1st Edition

Buen Vivir and the Challenges to Capitalism in Latin America

Edited By Henry Veltmeyer, Edgar Lau Copyright 2021
    232 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    232 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    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.

    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


    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.