The Archetypal Merchant in the 1889 Mexican Commercial Code

Raúl Iturralde González

Abstract

When creating laws, legislators bear in mind the subjects whose activities are to be regulated. This mental picture will affect the regulation of both, the subjects and their activities. Different perceived characteristics can be regulated in various ways. While the laws that regulated commerce in Mexico before 1889 were based on the concept of an honest merchant, the Commercial Code enacted by then President Díaz had a different archetypal merchant. Since 1889, commercial laws in Mexico have been enacted based on the idea of an untrustworthy merchant, someone who needs to be regulated and controlled, which has created a regulatory system riddled with unnecessary costs. Through the study of cases decided shortly after the enactment of the 1889 Code, the change in the perception of merchants and commerce becomes apparent. These cases show the strict application of rules in lieu of commercial customs and practices, and the idea of protecting those who are not merchants in their dealings from those who are. However, these ideas should be eliminated from commercial laws. The laws that regulated commerce in Mexico before the 1889 Code offer an excellent starting point for the reform of commercial laws. Laws that assume that merchants are honest and capable of regulating their own affairs will advance commerce in Mexico, which would in turn allow the country to become an innovator (as opposed to a follower) in commercial matters.

Keywords

Archetype; commerce; merchant; customs and practices

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