Economics Paper on Patterns of Corruption in Mexico

From a historical perspective, the latest signs of extensive corruption in Mexico, the public’s perception of it, and the recent efforts to stop it is not a new case. Illegal enrichment by Mexican presidents, senior leaders, and labor as well as peasant officials has become a matter of political legend: a legacy depicted in the common Mexican saying `Un politico pobre es un pobre politico’ (a poor politician is a politician who is poor). There have been several cases of corruption in the great Mexican administration for a long time.

Trust is the cause and effect of corruption: lack of trust in other people and political institutions is the main causal component triggering corruption. Corruption promotes low levels of political trust and destroys regime legitimacy. The views of corruption have a deeply negative effect on trust in political institutions. The encounter of corruption and its view reduces the public’s trust in its national institutions. Distrust nurtures a soft or compliant attitude towards corruption and strengthens a person’s involvement in corruption (Ionescu 184).

There are increased rates of corruption in the Mexican law enforcement. Such high levels of corruption among 400,000 robust Mexican police is a hindrance to the state’s success. Mexico has strived to eradicate the corruption and transform the institutions. Bribery and political corruption affect the major processes of democracy and impact the rule-making aspects of public policy-making (Ionescu 185). Corruption is the main cause of low-quality democracy. Corruption in Mexico City happens at the crossroads of the public and private domains. Mexico City citizens think that corruption is prevalent and is rooted in the government and the police force. Efforts to control corruption need to be accompanied by determinations to alter public expectations. Various kinds of corruption lead to low public expectations of the police force. La mordida (the bite), a small amount of money offered to a police officer by an ordinary citizen to settle a conflict, is the most obvious type of corruption in the Mexico City police force (Ionescu 186).

Enforcement techniques prevent corruption by raising the anticipated costs of being corrupt. Bribery and coercion are the most common and outstanding types of corruption. They greatly influence the public’s opinions regarding the police in Mexico City. No thorough tactic for anticorruption reform in the Mexico City police force has been established. “When corruption is widespread, as in the Mexico City police force, uncoordinated reforms targeted at only one specific form of corruption cannot adequately address the culture and public perceptions of police corruption” (Ionescu 186). Corruption is manifested in transaction costs, ambiguity, and lower output throughout the country. If individuals believe that the institution is integrally corrupt as in the Mexican City police, they will consider the perception as a point of exit for all the confrontations with the police. Therefore, they will be motivated to bribe or bargain with police officers.

Political Corruption in Mexico

Scandals, tales, formal reports, the language of politicians, reviews, scholarly examination, and common legend show that corruption permeates Mexico, traversing the nation, the levels of government, and the years. The Transparency International’s 2005 Global Corruption Barometer reports that 31% of Mexican households offered bribes in the year 2009 (Morris 1).

Approximations indicate that the nation dedicates 9-12% of its gross domestic product to bribes. The small and medium-sized firms spend US$43 billion yearly to reduce the administrative red tape, and 10% of expenditure on public contracts is channeled to corruption (Morris 1).

Mexico’s unique authoritarian political system explains the fundamental causes, effects, and patterns of corruption afflicting the nation. The corruption is connected to the relative stability of state and social forces. The supremacy of one political party, the personal, meta-constitutional powers of the president, the prohibition of reelection, and the weak and passive legislative and judicial units destroyed the conventional systems of accountability as well as the rule of law in Mexico. This promoted a model of corruption that led to the regime’s durability. The structural imbalances helped the president to utilize corruption in cementing the bonds uniting the political elite. He appreciated those conforming to the informal rules of the game and penalized those who opposed the system (Morris 2).

By manipulating the lawful allegations of corruption and episodic, ritualistic anticorruption crusades or social purifications, the president utilized the claims of corruption to eliminate his political enemies and acquire legality while concurrently separating his administration from those of his precursors. The process facilitated the renewal of common faith in the government as well as the principles of the Mexican Revolution. It cultivated the government’s reformist qualifications to control the rate and the requirements of political change (Morris 2).

