The Political Economy of Agrarian Extractivism

Lessons From Bolivia

Ben M. McKay

Fernwood Publishing

The Political Economy of Agrarian Extractivism

Pub Date: May 2020

ISBN: 9781773632537

144 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $20.00

The Political Economy of Agrarian Extractivism

Lessons From Bolivia

Ben M. McKay

Fernwood Publishing

Around the world, plantation economies are on the rise. Increasing concerns over food, energy and financial security, combined with a geopolitical restructuring of the global agro-food system, have resulted in a rush to secure control over resources. New actors and forms of capital penetration have entered the countryside, transforming the forms and relations of production, property and power. Soybeans, with industrial inputs upstream and storage, processing and transportation downstream, have become a quintessential agro-industrial “flex crop,” used as feed, food, fuel and industrial materials, but the very extractive character of the soy complex has severe implications for society, the economy and the environment.

The Political Economy of Agrarian Extractivism analyzes how the Bolivian countryside is transformed by the development and expansion of the soy complex and reveals the extractive dynamics of capitalist industrial agriculture, while also challenging dominant discourses legitimating this model as a means to achieve inclusive and sustainable rural development. Ben McKay finds that within the context of Bolivia’s first Indigenous president, Evo Morales, and the Movement Towards Socialism, fundamental contradictions abound.
Introduction • The politics of control: an analytical framework Agrarian Dynamics in Bolivia: A Brief Overview • Organization of the Argument • Land Control: Bolivia’s Agrarian Structure and Frontier Expansion • State Control: The Politics of Agrarian Change • Value-Chain Control: Relations of Debt and Dependency • Agrarian Extractivism and the Politics of Control •
Conclusions • Epilogue

About the Author

Ben M. McKay is an assistant professor of development and sustainability studies at the University of Calgary.