‘Echaleganismo’, a false illusion towards mexican progress  

"'Echaleganismo' represents a false illusion towards Mexican progress, that the only thing it does is that we conform as a society and accept inequality, which may be resolved as long as we put enough effort."
Por Antonio López
Sep 7, 2022

Today I will talk about a book that will help us unmask the lie of “echaleganismo” (a Mexican word that reflects the meritocracy culture which makes you think that if you put great effort, you’ll succeed, it doesn’t matter the circumstances where you have lived), which represents a false illusion towards Mexican progress, that the only thing it does is that we conform as a society and accept inequality, which may be resolved as long as we put enough effort.

“If they could, so could we”.

As we have already discussed in this space (here), inequality is one of the biggest problems humanity faces in the 21st century, after Climate Change. It’s a problem that is multidimensional; it’s not only economic, it is also about gender and race. Being multidimensional and systemic, it affects the functioning of a society in many ways. When there is inequality, the social fabric is weakened, resulting in violence, discrimination, social and economic injustice, poverty, etc.

It is important that we all get interested in this problem and deconstruct much of what we have been taught about inequality. Especially since in recent years, from the neoliberal wave that has dominated the world, we have been taught that if you “stick to it”, you can progress.

Society presents us these characters who, based on effort, have achieved great things and we think that “if they could, so could we”. We have been taught that, whoever is successful (mainly economically) is because she/he deserves it, because she/he made an effort. It’s even common to hear opinions such as “the poor are poor because they want to”, which tells us of a complete ignorance about the reality of inequality and poverty.



This is a reality that is strongly experienced in the Mexican context.

Which is characterized by being highly unequal and unfair (socially and economically). Likewise, this is a reality that has not gone unnoticed by the gaze and social nose of the renowned Mexican economist, Raymundo Campos Vázquez, an academic at El Colegio de México, who has a doctorate from the University of Berkeley (during his doctorate he was mentored by Emmanuel Saez, French and American economist, great friend and colleague of Thomas Piketty, whom we have already talked about here.). 

Through his book, “Inequalities. Why does a more egalitarian country benefit us?” . Campos Vázquez seeks to explain the complexity of Mexican inequalities, in such a way that we can better understand this phenomenon and disprove the myths of neoliberalism, such as “echaleganismo” and false meritocracy.

How can we fight Mexican inequalities?

It is a book that is divided into nine chapters, through which Campos Vázquez analyzes the different types of inequalities, as well as their consequences (did you know that much of the anxiety and stress that we currently have in society is a social consequence of inequality?).

Similar to the works of Thomas Piketty, Campos Vázquez uses history as an analytical tool to explain this phenomenon. Which allows us to understand that inequality is a problem that has affected Mexico for more than 500 years, nowadays, 3 of every 4 Mexicans will never get out of poverty.

It’s a book that is worth reading since it is not possible to solve what is not known. And it is precisely through this book that we can learn more about this phenomenon, about which myths, such as “echaleganismo”, revolve around it, a false illusion that makes us believe that personal success and well-being depend only on our ability to make an effort or not. Likewise, the author presents proposals and points of reflection that help us to think of alternatives.

How can we fight Mexican inequalities? You have to read the book!

Antonio López

Antonio López

Founder of The Bookish Man.
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