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What we can learn from Mexico

What we can learn from Mexico | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it

Earlier this month, the president told a newspaper the solution to partisanship is politics and more politics.


Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

Most of what we hear coming out of Mexico is from the drug trafficking, violence and murders but behind the scenes Mexico has been quietly developing. We can see here how georaphy is playing a big part in Mexico's development, because they share a boarder with the US they are able to transport products much cheaper over the boarder. One of the most interesting facts in this piece is that Mexico has trade agreements with 44 countries.     

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Kendra King's curator insight, February 2, 2015 8:37 PM

The title of this article was what enticed me as I was hoping to find an actual answer. However, based on this article alone, I don’t actually think there is much the United States can learn from Mexico about politics or economics.

 

This author failed to mention that a difference in political systems could also attribute to the new Mexican leader’s ability to obtain “endorsements from across the spectrum.”  Mexico recently had an election. The new President this article is praising is part of a party that controlled the land for 70+ years until Nieto's predecessor. His predecessor messed up with the cartels so badly that Nieto was elected back into office. Given the amount of support Nieto had going into office, it doesn't seem so challenging to negotiate with opposing parties. Plus, I doubt the opposing parts are as unreasonable as some of the United States members of congress, like the Tea Party.   

 

I also see little to glean from the manufacturing route that Mexico is on at the moment. I will admit that the projected GDP growth of 4% mentioned in the article is impressive. However, thinking that the key to economic growth in the United States is through a similar “manufacturing boom” is just out of touch with the times. As stated in class our wages can’t keep up with the cheaper wages of developing countries (a point the author eluded to in the section discussing “the three main factors at play,” factor number three). Thus, doing what Mexico is doing doesn’t fit the American economy. What the United States might try doing is finding a manufacturing niche that no one has a market on in order to obtain more jobs. Maybe something higher end or medically related would be of benefit to the United States. Even these jobs would end up comprising a small part of the United States economy because the United States is more of a white collar economy. As such, more should be done to protect that sector of our economy from things like outsourcing given its relevance to our modern economy.

 

 Overall, I think the media’s quick comparisons of other countries falls under the bad category of globalization. A fair amount of people would just use this article to say things like, if Mexico’s leader can do X Y & Z then so should Obama. Yet, many of those people wouldn’t actually think about all the differences or reasons why Obama can’t compromise or revert the economy backwards. Am I saying Obama shouldn’t try more or that I am happy with the lack of compromise by all, no. However, I think it is dangerous for journalist to gloss over the situation since many people will take them as a credible source to cite. Mind you not all journalism is bad though. The Scoop.It article I read this week regarding Walmart is a great example of how investigative journalism can have positive consequences. The major difference being one actually did their homework that cited concrete specifics, while the other made a flimsy analogy.  

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, September 22, 2015 7:44 AM

While our government is perpetually mired in gridlock, the Mexican government is making lasting reforms to their nation. News attention on Mexico is almost always negative. While the violence and the drug trade are serious issues,  not enough attention is being devoted to the rapid growth of the Mexican economy. Politicians in Mexico are coming together to create an environment for positive economic growth. The article describes three factors that are leading to the growth of the Mexican economy. The first factor is Mexico's geographic location. Being located right next door to the United States is an enormous advantage for Mexico. Industrial goods are easily and cheaply being transported across the border. The second factor is the ever controversial NAFTA. The agreement ratified during the Clinton Administration allows for Mexican goods to be sold at lower rates than their Asian counterparts. The final factor is wages. The cheap labor environment has made the nation a manufacturing hub. So what can the United States learn from Mexico? Many of their economic advantages are not applicable to our country. However, we can look to Mexico for an example of functioning government. It well past time that our political parties come together and actually try to govern our nation.

Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, October 7, 2015 1:47 PM

Wow, what an interesting article about the direction Mexico is taking off on. Their GDP is increasing and the worker's wages are surprising better than Chinese workers. Both are huge exports of good and as a younger country than China, Mexico is on it's way to manufacture and economic boom. As neighbor country to Mexico, I am curious to see the actions U.S will take to learn and mirror Mexico's growth.

