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The Discourse of Economic Growth in Peru: Analysis of the Presidential Messages in the Governments of Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and Martín Vizcarra

Marco Antonio Lovón Cueva

Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos

mlovonc@unmsm.edu.pe

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Abstract: Official discourses on a country’s development are often not investigated even though they build systems of representation of a country’s economic, social and ecological reality. In Peru, it has become naturalized that extractivism is the engine of the economy. This myth is not only reproduced in the discourses of the mining business sector, but also in political discourses, especially the official discourse. In this paper, we analyze the concept of “economic development” that former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and current President Martín Vizcarra had in their presidential messages in order to show that this discourse is maintained in the national agenda. For the analysis, the methodology of Fairclough’s Critical Analysis of the Discourse (1992) and Escobar’s Post-Development concepts (2005) are used. With this work, it is concluded that there is continuity in the political discourse on the ‘economic development’ of the country.

Keywords: growth, development, extractivism, company, State, official discourse.

 

There is no consensus among politicians on what development is or should be. Rather, academics have shown that there are different discourses on what development is. These discourses understand development in terms of economic growth, usually linked to the logic of extractivism. Development, therefore, is understood through these other discourses, with which they are articulated.

        These discourses normalize the economic, social and ecological reality under the idea that we must continue to produce and consume resources given by nature in order to maintain the circulation of goods and their consumption. According to Gudynas (2015: 97), the speeches serve to naturalize the extractive activities, as an acceptable and necessary activity with which human beings can coexist. Nevertheless, the exaggerated commodification of resources is questionable since it generates havoc to humanity. What is really needed is not produced; on the contrary, there is an economic overproduction, which deserves to be questioned. According to Stiegler (2016: 32), there is an absence of general criticism about today’s economy that prepares other horrors and leaves the new generations tragically helpless. In other words, there is an absence of criticism of the discourses of today’s economy, especially if the effects of the neo-liberal economy bring dire consequences for humanity in general (Phelan, 2007, Laclau, and Mouffe, 1987, Laclau, and Mouffe, 1985).

        The study of development discourses is scarce. For Escobar (2007: 13) there are few works or investigations that have faced the deconstruction of the development discourse. In our region, this discourse has been directed to fulfill the expectations of neoliberalism, in which it is advised the privatization of the companies and the stimulus to investment. In this way, the States favor the operations of the market and even collaborate in maintaining their ways of thinking about the economy. According to Aceves (2006: 117), in Latin America, neoliberalism is a discourse that defends the reduction of the State in favor of efficiency, more than renouncing to the competitions that as historical entity it has gestated, it ends up justifying the deregulation and privatization that favor the great transnational companies that obtain profit margins. It is not strange to think that the State is being eroded by the presence of the transnational companies that act in traditional spaces controlled by the State. According to the Ombudsman’s Office, Peru has granted 20% of its national territory to mining companies (Servindi 2012).

        Despite the fact that economic growth is polluting and deteriorating water, soil and air every time; that is, the environmental impact is increasing, there is no strong global or national discourse about the protection of nature and humanity. International organizations are fighting to protect the environment, but states continue to evade their responsibilities. Some of these discourses may prioritize the capitalist economic model over the ecological discourse. The development model itself persists in maintaining the machinery of production and consumption. For Burchardt (2014: 3), despite all the appeals, analyses and programs, no separation between economic growth and resource consumption has been formulated so far, i.e. no socio-ecological transformation of existing production and consumption models has been created, and most alarmingly, no such transformation is planned for the immediate future either.

         Naturalizing the discourses of development in Latin America causes their ways of living and surviving to be modified, even more so if those discourses exercise control over the economic production of the region. The most developed States generate a subordination in the exercise of the modes of production (Galdino, 2019). For Gudynas (2009a: 53), the current global crisis alters the ecosystems of South America. In the region, under an intense appropriation of natural resources, development strategies, the primarized insertion in the global market and the externalization of environmental impacts persist. One of these resources is water. According to Damonte and Lynch (2016: 8), it is a strategic resource that different stakeholders seek to control in order to drive the process of accumulation. Its control generates the accumulation of capital by the State, but also for the business groups that control its use and consumption.

        According to Gudynas (2016: 13), extractivisms have spread throughout Latin America, that is, the appropriation of natural resources in large volumes or under high-intensity practices, in order to nurture massive exports towards globalization. For the author, the best-known examples are open-pit megamining, oil drilling or the immensity of monocultures. These activities were strengthened from the beginning of the 2000s, due to the strong demand and the income from the high prices that they generated. In this way, the population was convinced. According to Silva Santisteban (2016: 82), the great victory of extractivism has been to convince the population that it is the only way for a country to progress. This common sense has been strengthened by the efforts of its technicians, the infamies of its official and unofficial publicists, the promises of its politicians, and by the repression of its security forces. This discourse assumes that only through mining, oil and gas extraction or indiscriminate fishing can a low-tech nation make the leap to the “first world” or at least to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

       Since the 1990s, the discourses of development have been based on growth expressed as a result of modernity, progress, and profit. According to Gudynas (2011: 78), economic growth continues to be the goal of development, expressed under the idea of progress, which is based on the fact that conservation, or the judicious use of natural resources, is necessary to maintain and feed that growth. In this regard, the author argues that one of the concepts that remain in the world is the concept of sustainable development that includes the environmental dimension whose use has diversified in multiple senses, sometimes disparate from each other, which has caused it to become a diffuse and malleable label (Gudynas 2011: 69). This is a discourse that is also latent and that many politicians defend to the extent of cataloguing their opponents as “retarded” or “uncivilized” (Lovón 2019).

       This article seeks to analyze the concept of “economic development” that the former president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and the current president and Martín Vizcarra had in their presidential messages with the aim of showing that there is a discourse on development that is maintained in both governments, which has not changed despite the environmental impact, such as the ravages generated by El Niño Costero (RPP 2017), the accusations of political corruption (Telesur 2018) and the criticism of how the economy is headed (El Comercio 2018). In this regard, PPK blamed the Lava Jato case and coastal El Niño for the economic slowdown that occurred in its first year of government (Sarmiento 2017). This research tries to answer the following question: What is the conception of development between the previous and the new Peruvian government? It is important in this case to study this discourse in the presidential messages addressed to the population at the time of the national anniversary. This type of message is transmitted through the media once a year during each period of government, which is presented to the parliamentarians in the Congress of the Republic.

       For the purposes of the investigation, the work is divided as follows: a theoretical framework, a methodology, an analysis, and final reflections are presented.

 

  1. Neoliberalism and Extractivism

2.1. Neoliberalism and Latin America

Neoliberalism is an economic model that emerged in the post-war period and began to be implemented during the 1970s in Latin America and Europe.  For Fair (2008), since the beginning of the 1990s, transnational corporations have appeared in a colossal way and financial capital has expanded. For this period, with the fall of communism, neoliberalism spread. This model was created in 1944 by the Austrian economist Friedrich Von Hayek and developed extensively since 1947, based on the contributions of the American monetarist Milton Friedman. In 1979 it was developed in the United Kingdom by Margaret Thatcher and in 1980 in the United States by Ronald Reagan. Before that, in 1973, it was implemented in Chile during the regime of Augusto Pinochet and since 1976 during the period of the Argentine military dictatorship. Since the end of the 1980s it has spread almost everywhere in the world, and at the beginning of the 1990s it expanded to the former communist countries. Since then, its theorists have argued that the world was in a new world order, which was defined as “international community,” “planetary society” or “global village.”

