Matthew Mehaffy ’17

Project TitleConstruction Alternatives to Capitalism
Mentor – Doug Bush

Since the 2008 global financial crisis, more academic literature has been published to examine
alternative models of production to capitalism. In particular, the academic book, Envisioning Real
Utopias, by Sociologist, Erik Olin Wright, looks into the faults of capitalism and the numerous
alternatives to capitalism that have been created to eliminate social and political injustices In
his book, a theoretical framework is provided to measure the desirability, viability, and
achievability for potential alternatives to capitalism Therefore, this research applies the
theoretical framework offered by Dr. Wright to examine the desirability, viability, and
achievability of the alternative model of production offered by the Zapatista movement in Chiapas,

More specifically, this research will look into the fair trade coffee production of the
Zapatista movement as a case study to understand how their fair trade coffee is used as a way to
achieve social and political justice within their autonomous territories.

Through this research, it will be seen that the Zapatista alternative to capitalism does serve as a desirable and viable alternative to capitalism in terms of supporting their goal in maintaining control of their own autonomous territory However, this alternative is considered not achievable due to the pressures that their movement faces from violent actors that seek to undermine their movement.