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 and the other in Santa Cruz, 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. Read More »