       For Dos Santos (2007: 7), the neoliberal hegemony turned the countries of Latin America into machines of payment of international interests to the detriment of the internal consumption and even of the same development. In the 1990s, the Washington Consensus conditioned countries to use overvalued currencies, to get used to trade deficits and high interest rates administered by states in order to capture foreign capital and to privatize public companies. Capital was attracted by the international reserves accumulated during the renegotiations of the external debt at the end of the 1980s. According to Millions (2003), the neoliberal project manages to be subjective in everyday life. This project created the illusion that every subject visualizes as attainable and in small levels of acquisition sees its concretion as attainable. For him, to achieve that the policies of economic adjustment are effective it was required of the constant creation of illusions that hid their bottom objectives, especially the one to reestablish the economic power of the groups of power.

       According to Fermín (2010), the neoliberal ideological project was established in Latin America when the implementation of structural adjustment and economic stabilization policies began to curb the effects of the foreign debt crisis that originated in the 1980s. For this author, neoliberalism was the only option to overcome the crisis or avoid it, both for the rulers and politicians of the right and left. Under the guidelines established in the Washington Consensus, the functionalists of the Chicago School were in charge of disseminating these recipes in the circles of government, political, business and academic power. In this way, the market and the transnational actors were privileged, so that there were economic transformations and a reordering in the areas of integration and economic influence. Thus, the neoliberal and development discourse was implemented as “the only possible way” in the 80s and 90s. However, he points out that neoliberalism enters into crisis at the beginning of the 21st century when the market shows its inability to counteract the deterioration of living conditions and high rates of poverty. That is why, for example, the governments of the Andean countries of the left introduce changes in macroeconomic adjustment policies and reject bilateral and multilateral agreements that promote free markets. Those liberalization policies that were promoted by international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to help overcome the debt crisis inserted Latin America into the global economy (Azamar and Ponce 2014: 139).

       Neoliberalism has since promoted the exploitation of resources in Latin America, as these represent the capital needed to pay debts, promote economic stability and mobilize development. This system managed to implement the extractive discourse in the current historical context. Peru, for example, domesticated the proposal to accumulate and extract raw materials that will be sold and bought in the international market, since these represent its wealth and the main means to negotiate with other countries and insert itself in the dynamics of world trade. The country is seen as a source of abundant resources. This image has made it perceived as a primary exporting country. According to Ornelas (2016), extractivism is the modality of economic growth that is based on the appropriation of nature, in a scarcely diversified productive network, to, in a dependent way, provide food and raw materials required by the central economies. Azamar and Ponce (2014: 142) indicate that the extractivist model has its beginning with the discovery, conquest, and colonization of the American continent, which will be exploited from the Eurocentric logic of appropriating resources. This model has been implemented over the centuries as part of the economic system capitalist system that promotes a trading system that is in constant need of extraction. It’s a system that never stops growing.

       At present, the Peruvian economy continues to extract its resources not for outstanding debts, but to maintain its role as an exporting country in the international arena. The State is giving way to investments in primary sectors to favor the country’s economic growth so that its profits are directed to Peruvians. However, in practice, it ends up enriching investors, large companies and power groups. The State with this reasoning of growing and seeing that it is the only way to legitimize or normalize this extractive practice articulated with the neoliberal system.

 

2.2 Development and Extractivism as Discourses

According to Escobar (2005), there have been different theories about modernization, especially the following three: 1) the Theory of modernization (50s-60s), in which development depends on capital, technology or modern values; the lack, of these; 2) the Theory of dependency (60s-70s), according to which the roots of underdevelopment were in the connection between external dependency and internal exploitation; and finally 3) the Critical approaches to development as cultural discourse (80s-90s), in which it is maintained that development is a discourse of western origin that operates as a powerful mechanism for cultural, social and economic production of the Third World.

       Thus, according to the author, the deconstruction of development, in other words, led the poststructuralists to raise the possibility of a “post-development era.” In this era, development would not take place “solely under the eyes of the West. It would encourage the need to rely less on expert knowledge and more on ordinary people’s attempts to build more humane worlds (vernacular cultures, social movements). Activists and communities themselves claim their right as knowledge producers. Communities have developed what could be called an alternative political ecology based on notions of sustainability, autonomy, diversity and alternative economies which are not part of the dominant development discourses.

       According to Gudynas (2016), extractivisms have become acts of faith immune to the evidence of their negative effects. The political theology of extractivism is composed of the sacred narratives, ceremonial motifs and liturgical forms that maintain and legitimize extractivist discourses and actions. For Silva Santiesteban (2016: 85), “[t]he extractivist discourse is an operation of meaning (of configuring meaning) to predatory practices that compulsive extractivist activity entails, in order to legitimize them. The basic objective of this discourse is to minimize the damage and disqualify those who point out that the damage of the extractive industries is irreversible.”

        Following Maquet (2014: 13-98), in Peru, there are a number of myths about extractivism that fuel extractivist production and reproduction practices. These are as follows: 1) opponents of extractivism are ‘anti-miners’; 2) mining and other types of extractivism are the only and real drivers of development; 3) modern mining does not pollute; 4) extractive companies always listen to the population and 5) there are no other similar or superior development alternatives to extractivism. All these myths are supposedly defended by a group of people who favor extractive activities. In our work, we see that official discourses aim to reproduce the second myth especially. These myths have converged in an extractivist discourse used by governments. According to Silva Santisteban (2016: 88, these myths are assumed to be unalterable truths and animate the daily activities of citizens instead of being perceived as creations of the symbolic imagination or as commonplaces of intentions interested in extractivisms. The same author maintains that the modern extractive discourse presents mining or oil activity as efficient, technical, without the burdens of the past, producing employment directly or indirectly. Thinking that it is the source of work attracts citizens. She believes that the extractivist discourse is organized and presented as something positive for all of Society. And it is not only presented in this way for those interested in the direct benefits of extractive activities, given that some understand that it serves for the growth of GDP and consequently for the reduction and annulment of poverty, since it is assumed that wealth ‘drips’ (Silva Santisteban 2016: 89).

       According to Gudynas (2009b: 42), environmental management has been reduced to a form of environmental economics that relies almost exclusively on the economic valuation of natural resources. For this author, in Latin America, since the mid-1980s, it was proposed that an efficient environmental management is feasible from the market, but for that it must “enter” Nature and its components to that market environment. Likewise, this must be reified, that is to say, property rights over the environment must be awarded and economic values assigned to the elements and processes of the ecosystems. In this way, Nature is seen as a plural category that breaks down into ‘goods’ and ‘services’ offered in the market. This leads to the emergence of Natural Capital. This concept realizes that nature becomes a form of “investment.” In this context, the criteria of profitability are appropriated from environmental management, so only that which can be useful or potentially beneficial is conserved. This anthropocentric view of the commercialization of nature will be confronted in later years by the biocentric perspective of some countries, in which nature is the center: it has life and rights.

 

  1. Methodology

This is a qualitative study. The messages to the nation given by PPK and Vizcarra on July 28th are collected and analyzed. Every year, an official message to the nation is produced for this date. This type of message is not usually studied. We mark in bold the linguistic expressions that create discourses and ideologies. The messages from 2016 to 2018 are examined. These periods correspond to the PPK governments and the beginning of the Vizcarra government. 

