Mexico's Mandarins: Crafting a Power Elite for the Twenty-First Century

By Roderic Ai Camp | Go to book overview

11
Power Elites in the
Twenty-First Century

Consequences of New Leadership

The end of the year 2000, and the inauguration of Vicente Fox, marked the culmination of the political and economic trends in Mexico since the mid-1980s. The beginning of a new century does not promise the creation of a different leadership from the end of the last century; rather it suggests that certain types of power elites who achieved prominence in the last two decades are likely to expand their numbers in the first decades of the present century.

Power elites enjoy a healthy and vigorous influence as Mexico welcomes the twenty-first century. They have not declined in importance. In fact, as the preceding chapters illustrate, they were crucial actors in transforming Mexico politically and economically. Not all of these groups were equally active, but all five played an essential role in the process, each responding to different constituencies.

These five power elite groups played their respective roles because of the existing structures of society, the characteristics of the political model, and the qualities of the institutional cultures, all of which determined many other relationships. The Mexican state's semi-authoritarian qualities, and its relationship to such power elite groups as intellectuals, clergy, and capitalists, affected their behavior in transforming Mexican society in the 1990s. It also affected the hidden role of the armed forces, which could have vetoed incumbent leadership or altered its new-found directions during times of crisis.

There is no question but that limited pluralism in many facets of Mexican society has accentuated the importance of elites. What is changing in the 2000s is not the influence of power elites but the composition thereof, as societal influences which elites themselves set into motion alter the pools

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