it involved hours of walking and climbing up and down. At the end of it, we went to the neighbouring town to eat. At its entrance was a beautiful arch which said Teotihuacan Pueblo con Encanto. The streets were lined with small stores.

Village republic

The next day, I visited the village Tlalnepantla in Morelos. I counted dozens of small shops for a population of a few thousand. This is a revolutionary village. Alvaro, our host, is an economics graduate who settled down here 40 years ago. He cultivates Nopal, or cactus, with the rest of the villagers. His small garden has trees bearing guava, avacados, lime and lukat. He has successfully experimented with creating a village republic. It was amazing to see the hilly village surrounded by 4,000 hectares of Nopal cultivation. Even more breathtaking was the clear view of the distant volcano from which a plume of smoke emanated.

The village had rejected the corrupt political parties. Villagers selected their own leader and did not recognise the president of the municipality, a party man. The government sent in troops declaring Alvaro and others terrorists and they had to go underground. There were protests all over Mexico, especially in the universities. The government was forced to drop the charges and come to an agreement. The land here belongs to the community and cannot be sold to outsiders. Hearing that an Indian professor was visiting the village, its leaders came with lunch and cactus products — cooked as vegetable, turned into pickle and marmalade, very delicious. Alvero asked me about Gandhiji, his philosophy of non-violence and how it could be applied to a modern society. Gandhiji seems to have a special place in Mexico. A chain of book stores is called ‘Gandhi.’ There are parks and roads named after Gandhiji.

The farmers are upset with the U.S. and NAFTA. They complained that the free market had enabled subsidised food to come from the U.S. and destroyed their agriculture which now contributes only four per cent of GDP. Thus, the two big employers, agriculture and retail trade, have suffered in the last two decades, which is why unemployment is high (5.2 per cent), and underemployment is at 25 per cent. I met a professor who said his son got a job only because of his connections and another said his son doing a Ph.D. was worried about the future. Why is this happening with so much foreign investment? Unemployment has driven down wages. An Assistant Professor at the university complained that he could barely make ends meet with his salary, which is determined by the number of lectures he gives in a month. He thought the taxi-driver was better off than him.

Mafia rule

In Northern Mexico where investments from the U.S. have poured in, the mafia has taken over and there is lawlessness. The state there seems to be withering away. Unemployed youth join the mafia. There is drug trafficking and illegal migration of youth into the U.S. It is this migration that has kept unemployment from getting worse. The migrants send money back home. Remittances along with income from petroleum exports and tourism keep the Mexican economy afloat and prevent the crisis from deepening.

Instead of solving Mexico’s problems, its proximity to the U.S., free trade with it and investments from there have led to deepening unemployment, the decline of traditional agriculture and the end of small retailers in metro cities. I wondered whether what I was seeing in Mexico was India fast forwarded 20 years, when there will be lots of cars and traffic jams in the metros, lots of malls too, but few small retail shops, high unemployment and a crisis in agriculture. Small stores are likely to survive only in small towns and villages.

Our crisis is likely to be worse than Mexico’s since we do not border the largest economy in the world where our youth could illegally migrate. Nor are we likely to get investment in per capita terms matching Mexico. We do not have petroleum or tourism income to prop us either. So, does Mexico mirror a part of our future, if we continue with our current policies?

(Arun Kumar is Chairperson and Sukhamoy Chakravarty Chair Professor, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University.)

arunkumar1000@hotmail.com

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Good article. The author could have added statistics regarding the decline in small stores. What makes journalists like P Sainath stand out is he substantiates his claim with verifiable facts and figures. The Hindu editorial board too should play in this regard.

from:  Roopesh P Raj
Posted on: Dec 10, 2012 at 17:21 IST

I feel a lot of the talk on FDI borders on scaremongering. I have seen in Delhi that large format retil stores folding up and not the friendly, neighbourhood grocery store. Also, what I find disturbing is why is Wal Mart or Tesco being used to arouse this fear? Are Big Bazaars and Reliance Fresh outlets fine just because they don't involve foreign funding? Are Indian large format stores not hurting the neighbourhood stores? Actually the neighbourhood store provides its customers two big benefits - free home delivery (and order on telephone) and even credit. The fact that entry of large retilers is pushing them to raise the quality of goods they sell is actually good news.

