Benedicte Bull: A new global Resource Order, Elites and the Environment in Latin America
Chapter in the book Natural Resources and Policy Choices in Latin America, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Brasil, 2020
The ruthless exploitation of natural resources in Latin America has long been associated with elitist politics and uneven economic distribution. Currently we are seeing a shift in what we can call the global natural resource order, in which a US dominated, market based, hydrocarbon fueled order is facing increasing competition from China and a state led form of capitalism. Yet, we are also experiencing increased pressure for a transition towards renewable energies. The big question is how these multiple changes will affect policy choices in Latin America. This article discusses this through the lens of elite-theory. Latin American elites have shown themselves to be highly pragmatic in their approach to China. This article argues that the implications of the global changes for environmental policy and practices depend on elites’ relations to states and institutions. The article suggest a typology of elite types based on their relations to institutions, and discusses how elites’ interests and strategies influence how a changing global order impact on domestic environmental policies and practice.