Buen Vivir, in a literal sense, means good life or good living. It stresses living in ways that promote the collective well-being of both humans and nature.
Eduardo Gudynas, Maristela Svampa, Alberto Acosta, and Pablo Solón are leading voices on Buen Vivir. The concept originated in the Andes, especially Ecuador and Bolivia, but also in Peru and Colombia. With a firm footing in the worldviews of indigenous peoples, Buen Vivir embraces the inseparability and interdependence of humans and nature. In the current development debates, Buen Vivir has informed critiques of the prevailing development model, confronting basic assumptions about progress, competition, consumerism, and materialism. It rejects anthropocentricism and critiques capitalist and socialist forms of development because both, albeit in different ways and to different degrees, are destructive of both humans and ecological systems. The ethos of Buen Vivir centers on fostering harmony between humans and nature, quality of life, and conviviality.
Buen Vivir manifests itself in diverse forms. It remains a dynamic, evolving concept rooted in the interdependence between human and non-human species while rejecting the separateness and anthropocentrism embedded in Western belief systems. Despite its superficial appropriation by governments in the region, it continues to be an important inspiration to struggle and debate in the arena of post-development.