       For the analysis of the data, the Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) is used, which allows us to study PPK and Vizcarra’s conceptions by using lexical and discursive strategies, that is, words, phrases, metaphors, and even numbers. These are used in their presidential political speeches, which are finally constituted as a social practice that favors extraction and private investment. According to Fairclough (1992), discourses reflect, represent and build identities and social relations: they shape, anticipate, produce and give meaning to reality. The discourses that direct our ways of thinking are those with which we are exposed. We follow discourses that are in line with our beliefs and that organize the world in relation to them. Discourses are different representations of social life. The social actors perceive or construct social life in different ways, with different discourses, from the social position in which they are and in which they have learned to look at reality (Fairclough, 1992, p. 182). The different representations generate tensions in a society, although generally people live and consume hegemonic representations, since these are imposed or learned socially from the State, power groups, academics, the home, or the social environment. The speech is capable of materializing ideologies, this is, naturalized forms of thinking.

       According to Escobar (2007: 78), an initial approach to the nature of development as discourse are its fundamental premises. One of his premises was to believe that modernization was the only force capable of destroying, regardless of the social, cultural, and political cost, diverse superstitions, and archaic relations. Urbanization and industrialization were the progressive routes to modernization. Social, cultural, and political progress could only come about through material development. Later, capital investment was believed to be the most important factor in the supposed development. From the beginning, poor countries were conceived as capital supplies, providing the infrastructure and industrialization, and of course the overall modernization of society.

       Next, we will present the analysis of the presidential messages. To this end, we will highlight the words and phrases that construct PPK and Vizcarra’s official discourse on economic development for Peru. The terms used in the official discourse respond to the strategy of lexical cohesion specially. Through the selection of words, a semantic network of voices is formed that revolves around the same discursive meaning: that of growth. These mechanisms are used to create representations about the economy. Other strategies will also be seen in the analysis, such as naming numbers or listing projects. It should be noted that their ways of thinking are further examples of the mega-discourse of neoliberalism maintained since the 1990s in the country, which has permeated the state logic of several Latin American countries and the world (Lovón and Pita, 2016).

 

  1. Analysis: Concerns about growth in PPK and Vizcarra in Presidential Messages

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (PPK) ruled from July 28, 2016 to March 23, 2018. He was followed by Martín Alberto Vizcarra Cornejo.

      PPK’s state commitments in 2016 were the following six points: 1) To bring water and drainage to all Peruvians. 2) To provide a quality public education service that allows access to millions of young people. 3) To provide a timely and effective public health service that is sensitive to the sick. 4) To formalize the country, to the maximum extent possible. 5) To build infrastructure for urgent development. 6) To free the country from corruption, discrimination, insecurity and crime, fighting these historic scourges with complete transparency. These commitments depended ultimately on the reactivation of the economy, that is, on “growth.” Therefore, in his concern, he asked the Legislative for its collaboration in mobilizing the economic machinery. His President of the Council of Ministers and his Cabinet appeared before the Congress of the Republic to request its confidence based on his government plan. In the words of PPK, its plan required some legislative measures to reactivate the sustained growth of the economy, lay the foundations for its sanitation and public health program, combat citizen insecurity and, finally, create an anti-corruption system in the State and society (Kuczynski 2016). PPK’s dream was to have a prosperous country:

¿Y cuál es ese sueño que se convirtió en la promesa de la vida republicana? Libertad e independencia del poder foráneo para construir un país próspero bajo el imperio de la ley. Igualdad, equidad y fraternidad entre todos los peruanos. Acceso a oportunidades; crecimiento, no sólo económico sino también humano a través de una magnífica educación; una prestación de salud sensible a las necesidades de las personas con acceso a prevención, cuidado y atención integral de la salud individual y colectiva; una justicia oportuna y predecible, así como las condiciones de seguridad para alcanzar la anhelada paz en nuestras calles y hogares (Kuczynski 2016).

In 2017, his commitments were summarized in the section “Modern, prosperous and fair country”, in which he reiterated his conviction in the capacity to turn Peru into a modern, prosperous and fair country. In that sense, he formulated a series of bills, such as the 1) Bill that would facilitate and reduce the time involved in the process of obtaining land for the execution of prioritized projects, 2) the Bill for the creation of the Urban Transportation Authority for Lima and Callao, 3) the Bill to reform the composition and requirements of the members of the National Council of the Magistracy, 4) the Bill to promote projects for the treatment of wastewater through public-private partnerships, and 5) the Bill to strengthen the system of labour inspection through the National Superintendence of Labour Inspection (SUNAFIL) (Kuczynski 2017). However, putting the former governor’s wishes into practice meant mobilizing the primary sector. The implementation of his commitments, however, did not occur due to Kuczynski’s resignation from the presidency because he was involved in corruption cases.

It should be noted that the growth momentum he was planning was also affected by the effects of climate change:

Nuestro primer año de gobierno enfrentó, lamentablemente, varios contratiempos imprevistos como Lava Jato y el Niño Costero. Quizá subestimé el esfuerzo titánico que requería restablecer el crecimiento económico en un contexto como este. Me disculpo si fue así. No me imaginé que se juntarían, en pocos meses, dos acontecimientos tan graves fuera de nuestro control inmediato (Kuczynski 2017).

 

Al mismo tiempo, llegó el llamado Niño Costero, el cual nos causó tremendos daños, particularmente en la Costa Norte, pero también en la Sierra. Los daños están detallados en el capítulo 10 de esta Memoria. El cambio climático es un importante desafío global que nos está jugando muy malas pasadas. Debemos estar preparados. Por eso, la gran tarea de reconstrucción que estamos emprendiendo es una Reconstrucción con Cambios. […] La combinación de Lava Jato más el Niño Costero nos costó 2% del Producto Bruto Interno. Esto redujo el crecimiento de la economía peruana, cuya tasa ya venía disminuyendo marcadamente desde mediados del año 2014. En vez de un crecimiento de más de 4% que se proyectaba para este año, tendremos algo menos de 3% anual (Kuczynski 2017).

In his quest to rebuild governance, current President Vizcarra is trying to regain the confidence of Peruvians, within a framework of respect. For him, what happened with PPK should mark the end of the policy of hate and confrontation, as it has only damaged the country. He argued that the political class, especially if it holds public office, has an obligation to respond to the many needs, demands and aspirations of Peruvians, and it is a waste of time to get entangled in fierce fights that end up causing enormous damage to the country (Vizcarra 2018c). As president he sought to fight corruption, achieve institutional stability, and leave a stable country. Vizcarra took office in a situation of deep crisis, without a transition period and having to form a cabinet in record time, in order to stabilize the country (Vizcarra 2018b).

      For Vizcarra, the development of Peru implies the improvement of the quality of life of each and every Peruvian and he committed himself to that improvement. Health, employment generation and citizen security would be central to his work. He promised that he would do his best for Peru as he did in his time in Moquegua. It is interesting to see that a regional policy serves to project it into a national policy. For him, education was seen as the central pillar of his management (Vizcarra 2018a). His dream was to achieve the stability of the country. However, to undertake his objectives, like PPK, it would have to be sustained by the logic of economic development. For him, ensuring stability means economic growth:

… nuestro horizonte es el de un país estable con crecimiento ordenado y equitativo, y debemos avanzar rápido en este camino. Nuestro proyecto en lo económico es conducir al Perú por la senda de la credibilidad y estabilidad. Por eso, vamos a mantener lo que se ha hecho bien, modificar todo aquello que puede mejorarse, y emprender aquello que no se ha realizado hasta ahora.

 

Sabemos que para crecer, nuestro país debe ser cada vez más competitivo, y generar empleo de calidad para todos los peruanos sin distingo de edades y género. Por eso, fomentaremos la inversión privada, la iniciativa de los emprendedores, y apoyaremos a nuestras pequeñas y medianas empresas  (Vizcarra 2018b).

