This is an important book on the political role of the Mexican private sector which is significantly more ambitious than many others and theoretically more so than Camp’s previous work. It sets out to illuminate the role of noneconomic variables such as elite attitudes, historical experiences, and traditional roles in shaping government/private sector relations.

Camp presents data for two hundred leading entrepreneurs on place of origin, parents’ socioeconomic background, level and location of education, and type of entrepreneurial career, which indicate there is little upward mobility. These data from interviews suggest that Mexican entrepreneurs have a negative self-image which limits their political influence, and a comparison of the values of entrepreneurs and politicians intimates that there are differences between the two groups. Camp takes this as evidence that power-elite theories are not valid for Mexico. Data on career paths suggest further that the exchange of personnel between the public and private sectors is relatively low compared with the United States and has not increased recently. A chapter on the role of entrepreneurs in government policymaking indicates that they believed they had considerable influence before 1980, but have been losing ground to labor since. Analysis of private-sector leadership reveals that Mexico’s leading business families are not directly represented in the government. The hook also presents new information on interlocking directorates which confirms the large role played by conglomerates and family-held corporations. The author concludes that this cohesiveness is a source of both strength and weakness (providing unity for negotiation and a target for small- and medium-sized entrepreneur resentment).

Theoretically, the book sets out to confirm that the Mexican state is relatively autonomous and that entrepreneurs are only one of several groups influencing it. Yet it shows that entrepreneurs had the strongest influence over policymaking before 1980. Camp also argues that personal values and attitudes play an important role in explaining private-sector behavior, but we are not given the data to allow us to weigh attitudes and values against competing factors, such as economic interest, In fact, the role of corporate size is mentioned as shaping attitudes toward the state and explaining divisions within the business sector.