By Lauren Etter. "In Ciudad Juárez, along the U.S.-Mexico border at the foot of the Sierra Madre, a dark blue Range Rover winds through the empire built by Jaime Bermúdez Cuarón. The vehicle is carrying two of the 94-year-old real estate magnate’s sons and two of his adult grandchildren; bodyguards follow in two cars. Juárez isn’t besieged by drug cartel violence quite like it was a decade ago, but the elite are still targets. And the Bermúdezes, who’ve amassed a fortune establishing Mexico’s central role in the rise of globalization, are most definitely elite.
The caravan passes hulking factories, one after another on the creosote-and-cactus-lined streets. Each has its own concrete or iron enclosure and bears a company name on the side—Eagle Ottawa, Capcom, Copper Dots, Microcast, Filtertek—like individual fiefdoms flying their coats of arms. These are the mostly invisible weavers, processors, builders, molders, and sorters that power the global economy. They’re the brands behind the brands. The guts inside the things. These factories are churning out leather seats, light-emitting diodes, heart stents, plastic ice buckets, smartphone screens, steering shafts. Most of the pieces will be shipped on, sometimes crossing several borders and multiple plant floors, before becoming part of a finished consumer product." Continue reading