 

En el año 2017 la economía creció solo el 2,5 % lo que generó que aumente la pobreza en el país. En nuestros dos primeros meses de gobierno, hemos recuperado el nivel de crecimiento, encontrándonos ya alrededor del 5%. Al mismo tiempo, la inflación del último mes ha sido de tan sólo 0,04% mostrando la recuperación de la estabilidad, como base para el progreso (Vizcarra 2018c).

 

Las circunstancias en que asumimos el Gobierno son para todos conocidas: encontramos una economía frenada y una polarización política que generó un ambiente de incertidumbre que se vio reflejado en la disminución del crecimiento y de las inversiones. Por primera vez en este milenio, se incrementó la pobreza. Este es un indicador que debe preocuparnos a todos. No podemos permanecer indiferentes ante esta situación, es nuestra responsabilidad revertir esta tendencia (Vizcarra 2018d).

 

Frente a ello, este Gobierno ha implementado una serie de acciones orientadas a reencausar al país. Estas medidas buscan poner en marcha, en el más breve plazo, los pilares del crecimiento económico, potenciar la inversión pública y privada y mejorar los ingresos para los hogares (Vizcarra 2018f).

 

A la luz de las últimas cifras, los resultados empiezan a notarse y nos permiten señalar que nuestra economía ha iniciado un positivo proceso de consolidación de su ritmo de crecimiento. Hoy, podemos tener la convicción de que alcanzaremos un crecimiento de alrededor de 4% en este año, muy superior al 2,5% del año pasado (Vizcarra 2018f).

Necesitamos de todos y todas, para afrontar los grandes desafíos que tiene nuestro país para salir adelante: la reforma educativa, la reconstrucción del norte, la lucha contra la anemia, contra la violencia a la mujer, la recuperación económica, la lucha contra la pobreza, la mejora del sistema de salud, entre otros. Cómo diría Vallejo: “Hay hermanos muchísimo que hacer” (Vizcarra 2018f).

       It should be noted, however, that although PPK took on an “effective” discourse on development, in the field of implementation it was not. According to Desco (2018), on the economic level, the low growth of the economy during the Kuckzynski era was very visible, as a result of unwise measures, such as the alleged fiscal adjustment introduced by his former minister Thorne; also the apparent media “unblocking”, which stopped many large public investment projects, including the symbolic case of Chinchero airport in Cusco, among others, despite being immersed in a relatively favorable international context due to the increase in mineral prices. Speech and action do not always go hand in hand. What is said is not always done. However, PKK’s speech of wanting to grow was also presented in Vizcarra’s speech.

       Next, we will analyze the three premises that feed the discourse on economic growth presented in the PPK and Vizcarra presidential messages. In their reasoning, it will be seen that they understand development as synonymous with growth.

 

4.1. The more extractive activities there are, the more growth there will be 

Development is associated with employment, and in Peru it is associated with mining. In this regard, Burchardt points out that wealth depends on access to raw materials and extractive revenues (2014: 12). That is why States privilege the institutional protection of the extractive model. According to Burchardt (2014: 12), Latin American states generally rely on extractive revenues, so there are hardly any incentives to diversify the economy and make it more productive and environmentally friendly. This belief, that is, that the more extractive activity there is, the greater the growth, is found in the official discourse.

       In the nation’s message of 2017, PPK spoke of a return to dynamism and to this end it was necessary to resolve the obstacles that had been placed in the way of flagship projects, in another sense, it referred to infrastructure projects and those of the primary sector. He marked the message with words like “path to growth”, “unlocking projects”, “huge reserves.” In his presidential message, he uses words like “economic dynamism”, “reactivating the economy”, “enormous gas reserves have been discovered” that allude to “economic growth”, which are accompanied by figures (25 billion soles in public infrastructure projects) that give legitimacy to the message as well as the numbering of projects (the airport or the Gas Pipeline to the South) or the invocation of the supposed fight against corruption (interrupted by Lava Jato). Since growth implies progress, he then uses words like “unblocking flagship projects” or “restarting major projects.” He seeks to persuade the country that these projects need to be mobilized. Select words that support the logic of growth.

En el momento actual, el reto urgentísimo es retomar la senda del crecimiento y del dinamismo económico. Una pregunta frecuente en los últimos meses es cómo vamos a reactivar la economía.

En primer lugar, estamos en plena ejecución de más de 25,000 millones de soles en proyectos de infraestructura pública en el marco de la Reconstrucción con Cambios, un masivo programa de agua y desagüe, el destrabe de proyectos emblemáticos y los Juegos Panamericanos (Kuczynski 2017).

 

Estamos además reiniciando los grandes proyectos que tuvieron que detenerse por la corrupción o por un diseño financiero inadecuado. Estamos comprometidos en darle al Cusco un nuevo aeropuerto. Asimismo, construiremos el Gasoducto al Sur, interrumpido por Lava Jato. Y hay una muy buena noticia sobre este inmenso proyecto. Se ha descubierto, en el ínterin, enormes reservas adicionales de gas, las cuales ratifican la viabilidad del proyecto (Kuczynski 2017).

Likewise, Vizcarra believes that economic growth depends on the activation and promotion of investment projects or macro-projects. For him, for these to work, they have to be responsible with the protection of the environment. However, as can be seen below, he refers to extractivist projects. For Vizcarra, like many other politicians, mining projects, for example, are the remedy for promoting the country’s growth. Torres (2014) indicates that Peruvian rulers during the first decade of the 20th century have continued with the economic model that Alberto Fujimori imposed in July 1990. The doctrinal rules of the game that regulated the economic activity of groups in the mining sector have been the same. Since then, they have operated in a free market economy, with economic policies and regulatory frameworks that encourage the development of their productive activity, with special emphasis on promoting private investment. He marked much the word “mining”, even distinguished one formal from another informal; this second one associated with environmental impacts, while the first one is not, or is seen as more responsible. To build a semantically cohesive discourse on growth, he uses expressions such as “regaining confidence”, as these reassure citizens and especially economists who had high expectations of PPK. He resorts to a discursive “I” to represent himself as a “I am pro-development.” Confidence is generated by other expressions such as “you will have my support”, “I want responsible mining.” In lexical terms, he uses positive emotion verbs such as “impel”, “promote”, “generate”, “want”, formulated mainly in the first person singular or plural, as opposed to negative words such as “bad mining” or “affect.” The extractivist accumulation has been determined by the demands made by the metropolitan centers of nascent capitalism, which caused some regions to specialize in the extraction and production of primary goods and export them, while others assumed the role of producers of manufactured goods and imported them (Ornelas 2016).

 

Estamos trabajando firmemente para impulsar el crecimiento económico y social del país y recuperar la confianza de los peruanos en las instituciones y en sus autoridades (Vizcarra 2018c).

Yo soy prodesarrollo y tengan la seguridad que todos los proyectos que promuevan el desarrollo, van a tener mi respaldo.

Yo quiero una minería ambientalmente responsable. ¿Yo quiero a la minería? Claro que la quiero, pero que sea responsable con el medio ambiente y con la sociedad, que genere desarrollo en el ámbito donde opera. Esa es la minería queremos, pero también hay minería de la mala, que impacta al medio ambiente. Esa, en cambio, hay que combatirla. Gran parte de esa mala minería está en Puno.

¿Se pueden hacer proyectos extractivos? Por supuesto que se pueden, pero sin que se rompa el equilibrio del ecosistema. Se puede desarrollar la minería, mientras que no se afecte la agricultura, ni la biodiversidad ni al recurso hídrico (Vizcarra 2018e).