Corruption has been regarded a characteristics feature of the Mexican political system for a long time. The present Mexican history has many scandals, high-levels of laxatives and blames as well as properly schemed anti-corruption campaigns. Corruption has existed since the time of paying the mordida (lower-level bribes or coercion) to police or officials, or buying an amparo (a form of order) from judges, to the theft of millions by senior leaders (Morris 3). However, regardless of clear continuity, the latest corruption scandals indicate that the practice has surpassed the past levels and boundaries, hitting a more delicate public nerve and weakening political stability. The Mexican state has lacked the checks and independent sources of power required to compel its legislators to conduct themselves according to the rules that support their positions.

The Criminal Corruption of the Mexican State

What the students of the Rural Teacher College of Ayotzinapa in the state of Guerrero faced is not the outcome of the craziness of a primitive and immature violent culture that enjoys killing itself. It is an example of corruption, pessimism, impunity, and violation that arises from globalized capitalism. On 28 September 2014, a newspaper headline reported dead students and others that vanished in the state of Guerrero. The Municipal President of Iguala, the city of the state of Guerrero ruled by the Party of the Democratic Revolution, which was the largest party of the Mexican left wing, was suspected for having been involved in the disappearance and probable death of 43 young students. Rural schools in Mexico are considered areas where civil opposition and poor individuals’ struggle are usually centered. The schools have insecure conditions, always threatened by local governments as they stand for the only ALTERNATIVE group opposed to the corrupt and dictatorial control of the three governmental spheres: federal, state, and municipal (Jimenez 120).

On the night of Friday, 26 September, three buses were heading to Mexico City from Ayotzinapa. They carried 43 students who were going to attend the commemoration of the students that were murdered by the government in October 1968 in Tlatelolco. The municipal police stopped the convoy when it was traversing Iguala. The police shot and killed several students, including the travelers of another bus that was carrying members of a local soccer team (Jimenez 120).

Numerous national administration, governing bodies, and people of the state were aware that the municipal president was among the major leaders of the drug cartel called ‘United warriors’ and understood that his extreme enriching was as a result of kidnappings and drug trafficking. The politician had also been accused of having instructed the killing of a political leader of the Municipality of Iguala (Jimenez 120).

In Mexico, different drug cartels, the federal government, local governments, business, and financial interests as well as national and international banks are involved in a battle. In each fight, the main victim is the civil population: abductions, killings, civil rights disruptions, mistreatments, robberies, bribes and involuntary recruiting among others. Mexico’s death toll is larger than that of Iraq and various regions of the world. It is estimated that more than 30, 000 people have been reported missing in the last two decades in Mexico (Jimenez 121).

The civilian population has experienced the cruelties of life; of living between killings, shootings, secret graves, executions, whipping, and hangings carried out by all parties. Moreover, the army as well as the police have not always fully conformed to the laws to safeguard the society. Sadly, they are usually the main killers and culprits of several murders, for example, the incident of Ayotzinapa where the municipal police of Iguala presented the students to the hit men of the ‘united warrior’ cartel. The population is defenseless against the several levels of government, the planned offenses, army, and police. Besides, citizens are manipulated and compelled to engage in illegal activities (Jimenez 121).

Although the latest electoral/political developments in Mexico signify a significant element in handling the existing feature of the political system, a lot needs to be done regarding stimulating an open system, sealing political loopholes, developing effective checks on administrative power, and enhancing honesty within an autonomous judiciary. Mexico’s positive trends in terms of democratization can simply present the opportunity for controlling corruption. However, in the short-term, instead of preventing corruption, the political trends have contributed to the weakening of the rule of law, rising insecurity, and intensifying political corruption.



Works Cited

Ionescu, Luminita. “Mexico’s pervasive culture of corruption.” Economics, Management and Financial Markets 6.2 (2011): 182.

Jimenez, Marco A. “Ayotzinapa 43: The criminal corruption of the Mexican state.” (2016): 119-122.

Morris, Stephen D. Political corruption in Mexico: The impact of democratization. Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2009.