Buen Vivir and the Challenges to Capitalism in Latin America  book cover
1st Edition

Buen Vivir and the Challenges to Capitalism in Latin America

ISBN 9780367550011
Published October 2, 2020 by Routledge
232 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book explores the battleground between neoliberal capitalist development processes in Latin America and the challenges to these systems that can be found through innovative community-driven buen vivir/vivir bien initiatives.

In the current climate of worldwide capitalist development, Latin America is caught between left-leaning proposals for progressive policies towards a more inclusive form of development, and the re-emergence of harsh austerity measures, neoliberal reforms and right-wing populism. Divided into two parts, this book first provides a retrospective analysis of the advance of resource-seeking ‘extractive’ capital across the continent since the 1990s. The second part goes on to focus on forward-looking challenges to neoliberal capitalist development, focusing in particular on the indigenous notion of buen vivir/vivir bien  – the concept of ‘living well’ in social solidarity and harmony with nature. Drawing on cases in Mexico and Venezuela, the book argues that it will be through these new approaches to social change that we will move beyond development as we know it towards a more inclusive form of ‘postdevelopment’.

Looking hopefully towards this future of development, this collection offers an essential analysis of the vortex of social change currently consuming Latin America and will be key reading for advanced scholars and researchers in the fields of Development Studies, Latin America Studies, Politics, and Social Change.

Table of Contents

List of illustrations

List of contributors


  1. In the vortex of social change
  2. Henry Veltmeyer

    Part 1: Development in the neoliberal era

  3. Extractive capitalism: development and resistance dynamics
  4. James Petras

  5. Capitalism on the Frontier of agroextractivism
  6. Raúl Delgado Wise

  7. Social movements and the state in the post-neoliberal era
  8. Gerardo Otero, Efe Can Gürcan, Horacio Mackinlay

  9. The syncopated dance of Mexico’s industrial policy
  10. Juan Carlos Moreno-Brid, Joaquín Sánchez Gómez, Stefanie Garry

  11. Communes in Venezuela in Times of Crisis
  12. Dario Azzellini

    Part 2: Antinomies of development: constructing an alternative reality

  13. Neoextractivism and development
  14. Maristella Svampa

  15. Paradoxes of development in the Andes and Amazonia
  16. Fernanda Wanderley, Horacio Vera Cossio, Jean Paul Benavides

  17. Ucronia for Living Well
  18. René Ramírez Gallegos

  19. Disputes over capitalism and varieties of development

         Eduardo Gudynas

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Henry Veltmeyer is senior research professor in development studies at Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas, and senior research fellow in the centre of Advanced Latin American Studies (CALAS) at the Universidad de Guadalajara. He has authored and edited over 60 books in the area of Latin American studies, the political economy of development and globalisation, and social movements in the Latin American context.

Edgar Zayago Lau is professor and researcher of the Academic Unit in Development Studies, Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas (UAZ), Mexico, and Co-coordinator of the Latin American Network of Nanotechnology and Society (ReLANS). His research areas include the political economy of science, technology and development; development theory and public policy. He is also the author and co-author of more than 60 articles in mainstream academic journals and has co-edited nine books.