Pachakuti/Buen Vivir

Indigenous perspectives on “buen vivir” and “degrowth”

Andean indigenous peoples are promoting a decolonizing process some call Pachakuti. Pacha is the Quechua word for the earth and Kuti a term for upheaval or revolution. Taken together, Pachakuti can be interpreted to symbolize a re-balancing of the world through a tumultuous turn of events that could be a catastrophe or a renovation according to Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, in her article “Pachakuti: The historical horizons of internal colonialism“, published by NACLA as “Aymara Past, Aymara Future” in December 1991. Translated in Spanish as Buen Vivir or Vivir Bien, [Living well but not better (at the cost of others)], this concept has been written into the formal state constitutions of Bolivia and Ecuador.

I have written a brief synthesis of some Latin American writings on this topic as an introduction to an important debate that western followers of convivial degrowth, steady state economics, eco-socialism, etc. should follow. An earlier version of this synthesis is also available in Spanish.

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