Economic Inequality of Indigenous Communities in Ecuador

Economic Inequality of Indigenous Communities in Ecuador

Economic inequality is a major challenge among the indigenous communities in Ecuador.

This paper explores the issue of economic inequality in Ecuador and how it disproportionately

affects minority groups such as indigenous communities. The theory that will be used to analyze

economic inequality is internal colonialism. Firstly, the issue of economic inequality in Ecuador

will be explored. Next, the theoretical approach of internal colonialism will be discussed. The

theoretical model will then be used to analyze the problem of economic inequality in Ecuador.

Social Phenomenon

The issue under discussion is economic inequality. Notably, economic inequality is rife

among the indigenous communities in Latin American countries such as Ecuador. Economic

inequality refers to the differences in the economic wellbeing measures among groups. The types

of economic inequality include wealth, income, and pay disparities. In Ecuador, indigenous

communities mostly live in the rural areas and they face higher levels of poverty, unemployment,

and low access to resources such as land when compared to the dominant groups (Gallardo and

Nopo, 2009: 9). They are marginalized, excluded from mainstream economic life, and are highly

affected by poverty (United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), 2006).

The economic inequality of the indigenous communities has been the result of the

conquering of Ecuador by Spanish colonialists for many years. During the colonial period,

indigenous people were pushed into marginal areas, denied the best lands, and manpower was

exploited (Kliesner, 2014).

Ecuador and other Latin American countries are some of the least equitable in the world

in terms of wealth distribution. There are extreme differences between the most affluent and the

poorest people. Indigenous groups together with those of African descent are the people affected

by extreme poverty and economic inequality and most live on less than $1 a day (United

Nations, 2011). Since the colonial times, indigenous communities have been exploited by the

dominant groups. The invention of racial categories such as white, mestizo, indigenous, and

black led to the rise of cultural values such as white supremacy and the insubordination of the

indigenous and black people (Clark and Becker, 2007).


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