from:  murali
Posted on: Dec 10, 2012 at 16:55 IST

Mexico is a very special case. It's economy has been historically dependent on the
US. The US drug and gun laws make for a big problem on top of all that. It is
however true that NAFTA has been a bad deal for most. Subsidized grain from the
US has driven Mexico's farmers out of business and made the country dependent
on the US, which now diverts its grain to biodiesel.
Ultimately, Mexico's problems are the result of the yawning gap between its
economic competitiveness and that of the US, exacerbated by their being
neighbours. Just like Mexico though, India also suffers from an education system that emphasizes bookish learning, a shortsighted economic policy, misguided
agricultural policy, massive poverty, cronyism and corruption. It is this that make Mexico and India similar and it is here that the changes must take place. Our
politicians however are as deaf and busy filling their coffers as those in Mexico!

from:  Vivek
Posted on: Dec 10, 2012 at 13:22 IST

Few years ago there was this happy talk of India being termed as a rising as "Economic Superpower" in few years of time. This talk was among my friends. But now with this FDI controversy taking the front seat with lots of negative views I feel something is wrong somewhere in our policies. Because in the past few years country has not shown anything as of becoming an economic superpower. And USA never gives free lunch. If it brings something in then it means it requires some advantage in its side. Does a Superpower allow to grow another superpower? Hence I feel USA is out to push down the growth of the Indian economy in its own style of functioning as evident from other countries like Mexico or anywhere else.

from:  Krishna P
Posted on: Dec 10, 2012 at 12:22 IST

Its really painful to see that we the middle class don't like challenging our ideas and daily life.If I like to visit malls and purchase potato then that does not mean all the other in the society would love to do!Now when some one is posing question about the future it does not necessarily mean that he/she predicting the future.Only time will tell whether FDI in retail will destroy the Indian retail sector and the economy.But, we should at-least pay respect to others views. Being a sociology professor does not necessarily mean that he/she can't write on economy.We middle class should be little more tolerant and think carefully about "other" ideas.It may make sense!!

from:  Kaustav Kanti Sarkar
Posted on: Dec 10, 2012 at 12:15 IST

first of all thank you very much HINDU for this publish..
hope we do not face this in coming future...
but at the same time we cant say no also..
we should all condemn such policies which make our country worse..

from:  spandana
Posted on: Dec 10, 2012 at 10:38 IST

Many factories have relocated to Northern Mexico from the USA to
supply markets in the USA and Canada so they need workers right? Why
aren't the Mexicans employed in those factories?
Mall workers don't eat in the malls - neither do I, a middle class
Indian, eat daily at a mall. Further, the question of whether workers
should be able to afford the things they create is more of an ethical
question than an economic question.
College professors complaining about anemic salaries - this was a
pretty common experience too during the Communist era in West Bengal.
With both my parents born in the 1940s, I know this for a fact.
A lot of the corruption and mafia is due to the drug gangs in Mexico.
Is the USA to blame for that as well?
Finally why is a professor of Sociology writing an article which reads
like an economic critique?
I shop from a small retailer. The result? Goods unavailable
frequently, sometimes outdated and in many cases damaged. That rarely
occurs at a mall.

from:  Aritra Gupta
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 17:28 IST

Readers must understand that FDI is NOT compulsory. The Central
government has made it clear that its upto the state governments to
implement it. So FDI should be tried by well matured state in business
like Gujarat and the business model must be developed so that rest of
india can follow it without hitting the domestic economy.

from:  John
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 16:51 IST

indeed,the situation in India will be,more or less,the same in coming years if we continue with these policies,neglecting the small retailers interest,for sure,will cost much more then estimated. Goverment's assertion that it will help the farmers seems just a way of luring the mass away from main disaster which is accompanying these so called reforms.Now the ball is in states court hope they could realize the and address the fears of masses and just don't follow the centre's footmarks.