Vizcarra also uses words like “wealth” to refer to the country’s resources. Nature is seen as capital. He states that the opportunities for development are mining and hydrocarbons, which he calls “industry.” The discourse of growth is articulated with the ideals not only of urbanization, but also of industrialization. In his persuasion, he selects the lexemes “commitment” and “responsible” to promote an extractive activity that Peruvians can accept. The mining and oil activities would be accepted if they are perceived as “innocent” in their concern for the environment. However, it should be noted that in their discourse there are no citizens or communities that are especially indigenous. It is a matter of promoting an economy where supposedly there is no one and, therefore, extraction must continue. Azamar, and Ponce (2014: 142) point out the extractivism in Latin America began with the conquest and, through violence, caused the exclusion of most of the original inhabitants from the means of production. Currently, this accumulation is carried out under the protection of governments that allow the free exploitation of their resources by foreign companies, with the aim of attracting investment to their countries. For them, these companies contribute little to the development of the country due to the limited collection of taxes and royalties (in some cases the latter do not apply), while leaving considerable consequences in the economic, social and environmental fields.In order to convince, the president also sees the need to list a set of investments and figures to recognize the importance of “reactivating” the economy. His concern was that there was a global economic slowdown, a national recession and problems left by his previous administration. However, the remedy is brought by the extractive activity. To grow or recover economically, minerals and hydrocarbons must be extracted. As he is concerned about Peru’s recovery, he uses words like “insert”, “authorize” and “formalize” in relation to artisanal mining, as he seeks to integrate it into the economic system, to produce for the country. In association with these lexemes, he resorts to terms such as “security”, and, by way of rhetorical exemplification, names the “issuance of the miner’s identification card”, to point out that the government is extremely responsible with the extractive activity of mining. These requirements would guarantee success. Torres (2014) indicates that the accentuated and sustained increase in the international price of the metals that Peru has produced and exported has allowed mining groups to obtain extraordinary profits during the first decade of this century, which is why this activity continues to be promoted.

 

No podemos ser un país que tiene una gran riqueza bajo la tierra y pobreza en la superficie. La industria minera y de hidrocarburos son una oportunidad para el desarrollo, sin embargo, como hemos señalado muchas veces, este desarrollo no puede darse sin un compromiso social y ambientalmente responsable (Vizcarra 2018f).

En ese contexto resaltamos importantes inversiones mineras anunciadas en el presente año

    • Proyecto Michiquillay, por US$ 2,500 millones
    • Ampliación Toquepala USD 1,200 millones
    • Ampliación Marcona USD 1,300 millones
    • Ampliación de Toromocho, por US$ 1,300 millones.
    • Quellaveco, con una inversión de USD 5,300 millones.
    • Mina Justa, por USD 1,300 millones.
    • Corani USD 580 millones
    • Pampa de Pongo USD 2,500 millones

Inversiones que superan los USD 15,000 millones, que contribuirán a reactivar nuestra economía (Vizcarra 2018f).

Pero no solo la gran minería es importante, sino la pequeña minería y la minería artesanal. Nuestro esfuerzo estará enfocado en procurar su inserción en la economía, con un enfoque ambiental y de la seguridad de las personas, buscando una formalización minera descentralizada, para lo cual ya se ha autorizado la emisión del carné de identificación del minero en vías de formalización, inscrito en el Registro Integral de Formalización Minera (Vizcarra 2018f).

 

In this regard, according to Mejía (2017: 101), in Peru, the Constitution has served to stimulate the current economy, in another sense, the present development model. For him, the Magna Carta has meant an opportunity to establish the objectives of liberalization, such as that of the hydrocarbon sector. Article 66 of the Constitution states that the State has ownership of natural resources and has the power to grant concessions to third parties for their exploitation. This author indicates that the Constitution also outlines, in its article 69, a whole strategy to promote the sustainable development of the Amazon, in which the State’s interest in promoting and continuing to promote extractive projects in the Amazon region is reaffirmed. For Espinosa (2009: 158), our country is not only extremely behind, our country continues to intensely promote these models, which she considers anachronistic, which destroy the environment and generate situations of social violence and inequity.

 

4.2. The greater the investment, the greater the growth

A second myth that sustains the discourse of economic development is the belief that economic investment will bring economic growth, better if it is on a larger scale. This way of thinking is ingrained in the population. Kallis, Demaria and D’ Alisa (2015: 40) argue that, in the minds of most people, economic growth is still linked to improvement or well-being.

       Both PPK and Vizcarra argue that investment is necessary to stimulate Peru’s development. The development model is guaranteed by indicators of infrastructure modernization and political stability. In terms of semantic cohesion, a network of words is created that allude to investment: “expansion”, “construction”, “large investments”, “private enterprise”, “generate jobs”, “recovery.” PPK calls for “investments” because it considers them the essence of growth. It qualifies them with the adjective “large” to indicate that they are the ones that “generate” employment. Without them, you cannot start growing. Strategically, he uses possessive pronouns to involve the citizen with the proposal of development: “his demands” and to attribute to himself the leading role: “mine.” He even appeals to the “regions”, making them visible as a social actor. Lexically, it creates a semantic field of growth that brings together the words “construction”, “enlargement” and “modernization.” Modernizing means “building infrastructure.” In addition, it is interesting that in his presidential message when reflecting on the consequences of the Coastal Child, he not only thanks the public officials, but also the private enterprise, for the economic support. This is seen as an ally of the government.

 

En el año 2021, año del Bicentenario, se habrá construido infraestructura para el desarrollo como nunca se anticipó. No quiero hacer largas enumeraciones que están en nuestro plan de gobierno. Pero anuncio que tendremos mucha más construcción, ampliación y modernización de aeropuertos, puertos, carreteras nacionales, regionales y locales, trenes, el tren de cercanías alrededor de Lima, gaseoductos y no olvidaré a Iquitos, la ciudad de mi infancia, hoy aislada a la cual conectaremos por tierra al resto del Perú. Estas grandes inversiones generan trabajo. ¡Todo ésta listo para empezar! Regiones, sus demandas por obras y progreso son las mías (Kuczynski 2016).

Pero antes de cumplir con ese deber, deseo tomar un momento del tiempo de todos ustedes para rendir homenaje y expresar mi gratitud -tanto personal, como el de toda la Nación -a aquellos miembros del Estado que estuvieron en primera fila durante la emergencia que originó el Niño Costero: las Fuerzas Armadas, la Policía Nacional, el cuerpo de bomberos, Defensa Civil, los técnicos del COEN, autoridades locales, congresistas y ministros. También a la empresa privada y a aquellos ciudadanos que con amplia generosidad entregaron aportes y prestaron su ayuda. Junto a ellos, quiero recordar a aquellos peruanos que perdieron la vida en este desastre. Por ello, deseo que me permitan iniciar este mensaje silencio (Kuczynski 2017).

 

Vizcarra, like PPK, considers that “growth” and “investment” are analogies. Investment ensures growth. Investment” is more important than “revenue.” It appears in the first order. For the president, growth depends on public and private investments, as he maintains “they will allow our country to grow.” Ornelas (2016) argues that extractive activities are perceived as the greatest source of resources abroad; it is these that allow for the financing of public expenditures; however, in these countries the neo-liberal economy prevails as the most important source of income for foreign and domestic private capital. It is interesting that in his speech he appeals to a “sustainable” and “inclusive” economy, although he does not explain how; rather, he limits himself to presenting “three clear examples” of the “many” investments. By way of example, he lists the projects that will save the country. These are accompanied by investment figures that impact the discourse (US$ 1,355 million, US$ 10 billion, US$229 million). Given the situation, Vizcarra points out that investments are only possible in a scenario of “political stability.” The word “stability” also enters this semantic field of growth. You cannot grow if there are no stable conditions. Thus, he addressed the parliamentarians, whom he urged to collaborate with the economy.

