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What does Extractive Justice mean for Moderate Variants of Post-Neoliberal Resource Governance? Comparative Perspectives in Brazil and Chile

Jewellord Nem Singh
Freie Universität Berlin
Jewellord Nem Singh
Freie Universität Berlin
Open Panel

Abstract

The notion of social justice has emerged as a central element of claims by leftist governments in power across the region. With the growing disenchantment on neoliberalism as an economic model, Latin American governments have typically been categorised in many ways and forms to reflect the political changes. Equally, the rise of the left coincided with the commodity boom, which has given the state elites more policy autonomy not only to alter their economic trajectory but also to argue, at least discursively in the public sphere, of a more inclusive politics. Brazil and Chile offer cases of moderate versions of politico-economic models reflecting the recalibration of the developmental role of the state whilst recognising the indispensable role of the private sector in the globalised international economy. Within this context, this paper explores how far we can genuinely claim that a post-neoliberal political economy, in the cases of Brazil and Chile, and what this means for claims of democratic citizenship. In highly institutionalised policy settings where natural resources play a central role, the notion of ‘extractive justice’ becomes a useful analytical tool to understand how democracy and development projects by leftist governments are being constructed. My argument is that the Brazilian and Chilean development models of resource extraction in the post-dictatorship period exhibit political continuity and change where historical/institutional legacies and international constraints by the global international economy are imposed. These constraints have consequences on democratic practices and institutions.