Industrialization and Private Enterprises in Mexico: 1: Introduction

Article excerpt

Objective of the Study

The major objective of this book is to shed light on the characteristics of Mexico's industrialization process by analyzing the growth process of enterprises as entities of economic activity, the main focus of study being on indigenous enterprises in particular. One question examined is the features that have characterized the growth of Mexico's indigenous enterprises. Another is the circumstances that have formed these features. These questions are the first issue taken up in this book and will be examined through an empirical analysis of the formation and growth of large-scale indigenous enterprises from the end of the nineteenth century, when Mexico's industrialization began, up to the beginning of the 1980s and the end of the country's import substitution industrialization. The growth of enterprises cannot be discussed separate from the economic conditions it takes place in, and the second issue this book will examine is the mutual effects that the growth of indigenous enterprises and the industrialization process exert on each other, and how both come to mutually condition one another. How has the growth of indigenous enterprises been related to the expansion of Mexico's industrialization process, to the oligopolization of its industrial structure, and to the formation of its mixed economy? At the same time what sort of effects have the overall conditions of Mexico's industrialization exerted on the growth rate of indigenous enterprises, on innovation, on business development, and on relations with government? This study will make an empirical examination of this mutual conditioning between the growth of indigenous enterprises and the process of Mexico's industrialization.

I would now like to explain the reason for focusing on enterprises and especially on indigenous enterprises.

Why Enterprises

First I would like to define "enterprise" and "entrepreneur" as used in this book. An enterprise is defined as "an economic entity that works as a basic unit of the national economy, and which purchases factors of production on the market, combines these to transform and create value, then conducts sales on the market." At the same time an enterprise is an organization composed of people who perform different functions such as management, ownership, and labor. With Mexican enterprises, however, there has not been much progress in the separation of ownership and management functions, and for the most part ownership and management are combined in the same person. Thus in this book the term "entrepreneur" by and large means the "owner-manager" of an enterprise.

The reason I have focused on enterprises in this study is because the research to date has mainly analyzed the process of Mexico's industrialization at the national level and no further down than industry level. Research at these levels have for the most part treated enterprises as entities responding passively to changes in government policies and economic environment, or as aggregates expressed in macroeconomic statistics. It has been rare for them to be depicted as active entities possessing their own independent structural and behavioral logic and it has been much rarer still to find analyses of this logic itself. Enterprises, of course, are affected by the politico-economic environment surrounding them and have to adjust to the overall behavior of the economy. At the same time, however, they are a part of that politico-economic environment and a part of the overall behavior of the economy; and there are times when they are able to exert an influence on the overall political and economic state of the country. In this sense, elucidating the structural and behavioral logic of enterprises, which are a part of the overall political economy, can be seen as an important approach for comprehending the process of industrialization in Mexico. A particularly important characteristic of Mexico's economy from the early stages of its industrialization has been its oligopolistic industrial structure. …