Globalization, Democracy and the State in Mexico. a Critical Analysis of Contemporary Trends of Governance Privatization and Regionalization
Garza, Rosalba Icaza, Ibero-americana
During the late 1980s, the so-called democratic transitions in Latin America were largely explained by looking into state actors and institutions' capability to accommodate democratic claims (O' Donell and Schmitter, 1986). This state-centric emphasis on top-down driven democratizations was strongly criticized from different fronts and some started to look into other factors contributing and/or hampering democratic consolidation in the continent (Kaufman and Haggard, 1995; Grugel, 1999; Grugel, 2002). As a result, globalization complex and multifaceted impacts on the state were consider a central focus of enquiry that helped to prove how the linearity and progressive spirit of previous state-centric emphases on democratization was rather limited (Held, 1995; Grugel, 1999; Schölte, 2002; Schölte, 2004). This paper's argument is located in this sort of critical enquiry as it observes that turns in the governance of global relations in Mexico have followed paradoxical directions. In particular, our main argument says that governance's decentralization, privatization and regionalization have both, reinforced and challenged some of the traditional corporatist and authoritarian practices of the Mexican state.1 So far, some spaces have emerged for citizen participation and the public scrutiny of governing authorities. However, this has taken place under a conjuncture of an ascendant material, institutional and discursive hegemony of neoliberal policy frameworks and its accompanying structural reforms according to global markets' requirements. This has had important implications for the consolidation of democracy solely through the state's institutions as the current post-electoral crisis in Mexico has displayed.2
These ideas are developed in three steps, the first of which draws on some general arguments regarding the interrelations between globalization and contemporary turns in governance. The second one concentrates on governance's decentralization and privatization trends and how these impacted on the regulatory, redistributive and political mediation activities of the Mexican PRI/Presidency/state complex. Then, it is explored the regionalization of governance and what this meant for Mexico's political economy during the 1990s and early 2000s. In particular, this section investigates some forms of engagement of private corporate and civil society actors as "region-building forces" in the macro-regionalization processes institutionally framed by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Economic Partnership, Political Coordination and Co-operation Agreement (EU-MEX Agreement) signed between the European Union and Mexico. The concluding section summarizes the main points developed in this paper and presents some future challenges that Mexican democracy might face.
II. GLOBALIZATION AND THE EMERGENCE OF POLYCENTRIC GLOBAL GOVERNANCE
In this paper, the concept of governance makes reference to different sets of formal and informal practices, mechanisms and arrangements that regulate social life in multifaceted ways. In contrast to government, governance denotes horizontal and multilayered forms of regulation and steering that can unfold through institutionalized and non-institutionalized mechanisms of power and authority. Amidst conditions of intensifying globalization, governance turns are deeply interrelated to transformations in "traditional" forms of state's authority and sovereignty (Camillieri and FaIk, 1992:97-100; Cerny, 1995). In what has been called a postWesphalian governance era, states are increasingly unable to exercise "supreme, comprehensive, unqualified and exclusive rule over its territorial domain" as in previous historical conjunctures (Cox, 1997; Schölte, 2004:6). In other words, as the state is territorially transcended by diverse globalizing processes, forces and actors it continues being a crucial but not an exclusive reference of collective action and identity (Lipschutz, 1992). …