But the paradigm from here has everything to lose because no one values it whatsoever. Humanity has evolved and grown. And there are many things worth saving from the Western paradigm. The mutually constitutive nature of class and indigeneity combines here with a foundational critique of extractive capitalism and its racist underpinnings. This article has sought to retain the sometimes powerful empirical findings of dominant trends in recent investigations into inequality in contemporary Latin America, while challenging their theoretical allegiances to Weberian historical sociology and liberal ideology.
An alternative Marxist and decolonial framework has been defended as a better way to fully understand the totalizing complexity of class and other social relations of oppression in contemporary Latin American capitalism. Rather than the capitalist market as an arena of opportunity, it is understood as one of imperatives and often invisible coercion. The invulnerability of the economic realm to democratic power from below in liberal capitalist democracy is exposed as a perversion limiting the possibilities of human emancipation rather than a normative ideal which we should celebrate.
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Class exploitation in capitalist society has been shown in this article to operate in the workplace, in the labor market, in the household through gendered reproduction , through race and racism, and on an interface with the substratum of nature. Class, it was argued, is not an empty abstraction but rather a living and dynamic relationship that is determined concretely in and through gender, race, and sexuality.
These latter forms of social oppression are not epiphenomena of the class structure but are nonetheless fully understandable only as internally related to class, within a dialectical unity of co-constitution. I have shown that recent studies of inequality in Latin America, informed by Weberian historical sociology and a normative commitment to liberal democratic theory, are incapable of grasping the totalizing power of capital in all its complexity and ferocity.
Empirically, I argued, such complexity is expressed in the rhythms of extractive capitalism in twenty-first-century Latin America.
The region is regressing, in many ways, to a primary commodity producer within the evolving international division of labor. New forms of class struggle are identifiable even at a glance in the countryside of many countries, as peasants resist processes of dispossession associated with the advancing frontiers of multinational capital in natural resource extraction. Racist ideology is mobilized to demonize and infantilize indigenous resistance to extractive activities. The natural substratum with which capitalism shares an interface is nowhere more visible than in agro-industrial monocropping, exploration for oil, and extraction of natural gas and mining minerals.
Finally, this article has focused on the life and activism of Luis Macas.
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His combined critique of colonialism and capitalism, in theory and praxis, reveals the ways in which the objective structural conditions of uneven capitalist development in contemporary Latin America, and their interaction with racist ideologies, can help to shape the political subjectivities of anticapitalist and anticolonial sources of opposition.
The preferred theoretical optic of this article allows us not only to understand the sources of such opposition but also persuades us to see in them vital potential resources for meaningful human emancipation and ecological sustainability. The traditions of Weberian historical sociology and liberal democratic theory, by contrast, encourage us to see in these struggles sources of instability and democratic regression.
The closest equivalent turn among political economists is probably toward neostructuralism, following closely the intellectual production of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. For distinct but complementary Marxian critiques of the neostructuralist turn, see Leiva , Webber , and Grigera See, for example, Jenkins Arruzza, Cinzia. Auyero, Javier.
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Oxford: Oxford University Press. Class Dynamics of Agrarian Change. Halifax: Fernwood. Blofield, Merike. Bulmer-Thomas, Victor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Camfield, David.
Chibber, Vivek. Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital. London: Verso. Cornia, Giovanni Andrea. New York: New Press. Engerman, Stanley L. Gootenberg, Paul. Gordon, Todd, and Jeffery R. Grandin, Greg. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Green, Duncan. New York: Monthly Review Press. Grigera, Juan.
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Katz, Claudio. Buenos Aires: Ediciones Luxemburg. Leiva, Fernando. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
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Marshall, T. Citizenship and Social Class. London: Pluto. McNally, David. Oakland: PM Press. Mills, C. The Sociological Imagination. Mooers, Colin. London: Bloomsbury.