In contemporary societies we observe a state of social inequality as in the Ancien Régime, the concentration of wealth in the "1 percent", billionaires as presidents, the increase of luxury consumption and the emergence of a culture of distinction as well as the concentration of land and spatial segregation. In order to understand these phenomena in a coherent interpretative framework, this essay proposes the hypothesis that we are living in the early 21st century a new conjuncture of re-feudalization. This is taking place at a global level, but has specific regional features, which in Latin America are characterized by its colonial heritage.
Olaf Kaltmeier is Professor of Ibero-American History at Bielefeld University. He is also director of the Maria Sibylla Merian Center for Advanced Latin American Studies (CALAS).