Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tortilla Economics in Mexico

Labor-intensive maize production in Mexico (traditionally done by women), has been replaced with mechanized tortilla production. Consequently, Mexican society has opted for economic upward mobility in exchange for flavor:
Mexican women that I have talked to are very explicit about this trade-off. They know it doesn't taste as good; they don't care. Because if they want to have time, if they want to work, if they want to send their kids to school, then taste is less important than having that bit of extra money, and moving into the middle class. They have very self-consciously made this decision. In the last ten years, the number of women working in Mexico has gone up from about thirty-three percent to nearly fifty percent. One reason for that - it's not the only reason, but it is a very important reason - is that we've had a revolution in the processing of maize for tortillas.

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