[Marxism] Fwd: How Resource Extraction in Latin America Poses Serious Environmental, Economic and Health Questions | Alternet

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Apr 18 06:57:38 MDT 2015

The most challenging question is whether increasing extraction today can 
lay the foundation for decreasing extraction tomorrow.  According to the 
argument, increased revenue from extraction allows countries to 
diversify their economies into manufacturing and other areas, which 
leaves them less dependent on international capital.  Ecuador’s Director 
of Planning and Development Pablo Muñoz insists that “Reducing poverty 
is the government’s first priority, the second is changing the systems 
of production…”

Unfortunately, if the international price of an extracted commodity 
falls, a country focusing on extraction will have a difficult choice. 
In order to obtain the same return it will have to either lower wages or 
intensify the rate of mineral exploitation.  Poor countries may not be 
as free from international financial institutions as is often implied.

Raul Zibechi documents that in June 2014, “Ecuador delivered half of its 
gold reserves to Goldman Sachs as collateral for a loan of $400 million 
dollars, thus a return to foreign financing, with no risk to the 
lender…”  Market forces can be devastating for forest protection.  As 
the prices for commodities such as oil plunge, forest cover could be 
threatened by countries’ attempting to maintain economic growth by 
driving deeper into the jungle.

As of now, it seems highly dubious that a country can increase its 
addiction to resource extraction and wake up one morning with the 
addiction cured.


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