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Scientific paper


Beyond extractivism: Debates and Practices around Post-Extractivism  in Latin America

Alberto Acosta

Entry type:
Scientific paper

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Degrowth Conference Leipzig 2014


extractivism, neocolonialism, redistribution, ecological costs

Special Session Degrowth Conference Leipzig 2014: Beyond extractivism: Debates and Practices around Post-Extractivism in Latin America
Organizer and Chair: Dr. Kristina Dietz
Key words: extractivism, neocolonialism, redistribution, ecological costs
Summary: Extractivism is a mode of accumulation that started more than 500 years ago. In Latin America, it has transited from its colonial form through a neoliberal form to the actual mainly post-neoliberal form, which includes a limited redistribution of the benefits obtained by the State from exploitation and exportation of resources. This actual modality, implemented in most South American countries, is called neo-extractivism. The State plays a more important role, and poverty is slightly reduced in numbers, but the subordination of the economies to the dynamics of the world market and thus their vulnerability persists – reinforcing neo-colonial relationships at the international level. There are no structural reforms in order to deepen redistribution of wealth. The existing institutions are not able to cope with the ecological and social costs that are generated by the extractivist activities. The path to exit extractivism with its political and economical, social and ecological consequences definitely must imply the planned degrowth of extractivist activities and its substitution by alternative economical activities. But this change may only be possible in terms of a global shift towards a new universal logic which aims at maintaining the conditions for humanity to live.

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