MONEY AND THE SPACES OF DEPEASANTIZATION IN LATIN AMERICA

Martín Arboleda

This research project assesses the implications of the rise of an Asia-centered capitalist world system for recent processes of territorial and agrarian change taking place in Latin America, with a special emphasis on money and debt. This will involve an exploration of the modalities of rural indebtedness, speculative investment, and sovereign lending emerging after the turn of the century, and their repercussions in the dual process of the depopulation of the countryside and the proliferation of precarious urban settlements. An important objective of this project is to provide a counterpoint to the circulationist readings of financialization and global city formation whose default level of analysis tends to be the sphere of exchange. By insisting on the status of money as a commodity (i.e. both a product and embodiment of human labor), the project intends to shift the analytical lens towards the sphere of production, and grasp the foundations of the trans-Pacific financial system in the expanded reproduction of capital via the material transformation of the labor process. This entails an interrogation of how debt instruments have become deeply entangled with the systematic erosion of peasant lifeworlds, the growth of the relative surplus population, and the mechanization and toxification of the agro-food supply chain.  

Projected outcome: Journal articles.

Settlements of displaced peasantries in Antofagasta, Chile (Photo: Connectas)