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Tunneling through Andes to speed global trade

Tunneling through Andes to speed global trade | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
Bolivian and Peruvian farmers sell entire crop to meet rising western demand, sparking fears of malnutrition

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

In Argentina there is a proposed plan to build a tunnel that would be the longest tunnel in the Americas through the mountains. It would make billions of dollars worth of Chinese electronics, Chilean wine, Argentine food and Brazilian Cars cheaper and more competitive. It would save millions on shipping and safe time on shipping as well. The only pass through the Andes at the moment is in the south and gets buried in snow in the winter stranding shipments. If this is put into place many people believe that it cut travel time by a third.     

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Rachel Phillips's curator insight, May 7, 2015 12:54 PM

This is a great idea for a region that has the need to travel so much through such a tough area. Even if it will cost a lot of money to accomplish, in the long run it will save more than it costs to build.  This could change so much, and really boost their economies. Not only would it speed up shipping time and lower shipping costs, but it would allow more shipping to be done which means more business throughout the entire year as opposed to the situation now with snow getting in the way. Not only would it effect that aspect of the economy but it would also produce jobs for the time of the work being done, which is never a bad thing.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 1, 2015 8:19 AM

If this project can be accomplished, it would truly be one of the greatest engineering feats in human history. To build a railroad tunnel through the Andes mountains seems impossible, but in all likelihood with the right amount of funding, it can be done. The tunnel would have great economic benefits for both Brazil and Argentina. Goods from both countries could be shipped in both directions with out any issues. The larger world would also benefit from the train tunnel. It is estimated that the tunnel would lower the shipping costs from East Asia to the Southern Atlantic. The entire global trading market would benefit from this development.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 7, 2015 12:44 PM
Doing something such as this is a brilliant move in engineering. Making a tunnel through the Andes will connect countries together, make shipping much easier and doing so may cut the cost of goods being shipped and received. Just like the Panama Canal increased the cargo freight lining industry for shipping, this will also increase an industry for railways,.
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Belize: A Spanish Accent in an English-Speaking Country

Belize: A Spanish Accent in an English-Speaking Country | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it

"BELIZE has long been a country of immigrants. British timber-cutters imported African slaves in the 18th century, and in the 1840s Mexican Mayans fled a civil war."


Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

Because Belize was once a British colony english in the countries first language. That is quickly changing however with the immigaration of mexicans into Belize and Spanish is quickly taking over the lanuage. The country of Belize is no stranger to immigrants and they welcome them, even already seperating land in preperation. 

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Chris Costa's curator insight, September 23, 2015 2:18 PM

It's interesting to compare and contrast the reaction of Belize's English-speaking population to an influx of Spanish-speaking immigrants with that of the United States. I enjoyed reading that the welcoming of immigrants by the ruling political system has done much to lessen racial tensions, with the various ethnic groups scattered along the political spectrum. This contrasts sharping with the American political spectrum, where there is a clear racial divide between conservatives and liberals. Americans could learn a lot from Belize in this regard, although the transition has been far from smooth in the nation. Although Spanish is now taught in schools as a result of the reality of the immigration wave in the country, there is some push-back from English speaking groups. Many employees of service industries are losing their jobs to those who can offer bilingual services, as well as some other economic changes as a result of the influx of new immigrants. However, the degree of this tension is a lot lower there than it is in the United States. It will be interesting to see how this debate shapes up in the future; it could very well serve as a helpful model for American politicians.

Alex Smiga's curator insight, October 4, 2015 11:49 AM

You won't BELIZE this link.... get it.

I'm hilarious.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 6, 2015 7:48 PM

This country of Belize seems to be a very interesting place. I never knew that in Central America, there was a country who's official language is English. It is made up of a lot of retired British soldiers and North American "sun seekers." Migration into Belize comes from other place in Central America, of its 300,000 person population, 15% are foreign born. It is now becoming a very mixed country and Spanish is making a gain on English. Schools teach in English, but Spanish lessons are mandatory. A  population boom both helps and hurts the economy. Most migrants are of working age and are willing to work low wages in brutal conditions. A lot of Belizeans tell census that they are not working and with Spanish gaining ground, a lot of monopolistic people are losing jobs to those who are bilingual. Although there are frictions between ethnic groups, in general things are good and political party lines are not divided by ethnicity. 

