THE REVOLUTIONARY OPTION
mining and one-third industrial. To achieve this goal, the State took the initiative
in the establishment or expansion of certain industries. But in most cases, it
waited for private enterprise to carry out the undertakings. For this purpose, and
in accordance with classical liberal reasoning, the State proposed to create
favorable climate" for private enterprise, and this was to be done, naturally, by
the classical means: political and social stability; inflexible wage rates; low taxes;
easy credit and other secondary aids.
The State was not mistaken either in its initial reasoning or in the methods
it used to achieve industrialization, for it is estimated that in effect 60"70 of indus-
trial investment to date comes from private sources. But the State made several
important errors which have finally led to the situation in which we now find
ourselves. One was that it never drew up a general framework of the industrial
activities which were most suitable for the country, so that private enterprise
would only undertake those that fitted into that general framework. In the sec-
ond place, the State has been unsuccessful in restricting inflation so that the real
wages of the labor force have clearly diminished, and it is the workers who ulti-
mately are paying for the industrial progress of Mexico. In the third place, as an
inevitable consequence, economic influence has begun to be converted into politi-
cal influence, so that the State today would have difficulty in taking a fundamen-
tal economic policy measure without consulting the country's great banking and
industrial firms or, in fact, without counting on their approval beforehand. For
these reasons and some others quite as important, the final outcome is that while
16% of the Mexican families get 50% of the national income, 46% of those
families got only one-seventh of such income.
I must add one word, not about the political or economic strength of the
government, but about its moral authority.
has been at a low point for several
years, and for many reasons. One of them is the most important, however. All
men participating in the country's public life, all politicians, as they are com-
monly named, talk as if we were living in 1920, 1928 or 1938 at the latest. They
talk as if the Mexican Revolution were very much alive, as if its original goals
were still prevailing, as if large and small government policies were inspired and
adopted to reach those goals in the shortest possible time and to the fullest possi-
seems, however, that moral authority usually rests on the man
whose deeds match his word and whose words do not go beyond his deeds.
This situation explains why there has been a considerable weakening of the
popular meaning and nationalist note found in the Mexican Revolution during
its best period.