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Development and Growth in the Mexican EconomyAn Historical Perspective$
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Juan Carlos Moreno-Brid and Jaime Ros

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195371161

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195371161.001.1

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The “Origins of Backwardness”: Obstacles to Economic Development in the 19th Century

The “Origins of Backwardness”: Obstacles to Economic Development in the 19th Century

(p.18) 2 The “Origins of Backwardness”: Obstacles to Economic Development in the 19th Century
Development and Growth in the Mexican Economy

Juan Carlos Moreno-Brid

Jaime Ros (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2 examines the five decades that go from Mexico's independence from Spain in the 1820s to the early 1870s, a period when there is consensus that the nation's current economic underdevelopment may have originated. The chapter reviews the key characteristics of the economy of New Spain on the eve of independence and the disruptive effects of the wars of independence on economic activity. It proceeds then to focus on the constraints to economic development resulting from political instability, the decline of mining activity, foreign competition, institutional backwardness, and the lack of transport infrastructure and financial capital. It contrasts the economic programs of liberals and conservatives. It argues that, unfortunately, the coalition to forge a developmental state could not emerge because of highly antagonistic views by the politically liberal and the conservative factions on matters regarding the role of the state in the economy and the pace of political and social modernization. The failure to build a developmental coalition impeded the removal of the key obstacles to economic development in this decades.

Keywords:   New Spain economy, war of independence, political instability, conservatives and liberals, institutional backwardness

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