Susana del Granado

Extractivism in Bolivia: How raw materials extracted changed since neoliberal governments (1985-2004)?

By Susana del Granado* and Gabriela Olivarez**

Questions surrounding the extraction of natural resources have been the topic of multiple debates in Bolivia. Most recently, two talks, one in La Paz[1] and the other in Santa Cruz[2], questioned the need of this extraction and analyzed the costs. However, the need to compare the extraction between the current and previous governments remains. This short article attempts to contribute to fulfill this gap by comparing the quantities extracted and the public investment between a government claiming to be state-led (2004-2013) and neoliberal ones (1985-2003).

The data shows that the quantities extracted of the main raw materials for export in Bolivia’s economy have increased in the state-led government (see figure 1), but public investment in industry and manufacturing has remained fairly constant (figure 2). Yet, the current government wishes – as established in both development plans (2007, 2015) – to transform Bolivia’s extractivist economy into an economy in which the extraction of raw materials is used as a springboard to achieve industrialization. Nevertheless, little progress appears to be taking place in the discursive trajectory of the current government led by Evo Morales. Furthermore Raul Zibechi, an Uruguayan researcher and journalist, in a recent talk in La Paz argued that industrialization from extractivism is an unattainable goal[3]. Read More »

Earth Overshoot Day – August 13th, 2015: So what?

By Susana del Granado *

Let’s suppose a billionaire has given you 1 million US$ with the sole instruction that you live wisely from it. Thus, you decide to put all the money in the bank at the highest annual interest rate in the market (5%) and live only from the interest, which means you have 50,000 US$ a year or 137 US$ per day to spend. Read More »

Pope Francis’ encyclical: A landmark in environmental thinking

By Susana del Granado *

The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change.”

Pope Francis, 2015

“I would like to enter into dialogue with all people about our common home” is one of the beginning lines of the Pope’s encyclical, released by the Vatican yesterday at noon. Traditionally the encyclical is a letter from the Pope to the Bishops about Catholicism, but it has evolved into an open letter to society discussing the Pope’s insights and concerns on a particular matter. Pope John XXII (1963) was the first, to my knowledge, to address society in general in his efforts to reform the Catholic Church.

Read More »

Can you envision a sustainable world? Do you dare to dream today?

By Susana del Granado *

“A vision comes not from the intellect or the mind but from the heart, from the soul”

Donella Meadows

Today, June 5th , we celebrate World Environment Day and, as a celebration, the United Nations Environmental Program has launched a campaign and a contest about “sharing your dream[1]” to move people to imagine a sustainable future and to trigger discussion on the objectives for sustainable development[2].

A vision is a desirable future and, by definition, it is a positive image of what you want to see in the future. Donella Meadows, an environmental scientist and leading author of “The Limits to Growth”, while presenting at an ecological economics conference, inspired and requested her audience to envision a sustainable future. To develop that vision, she asked them to get comfortable, to close their eyes, to take a deep breath, and to dream:[3] Read More »


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