Co-operation and conflict between firms, communities, new social movements and the role of government v. Cerro De San Pedro case
José G. Vargas-Hernández
Purpose – The aim of this paper is to analyze relationships of cooperation and conflict between a mining company and the involved communities, focusing on the presence of the mining company (MSX) in Cerro de San Pedro, Mexico. Design/methodology/approach – The paper focuses on the co-operation and conflict between firms, communities, new social movements and the role of government. Findings – The presence of the mining company has caused a severe social conflict among the inhabitants of San Pedro, Soledad y San Luis, alerting all who are concerned with historic heritage, cultural and environmental issues. At the center of the controversy is the cheap and efficient technology. Federal and state laws were violated. It is quite evident that there was a lack of sensitivity of foreign mining companies toward the consequences of their activities upon the communities and environment. This case also shows the lack of negotiation between firms, communities, new social movements and governments. Information about externalities and future costs of company activities is crucial but more crucial is formulation and implementation of more sensitive policies to avoid damage to the environment, biodiversity and health of the population. Governmental institutions must be aware that their decisions may affect the quality of life of present and future generations for the sake of a small increment in economic growth and large increase in private benefits of a small group of investors. More informed citizens tend to be more active protestors, such as the case of the students in San Luis. Contact between informed individuals of diverse groups and organizations helps to exchange experiences and create public opinion in favor of mobilization. Community participation and involvement in decision-making of community development planning is quite limited by the lack of critical information. This fact is critical when the local government cannot provide the right information because there are other interests affecting the process. Originality/value – The paper highlights the lack of sensitivity of foreign mining companies towards local communities.
Communities, Conflict, Government policy, Mexico, Mining industry, Social action
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