This booklet consists of a collection of five essays, all but one of which have been previously published by the author in Mexican journals over the years since 1951. Only the final essay entitled “Situación actual de la economía mexicana, 1925-1964” appears to have been prepared for inclusion in the volume under review— and it consists of some commonplace observations on the slackening of the rate of Mexican economic growth during the period 1955-1964. Since the other essays are concerned with developments prior to 1955 (except for one on the behavior of the price level, which was updated prior to reprinting), presumably the author felt compelled to add something in an attempt to justify publication of the collection.
This is not to say that the individual essays lack any interest, but rather to raise the question as to whether they warrant republication, especially considering the much superior analyses of the secular and cyclical behavior of the Mexican economy which have recently appeared.
The first and last essays constitute something of a unit and contain the author’s appraisal of Mexican economic development for the periods 1925-1955 and 1955-1964. The approach is highly conventional, consisting essentially of observations based on the national income accounts and on statistical indicators of agricultural and industrial production, foreign trade, population growth, and behavior of the money supply and price level. The remaining three essays are concerned, respectively, with an appraisal of cyclical movements in the aggregative time series data (originally published in 1951), a study of the growth vs. stability dimension of Mexican experience (originally published in 1958), and a review of the behavior of the general price level (originally published in 1953, but updated).
The main point emphasized by the author in the introduction is that “the cyclical fluctuation of the Mexican economy is nothing more than the acceleration or retardation of economic development” (p. 8). Elsewhere he emphasizes the somewhat more interesting points that the rate of Mexican economic growth has been governed to a greater extent by external forces than by internal factors; that manipulation of the level of domestic investment has been the basic means for attempting to influence both growth and stability; that monetary policy has been the principal instrument available for this purpose; and that the high degree of income inequality in Mexico has served to reduce domestic purchasing power and thereby to inhibit the rate of economic development. The one positive recommendation made by the author is that the government should devise fiscal policies in order to achieve a better distribution of income.