 

El crecimiento del país se logrará en base a inversiones, y a una mejor recaudación. No a costa del incremento de tasas impositivas (Vizcarra 2018b).

Respecto de la inversión privada, compartiré tres claros ejemplos de las muchas inversiones que vienen para nuestro país. El proyecto minero Toromocho ya anunció su ampliación, con una inversión de US$ 1,355 millones. Junto a este proyecto, están en marcha otros que suman una inversión minera del orden de los US$ 10 mil millones en el presente año. Entre ellos se encuentran: Mina Justa (Ica), Quellaveco (Moquegua), entre otros. Además, el Puerto Salaverry: con una inversión de US$229 millones, contribuirá a dinamizar la economía del norte peruano. Como también el Terminal Portuario General San Martín – Pisco empezó su construcción con una inversión que asciende a US$ 215,25 millones. Estas inversiones son posibles gracias a un escenario de estabilidad política como el que existe hoy en el país y una señal de recuperación de nuestra economía. Estas inversiones públicas y privadas son las que permitirán que nuestro país crezca a tasas de una manera sostenible e inclusiva (Vizcarra 2018b).

As you can see, for Vizcarra, investment is more important than revenue. In the logic of capitalism, investments are what move the income of companies, which bring in work. Next to the formalization of work and stability, he prioritizes investment. To this end, with a hyperbole, it invokes the “greater” voice to intensify the expression “investment dynamism.” The word “dynamism” refers to “mobility, speed, efficiency.” The concern for investment makes one think of its stimulation. The growth discourse therefore quotes the private sector. For Vizcarra, it is necessary to mention the companies that invest in the country (such as the Anglo American). The president sees growth as a path or a route, so he uses the word “path.”

 

El crecimiento económico del país, lo reafirmo nuevamente, no pasa por crear nuevos impuestos y, mucho menos, por gravar con tributos a los que menos tienen. El crecimiento se logrará con un mayor dinamismo de la inversión pública y privada, estabilidad política y social, mayor formalización y un trabajo honesto y transparente (Vizcarra 2018f).

 

En conclusión, nuestra economía ha regresado a la senda del crecimiento, y eso se debe también a la confianza del sector privado en nuestro gobierno. Muestra de ello es el anuncio de Anglo American de la inversión de más de 5.300 millones de dólares en nuestro país, a partir de este año (Vizcarra 2018f).

In addition, to ensure investment, both politicians believe that any obstacles to the work of the extractive industry must be removed. And they even argue that it is extremely important to persuade the population that investment brings development. For them, it is essential to reactivate the economy from the presence of foreign investment. It is interesting to find expressions such as “face conflicts with dialogue”, “eliminate the multiple obstacles to private investment”, “take concrete and forceful measures.” PPK employs the first plural person to account for the fact that investment is necessary: “must”, “regulate”, “require”, “collect”, “respect”, “seek”, “need.” In his presidential message, he moved from the first and third person grammar to the first plural, as he sought to generate a familiar language. He is convinced, in his words, that “the extractive industries” are those that “bring employment.” Vizcarra also uses this strategy: “we want”, “we take”, “we have made.” In order to grow, he points out that it is urgent to “reactivate” and move the “paralyzed” works. To show urgency, he uses the expression “in the short term.” 

 

Sin embargo, los proyectos, a veces están atascados en problemas burocráticos que debemos destrabar en los próximos seis meses, así como vamos a eliminar los múltiples obstáculos a la inversión privada, a la cual el Perú recibe y espera con brazos abiertos. Regulamos y exigimos el cumplimiento de toda norma ambiental y recogemos y respetamos la opinión de todos los ciudadanos respecto al impacto de un proyecto.

Sin embargo, buscaremos persuadir y explicar, incluso con mi propia presencia, comunidad por comunidad, los costos y beneficios que la inversión en industrias básicas y extractivas trae en el empleo y en los tributos para bien del país. Necesitamos entendernos como país, enfrentar los conflictos con diálogo, no con enfrentamiento (Kuczynski 2016).

 

Nuestra economía está empezando a crecer nuevamente, y eso es una muy buena noticia.

Para que este proceso de crecimiento se consolide, requerimos tanto de la inversión privada, como pública.

Respecto de la inversión pública, queremos que la misma llegue a cada peruano y peruana, por eso tomamos medidas concretas y contundentes. Hemos realizado la más grande transferencia de recursos a las regiones de la historia del Perú. Más de 6.300 millones de soles beneficiarán este año a la población de 525 municipios y las 25 regiones del Perú. Es decir, el 70 % de los recursos están dirigidos a los municipios y serán destinados a la finalización de escuelas, el mejoramiento de servicios educativos, ampliación de servicios de salud, sistemas de agua potable, puentes, pistas, veredas, caminos vecinales, sistemas de riego, entre muchas otras obras que estaban paralizadas, y en el corto plazo van a reactivar nuestra economía y contribuir a mejorar la calidad de vida de todos los peruanos (Vizcarra 2018c).

In order to guarantee investment, they consider it necessary to maintain economic and financial discipline; in this way, they guarantee international confidence. In relation to national investment, they see that it is necessary to meet with the Peruvian business sector. In PPK’s presidential message, investing implies economic and financial discipline. To this end, to create a positive image of discipline, he uses words that contrast good with bad discipline. The bad one is “easy” and “unbridled.” PPK also cites a “bill” to “expedite” investment. Why did it do this? The growth discourse seeks to achieve the objectives or actions pursued. Since it wants big capital, then Congress should not prevent it.

 

Miremos a nuestro entorno en la región y nos daremos cuenta de que los países que tomaron el camino de las soluciones facilistas están hoy financieramente contra la pared. Por ello, nosotros continuaremos con nuestra disciplina económica y financiera. Para generar un mayor crecimiento requerimos una inversión sostenida, una mayor productividad y una mejor educación; no un gasto desenfrenado (Kuczynski 2017).

Segundo, estamos recuperando la confianza de los inversionistas privados, lo que se traduce en nuevas inversiones en el sector minero, hidrocarburos, carreteras, puertos y aeropuertos. En las últimas semanas, se han viabilizado 12 proyectos por una suma total de 32,000 millones de soles, que empezarán a llegar a la economía en los próximos meses. Y este es solo el inicio ya que tenemos aproximadamente 60,000 millones de soles próximos a concretarse o en proceso de formulación.

Para agilizar la inversión en infraestructura, estoy presentando al Congreso un proyecto de ley que facilitará y reducirá los tiempos vinculados a los procesos de obtención de predios (Kuczynski 2017).

 

PPK drills like a hero: “I’ll take care of it.” He sees himself as the savior of the economic recovery. He talks about a “pace,” as if the economy were a competition. Private enterprise is valued not only as big business, but also as small, which he hyperbole names as “thousands. As a politician he wants to generate an impact and a conviction. Vizcarra, in an interview, made it clear that economic work implies uniting the State with the private sector, both in the primary and non-primary sectors. It is interesting that he uses the expression “synchronized acceleration.” The economy is once again seen as a race or competition.

 

Con estas medidas de reactivación económica y un contexto internacional más favorable, pensamos que es razonable proyectar una tasa de crecimiento de más del 4% en el año 2018. ¡El Perú agarrará ritmo otra vez! Yo me encargaré de eso. Recordemos que el grueso del trabajo en el Perú es generado en pequeñas empresas privadas, en cientos de miles de ellas (Kuczynski 2017).

