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Imagining Neoliberal Brotherhoods: Jeffrey Sachs, Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, and Indigenous Resistance in Bolivia

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Abstract:

Recent leftist U.S. writers and filmmakers attempting to critique the neoliberal order have nostalgically recalled the postwar development era as a moment of prosperity and peace in the United States and the third world. Naomi Klein’s influential popular history of neoliberal “disaster capitalism” The Shock Doctrine, for example, nostalgically conflates developmentalist economics with “third world nationalism,” arguing that the developmentalists in Latin America “were able to boast a series of success stories” by the 1950s, while Michael Moore’s recent film Capitalism: A Love Story echoes this nostalgia for the development era in even more romantic terms. My paper attempts to disrupt this opposition between developmentalism and neoliberalism, arguing that neoliberal “shock therapy” largely extends and intensifies the principles articulated in postwar modernization theory. Neoliberal programs and policies, I contend, rely on the infrastructure created by capitalist development ventures as well as the same conceptions of “cultural poverty” and fantasies of freedom and global brotherhood that drove the postwar U.S. development mission in the third world. To explore the convergence between development and neoliberal discourses and practices, this paper will examine the attempts of self-proclaimed development economist Jeffrey Sachs to impose neoliberal “shock therapy” in Bolivia in the 1980s and 1990s as well as the indigenous resistance movements and representations that challenged those policies. When Sachs arrived in Bolivia in 1985, he befriended mine-owner-turned planning minister Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, a U.S.-educated Bolivian who, after implementing neoliberal policies as planning minister, would become Bolivia’s president in 1993 and again briefly in 2002. Sachs called Sanchez de Lozada “a very brilliant political figure” and “one of Latin America’s true heroes,” continuing to stand by his friend and fellow shock therapist even after Sanchez de Lozada was ousted in 2003 by massive popular demonstrations, killing 67 demonstrators before he fled the country. Examining writings and speeches by Sachs and Sanchez de Lozada, movement responses to their privatization policies, and Jorge Sanjinés’ 1989 film La Nación Clandestina, I will attempt to trace the convergences between the developmentalist policies through which the United States controlled Bolivian indigenous resistance in the 1950s and 1960s and the neoliberal policies through which they attempted to do so in the 1980s and 1990s.
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MLA Citation:

Geidel, Molly. "Imagining Neoliberal Brotherhoods: Jeffrey Sachs, Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, and Indigenous Resistance in Bolivia" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Hilton Baltimore, Baltimore, MD, <Not Available>. 2014-11-25 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p509417_index.html>

APA Citation:

Geidel, M. "Imagining Neoliberal Brotherhoods: Jeffrey Sachs, Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, and Indigenous Resistance in Bolivia" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Hilton Baltimore, Baltimore, MD <Not Available>. 2014-11-25 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p509417_index.html

Publication Type: Internal Paper
Abstract: Recent leftist U.S. writers and filmmakers attempting to critique the neoliberal order have nostalgically recalled the postwar development era as a moment of prosperity and peace in the United States and the third world. Naomi Klein’s influential popular history of neoliberal “disaster capitalism” The Shock Doctrine, for example, nostalgically conflates developmentalist economics with “third world nationalism,” arguing that the developmentalists in Latin America “were able to boast a series of success stories” by the 1950s, while Michael Moore’s recent film Capitalism: A Love Story echoes this nostalgia for the development era in even more romantic terms. My paper attempts to disrupt this opposition between developmentalism and neoliberalism, arguing that neoliberal “shock therapy” largely extends and intensifies the principles articulated in postwar modernization theory. Neoliberal programs and policies, I contend, rely on the infrastructure created by capitalist development ventures as well as the same conceptions of “cultural poverty” and fantasies of freedom and global brotherhood that drove the postwar U.S. development mission in the third world. To explore the convergence between development and neoliberal discourses and practices, this paper will examine the attempts of self-proclaimed development economist Jeffrey Sachs to impose neoliberal “shock therapy” in Bolivia in the 1980s and 1990s as well as the indigenous resistance movements and representations that challenged those policies. When Sachs arrived in Bolivia in 1985, he befriended mine-owner-turned planning minister Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, a U.S.-educated Bolivian who, after implementing neoliberal policies as planning minister, would become Bolivia’s president in 1993 and again briefly in 2002. Sachs called Sanchez de Lozada “a very brilliant political figure” and “one of Latin America’s true heroes,” continuing to stand by his friend and fellow shock therapist even after Sanchez de Lozada was ousted in 2003 by massive popular demonstrations, killing 67 demonstrators before he fled the country. Examining writings and speeches by Sachs and Sanchez de Lozada, movement responses to their privatization policies, and Jorge Sanjinés’ 1989 film La Nación Clandestina, I will attempt to trace the convergences between the developmentalist policies through which the United States controlled Bolivian indigenous resistance in the 1950s and 1960s and the neoliberal policies through which they attempted to do so in the 1980s and 1990s.


Similar Titles:
Indigenous Socialism or Indigenous Populism? The First Year of the Movimiento Al Socialismo in Bolivia

Indigenous Futurisms: Transforming Foreclosure into Imaginative Acts of Reclamation and Resistance

Negotiating through Nature: The Resistant Materialities and Materialities of Resistance in Bolivia’s Natural Gas Sector


 
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