Publication: Angus McNelly on neostructuralism in Bolivia Evo Morales

By Angus McNelly

Dr Angus McNelly is a lecturer in International Relations at Queen Mary University of London. His research interests are critical political economy, state formation, urban space and cities, social movements, left-wing governments and Latin American political thought. He is currently part of the QMUL Latin America network, Latin American Geographies-UK and co-organises the Urban and Regional Political Economy working group in the International Initiative for the Promotion of Political Economy.

Neostructuralism and Its Class Character in the Political Economy of Bolivia Under Evo Morales, published in New Political Economy

As the progressive cycle in Latin America wanes, scholars are attempting to unpick the contradictions that underpinned left-wing regimes. This article seeks to trace the political economy of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) from its neostructural and neoextractivist roots in the 2006 National Development Plan (NDP) through the economic strategy actually implemented by the MAS during its time in government. By examining macroeconomic indicators, the structure of the economy, industrialisation efforts and infrastructural projects this article advances a two-pronged argument. On the one hand, economic policy, as well as industrialisation and infrastructure projects, have focused on maximising economic surplus in the extractive sectors over cultivating the sectors that employ the majority of Bolivians. It has then redistributed part of the rents captured by the state into these labour-intensive sectors. This has consolidated Bolivia’s insertion into the global market as a primary commodity producer. On the other hand, the neostructuralist tenets of the NDP have meant that the class character of these policies has been ignored by the government. As the commodities bonanza came to a close in 2013 the government increasingly sided with capital over labour in social struggles over economic development.

You can find the article at