from:  Sharad Singh
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 16:40 IST

Wal-Mart in Zambia operates indirectly via South Africa. Wal mart
bought 51 percent of Johannesburg-based Massmart to help boost sales
internationally by hiding itself. This South African company operates
`Game stores` in Zambia.
There was a lot of lobbying last year Mrs Hillary Clinton visited
Zambia on 10th. June-2011 to promote Wall mart interests. A country in
the past which was proud to reject the entry of GM foods in shape of
US AID during drought caved in to America Pressure.Now there are three
gaint malls in the main city by name of Game,Shopright etc. and the
sceniorion is that there is no single small shop in the area to cater
to caustomer demands in the radius of 10 kms.

from:  Rakesh Manchanda
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 16:06 IST

Loved to see this article , atleast I am happy that this school of
thought exist still in India and is not lost in the growth and GDP
rhetoric.I am convinced of the same by my 5 years of stay outside
India. The place where I stay now is the best example, here the big
chain stores have eaten up everything in the retail sector. The small
farmers here who I had some chances to visit and offer help to, really
struggle to survive. The only support for them mostly is the weekend
markets that are open in certain isolated areas and the government
policies are mostly anti small farmer. The only good part is atleast
since the country has a great food culture the Macdonalds and Burger
Kings are still far away from dominating the economy. The same is the
case in US with small farmers really struggling to survive as the
giants only purchase from big farmers as it is more convenient for
them to do so. If the big chains are coming to India government should at least regulate what they can import..

from:  Dinoop
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 15:39 IST

Wonderful article ... apt for the current situation in India .. enlightening. India is on the Mexico way ..may be worse !

from:  Veedee Da
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 14:52 IST

Please somebody sent this article to our prime minister.If he really
loves India and its people he should immediately stop the process of
introducing FDI in retail in India.

from:  MAHESH NARAYANAN
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 14:46 IST

Indian JNU "left" now must travel to Mexico now for samples of American
imperialism destroying "noble" small shop keepers since in China, both
Walmart and small shops thrive. He seems to ignore his own evidence e.g.
when he says Mexico has a per capita income ten times that of India -
did Mexico to get to be that rich by keeping US investments out and
practicing "socialism" - of course not! We are not going to make India
strong by looking at the small shop keeper, who now sells mostly
packages goods made by big companies for a big commission!

from:  N. Balakrishnan
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 14:13 IST

Linking the investment in Northern Mexico with lawlessness and criminal gangs is
outrageous. The violence in the north is almost entirely due to the drug trade,
which is an unfortunate but separate issue from the one the author raises in this
piece. The facts are that Mexico is quickly becoming an industrial powerhouse that
is beginning to outpace even some of the BRICS in terms of growth. Large scale
industrialization generally does lower the percentage of GDP taken up by
agriculture. Agriculture in the United States makes up only 1.2% of GDP and yet
that is still enough to make it the one of the top 3 producers of food in the entire
world after China and India. Also, unemployment in Mexico is at its lowest rate in
four years and appears to be dropping even further. As someone who has been to
both Mexico and India I'm left wondering what this person was thinking when he
wrote this.

from:  Scott
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 14:02 IST

Really Good article, exactly what Large Mall's would do to India.
India thrives on Small Retail Businesses, the big players are Sharks
and i truly believe that they cant match the personalized services
offered by some of small shops in the country.
However the government should find ways to regularize small business.
The following are my thoughts.
a) Limit the number of small shops per the population density
b) Provide incentives to group networks, say small chains of shops.
c) Make Bills mandatory,(i know we tried here). However we need to
hold large distributors and wholesale merchants accountable for
distribution based on retail performance
d) Gated SCM processes across the retail industry.
I wish the lawmakers can really see some sense, and not make decisions
seeing the in hand(should i say underhand) benefits.

