As has been explained time and again over the course of these pages, the economy and society of Mexico's northern border as we currently know them are, in more ways than one, the progeny of their neighbor. Developments on the U.S. side, whether the consequences of a global economy or not, virtually dictate results on the other side. This may be, as sundry Americans wish to believe, compatible development but, from my viewpoint, it is hardly equitable.
Given this historical dependency—for that is the reality—can Mexicans, whether at the border or elsewhere in the republic, ever dream of a more equitable tomorrow where they wield more control over their own destiny? Or is this merely wishful thinking? Is the volatile past that marches to the drumbeat of the almighty dollar to keep on calling the tune? In this age of a global capitalism that runs hot and cold, that renders it difficult for even educated American professionals to find stable, reasonably dignified, and adequately paying jobs, is a rosy prognosis for Mexicans merely a fool's naÏveté?
Pundits who wax eloquent on binational economies and what they label "interdependency," have, of course, a ready answer; but they must surely be disciples of George Bernard Shaw, who asked in Pygmalion: "Independence? That's middle-class blasphemy. We are all dependent, on one another, every soul of us on earth." The reply is yes—and no; not everyone is equally dependent. I say this because these soothsayers delight in predicting that a cornucopia awaits Mexicans on the border, especially with the passage of NAFTA. Since the late 1960s, they argue,