The Political Economy of Bolivia Since 2006

Dr. Jeffery Webber

Senior Lecturer

School of Politics and International Relations

Queen Mary University of London

Thursday 29 January 18:30

Joint presentation with the

Institute of Latin American Studies

Bedford Room (G37), Ground Floor

Senate House, Malet Street, WC1E 7HU

Tickets: £10 members, £12 non-members, £6 students

Glass of wine, refreshments and nibbles included.

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In Bolivia extractive capitalism is being pursued and managed by the government of Evo Morales and his party the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS). In the midst of a commodities boom driven by China, aggregate economic growth has been steady under Morales, averaging 4.8 percent between 2006 and 2012. Gas exports constituted 52.8 percent of total exports in the first trimester of 2013, followed by industrial manufacturing (24.2), mining (17.2), and agriculture (4.5). In 2012, the country logged a record peak of foreign direct investment, again mostly in gas. In light of these developments, this paper does three things.

First, it explores the class dynamics and outcomes of accelerating extractive capitalism in Bolivia since Morales assumed office in 2006. Second, it then examines the (progressive) ideological framing of these developments in each of the National Development Plans under Morales since 2006, as well as in the prolific sociological writings of the Vice President Álvaro García Linera. One emphasis here will be on the deployment in these documents and writings of a certain idiom of indigenous liberation relatively separated from a critique of capitalism and class society. Thirdly, it discusses the extent to which this state ideology relates to actual changes in world of work, and the conditions of the rural and urban labouring classes under the new model of extractive accumulation.

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