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GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT

 

Big Science and the Enchantment of Growth in Latin America

Nicolás Cuvi

Global Environment 10 (2012): 16–41

The central theme of this article is the mirage of growth that spread in Latin American countries under the influence of the United States, during and after World War II, that is, the persuasion that well-being could be achieved through growth, that building and making everything bigger would grant the people of these countries a lifestyle similar to that of the United States. Contrary to this belief, the author argues that what has grown is not the projected well-being of the people, but poverty, exclusion, external debt and ecological damage. The author’s investigation of the subject begins from the long shadows cast by WWII on the environment. This historical period not only had significant material consequences on world landscapes, but also had a symbolic impact, at least in Latin America, through the rise of the ideal of Big Science, which actually aggravated the material environmental impacts. The article concludes with a reflection on the need for a paradigm shift towards ways of achieving development without relying exclusively on growth. Environmental studies could point out ways to defuse or possibly even eradicate the enchantment of growth.

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