Post-Growth and Post-Extractivism: Two Sides of the Same Cultural Transformation

Post-Growth and Post-Extractivism: Two Sides of the Same Cultural Transformation

BY ALBERTO ACOSTA

Mainstream thinking – embedded within capitalist globalisation – leads us to accept the impossibility to imagine an economy that does not promote growth, as much as a world without oil, mining and agribusiness is impossible. Within this mainstream thinking, we can find people from every political stance, from neoliberals to socialists.

Reality, however, is that we must overcome such views, that is the great task of this moment. On the one hand, we must rethink the question of economic growth, and free ourselves from its shackles before we enter into a global socio-environmental debacle with unforeseeable consequences. On the other, it is increasingly urgent to move from an extractivist perspective focused on the demands of capital, towards a view that prioritises a dignified life to its fullest extent and enables the construction of structurally democratic societies.

Read More

From the political-economic drought to collective and sustainable water management

From the political-economic drought to collective and sustainable water management

By Gustavo García López

Over the past months the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico has experienced one of the worst droughts in years. The country has been suffering for a while a progressive worsening of the quality, availability and distribution of water. The local press has argued that a "rainfall deficit" is the cause of the problem. The drought is presented as a "natural" and "administrative-technical" problem (read: apolitical), which can be remedied with larger and more "efficient" infrastructure and management of the supply system. In this article the author examines more closely the reasons why these problems of planning and the management of water are so persistent. He suggests that they are rooted in the political-economic system of Puerto Rico. From this perspective, planning in Puerto Rico has successfully encouraged the accumulation of capital in certain sectors, but not the common wellbeing and sustainability. On the other hand, traditional solutions based on the construction of infrastructure, which respond to the logic of this model (capitalist developmentalism), have also failed. In order to confront this situation it is necessary to transform these traditional schemes and start to conceptualize water as a common good that must be managed collectively for the well-being and sustainability of the population.

Read More

Analyzing the Spill-over Matrix of Extractivism: From Para-legality, Separation and Violence to Integral Health in the Ecuadorian Íntag

Analyzing the Spill-over Matrix of Extractivism: From Para-legality, Separation and Violence to Integral Health in the Ecuadorian Íntag

By Johannes Waldmüller

On 3rd March 2015, Eduardo Gudynas held a talk at FLACSO, Ecuador, titled “Los efectos derrame de los extractivismos: energía, consumo, territorio y resistencias” (“Spill-over effects of extractivisms: energy, consumption, territory and resistances”) at a one-day conference on energy matrices in Latin America and possible shifts. In his presentation, which I was kindly granted access to report and comment on, he deduced in detail the effects on several sectors of societies of persistent, and partly reinforced, heavy dependence on natural resources, as in countries such as Ecuador, Bolivia, Mexico and, of course, Venezuela (whose oil exports account for 96% of its export earnings, thus virtually exporting nothing else). It should be stressed that these mechanisms reside not only in the foundations of climate change, but also inherently in global capitalism and warfare – altering them would be equal to improving the current state of the planet.

Read More