What does a multi-billion-dollar dam mean to the majority of local people living in precarious social and economic conditions? In this study of a large-scale international infrastructure project, Ribeiro found one answer: the prevailing model of development must change. He demonstrates why and how development, in the context of the Yacyreta High Dam in Argentina, has not been able to bring about well-being on a sustainable basis for most people affected by the project. He maintains that development, which he calls "economic expansion, " is played on a field of political and economic struggle where the players who start the action keep the advantage. He links development projects more closely to the needs of national and international elites than to the local populations, and he coins the term "consortiation" to describe the interaction among capitalist agencies involved in the projects. This is the first anthropological work to study a large-scale infrastructure project from within. While Ribeiro analyzes the different power groups who competed for access to and control of the high dam, he also shows how the dam modified the social and physical landscape and examines the rise of a new kind of nomadic laborer with a distinct identity, the bicho de obra (work site animal). Social scientists, regional planners, engineers, diplomats, and environmentalists will find this book useful.