Living in America, our perceptions of the tribulations of other countries tend to be blinded. Unless it is shown in the news, or we are introduced to it in some other form, we may never become acquainted with issues that do not directly involve us as Americans. Such is the situation in the area of Mexico known as the Maquiladoras.
The Maquiladora is an area of Mexico that extends along the United States and Mexican borders (Fig. 1). In this area, companies from other countries such as Korea, Japan, and the United States (Fig.2) embark to build their assembly plants and flourish on the low labor rates. "Maquiladoras" are foreign owned manufacturing plants that rely on cheap Mexican labor.
The unemployment rate was high in Mexico in the 1960's. To fix this issue, the plan was to draw in American corporations that would build their companies in Mexico. In order to ascertain new businesses in this area, Mexico had to make changes that resulted in lower wages and a lower standard of living than the United States were accustomed to.
This, Mexico hoped, would create enough of an incentive to draw in bigger corporations that would create new jobs.
As of May 2003 the average Maquiladora wage was roughly $2.25 a day, averaging about $440.00 monthly. In some companies the wages could be up to $3.85 per day, even though the mandated minimum wage is $4.20 per day. At the same time, while compared to US wages, $2.25 a day was low, the average wage had already risen 7% in the first half of 2002. If the trend continues this way, it will make it even harder to compete with Asians that average only $0.75 a day in wages. Some of the Maquiladoras have attempted unionization in their choice of...