Environment and History
Environment and History 6(2000): 1-29
Drawing on historical and environmental research, this essay examines long-term trends in the ways that mining affected labour and the environment in Latin America. The article begins with a theoretical framework for analysing the changing conditions of labour and of the environment under capitalism. This is followed by a periodisation of Latin American mining, divided into six parts: pre-conquest, conquest, colony, neo-colony, capitalist modernisation and debt crisis. In each period (excepting the first) I assess the major social and environmental transformations associated with the industry. My central conclusion is that there has been an inverse relationship between two long-term trends: first, the brutality of labour conditions in the industry; second, the scope of environmental destruction linked to mining. The article concludes with a discussion of two more speculative issues: the impact this inverse relationship has had on contemporary political concerns, and whether the turn of the millennium marks the end of this inverse relationship.
This article is available online (PDF format) from Ingenta Journals. Access is free if your institution subscribes to Environment and History.
Reprints of this article can be ordered from the British Library Document Supply Service or ingenta
Contact the publishers for subscriptions and back numbers of Environment and History.Other papers in this volume
THE WHITE HORSE PRESS
The Old Vicarage, Winwick
Cambridgeshire, PE28 5PN, UK
Tel: +44 1832 293222