from:  Vijay
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 13:28 IST

When someone says" Foreign investment is helpful.. ", I wonder " To
whom exactly.. ". When the truth is that there is nothing called FREE
LUNCH then why expect Foreign investments to bring in fortune, on the
contrary they are here only to make their fortune. Mexico's case is a
perfect example of a rich kingdom falling to the levels of dungeons. We
talk a lot about self sustenance in case of Energy and fuel but neglect
the sustenance of agriculture and pray the foreign companies to bring
in enormous employment opportunities. It is similar to paying cash and
buying ash.

from:  Ravi kiran
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 13:24 IST

I think people with higher purchasing power will go to super markets and
only poor will shop at small shops. This will force many small shops to
wind down and their owners would have to do jobs of store boy, cashier ,
sales boy and so called customer service people all paying poor wages.
FDI in retail will create small number of well paid people but displaced
huge number self employed people. An anti people policy being
implemented by corrupt & inefficient government.

from:  Atma Gandhi
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 11:53 IST

Yes, the article is a timely one,appreciating Sri Arun Kumar and thanks as well.
Repeatedly many of opponents are cautioning indian rulers that our nation wil face the music one day as lke Mexicans. Now FDI in Retail the problematic step. Lets seee and face the repercussions

from:  Arjun Prasad m
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 10:45 IST

The present situation in India is clearly showing the dark and horrible faces of future. Even the Multibrand retail stores like Big Bazar, Subhiksha (already a failure), Reliance fresh, etc. are unable to boost the Indian Economy; what was projected at the time of their launch. But since these are Indian players, so they have a sense of rsponsibility about Indian economy. But players like Wallmart's investment will be purely profit based, weather or not the Indian economy survives or worsen. So from my point of view, FDI must be withdrawn.

from:  anup kumar
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 10:44 IST

Parallelism drawn by Mr Arun Kumar of present mexico and future India is excellent.According to me FDI will definitely beautify our cities but at the same time will make our domestic economy hollow and unemployment will crop up and we will suffer more beacuse of the size and diverse nature of our country.

from:  Broteen Biswas
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 10:27 IST

We should not be scared of big Guys i.e foreign investment. we should acquire the knowledge and compete with the big guys. As long as we are ready to fight and compete no foreign players can win us. Can KFC win over Velu Military. Impossible. KFC is nothing compared to our grand taste of Velu Military. People just want to taste KFC because it is just new but our own Velu Military has been there for years will continue to thrive

from:  Surya
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 10:19 IST

I agree with most part of this article, however the only loophole is
Mexico's problem arise due to drug cartels controlling elected
government, well it's no different here in India where the government
is controlled by few big investment houses be it foreign or home grown.
It is a pity even after knowing so much no one comes forward to really
oppose the gov. initiatives.

from:  Kunal
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 09:24 IST

What is your problem with malls? Instead of roaming everywhere, and if everything people want are available at one place, isn't it good thing. Think about the money and time saved by the millions of people. Because of malls agriculture gets worsened ???? What ???
There are no malls till now and tell me the situation of agriculture ??

from:  Narasimha Rao
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 09:18 IST

Correlation is not causation.
A terribly argued polemic with no data, proof or analysis, just
individual opinions masquerading as informed commentary!
Northern Mexico's problems are due to drugs and investment is actually
helping it than making it worse. See my argument has analysis or data
behind just like yours.

from:  Sridhar R
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 08:47 IST

Hilarious! This note is apt for travel writing. Just by visiting a few streets and tourist spots
how can you come to such conclusions? Why do you think Indians are a bunch of
scapegoats willing to be sacrificed at the next ritual. Be proud of Indians we survive and
thrive without barriers we embrace change and learn from the new. Your thought process is
similar to Nehru-Gandhi who killed whatever industries we had.

from:  Rahul Jain
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 07:49 IST

A good persual of the article makes the fact clear that the Author
lacks a first hand idea of what it means to be an open market economy
! Firstly it has to be agreed that on account of the NAFTA between the
United States and Mexico, Mexico suffered a huge blow in terms of
Trade & fiscal deficit. Way back from the mid 1990's when the
agreement was made, Mexico had always been a subject to Drug cartels,
trafficking, bad politics and rampant corruption. Addressing most if
not all of these issues might have kept things at hunky dory.It would
have been nice if the Author had supported his claims basing on actual
scenario and speak in terms of some figures and statistics.If one were
to aggrandize that,the mere entry of FDI is the only reason for the
downtrend, unemployment and attrocities in the country,it would
certainly be a big mistake.It should always be borne in mind that
being an investor friendly nation merely wouldn't suffice but
channelising the revenue inflow is the key to growth

from:  Rajesh Tripurneni
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 05:24 IST

