Chinese Contract Labor, the Corporeal Rift, and Ecological Imperialism in Peru’s Nineteenth-Century Guano Boom
Published in Journal of Peasant Studies, 2021
Abstract Building on the theory of ecological imperialism in the context of the Peruvian guano boom, this analysis explores the metabolic rift in the human relation to external nature and the corresponding corporeal rift in the destruction of human bodily existence. Guano capitalists robbed Peru of the manure deposited by seabirds, while British imperialism introduced a system of racialized expropriation (the ‘coolie trade’), referred to by Karl Marx as ‘worse than slavery.’ Previous failures to understand this historical tragedy were due to the legal forms adopted, which categorized as semi-free labor what was in fact the social murder of the workers.
Recommended citation: Loustaunau, Lola, Mauricio Betancourt, Brett Clark, and John Bellamy Foster. 2021. "Chinese Contract Labor, the Corporeal Rift, and Ecological Imperialism in Peru's Nineteenth-Century Guano Boom." Journal of Peasant Studies . https://doi.org/10.1080/03066150.2021.1979966