"Vivir Bien": A Discourse and Its Risks for Public Policies — The Case of Child Labour and Exploitation in Indigenous Communities of Bolivia

"Vivir Bien": A Discourse and Its Risks for Public Policies — The Case of Child Labour and Exploitation in Indigenous Communities of Bolivia

By Rubén Darío Chambi Mayta

The Código Niño Niña Adolescente (CNNA) (the “Boy, Girl and Adolescent Code”) was amended and approved in 2014 amid critical and supporting opinions. For the first time in Bolivia and Latin America something unprecedented occurred: a state had defined its policy reforms in negotiation and dialogue with representatives of working children and adolescents (Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes Trabajadores, NATs). In 2005, the government of Evo Morales started, as part of its political strategy, to work together with social, indigenous and peasant organizations. Child labour policies were not excluded from this new model. This way, the participation of child workers in meetings with the president and ministers evoked recognition by the population and media. However, gaps in definitions of labour, exploitation, educational work and others are still a pending issue. As for now, the reduction of the minimum age for employment has attracted international attention and the International Labour Organizationm has already expressed its disagreement. However, it is important to warn about the danger of the existence of discursive backgrounds, in this case the "Vivir Bien", in public policy as a limiting factor in this and other important issues in development programs.

 

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Traditional development or vivir bien? An analysis of the Bolivian ‘Gas War’ in 2003

Traditional development or vivir bien? An analysis of the Bolivian ‘Gas War’ in 2003

By Sue Iamamoto

Since Evo Morales’ arrival to the Palacio Quemado and the nomination of David Choquehuanca as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bolivian international policy has been marked by a rhetoric of environmentalism, defence of indigenous rights and cosmovisions, and the promotion of vivir bien (good living) as a new paradigm of development.This piece investigates the narratives that the actors of the mobilisations in 2003 — both in the urban context, in the city of El Alto, and in the countryside, in the province of Omasuyos — have enacted to explain their struggle. What sort of perspective(s) on development do they express in their accounts? How much of them can actually be related to a vivir bien formulation, which emphasises the importance of living in harmony with nature and with the community? By investigating these issues in people’s actual perception of their struggle, this piece attempts to cast light on processes that mediate between the empirical and the normative dimensions of development.

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