Sumaq Kawsay: Germinating alternatives to development

by Eduardo Gudynas, Centro Latino Americano de Ecología Social

Sumaq Kawsay (Quechua), Suma Qamaña (Aymara), Buen vivir (Spanish), Good Living or Living Well (English) encompasses a set of ideas coming forward as both a reaction and an alternative to conventional notions of development. On these terms diverse reflections are accumulating which, with great intensity, explore new creative perspectives, on both the level of ideas and in practice. Given this situation it is useful to consolidate some of the main ideas under discussion. That is the goal of this article. We don’t intend to defend any unique definition of Good Living; actually, as will be seen, no one definition is applicable to all cases. The proposal is to provide a panoramic look, even at the at risk of being incomplete, but to make it clear that Buen Vivir [hereafter translated as Good Life and sometimes Good Living] is at this time germinating in various forms in different countries and from different social actors, that it is a concept under construction, which necessarily must adjust to each social and environmental circumstance.

Spanish original 28 Fevrero 2011 http://alainet.org/active/48052
English translation 14 July 2011 http://alainet.org/active/48054

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