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Development and Sustainability in Latin America and the Caribbean

The course is about the relationship between development and sustainability. Can it be reconciled with social equality? This is important for analyzing a region like Latin America, with high levels of poverty, dependent on commodity exports

The theme of the course is related to the relationship between development and sustainability. Is it possible to reconcile this with social equality? This has a special meaning when analyzing regions with high levels of poverty and dependence on primary exports. We therefore analyze Latin America's foreign trade and its impact on societies. Once more, Latin America has strengthened its position as an exporter of raw materials following international rules. Certain researchers believe that this – in combination with globalisation and increasing international competition for natural resources – will limit the possibilities to guarantee sustainable development. They emphasise that increased orientation towards mining operations and mono-cultural agriculture will have a detrimental impact on the environment and social relationships caused in part by a marginalisation of small-scale agriculture, deforestation, demographic changes and new migration movements. Other researchers believe that this development generates growth and international competitive powers, thus freeing up resources for social reformation programmes.
This course analyses these two standpoints, in addition to state and social actors whose activities address matters of sustainable development. Furthermore, the course discusses how on the one hand, sustainable develop relates to democracy, and social justice on the other hand. Such a discussion requires a fundamental review of definitions and notions of “development”, and how these differences have influenced Latin American politics and public debate.