Skip to main content

Democracy, Disillusionment, and the New Social Question: A Discussion of the Mexican Experience

  • 324 Accesses

Abstract

This chapter explores how political and economic transformations have led to the degeneration of democratic institutions and a widespread disillusionment with democracy. Ortiz Leroux’s hypothesis is that the rise of social and economic inequality is, in part, the result of a model of democracy that has centered on political equality at the expense of economic equality, which has delayed the creation of an egalitarian society. Ortiz Leroux analyzes the rise of wealth inequality in Europe and Latin America, specifically in Mexico, and examines how it has eroded representative-electoral democracy and threatened the basic principles of democracy as a form of society. Finally, Ortiz Leroux engages with Pierre Rosanvallon’s important work on democracy and the new social question by examining the possible conditions through which the principles of a society of equals might be implemented in Mexico.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-19341-6_9
  • Chapter length: 13 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   84.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-19341-6
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   109.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD   149.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Notes

  1. 1.

    Norberto Bobbio, El Futuro de la Democracia, trans. José Fernández Santillán (México: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1986), 8.

  2. 2.

    According to Samuel Huntington, modern human history has produced three democratic waves, which is to say, three series of transformation of governments from authoritarian structures to democratic ones. Huntington posits that the first of these waves began in 1828 and ended in 1926; the second began in 1942 and ended in 1962; and the third started in 1974 and was still going strong in 1990 when his research ended. The first democratic wave brought countries that constitute the typical example of Western democracy, such as the United States, England, and Switzerland, toward this system. The roots of this wave are mainly found in the French and American revolutions. In the second democratic wave, the countries were of a contrasting nature, since nations such as France, Germany, and Italy participated, as did Venezuela and The Gambia. The causes and triggers of this wave are diverse, much like the participating nations themselves. Of these, two that stand out are (1) the overthrow of Nazi and fascist movements, which explains the changes appearing in Europe, and (2) the decolonization undertaken by European powers, which explains the corresponding practices in Asia and Africa. Finally, the third wave included an even wider range of countries, such as Portugal, Spain, and Argentina, which were equally affected by a multiplicity of factors, the most outstanding being the growth of the global economy, the activity of the Catholic church, and pressure to democratize by Western countries.

  3. 3.

    Luigi Ferrajoli, Poderes Salvajes: La Crisis de la Democracia Constitucional, trans. Perfecto Andrés Ibañez (Madrid: Editorial Trotta, 2011), 15–20.

  4. 4.

    Guillermo O’Donnell, Contrapuntos: Ensayos Escogidos Sobre Autoritarismo y Democratización (Buenos Aires: Ediciones Paidós, 1999), 264.

  5. 5.

    Pierre Rosanvallon, La Contrademocracia La Política en la Era de la Desconfianza , trans. Gabriel Zadunaisky (Buenos Aires: Ediciones Manantial, 2007), 30–34.

  6. 6.

    Rosanvallon, La Sociedad de Iguales (Buenos Aires: Ediciones Manantial, 2012), 311–56.

  7. 7.

    Very few books have provoked so many reactions and expectations in the academic circuit, as well as in the cultural and intellectual world, as Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Maybe this is because the author deals one more time—with clarity and by the means of a powerful database—with a classic subject: the connection between democracy and inequality. Thomas Piketty, El Capital en el Siglo XXI, trans. Arthur Goldhammer (México: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2014), 34–40.

  8. 8.

    Piketty, El Capital en el Siglo, 36.

  9. 9.

    Sergio Ortiz Leroux and Jesús Carlos Morales Guzmán, “Presentación. Dossier: ¿Tiene futuro la democracia? Razones y Sinrazones del Desencanto Democrático,” Andamios: Revista de Investigación Social 13, no. 30 (January-April 2016), 7–9.

  10. 10.

    Piketty, El Capital en el Siglo, 36.

  11. 11.

    Piketty, El Capital en el Siglo, 36.

  12. 12.

    Piketty, El Capital en el Siglo, 38.

  13. 13.

    Piketty, El Capital en el Siglo, 40.

  14. 14.

    I am referring to the commercial and residential district called Santa Fe and to the popular neighborhoods as well as to the old original towns in the surrounding area: San Mateo Tlaltenango and Santa Rosa Xochiac (the poor neighborhoods) and Santa Fe itself (the wealthy neighborhood). The contrast between these two worlds can be seen, though not without some ingenuity, in the Mexican film called Amarte Duele (It Hurts to Love You) in which Martha Higareda plays Renata, a high-class girl, and Luis Fernando Peña plays Ulises, a low-class boy.

  15. 15.