 

Un trabajo coordinado y con objetivos claros entre el Estado y el sector privado permitirán alcanzar un crecimiento sostenido en beneficio de todos los peruanos, afirmó esta mañana el presidente de la República, Martín Vizcarra tras sostener una reunión con representantes de los gremios empresariales más importantes del país. […] Este mayor crecimiento de la actividad económica se debe principalmente a una aceleración sincronizada de los sectores primarios y no primarios, por un mayor impulso de la demanda interna (se destaca la aceleración de la inversión privada y pública) (Vizcarra 2018f).

Merchand (2016) argues that governments in partnership with business maintain a productive system with high returns for a foreign and domestic business class.

 

4.3. The biggest export and international cooperation, the biggest growth

The development discourse is based on the belief that the greater the export and the greater the international cooperation, then there will be more growth; therefore, more development. In this dynamic, the state can even become a servile state, that is, at the service of other states and transnational corporations.  Aceves (2006: 103) maintains that the national State when institutionalizing capital becomes an executing unit of the decrees of world architecture and stops being the center of decision in the management of accumulation, this is, it is placed at the service of the great transnational capital, which reconcentrates and manages its expansion from a global perspective.

       In relation to the presidential message of PPK and some of the statements to the press by Vizcarra, the export of the primary agricultural sector is encouraged, as well as the traditional and non-traditional mining sector. However, the traditional sector is the one that is most promoted in the country, because it is the one that is thought to generate the most economic income. And behind the production of these sectors is the discourse that through them the export economy is mobilized with a Peruvian brand.

PPK appeals to “exports” as the basis for economic recovery. It uses the metaphor of healing: “they recover remarkably” and by being “healthy” they “accumulate growth.” When naming sales, he names first the “traditional” and then the “non-traditional” ones. He gives discursive weight to the former. For Vizcarra, “agricultural” exports are presented as an example of economic benefit. According to Ornelas (2016), extractive activity includes not only mining and hydrocarbons, but also export-oriented agriculture, forestry and fishing. In other words, there is a maritime extractive activity, a forestry extractive activity, etc. As a political authority, he must highlight the fruits of exportation. For him, it is therefore necessary to increase exports, so that the economy will grow. Strategically, he mentions figures and words like “good performance” or “record” to legitimize the competitive discourse of growth. Another example is “tourism.” He names this activity to show the need to connect the world with Peru and generate income.

 

…desde el inicio de nuestro gobierno las exportaciones peruanas vienen recuperándose notablemente, dejando atrás más de tres años de contracción. Al día de hoy las exportaciones han acumulado doce meses de crecimiento consecutivo, tanto de las ventas tradicionales como no tradicionales (Kuczynski 2017).

Hay que hacer una priorización de lo que se incluye en la delegación de facultades. (…) Creemos que ha ayudado mucho el régimen agrario y se debería hacer una extensión, pero habrá que analizarlo. Ha dado muchos beneficios al desarrollo agrario exportador. Lo que queremos, como Gobierno, es seguir beneficiándonos de este régimen (Vizcarra 2018d).

En lo concerniente a la agroexportación cumpliremos con la meta de alcanzar 7.000 millones de dólares al culminar el 2018.

En lo que va del año, las exportaciones totales se han incrementado el 15% y las exportaciones de productos no tradicionales vienen creciendo alrededor del 16%, el buen desempeño de nuestro comercio exterior hará que cerremos el 2018 con una cifra récord de exportaciones que superen los 50 mil millones de dólares (Vizcarra 2018e).

Con respecto al turismo, el Perú ha logrado reconocimiento a nivel mundial. Constituye la tercera fuente generadora de divisas y aporta el 4% del PBI total del país, generando 1,3 millones de empleos directos e indirectos (Vizcarra 2018f).

 

Ayelén and Hernán (2019) indicate that the performance of the exporting sectors, the conditions of the international market and the cycles of policies have strongly conditioned the economic evolution of Peru, which was inserted in the international trade as supplier of raw materials of mining and hydrocarbon origin. The country’s growth cycles are due to the boom in the exploitation of different extractive sectors, such as gold and silver, guano, salt, fishing resources, copper, oil and zinc. Peru still faces a reiteration of strong growth cycles promoted by the performance of the extractive mining sector, which is promoted by international prices.

       As for the relationship with the international market, cooperation spaces have been generated among States, as well as a series of free trade agreements, either bilateral or multilateral. In relation to this, the official discourse favors the production and consumption of resources under the dynamics of an economic model of complex interdependence, but given the asymmetries between the buyers of Peru, a model of dependence is given. For Wallerstein (2010: 48), the extractive process of the neoliberal model has caused a dependence on the requirements of the metropolises and a majority enrichment in the central areas that are dedicated to the transformation. PPK and Vizcarra express optimism that the country belongs to certain regional and international organizations, mainly those that mobilize the international market. The thoughts of PPK and Vizcarra can be summarized in the metaphor of the lighthouse and the metaphor of the spectator, that is, being looked upon with good eyes by other countries and international organizations.

       PPK uses the connotative expression “favorable winds” to indicate that the international environment is favorable to the country. He says it in familiar language: “it is with us.” Peru’s insertion into the world depends on the “upturn” in the prices of “export metals” and the implementation of “mining projects.” This semantic network shows the importance of being connected to the international economy. With respect to the lighthouse metaphor, its intention is to make Peru the main promoter of admiration towards the Pacific and South America. To this end, he cites expressions from the international language “international cooperation” and “regional integration.” First, there is its global outlook, then the regional one. He emphasizes that the Peruvian community of migrants is “enterprising.” With this word, it seeks to generate admiration and respect for Peruvians. In this context, it does not leave aside the “well-being” of the borders. It makes a salience of this one and highlights it with the adverb “enough.”

 

Adicionalmente a la inversión pública y privada que hemos señalado, nos acompañan vientos favorables en el entorno internacional, lo que se refleja en un repunte del 15% en el precio de nuestros principales metales de exportación en lo que va del año. Esto favorecerá la ejecución de importantes proyectos mineros en los próximos 18 meses, tales como Quellaveco, Michiquillay, Mina Justa y Corani, que solo entre ellos suman una inversión de 30 mil millones de soles (Kuczynski 2016).

Quiero que el Perú sea un faro de civilización en el Pacífico y Sud América al que todos miren con admiración. Un país que asuma el liderazgo en la cooperación e integración regional, que se vincule con las necesidades y el bienestar de la población de zonas fronterizas, de las cuales no nos ocupamos suficientemente, y que se ocupe, también, de las necesidades de la emprendedora comunidad peruana de migrantes (Kuczynski 2016).

 

PPK uses the word “standards” to specify that there are a number of international bodies that assess the country, such as the OECD, a group that it characterizes as “of the most advanced countries” or “distinguished group” or “an example to follow.” For him, for Peru to grow or be recognized, it has to aspire to join this organization. Another organization he cites is the Pacific Alliance, which PPK says attracts countries with “economic and social success.” In this sense, it is important for Peru to integrate and be integrated with “rich countries.” Ayelén and Hernán (2019) point out that international organizations have highlighted the rapid growth of Peru’s economy from 2000 to the present, specifying that the country is sustained and driven by the reforms applied since the 1990s and that they have achieved a successful and remarkable socio-economic transformation. For his part, Vizcarra maintains that the country has “conditions” and “opportunities” to access the international market. With these words he builds a representation of the country as a country with several resources. The growth he stresses should be at “higher rates.” He quantifies the growth. By pointing out that “they look at us with good eyes” he shows that there is a world interest in Peru. Is this true? It is part of the economic speeches to say that the rest of the countries are waiting for one’s growth. For Vizcarra, it is urgent that the country connects with other more “developed” countries. The Pacific Alliance represents it as a process of “deep integration” for which Peru must bet.

