The Political Economy of Gas, Soy and Lithium in Morales’s Bolivia


  • Nicole Fabricant Towson University
  • Bret Gustafson Washington University



export-oriented dependency, extractivist economy, gas, lithium, soy


Bolivia has accomplished some of its goals since Evo Morales was elected president in 2006. It has made advances in expanding inclusion for indigenous peoples and reducing levels of poverty. They have expanded services and infrastructure for the poor and prioritized long-abandoned rural areas. Middle class has grown by more than 10% and both government and the economy have tripled in size. Yet Bolivia remains deeply embedded in extractivist economics. This piece looks at the relationship to global trade and the political paradoxes that gas drilling, soy production and mineral extraction create for the country. Export-oriented dependency have had predictable effects on labor relations, policy planning, and most significantly the lives of people on the ground.