Week 7 – The Export Boom as Modernity

Unfortunately, this week I was not very inspired by the subject that we discussed because it seems to be all too similar to what we have now happening in our world. Dawson explains how Latin America had resources that were desired by the big ‘World Powers’ and just by looking at Latin American countries today, it is clear that the extraction of resources did very little good to the countries from which resources were and continue to be extracted.

Even in the Amazon today (as a concrete example), the same systematic exploitation of the environment continues to take place. Perhaps the workers do not live in plantations, but many live in reserves and continue to be exploited by their own governments as well as foreign intervention. The view that one leader or foreign investors have a more well-rounded knowledge than indigenous peoples continues to be present today. When Creelman says, “that the nation is emerging from ignorance and revolutionary passion” (130) it really reflects the notion that those from outside of Latin America know better than those who have been living there for thousands of years.

I say this because the parallel between Mexico then and Brazil today are very strong. The current Brazilian president has dissolved an indigenous reserve larger than the size of Denmark with the hopes of pushing the country forward through mining projects and essentially, the exploitation of the environment.

I wonder what can we do, as young academics to promote ‘modernity’ in a positive way? I personally have an interest in law and think that many indigenous groups can benefit from a sense of protection through the amending and addition of laws within a number of constitutions…if done CORRECTLY (aka- in talks and real discussions with indigenous groups) . I think Bolivia is definitely a country that can teach us about the integration of ‘the rights of nature’ within the constitution, which can lead to a less ‘human-based’ way of looking at life, business, and our environment and can really put the focus on the environment and ethical ways of carrying out projects.

For an easy read on the dissolving of the Renca reserve: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/aug/24/brazil-abolishes-huge-amazon-reserve-in-biggest-attack-in-50-years

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