At the dawn of the 21st century, neoliberalism is the predominant political and economic model in the world, and the neoliberal model impacts every level of society. Neoliberalism, which emphasizes the importance of economic growth measured by GNP and the removal of economic decisions from the political sphere, manifests itself through the international capitalist market, which is effectively controlled by transnational corporations that exercise various levels of monopoly influence. A series of political and economic institutions, including the World Trade Organization, NAFTA, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, manage this World System (as described by Immanuel Wallerstein in World System Theory). These organizations function under a ruling class consensus that transcends borders and nation-states. The process of globalization - defined as the rapid and unprecedented introduction of new communication and transportation technologies that quickly link most parts of the globe - means that the neoliberal model is rapidly reaching every corner of the earth, though not without substantial resistance and struggle.
While giving the appearance of a powerful hegemony, the neoliberal model is built on increasingly shaky ground, including shrinking democratic spaces, unsuccessful attempts at cultural hegemony under the guise of "modernization," and a distorted distribution of wealth that has no historic precedent. The majority of the world's people are in a savage "race to the bottom" - poorer today than they were three decades ago - and no amount of neoliberal propaganda can hide this stark reality.
For the past four decades, the US-Mexico relationship has been the most important laboratory for the neoliberal model, a sort of proving grounds for corporate-centered globalization. The implications of this experiment will be felt for generations to come, both North and South.