I am a developer in Spain (Europe not Mexico or Africa...) and undoubtedly, wages are not up to scratch ( not even the boss makes 60K here in Spain ). What I really find sickening is, in fact, the higer up the "chain of command" the worse the technical skills. I am sure many of you out there have seen plenty of this ( I have never seen different in my 5 year career ). Therefore, who would be in the right position to evaluate the performance and/or productivity equation stated ?
However, prospects are not so bleak. While I have choosen to remain a wage slave (due to my insecurity and lack of experience regarding personal endeavours ), my experience is that if you are willing to work hard and have valuable skills you will never be in lack of job offers, and you will always have the choice of taking a break from toiling away for someone else ( economic crisis permitting ) and you will always be free to move from company to company ( in fact, only in one occassion did I stay for more than a year in the same company ).
While being a programmer, I've also translated books into Spanish and worked as a .Net trainer for third companies. I do not consider myself a .net guru or the best of translators, but i firmly believe that hard work and self-discipline ( with the aim to continuously improve ) will get you there. You will strike a difference against people who crumble into their sofa in the evening and never hone their skills.
However, debt is slavery. I have always held that line of thought. That's why I prefer to "slavetoil" more hours ;)