This paper intends to provide historical context to the push and pull factors that would prompt the average Peruvian citizen to immigrate from their birth nation to the United States, and view those factors through the lens of Marx’ analysis of the effect of private property on the formation of socioeconomic classes from The Communist Manifesto. Marx and Engels argue that the abolition of private property is fundamentally necessary to the creation of a communist society (Marx 1848: 22). This is based on the notion that private property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products, that is based on class antagonisms, on the exploitation of the many by the few, emphasizing that the act of owning land is not in itself producing any value to society (Marx 1848: 22).
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Rather, the value produced by land comes as a result of the labor done on or with it, meaning the laborers are producing the wealth that, due to property ownership, the landowner then receives. The allowance of private property within a society, in Marx’ view, is itself the cause of the formation of socioeconomic classes”a system which places those who own the land perpetually above those who do not, and leaves those who do not in a position of relative powerlessness. The following historical contextualization’s will demonstrate how Marx’ analysis of the effect of private property on the formation of socioeconomic classes helps to explain current and recent realities within Peru.
Between 1970 and 1990 Peru faced a serious economic crisis which economists and historians attribute largely to the intense volatility in the domestic and global economy of its extraction-based economic growth model”the same model first established with the colonial extraction of silver and gold (Thorp 1987: 1). This economic crisis, and the sociopolitical realities and opportunities surrounding it which will be detailed below, was the primary cause of the immigration of Luis in the Immigration Narrative paper.
Due to Peru’s geographic location and extractive resource industries utilizing outdated and unsafe practices, rural and underdeveloped regions of the nation are particularly susceptible to environmental catastrophes such as mud slides, fires, flooding, and intense periodic food insecurity. Worse yet, the government looks the other way as state-run and international resource extraction companies continue to destroy the environment and cause serious health crises within these rural regions.
Environmental catastrophes have ravaged Peru for the last 45 years. The US company Occidental, Argentinian/Dutch Pluspetrol, Chinese National Petroleum Corporation, and Canadian Frontera Energy have all actively contributed to the contamination of Peru’s natural habitats and rural communities. The contaminated rivers, streams, lakes, lagoons, soils, gardens, game, [and] fish have contributed to epidemics, miscarriages, skin diseases, diarrhea and deaths predominantly impacting native populations (Hill 2017). Rights have been trampled over and ignored protest criminalized,
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