Buen vivir constitutions

Ecuador and Bolivia have both adopted new constitutions based in the concept of buen vivir. This draws on indigenous traditions to offer an alternative legal basis for the State. The two constitutions, drawing on local tradition and western legal influences in different ways, set out the purpose of the State as being to support living well, defined through a combination of community, diversity, nature and rights. This replaces the modernist utilitarian focus on economic development, competition and growth as the primary function (and mode of operation) of the State.

The approach mirrors aspects of new civic bureaucracy in providing an ethically-based social and ecological role for the State. It opposes both the dualist separation of the human and natural worlds and the need for control towards economic ends. It has been described as both post-capitalist and post-socialist in its rejection of most of the modernist conceptions of governance and the State.

Like the Welsh Well-being Act, the constitutions provide a new framework for public and political action and debate and, also like the Act, they have seen practical tensions between the new governance ethic and conventional approaches to economic development and politics.

A link to the full Bolivian constitution (in Spanish) is here. A link to the English (and Spanish) text of the full Ecuadorian constitution is here.