The Economic Rationality of Agroextractivism

  • Omar Felipe Giraldo


I begin the second chapter by positing that the modern perspective of conceiving reality generates a type of thought linked to the economy of agroextractivism. This is a way of understanding the world, and ourselves, as if we were governed by the laws of the market, treating everything else as merchandise, and conceiving our actions as if they were always motivated by profit. I present a brief environmental history of how this rationality permeates agro-capitalist expansion on a world scale, focusing specifically on the discursive binomial of development and poverty, through which a series of needs formulated in terms of underconsumption were created. This discourse “created truth” that created “needs” could be met by bringing more people into the market economy and exposing them to the benefits of technology, which had important implications for the creation of consumers for the agricultural surpluses that plagued the system’s postwar operations, for processed food from the food industry, chemical inputs, and agricultural machinery. I conclude the chapter with a data-backed discussion of how ecosystem simplification and pollution created by the model has destroyed the natural sustenance on which capital itself depends in order to continue its tireless expansion. I also show how the system is exploiting this destruction by trying to reconfigure the world agricultural model and open new sources of business by promoting the “green economy” and “sustainable development.”


Environmental history of agriculture Overaccumulation Critique of development Green Revolution effects Restructuring of agribusiness Second contradiction of capital 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Conacyt - El Colegio de la Frontera SurSan Cristóbal de Las CasasMexico

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