1st Edition

Wealth, Development, and Social Inequalities in Latin America Transdisciplinary Insights

    248 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In this book, Hans-Jürgen Burchardt and Irene Lungo-Rodríguez lead a transdisciplinary team of experts to advance our understanding of wealth in Latin America.

    Combining conceptual discussions with empirical research, they analyze characteristics of wealth, and the implications for inequality. Three thematic sections provide a unique overarching structure to understand the economic, social, political, and cultural complexity of wealth. Questions examined include:

    • What economic, institutional, and structural factors contribute to the excessive accumulation of wealth?
    • What political dynamics promote the concentration of wealth and power?
    • What type of social, political, and economic relations are generated in these contexts of extreme wealth concentration?
    • What socio-cultural processes contribute to legitimizing and reproducing wealth?
    • What are the local, regional, and national socio-ecological effects of these dynamics?

    Wealth, Development and Social Inequalities in Latin America provides thought-provoking reading for students and researchers alike who wish to look beyond the Global North for answers on the importance of studying wealth.

    Introduction: Wealth, inequalities, and sustainable development in Latin America

    Hans-Jürgen Burchardt and Irene Lungo-Rodríguez

    Part 1: Economics of Wealth

    1. Natural Resource Wealth, Its Problems, and What Can Be Done about them

    James E. Mahon, Jr.

    2. Extractivism, Nature, and Wealth: Unequal Specialization and the Modernization of Elite Rule in Latin America

    Hannes Warnecke-Berger

    3. Agrarian Capitalism and Land Ownership: The Case of Uruguay

    Gabriel Oyhantçabal Benelli

    4. Tax systems and concentration of wealth: the problems of the Mexican tax system

    Mónica Unda-Gutiérrez and Carlos Brown-Solà

    Part 2: Politics of Wealth

    5. Wealth, Inequality, and Democracy in Latin America: A methodological approach

    Hans-Jürgen Burchardt

    6. The Names of Power: How to Define Latin American Economic Elites?

    Mariana Heredia and Yamila Sahakian

    7. The Wealth Defense Industry: An Exploration of the Role of Intermediaries in the Financial and Tax Fields in Economic Concentration

    Jorge Atria and Javier Hernández

    8. Elites and Development in Natural Resource-Exporting Countries – Experiences from Ecuador

    Jan Ickler

    Part 3: Culture of Wealth

    9. Privilege and Wealth in Latin America: Bridging Culture and Political Economy

    Irene Lungo-Rodríguez

    10. Wealth Studies, Whiteness, and Family Dynasties in Latin America: Preliminary Reflections

    Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas

    11. "How does it feel to be a solution?" The Relationship between Wealth and Whiteness in Latin America

    Hugo Cerón-Anaya

    12. Object of attraction: The Wife, the Dowry, and the Distribution of Wealth in 19th Century Mexico

    Alice Krozer and Diego Castañeda Garza


    Hans-Jürgen Burchardt is Chair of the Department of International and Inter-Society Relations at the University of Kassel, Germany. He has many years of experience with joint projects and international cooperation. He was and is project leader of several university partnerships in Argentina, Chile, Cuba and Venezuela and has conducted various research projects in Latin America. As German director of the Maria Sibylla Merian Center for Advanced Latin American Studies (CALAS), he is in charge of four Latin American regional centers at universities of excellence and is director of the Kassel Latin America Center CELA. For more than 15 years he has been researching questions of international environmental and raw materials policy, North-South relations, sustainability, and development theory with a focus on Latin America.

    Irene Lungo Rodríguez is Scientific Coordinator of the Maria Sibylla Merian Center for Advanced Latin American Studies (CALAS) Laboratory Confronting Inequalities in Latin America: Perspectives on Wealth and Power. She completed a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Universidad National de Mexico (UNAM) and is part of the National System of Researchers- SNI-CONACYT-Mexico.

    "In Latin America, most research on inequality and sustainability still focuses on the study of poverty and social and socio-ecological exclusion. While these are fundamental issues to understand the great challenges facing Latin America, it is also necessary to address the other side of the coin: wealth. In the region income and wealth is more concentrated among the wealthy than anywhere else in the world. This book illuminates this reality by presenting deep insights and new methodological perspectives on an under-explored topic in Latin American studies: Wealth and its economic, political, and cultural dimensions."

    Diego Sánchez Ancochea, Professor of Political Economy of Development, University of Oxford