 

Para incentivarnos, debemos aspirar a los estándares de la Organización para la Cooperación y el Desarrollo Económicos (OCDE), un grupo de los países más adelantados del mundo. Mi gobierno viene efectuando un esfuerzo minucioso que nos permitiría acceder a la membresía de este distinguido grupo antes del fin de nuestro mandato. Es que, para poder superarnos, necesitamos de ejemplos a seguir. Las experiencias de diversos países de la OCDE lo son.

Por eso, aplaudimos también el que la Alianza del Pacífico -que conformamos junto a México, Colombia y Chile- haya aceptado como miembros asociados a Canadá, Australia, Nueva Zelanda y Singapur, países del Pacífico que constituyen casos de éxito económico y social. Estos países han logrado avances de los cuales podemos aprender (Kuczynski 2017).

Tenemos que seguir creciendo, incluso a tasas mayores de las que hemos llegado en los últimos años. El Perú tiene condiciones y posibilidades de acceder a mercados externos, lo podemos constatar pues desde el exterior nos miran con buenos ojos (Vizcarra 2018a)

El proceso de integración profunda con la Alianza del Pacifico se sigue afianzando. Hace unos días regrese de México, en donde participe en la XIII Cumbre Presidencial de la Alianza del Pacífico. Hemos asumido la presidencia de ese mecanismo de integración regional donde tenemos como objetivo concluir las negociaciones con Australia, Canadá, Nueva Zelanda y Singapur para que se conviertan en Estados Asociados a fin de consolidar la proyección de la alianza hacia la región Asia Pacífico. (Vizcarra 2018f).

 

In this sense, there is no discontinuity in the commitment to export and trade relations with other states. Underlying these dynamics is the idea that we must continue to export raw materials and do so within the logic of the world economy, so the struggle for access to external markets is a necessary political purpose that must be thought through in terms of bold economic strategies. Azamar, and Ponce (2014) point out that Latin America is one of the regions with the greatest abundance of natural resources, and has become one of the main destinations for the commercialization and privatization of goods in the hands of transnationals with the consent of the states themselves.

 

  1. Conclusions

In this work, considering the scope of the CDA, it has been possible to show that there is a discursive continuity in conceiving Peru’s development in terms of economic growth. Both PPK and Vizcarra use lexical and rhetorical strategies to construct a discourse on “development”, in which they appeal a lot to “growth.” They name companies, use numbers, and employ economic language, especially if it is familiar or emotional. These strategies serve to represent the soundness of development under the parameters of extraction, investment, export, and international relations. Vizcarra has not broken with the discourse. There is no general break with the ideology of neoliberalism. The official discourses of the rulers naturalize the myth of extractivism as the engine of the economy, as well as those of the accumulation of investments and exports to maintain the dynamics of the market. Both in the presidential messages of Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and Martín Vizcarra, and in other messages given even to the press and the public, it is evident that the same way of conceiving the “economic development” of the country is maintained. This political discourse formalizes the development model and the economic logics that operate in the world system. This discourse has been mobilized and reproduced since the 1990s with the assumption of the exercise of the neoliberal approach in Latin America. These discourses have caused the rulers of the time to favor the production and consumption of primary resources, thus also preventing social discontent against the model. Until now, Vizcarra, for example, has not proposed an alternative system to development. In other words, they seek to maintain stability so that the market works. Maintaining political stability implies them to maintain the country in the absence of violence, work on the duration of the government, favor a legitimate constitutional regime, and protect themselves from any structural change (Alcantara 2004: 25).        

       According to Gudynas (2009a: 66), anthropocentrism must end and rather conceive the quality of life, a very different way from the current capitalism, in any of its varieties, a way less focused on possession and accumulation; this is, of postmaterial type (in which the consumption of matter and energy is reduced). Gudynas (2009a: 66) also indicates that this position generates diverse consequences: a more participative policy; a reconfiguration of the political subjects in relational and not necessarily dualistic; an international insertion with an autonomous regionalism; and a selective dissociation of globalization. According to Espinosa (2009: 158), the most advanced economic, political and scientific debates on the international scene seek fairer forms of coexistence within States and more creative alternatives for human and sustainable development. In this sense, it is necessary to think about a governance on the future of the country that includes citizen participation, since development is not only a discourse of the State, but also a discourse and an act of the citizens, who in their role as critics also try to modify the bases of the prevailing development model. According to Natera (2004: 21), “The approach of local governance revalues the role of citizen participation in decision-making processes.” In this sense, it should be indicated that “the State has ceased to have the monopoly on knowledge and on the economic and institutional resources needed to govern” (Natera 2004: 7).

       In this context, also, it must be considered the Peruvian indigenous groups, who are the main groups affected by the political decisions in the use, maintenance and conservation of the national territory. Many times, they are excluded and violated for favoring the development speeches, as it happened in the case of Bagua (Lovón 2019). In Latin America, alternative models such as the good life appear as a response to the crisis of the prevailing development model. However, they are undervalued by such hegemonic discourses. Salama (2014: 98) argues that respect for the rights of native populations, or other ways of conceiving of the economy, is generally rejected. The model of ‘good living’ is not accepted in the face of the extreme commodification of societies. For him, human beings are first committed to economic needs, but then they are forgotten or rejected. It is therefore a question of thinking about another type of development that is both utopian and ‘mobilizing’, but which reveals the resistance of populations that have been ‘sacrificed’ to the traditional primarisation of economies. Fernández-Labbé (2016) indicates that extractivism presents two negative areas: it creates a rentier economic culture and generates conflicts with the communities. On the one hand, the exploitation of nature stifles the capacity for innovation and fosters clientelist institutional arrangements. On the other hand, the accelerated growth of extractive activities brings with it strong economic, social and environmental impacts, which generate discomfort with the population, which has been facing this type of growth system.

       For Espinosa (2009: 158), the models of state and economic development that have been implemented since the nineteenth century are being deeply questioned throughout the world. One of the questioning approaches of the development model that unites the alternative models is that of degrowth, which accuses that growth has brought pollution, long hours of work and congestion; it has eroded sociability and has reduced happiness. And even growth is ecologically unsustainable. One criticism of the growth economy is that it is declining. It defends the abolition of economic growth as a social objective and calls for the decolonization of the public debate now monopolized by economistic language (Kallis, Demaria and D’ Alisa 2015: 38). In this sense, the rulers of the moment must think that our country does not have to grow for the sake of growth and be one of the members more in the logic of the market; on the contrary, it requires to make the dominant economic machinery decrease and harmful to Peruvians.

       The logic of states, especially democratic, southern states with an excessive presence of raw materials, is to maintain that extractive activities are the solution for the “development of a country.” The heads of state, their ministers, their parliamentarians legitimize this way of thinking, as well as the media power groups, the same ones that condemn any colleague, academic or citizen who opposes it (Lovón 2020). This logic even operates in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic or global health crisis. For example, President Jair Bolsonaro bets first and foremost on the economic growth of his country (BBC 2020), based on extractive activities and industrialization. For Durand (2020), the coronavirus makes it visible that in many societies, such as Peru’s, the privileges of the few end up being imposed on the shortcomings of the many and the lack of social protection takes its toll.

 

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