Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Not feeling the cheer: Mexico's minimum wage

Among the more ambitious clauses of the Mexican constitution is Article 123, which mandates the provision of a living wage for Mexican workers. After a predictably nasty legislative battle in the Mexican congress, the government has raised the minimum wage to just under 60 pesos a day. That translates to less than $5 dollars a day (about US$4.80 at current exchange rates, to be more specific, with slight variations by region). Consider that figure, in a country where perhaps half of its citizens work in the informal economy and the narcos can recruit at will from among the so-called ni-ni (those that neither work nor study) and one finds the snow machines at the malls and the Hummers with reindeer ears and the garish decorations of the wealthy neighbors rivaling those in that horrible Tim Allen movie some years ago to make one feel slightly sick to one's eggnog.

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