The future, as always, remains elusive. Ten years of crisis, political conflict, and declining living standards have affected people's political orientation. The 1988 and 1994 electoral results represent a challenge to the newly formed governing coalition, whose rule has thus far benefited only itself--the private sector and the technocrats in power. Such a challenge betokens the presence of a popular will, however tentative and diffused, opting for a social contract different from the one offered by today's ruling elites. There is, however, no evidence at all of a change of heart on the part of Mexico's neoliberal modernizers with respect to those two essential features of modernity that they have studiously neglected to implement: equality and democracy.
It is as yet impossible to foresee the extent to or manner in which social discontent will be expressed, although it seems inevitable that the dismantling of the social institutions of the postrevolutionary Mexican state must eventuate in a period of social conflict in which the central demands will be either the restoration of those institutions or the construction of new ones capable of processing social discontent. The EZLN (Zapatista National Liberation Army) rebellion in Chiapas should be understood in this context.
Transitional processes are by definition highly indeterminate. Given the conditions considered in this chapter, it is unlikely that in the short run a situation that combines social equality and political democracy will be found. Mexico's history to date would suggest renewed forms of authoritarianism and social polarization as the more probable outcome. Any deviation from these secular trends can only result from the capacity of other actors--hitherto incorporated into the corporatist system in a subordinate role or else excluded from the political arena altogether--to oblige the dominant groups to take their interests seriously.
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Publication information: Book title: Neoliberalism Revisited:Economic Restructuring and Mexico's Political Future. Contributors: Gerardo Otero - Editor. Publisher: Westview Press. Place of publication: Boulder, CO. Publication year: 1996. Page number: 145.
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