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Focusing on the towns of Llallagua and Uncía in the region of Norte Potosí, this chapter examines how the geological and chemical properties of tin informed the growth of Bolivia’s tin-mining sector and, eventually, the rise of tin-mining cooperatives. This chapter introduces the concept material fix, which extends David Harvey’s “spatial fix” into three-dimensional space. A material fix describes successive historical attempts to rearrange labor and technology to maintain the local economy amid international price fluctuations and declining resource reserves; it also attends to the material traces left behind by past fixes. Using this concept, the chapter complicates the tale of Bolivia’s 1985 neoliberalization—usually framed as the origin story of mining cooperatives—by examining how early twentieth-century and Cold War–era events created the conditions under which seven remarkably different mining cooperatives could emerge.

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