    Gerardo Esquivel Hernández, Desigualdad Extrema en México: Concentración del Poder Económico y Político (México: Oxfam, 2015), 41.

  16. 16.

    Credit Suisse, “Global Wealth Report 2014,” Global Wealth Report, October 2014, 28–37.

  17. 17.

    Luigi Ferragoli has pointed out that the crisis and involution of constitutional democracy are the results of the degradation of the traditional relation between politics and economy. We do not have a public and political government of the economy anymore, but a private and economic government of politics. States, by the means of their policies, are not in control of markets and businesses anymore; they do not impose their rules, limits, and entailments on markets and businesses in order to guard the general interests. On the contrary, it is the markets (i.e. some thousands of financial speculators) that control and govern national states; they impose their antidemocratic and antisocial policies so to favor private interests.

  18. 18.

    Empirical evidence shows how the most disadvantaged individuals are affected, insofar as their opportunity to take part in decision-making, including the political right to vote, is diminished. Andreas Schedler, “El voto es nuestro. Cómo los ciudadanos mexicanos perciben el clientelismo electoral,” Revista Mexicana de Sociología 66, no. 1 (2017): 57–97; Rocío Annunziata, “La democracia exigente. La teoría de la democracia de Pierre Rosanvallon,” Andamios. Revista de Investigación Social 13, no. 30 (January–April): 39–62.

  19. 19.

    According to a survey by the Interior Ministry of Mexico, citizens in Mexico have little trust in the main state institutions: the presidency, judicial power, and representatives and senators. (1) To the question, “How much do you trust the President of the Republic?” 23.4 percent replied “much”; 36.1 percent answered “not so much”; 26.6 percent said “a little”; and 11.4 percent said “not at all.” (2) To the question, “How much do you trust judges and law courts?” 7.3 percent replied “much”; 26.9 percent answered “not so much”; 33.7 percent said “a little”; and 22.1 percent said “not at all.” (3) To the question, “In general terms, do you approve or disapprove the way federal representatives do their job?” 8 percent replied “much”; 34.9 percent answered “not so much”; 12.5 percent said they neither approve or disapprove; 20.8 percent said they strongly disapprove; and 14.1 percent said they partially disapprove. (4) To the question, “In general terms, do you approve or disapprove the way senators do their job?” 7.9 percent replied “much”; 34.8 percent answered “not so much”; 12.3 percent said they neither approve or disapprove; 20.2 percent said they strongly disapprove; and 14.3 percent said they partially disapprove. “Encuesta Nacional sobre Cultura Política y Prácticas Ciudadanas (2012),” Secretaría de Gobernación, Accessed December 11, 2017, http://www.encup.gob.mx/work/models/Encup/Resource/69/1/images/Resultados-Quinta-ENCUP-2012.pdf.

  20. 20.

    Annunziata, “La Democracia Exigente,” 42.

  21. 21.

    Rosanvallon, La Sociedad de Iguales, 15.

  22. 22.

    Rosanvallon, La Sociedad de Iguales, 15.

  23. 23.

    Rosanvallon, La Sociedad de Iguales, 15.

  24. 24.

    Rosanvallon, La Sociedad de Iguales, 26.

  25. 25.

    Annunziata, “La democracia exigente,” 42.

  26. 26.

    Rosanvallon, La Sociedad de Iguales, 325.

  27. 27.

    Rosanvallon, La Sociedad de Iguales, 319.

  28. 28.

    Rosanvallon, La Sociedad de Iguales, 320.

  29. 29.

    Rosanvallon, La Sociedad de Iguales, 325.

  30. 30.

    Rosanvallon, La Sociedad de Iguales, 331.

  31. 31.

    Rosanvallon, La Sociedad de Iguales, 331.

  32. 32.

    Rosanvallon, La Sociedad de Iguales, 339.

  33. 33.

    Rosanvallon, La Sociedad de Iguales, 340.

  34. 34.

    José Woldenberg, Cartas a Una Joven Desencantada con la Democracia (México: Editorial Sexto Piso, 2017), 25–32.

  35. 35.

    In 2018, presidential elections took place in Mexico, and the electoral coalition “Por México al Frente” (“Forward for Mexico”), composed of the following political parties, Acción Nacional, de la Revolución Democrática, and Movimiento Ciudadano, endorsed this proposal.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sergio Ortiz Leroux .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2020 The Author(s)

About this chapter

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Ortiz Leroux, S. (2020). Democracy, Disillusionment, and the New Social Question: A Discussion of the Mexican Experience. In: Frausto, O., Powell, J., Vitale, S. (eds) The Weariness of Democracy. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-19341-6_9

Download citation