• Mirko Lukas Knisel
The increasing demand for raw materials for the capitalist core has been a central key to Marxist ecology alongside its assumptions about the metabolic rift, and the implication of the political economy of extractivism has brought about. After the debt crisis of Latin America in the 1980 and 1990s, a set of neoliberal adjustments were suggested in return for credits. These policies aimed at privatizing and deregulating industries in those nations and were a tool to include these countries in the global capitalist order and expansion. With the commodity consensus in Latin America, the main driver for national development was the extraction of natural resources. Colombia, in 2001, opened the country for foreign direct investment and multinational companies to extract the existing coal and gold in the country. Many policy and regulatory changes accompanied the new mining code that has also changed the balance of profits, as taxes and royalties were lowered, in order to increase the attraction of Colombia as a mining destination for foreign capital. Despite the long-standing democracy, many historical issues that have been unresolved, as well as social tensions between communities and the government, were not addressed, thus increasing the social tensions within the new areas of extraction. The government sought to use the new extractive sector as mean for development. However, tensions have grown due to the increasing accumulative strategies that foreign companies have been using as a mean to gain titles for mining areas. While the production and power of the extractive elites grew, these historical conflicts are being exacerbated. While the production and exports rose significantly until commodity prices leveled as of 2013, within the rural communities the impacts did not bring the promised development. On the contrary, the historically marginalized groups were forced to leave their lands due to various regions — a wave of accumulation strategies by the extractive companies in-sighted violence and social unrest throughout the country. Employment levels in the sector have been stagnant despite its intensification, and many lost their means of production due to a plethora of issues, mostly of socio-environmental nature. Especially the socio-environmental impacts of the large-scale mining throughout the country forced communities to leave or have resisted the expansion by protesting against the coercive methods used by the companies and its proponents within the government as well as the ensuing degradation of the delicate environment that hold coal and gold reserves of the country. The country has gone into a cycle of violence and mobilization of forces, both from the elites as well as the environmental and communal opposition. The development model through extractivism, especially with the alliance with foreign capital, has turned into an unsustainable model that has deepened the tension and increased the inequality within the rural mining areas.
SpecialisationLatin American Studies
Publication date31 Jan 2019
Number of pages67
ID: 294833731