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The Nature and Significance of Transborder Cooperation in the Mexico-U.S. Borderlands: Some Empirical Evidence

Niles Hansen


The Mexico-United States border region is a meeting place, a transition zone between two great civilizations. Numerous studies have highlighted the many interdependencies that exist between the Mexican and U.S. borderlands. Some critics have emphasized the "threat" that inexpensive Mexican labor represents to workers on the U.S. side. Others, emphasizing the economic disparities between the Mexican and U.S. sides, have argued that asymmetric interdependence has in fact placed the Mexican side in an unfavorable state of dependency. The dependency issue also arises in terms of cultural relations. In particular, much has been made of the inroads that U.S.-influenced values, expressions, and models of consumption have made among the people of the frontera norte. In view of the differences in living standards between the United States and Mexico, as well as the history of U.S. interference in Mexico's internal affairs, it can easily be understood why dependency is an important issue in Mexico. Nevertheless, the eminent Mexican scholar, Victor Urquidi (1979:27) has forcefully argued that "The only area where there is perhaps a balanced mutual dependence is along the 2,000 miles of the fairly open U.S.-Mexico border. A way of life has developed there that benefits inhabitants and businesses on both sides of the border."

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229