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Corruption in Mexico


It is difficult to examine many of the problems currently going on in Mexico without the word “corruption” being thrown around. It is assumed that most government officials, judges, and police officers are on the take, either from each other, the public, or drug cartels. How has corruption become such an ingrained part of Mexican society, and why is it so difficult – if not impossible – to stamp out?


In colonial times, the buying and selling of indulgences, of public offices and titles, military ranks trafficking, confiscation of goods, were daily practice.

All these occur between wealthy families and of course, all people linked with the Spanish crown,

Rulers, civilians and ecclesiastical always were trying to advantage complexities of bureaucratic structure to made large fortunes and got expensive properties.

After independence, the system continued because bureaucrats needed some way to make up for the shortfalls in their incomes from small tax revenues.

“In most cases there just wasn’t enough money to pay for the services people needed, so corruption developed as a means of raising revenue, although it has always been more than a way of financing government operations.

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**In modern Mexico, this system attempts to ensure that services are rendered to certain people. As in colonial times, it also attempts to make up the shortfall in salaries. Mexican government officials say that corruption is almost a necessity in Mexico to maintain order and stability. It is seen as a way of life. As long as most people feel they are getting their share – even if it is through corrupt means – then it keeps the masses happy.

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Another angle of corruption in Mexico is the dreaded “silver or lead,” meant as take the bribe or take the bullet. This is a form of corruption encouraged by fear, as opposed to social acceptance or economic survival. Many police officers in Mexico are corrupt because they or their families are physically threatened by drug trafficking organization (DTO) members.


1 Bureaucrats needed some way to make up for the shortfalls in their incomes from small tax revenues. 2 Many police officers in Mexico are corrupt because they or their families are physically threatened by drug trafficking organization (DTO) members.

Why it hasn’t been solved so far

So how does the administration, which is so committed to cleansing Mexico of this endemic corruption, accomplish this goal? The sad fact is, it can’t. Mexico is up against roughly 500 years of history ingrained into his people. It also has two other major things working against it: the economy and an organized crime crisis.

**If the average Mexican citizen could make a fair living by living fairly, then corruption wouldn’t be seen as necessary. While corruption exists in the United States (and every country, for that matter), it exists to a much smaller extent because public servants – for the most part – earn a fair salary with which they can make a living.

The Mexican economy is the 12th largest in the world, but the country has an extremely high rate of underemployment, and most people do not earn what Americans would call fair salaries for their work. Unless economic conditions in Mexico improve, the economic challenge to eliminating corruption will remain.


1. Mexico needs to implement powerful institutional solutions that change the incentive equation for government officials. Specifically, it should create a new, fully independent and well-funded anti-corruption commission to work closely with civil society to oversee, investigate and catch wrongdoing by public servants. 2. The education in Mexico is a very important point in the corruption problem, if we have an ethical and moral culture, we would have a honest and transparent country. 3. This is a work for all the Mexicans.

Cite this page

Corruption in Mexico. (2016, Mar 23). Retrieved from

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