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Underdevelopment, extractivism, and conflict in the Global South and the role of systemic alternatives

Barbara Magalhães Teixeira

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Conjuntura Austral, Journal of the Global South


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A condition of underdevelopment has marked the nations of the Global South since the Second World War. The search for development and for economic growth has made countries in the Global South dependent on global markets and international investment, and have made their environment and nature hostage to capitalist exploration. The process of development and of economic growth, coupled with the history of colonization and dependency present violent processes and structures that are source to conflict and instability all over the Global South. This article critically assesses the relationsh ip between underdevelopment and the exploitation of the environment in the Global South and the violent outcomes that it reproduces. It finds that conflict and violence are inherent to the capitalist model of development, instead of anomalies to the system. Building from the field of critical development and decolonial studies, this article proposes ways to overcome dependency to extractivism by looking at the alternatives ofanti-extractivism, degrowth and buen vivirto free both people and the planet.

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