None of the middle class Indians and policy makers bothers about what is the long term consequence of allowing FDI in areas like retail. Presently the small shops are run by not so educated, have a drive to run their own business, ready to work hard but have less capital. If that market is killed with bigger stores, what is the alternative plan to fill this vacuum or create jobs? Everything is getting corporatized. Fixing a TV to laptop, you have to go to dealer who will send the TV to a centralized manufacturing service shop. All those TV, watch mechanic, tailor shop were jobs of past. If every possible stuff in the earth under corporate umbrella, let’s kill the entrepreneurship qualities and prepare our kids for skilled clerks.

from:  Prabakar
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 05:09 IST

NY Times April 23, 2012 noted more Mexicans LEFT the US than came in in 2011. Thats due to the US recession and better emmployment situation in Mexico. Increased prosperity in Mexico can be seen in construction. They used to build schools, homes with old garage doors, scraps from the US. Now you see rows of new stucco homes. The unemployment rate in Mexico as of September 2012 is 5.01%. I speak Spanish and travel to Mexico often. There are very modern areas. If you stay in a fancy hotel, take taxis, locals will assume you prefer to see malls and stay in sterile gated communuties. I suggest you go to the farmers mercados in Cuidad de Mexico; they even barter! Mexicans still prefer this style of shopping. Use the walking border at San Ysidro, and stay at hotel Ticuan in Tijuana. Walk, see the local crafts within feet of the border, but be mindful if you buy sellers expect you to down a shot of Tequila. Eat from push carts; fish tacos are great. Old Mexico is still there and thriving.

from:  Edward Hayden
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 03:38 IST

I agreed that “instead of solving Mexico’s problems, its proximity to the U.S., free trade with it and investments from there have led to deepening unemployment, the decline of traditional agriculture and the end of small retailers in metro cities”. To compare this situation to India is like comparing "Oranges with orangutans". Modern Mexico unlike India was shaped by brutal fusion of native civilization with Spanish Catholic culture. Unlike Mexico, India does not come under North American Free Trade Agreement (NFTA) to facilitate lower trade barriers with America, economically swamping the country and is the root cause of many maladies of Mexico pointed out by the author. Further, country is a major transit and drug-producing nation: an estimated 90% of the cocaine smuggled into the United States every year moves through Mexico impacting American border area with unbelievable violence and gun culture. Being part of rapidly changing dynamic world trade, India cannot possibly escape some negative fall outs but there is every reason to be optimistic of countrymen converting the challenge in to opportunity just as TATAs, Birlas or Mittals have proved.

from:  N.G. Krishnan
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 03:16 IST

I see your point about Agriculture and big malls, but I don't
understand how Mexico is the right example. Big chain retailers will
eventually kill off small, but inefficient, shops and retailers.
Investment in terms of refrigeration and direct farm-to-fork should
cut out middlemen, and put more money back in the pockets of the
farmers, which should make Agriculture an attractive business. The
only thing I'm afraid of is, with India's reputation for corruption,
the "aam aadmi" will lose. What is the guarantee that corrupt
ministers for a few hundred thousand dollars will not keep middlemen
in the business? Will not award contracts for foreign firms to bring
in cheaper labour? The population of the country is the biggest
problem which no political party has the guts to take on. Dubbing it a
consumer base for things, the politicians are fooling themselves, and
the country. Resources like water and land are going to scarcer and
only the rich will survive. 400mlln people will die of hunger.

from:  Sai Srikantham
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 02:49 IST

