Post-Growth in the Global South: The Emergence of Alternatives to Development in Latin America

Doctoral student Rebecca Hollender presented her research paper on development alternatives in Latin America. Here is the abstract to her paper:

The gradual rejection of official development processes by Latin American civil society mirrors a wider exhaustion and abandonment of development taking place across many levels and scales across the Global South. Alternatives to Development are just one example of many post-growth frameworks that address the urgent need to limit economic activity to within the biophysical limits of the planet. The emergence of Alternatives to Development in Latin America can be seen as the reaction of civil society to four interrelated political, social, and economic processes: 1. the expansion of the extractive development model despite its detrimental impacts; 2. the disillusionment with progressive governments to bring forth alternatives; 3. the obstacles facing regional integration; and 4. regional geo- politics and the rise of Brazil as regional hegemon. Proposals including Buen Vivir, Post-extractivism, and local-level lived initiatives (solidarity economies, etc.) are gaining headway beyond the grassroots level where they first took form. As they reach academic and policy circles, proposals transform from conceptual-based values, principles, and ideologies into technical and policy recommendations. The convergence of Latin American alternatives with processes and proposals from other regions reveals that, beyond national contexts, local movements trace their problems to a global system. Despite facing serious obstacles to implementation, the resulting alternatives to development proposals have important potential for transforming the embedded assumptions, structures, processes, and policies of the development model and global economy.

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