Since late 80s, when Mexico started its transition to an outward development model, the city of Guadalajara stated the project of becoming a “new Silicon Valley” by attracting large electronic multinational companies and setting up programs to develop local producers of high tech components and software. In addition to tax waivers, subsidized land and services, urban infrastructure and credit programs, the local government confronted two central tasks: a) the discursive construction of the labor force as the “ideal” (right level of skills, flexible and disciplined); b) how to facilitate companies’ access to different pools of labor force: from professional engineers to low-skill assembling workers. The paper explores the local government’s attempts to solve these issues between 1995 and 2000, and what were the contradictions and unintended consequences of its strategy.
It speaks to the general question of what are the specific characteristics of the “silicon valley dream” in third world cities, by pointing out [schematically] what commonalities this case has with other high tech projects in LDCs (e.g. Bangalore, India and South Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), and what it says about the “transference” of the labor market model that Silicon Valley implies.