The Mexican contribution to restructuring US capitalism: NAFTA as an instrument of flexible accumulation

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Abstract

This article analyzes the history of Mexico-US migration in relation to the contemporary social impacts of labor market restructuring, relocation of production, and global lifestyle and real estate investments in the transnational space defined by NAFTA. Mexico is not simply a supplier of cheap labor that enables US capital to confront globalization. Economics is entangled in politics and a specific history of racialized labor markets, neocolonialism and nation-state construction. The sectors of Mexican capital that benefit from NAFTA are as mobile as US capital and integrated with it, whilst segmentation of the migrant population has been exacerbated by the changes of the past two decades. Multiple contradictions are transforming economic, social and political life throughout the NAFTA region, but although the social consequences of neoliberalism have diminished Mexico's governability, the key issue is whether local social movements and transnational coalitions can modify this regime of accumulation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-296
Number of pages17
JournalCritique of Anthropology
Volume18
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1998

Keywords

  • Anti-immigrant legislation
  • Globalization
  • Mexico-US relations
  • Migrant sociality
  • NAFTA
  • Neoliberal politics
  • Transnationalism

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