Buying Happiness in Mexico

REGINA: As young Mexicans abandon the pueblos and move to the cities and across the US border in search of work, are they becoming more consumeristic?


Matthew Cullinan Hoffman: Based on my conversations with Mexicans and my personal impressions of the country, the answer is that yes, Mexicans are becoming more materialistic and consumeristic as a result of the constant influence of corporate advertising and the international economy in general.


Frank and Irene Denke: We would assume so, as the ads in Mexico we hear daily are very “consumerist” already, and those seeking a “better life” (more money to buy more things) bring to the States with them what they have already heard advertised in Mexico every day.


Ricardo Lara and Nathaly Robles: In Mexican little towns the poverty is big, many kids grow up with a feeling of they are not important because they have no possessions, so when they grow and move from the pueblo, and have some money, they try to prove to themselves that they are important. They have the need to show off.


Maria Albers: Absolutely, but there are two different aspects to consider. Consumerism has changed the Mexico I once knew. I have lived in the US since 1988, and the last time I was there a couple of years ago, I was shocked to see a very different culture, particularly among younger generations. A lot of people in Mexico are so preoccupied with having the latest of everything, and even the language is being morphed into a new style of ‘Spanglish’ with a lot of English expressions being used in daily speech to show that they are ‘better’ because they speak English. This makes many Mexicans feel better about themselves and even superior to other Mexicans. Ridiculous, I know, but true.

As for those who cross the border to work in the US, their consumeristic behavior stems from a different reason, which is necessity and the excitement of being able to finally obtain what they barely or never had back in Mexico. They are not only enjoying many commodities for the first time, but also they are able to give meat and milk to their kids daily, which might not be possible in Mexico. Granted that some may go overboard, but there’s still something that I admire about them: they share what they earn and acquire, they help each other here and their loved ones in Mexico, they don’t act superior to each other and they never forget who they are and where they came from.


Fr Jonathan Romanoski: Regarding the younger generations we see the prevalence more and more of secularism and relativism, in which they are inculcated more and more via globalism, namely perceiving via the internet and pop culture that it is the norm already established in other cultures like the United States, and that therefore Catholicism is just a cultural tradition of Mexico, and not the truth that God has revealed but rather one cultural opinion among many. At the same time they see that there are less and less morals, more and more insecurity and crime, and this inclines them to pray to God.

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