"Environment and Society: Long-Term Trends in Latin American Mining"

Dore, Elizabeth | from Multimedia Library Collection:
Environment and History (journal)

Dore, Elizabeth. “Environment and Society: Long-Term Trends in Latin American Mining.” Environment and History 6, no. 1 (Feb., 2000): 1–29. doi:10.3197/096734000129342208. 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), Dore assesses the major social and environmental transformations associated with the industry. Her 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. All rights reserved. © 2000 The White Horse Press