Extracted Economies, Extracted Lives: Mining in Bolivia and Mexico 1880-1980
thesisposted on 12.05.2018, 00:00 by Andrew Schuster
The mining history of Bolivia and Mexico is tied to one of extractive industry, of the kind which made our modern world, and the complexity of its problems. In this context many of these raw materials are extracted to more advanced economies by large scale and intensely capitalist companies, these have immense power both in the economies of extraction but also everyday worker life. This relationship both at a micro and macro-level importantly shapes said countries labor relations and conditions, especially in respect to foreign managers and owners. Specifically this project focuses on labor relations and complications in the long-standing standing history of exploitation of mining workforces, juxtaposed against a privileged class of often foreign managers and the economies this extraction bolstered. Based on this trajectory, I will argue that undoubtedly the Mining industries of Bolivia and Mexico have represented extraction capitalism, arguably the system which has created our world, at its worst with a long a defining history tied to their positioning on the world stage. This is reflected badgering pseudo-control of States through powerful multi-national corporations and deplorable conditions for miners, but they also became an important battleground, sometimes literally, for great and sweeping labor and political change as reflected in the Mexican Revolution of the 1900-1910s and the Bolivian Revolution of 1952. These successes in turn however often lead to further failures, and the labor history of extractive mining in Mexico and especially Bolivia, has been defined by cycles and little real conditional change, even in contemporary times.