Extractivism of the poor: Natural resource commodification and its discontents

José Carlos Orihuela, Carlos Pérez Cavero, Cesar Contreras

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículorevisión exhaustiva

10 Citas (Scopus)


In a recent series of articles, ecological distribution conflicts scholars present descriptive statistical analyses backing Joan Martinez-Alier (2002)’s thesis on the environmentalism of the poor.In their collaborative Environmental Justice Atlas (EJAtlas), their Peru sample reports a success rate of 24% in stopping projects. We contend that successful resistance represents only 25% of the total universe of Peru mining conflicts. Our claim is built on the study of 517 conflicts in Peru between 2005 and 2019, as registered by the Ombudsperson's Office. The evidence suggests, moreover, that contentious collective action commonly subordinates environmental justice causes to conventional economic concerns and resolutions, resulting in mining conflicts unfolding into compensation schemes and better deal settlements. Our straightforward interpretation is that while negative impacts are complex phenomena not homogeneously experienced among and within local communities, across space and over time, natural resource commodification brings with it the promise of local development opportunities. We draw a complementary extractivism of the poor hypothesis: there are diverse forms of (bitter) accommodation with or (structured) involvement in natural resource commodification of the poor and the indigenous.

Idioma originalInglés
Número de artículo100986
PublicaciónExtractive Industries and Society
EstadoPublicada - mar. 2022
Publicado de forma externa


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