Prof Arun Kumar deserves our gratitude for the interesting Article on the present-day economy of Mexico, a neighbouring country of USA which, with the influx of multi-national chain stores from the US has virtually reduced Mexico to the status of a Banana Republic. This should serve as a timely warning to our nation, particularly our politicians, of the dangerous consequences that would result by the indiscriminate adoption of unpopular measures like FDI in Retail without any forethought. This Article should be given wide publicity in the interest of the nation.

from:  TSSREENIVASAN
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 02:46 IST

My experience in many of Mexico's largest and mid-sized cities is that
the small family owned shops abound everywhere. I am not sure how Arun
missed them, as they are prolific in the central cities and in the
colonias of DF.

from:  bill grissom
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 02:06 IST

I live in Mexico City and almost EVERY part of the city with the expectation of maybe Interlomas is swathed with small stores. Mr. Kumar’s article seems suspiciously low on data and statistics to back his assertions regarding small stores and big box companies, instead relying on conversations with “young he talked to” and other personal observations that only reinforced his biases. Mr. Kumar fails to delve into the downward price pressure on inflation that the introduction of many big box companies brought to Mexico and the subsequent benefits for the poor. Similarly he fails to discuss the heinous historical effect of local oligopolistic firms on prices and quality in sectors where foreign companies HAVEN’T been able to penetrated the Mexican market. As for NAFTA, I suggest the Nov. 24th edition of the Economist ("The Rise of Mexico") for a more objective discussion of how Mexico's economic model has served it well in the face of stiff headwinds.

from:  Patrick
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 01:47 IST

According to free trade theory, in course of time only 2 or 3 countries capable of producing
goods and services efficiently (cheaply) will thrive, others will just survive. As India is already
taking part in globalised world (though contributing less than 1% of world trade) it is
imperative for India to improve governance and strong regulatory mechanisms, for it has only
2 choices - either to become like Mexico or be one among the 2/3 thriving countries. We
have entered the vicious cycle, there is no going back. Coming to FDI in retail, as generally
stated above, let us look at China rather than Mexico.

from:  Thileeban
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 01:35 IST

Calling 5.2% unemployment as 'High unemployment' is laughable. NAFTA has caused Mexican trade with America to overtake China. Claiming that NAFTA is unpopular in Mexico after talking to just one random person makes this column a comedy piece, not serious journalism.

from:  Kumaar
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 01:31 IST

Very well said. Our Leaders know that this is going to happen but still they want to bring multi national chains to retail sector. I live outside India, how the big companies will turn into monopoly destroy all individual or retail business. Your analysis completely true. Mexico is far better as you said they have tourism and USA as it neighboring country. If Indian farmers stop producing grains where will start importing, we have depend on other countries. If other countries stop export if all our agriculture sector is ruined then we have to beg for food also.
As it is said in Vedic dharma if we have a piece of land and a cow to plough the land we will be self sufficient. We do not need to depend on others for food. I hope our leaders will think on this take certain necessary steps to protect out country from begging for food from other countries in future.
This big companies like walmart, tesco will produce food with latest technology like GM modified foods which are banned in USA.

from:  Harsha
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 01:26 IST

hope the next government will reverse the fdi policy

from:  ajitkumar
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 00:43 IST

This is a classic case of lazy journalism. It is so pedestrian that it reads like a college
assignment, there is no research and most evidence is anectodal and hearsay. It's more of a
travelogue than a serious economic analysis. Sometimes I feel that Hindu is the only paper
of respectable calibre in India but I doubt my judgement now.

from:  Arvind
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 00:34 IST

Well..The author nicely describes the Mexico’s current Situation..Yes Already Many of the Metro Citys driving away the Small Shops in particular areas..And we will make our Downtown model of city by driving away the deprived people towards other side of town..Country like us,need to stay with our current way of business in order to balance the un-employment rate..Otherwise, the un-employment rate will go up and anti-Social activities will grow up..remember i don say anti-national...It's anti-social..Well..Once Side our Govt.'s blame the Naxal for threat to Internal Security...At the same they create a big threat to Society by dismantling our basic structure of living..

from:  Balaji RajaSekar J M
Posted on: Dec 8, 2012 at 00:34 IST
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