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In Venezuela Housing Crisis, Squatters Find 45-Story Walkup

In Venezuela Housing Crisis, Squatters Find 45-Story Walkup | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
Bolivian and Peruvian farmers sell entire crop to meet rising western demand, sparking fears of malnutrition

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

This 45- story sky scraper was once supposed to be an office building, a way to show wealth. It was never finished an now is home to many of the squatters of Venezuela during their housing crisis. Because it was never finished the stairways are un light, the smell of sewage is every where and many people have walled off their terraces to prevent children from falling off.  

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Maegan Connor's curator insight, December 17, 2013 5:34 PM

The video we watched of the squatters living in an unfinished skyscraper was unlike anything I've ever seen before. In a country with such high population rates and a housing shortage, people have gotten creative and made homes in this 45 story building where they share what would have been office spaces and bathrooms.  Over 2,500 people have moved into the dilapidated skyscraper and made a home out of it for their families. They have rigged electricity that the government does not provide for them and built small stores on almost every floor.  The people have not been evicted because the government of Venezuela knows of the housing shortages, yet does not fix it.  

I feel ashamed that a country with so many oil resources has such high rates of poverty and no one is fixing it.  It shows the corruption in the government through an extreme although innovative example.

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, February 17, 2014 10:46 AM

The problems in Venezuela with housing and the lack of response to the problem by the government has led people to become squatters.  The using of the abandoned buildings was a good idea by the original squatters.  The vacant buildings can house many of the countries it is a shame that the government did not think of this solution to the housing problem and vacant building first, if they had, they could have made sure they were safer for the residence.  The idea of a vertical city springing up in this building is also an interesting one.  Not only are squatters living in these buildings but creating businesses and other services for the residence.

Jess Deady's curator insight, February 18, 2014 1:02 PM

In life, I constantly find myself comparing situations with what I read and what I know. Imagine this skyscraper is the Prudential in Boston. How could something meant to be so great fall to its death (and to peoples literal deaths)? One day there is a massive financial building occupied with bankers and lavishness. The next day there is a skyscraper in the form of a house. Housing shortages are happening everywhere and Venezuela is being hit hard in this situation. Imagine visiting this country and asking where someone lives? "Oh, I live in the Tower of David, which used to mean a whole lot more."

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How Wal-Mart Used Payoffs to Get Its Way in Mexico

How Wal-Mart Used Payoffs to Get Its Way in Mexico | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
Wal-Mart de Mexico was an aggressive and creative corrupter, offering large payoffs to get what the law otherwise prohibited, an examination by The New York Times found.

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

Walmart bribed Mexico officals $52,000 to have the zoning maps redrawn before it was published in the newspapers. So when it was published it showed the allowed area drawen in for the building of the new walmart. The building created uproar from the people. They were upset from the congested traffic and created months of hunger strikes and sit ins that made Mexican media. 

 

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James Hobson's curator insight, September 23, 2014 1:17 PM

(Mexico topic 9)

It is troubling to discover how bribery still continues to promote special interests at the expense of others and their own interests. Though other articles I have commented on discuss the improving economy and politics of Mexico, this one clearly shows an area that needs much more attention.

   Despite this, all of the fuss (though justifiable) may be slightly over-exaggerated in my opinion. Just look at the photo above: the WalMart is at least somewhat set back from the pyramids, BUT the smoke and smog from other industries fills the air right up to and all around the pyramids themselves. I think this is just as much, if not more, of an injustice to the cultural site. While one can choose whether or not to enter a store, it is impossible not to breathe in the polluted air and have one's view limited while visiting such a place.

