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The Coca Boom and Rural Social Change in Bolivia is an exploration of a Bolivian peasant community's progressive incorporation into the international cocaine market. Harry Sanabria clarifies the contemporary struggle over the control of coca in Bolivia, asks why it surfaced, and illuminates what it means to the peasants themselves to be producing a valuable, "illicit" product for consumption primarily by North Americans.
With the faltering of Bolivia's economy in the 1970s, the elite agrarian class seized control of the cocaine trade. Concurrently, policies intended to keep down the cost of foodstuffs in the urban marketplace made the cultivation of such crops unprofitable. By arguing that these changes in local economic structures were necessary responses to the impact of external programs and policies, Sanabria links the changing social conditions of this rural highland community to regional, national, and international events. The Coca Boom and Rural Social Change in Bolivia demonstrates that despite widespread economic and social disruptiveness of the international cocaine trade on this community, the peasants have no real alternative.
1. Introduction 1
2. The Regional and Local Landscape 21
3. Coca and the Politics of Development 37
4. Mobility, Inequality, and Wealth 63
5. Mobility and Access to Land 93
6. Production and Land Use 117
7. The Deployment of Agricultural Labor 145
8. Epilogue: 1985-92 167
9. Local Actions and Global Paradigms 193
Appendix 1: Fieldwork Methods 211
Appendix 2: Annual Precipitation in Colomi, 1977-81 (in millimeters) 219
Appendix 3: Monthly Temperatures in Colomi, 1981-83 (in centigrade) 221