Mexico enjoyed a miracle of sorts when its gross domestic product tripled from 1940 to 1960, with manufacturing taking the lead. Much of this heady progress stemmed from the adoption of import substitution, begun earlier as simple ad hoc measures taken to shield particular local industries. The architects of these halcyon days were the magnates of industry and banking, and their allies in politics. With industrialization, Mexico would be proudly capitalistic, a paradise for private enterprise and a haven for the laws of supply and demand. Manuel Ávila Camacho, a disciple of the “free market,” went out of his way to restore the confidence of foreign investors. It was a rosy era for the burguesía, when admirers saw Mexican capitalism on the front lines of the battle against underdevelopment. All the same, the road was rocky. Corruption, never absent from the Mexican scene, took on a life of its own. Ultimately, the limited size of the Mexican market, more than any other roadblock, drove a spike into the heart of the miracle.
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