   Lastly, although bribery is certainly something I deeply frown upon, perhaps it is slightly less "wrong" than it would be in other countries like the US. Since Mexico's government and its departments have a reputation (at least from what I've heard) of being corrupted, perhaps the only way to build a store is to offer a bribe. It would be interesting to see if this was the case with other store locations throughout Mexico.

Kendra King's curator insight, February 2, 2015 8:50 PM

Clearly it is horrible what Walmart did, but what about everyone else in this scenario? Walmart was able to damage public history and jeopardize the traffic safety of Mexico because they figured out the going price for those concepts was: a couple mayors, some INAH official, and an Urban Operations official (see article for in-depth explanations of how each was bought off). All of whom bypassed their duty to the public. See I am not surprised by the corporation’s actions. The corporation is acting for its own self-interest like many corporations have historically done. In fact, compared to the East India Company of 1800 (which had its own standing army) this is tame (see below article). I would prefer companies not to operate as such, however a company will act in such a manner so long as it is permitted. Deterring such actions falls on the fault of the officials who were so easily bought off.

 

Yet, whose job is it to police a corporation? At one point, the article mentioned that when the Mexican investigation found nothing wrong with Walmart they, “chided protesters for failing to present any specific proof.” I’m sorry, but it isn’t the protesters job to go out and find proof. That is the job of an investigator, whom I might add didn’t do a good job given the evidence the New York Times was able to amass. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) for Mexico, they probably aren’t that apt at forensic banking because they are a largely agrarian society who only relatively recently is being introduced to the corporate world. Looks like there is a whole new specialty that Mexico will need to learn soon due to globalization. I say Mexico needs to learn this also because it is mainly their job to monitor their people. I understand that this is an American company so on some level they will have to monitor their people. However, majority of the people involved in this were in Mexico. Thus, Mexico will need to deal with their side of justice and also start developing environmentally usefully laws under the new corporate rule (i.e. ones that protect historical artifacts even when the “proper” licenses have been secured.)

 

I am not looking to just pick on Mexico’s corporation problems either because we all know the United States has their fair share of corporate issues. In fact, I think it is safe to say that Walmart could have bought off people in the United States too. Think of all the tainted deals that occurred in the subprime mortgage crisis. We aren’t even sure because no one actually went after them! At least in the case of Walmart there is an investigation going on again. It will be interesting to see what the end result is though. Most times, it isn’t near what a company should get. In the United States some are literally able to get away with murder. Just look at GM's latest court dealings. I hope Mexico can do a better job than the United States when it comes to handling corporate investigations in the future.  

 

* http://www.economist.com/node/21541753

Bob Beaven's curator insight, February 5, 2015 2:32 PM

This article shows the "forced globalization" of Mexico.  I thought it was interesting how Walmart de Mexico would use such cutthroat means to build a "intermediate sized store".  Yet the Walmart officials in Mexico realized that being not too far from a major tourist attraction would help business.  There were many groups who tried to stop it from happening, but they could not stop the store from being built.  This article shows how corporate Globalization is ruthless, and it doesn't care about disobeying laws.  This article also shows that if a company is big enough, it can, in effect do whatever it pleases.  In the United States on the other hand, this type of bribery could never have happened. 

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Mass Sacrifice Found Near Aztec Temple

Mass Sacrifice Found Near Aztec Temple | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it

Below street level in Mexico City, archaeologists have found a jumble of bones dating to the 1480s.

 

In the 1970s, construction workers unearthed numerous archaeological finds as the subway was being constructed.  The Mexican government decided to clear the several block of old colonial buildings to reveal the Templo Mayor, the ancient Aztec religious center.  Not coincidentally, the Spaniards built their religious center in the same place.  During the colonial era, the indigenous residents who spoke Spanish in Mexico City still referred to this portion of the city as la pirámide.  Today more finds such as this one are continuing to help us piece together the past of this immensely rich, multi-layered place filled with symbolic value. 

 

Tags: Mexico, LatinAmerica, historical, images, National Geographic, colonialism, place and culture.


Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

This is so interesting! When you think about Mexico today we often think only about the drugs and wars and mass poverty that has consumed much of it. To think abou the true history of Meixco from the Aztecs that we are still unearthing today and learning from is amazing. Things like this helps us learn so much more about the past and tie things together. 

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Hector Alonzo's curator insight, October 26, 2014 10:00 PM

While the Aztec' civilization has been gone for a very long time, there are still traces of it resurfacing today. With the uncovering of the bones, it shows that the Aztec temple was very much in the heart of Mexico City has still has more secrets to uncover

Bob Beaven's curator insight, February 5, 2015 2:39 PM

This article shows just how varied the cultural landscape of Mexico is.  Unlike the Native populations in the US, the Aztecs had a large, flourishing civilization that was described by the first conquistadors "to match the glory of any major city in Europe."  When the Spanish eventually conquered the Aztec Civilization, they built right on top of the ruins of the old Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan.  The way that Mexico City is layered right on top of the old Aztec city, means that many human remains and ancient buildings are buried right below the modern city.  This is what makes Mexico City different than any city in the United States or Canada, the cities in these two countries were not built over massive cities that pre-dated them.

Jared Medeiros's curator insight, February 11, 2015 10:07 PM

This seems to be quite a large sacrifice that was discovered. And while it may be just that, it seems more like a mass execution, possibly performed by the Spanish when they battled with the Aztecs and put at the foot near the Aztec temple to send a message that their God could not save them.  If it is a sacrifice, its a pretty large one.

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In Honduras, Police Accused Of Corruption, Killings

The Central American nation is the most violent country in the world, according to the United Nations. A mix of drug trafficking, political instability and history adds up to a murder rate that is now four times that of Mexico.

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

Honduras is the worlds most violent country. It has a mix of drug trafficking , it is politically unstable and has a murder rate that is four times that of Mexicos. The peace corp has even withdrawn its volunteers and contributors to the violence are the poilce. One of the problems with the police corruption is that Honduras is a big drug trafficking stop, the other problem is that the US funds the Honduras police force 50 million a year.  

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Paige Therien's curator insight, February 11, 2014 1:36 PM

Honduras' role in the drug trafficking industry has increased immensely which does not mix well with their already corrupt government and police force.  However, a history of U.S. aid and security "support" is what rooted this country in violence.  Honduras' situation is spiraling out of control because the drug trafficking industry has taken advantage of its already weak state.

Amy Marques's curator insight, February 12, 2014 10:55 PM

In the news we sometimes hear about violence taking place at the border of the US and Mexico, but you never hear of the violence in Honduras. With a mix of drug trafficking, corruption, political instability and history has led to a murder rate that is now four times that of Mexico., which is pretty hard to think of since there Mexico already has a high muder right. The situation has gotten so bad that the Peace Corps has withdrawn its volunteers.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, September 24, 2015 6:53 AM

While Mexico gets all the bad press when it comes to violence and police corruption, Honduras is actually a  more violent place to be. The murder rate in the nation is four times that of Mexico. Like Mexico, the rule of law in Honduras is quite questionable. Most of the nations police force is corrupt. Many police officers are  on the payrolls of drug lords and gangs. Average citizens have no respect for law enforcement, which they view as an extension of the drug trade. A country without  the rule of law, will descend into anarchy. This situation is playing out in Honduras, to the detriment of its people.

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Latin American integration: Peaks and troughs

Latin American integration: Peaks and troughs | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it

The financial crisis surrounding the Euro has led many to feel that supranational organizations and regional coalitions are more trouble than they are worth.  The OAS (Organization of American States-which the USA is a part of) may dissolve and the CELAC might be its successor.  The CELAC's (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) emergence shows that the United States "is declining in a region it once called its 'backyard.'"  Spain is also diminishing in influence among its former colonies are forging new economic and political ties while Mexico and Brazil are exerting more regional influence. 


Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

The United States influence is delining in an area it called "its back yard". Along the financial crisis causing this, it has also begun to declin Spains influence in there former colonies as well. I think this could be a good thing as far these areas finally getting out from under other countires control even though they have been free for so long. But it could be bad because know that they are doing things on their own what will they do   

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