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As a part of its modernization program in the 1930s, the government of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) adopted a state-led effort to replace imports with locally manufactured products protected by tariffs and fomented via subsidies and tax breaks. By some measures, this gambit succeeded spectacularly: the Mexican economy grew at an annual rate of over 6 percent between 1940 and 1970, prompting giddy talk of a “Mexican Economic Miracle.” Part VI examines the contradictions of this alleged miracle, deliberately seeking to illustrate the darker side of Mexican modernization. Many of the readings are graphic and disturbing in their focus on the impoverishment of the countryside, the Distrito Federal’s burgeoning slums, the government’s blatant corruption, and degraded environment—all of which have often been shrugged off as the inevitable “costs of modernization.” Meanwhile, age-old problems such as racial and ethnic discrimination festered, seemingly untouched by new, progressive attitudes.

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