Churning the Earth: Making of Global India
By Aseem Shrivastava and Ashish Kothari
About the book:
CHURNING THE EARTH provides a comprehensive account of the enormous social and environmental costs in India of the global developments of the last fifteen years and proposes alternative pathways for socio-ecological sustainability.
"After independence from British rule in 1947 India was a
civilization trying to be a nation. Today it is a nation trying to become a corporation, India Inc." CHURNING THE EARTH takes a comprehensive view of the recent history of development under globalization in India. While acknowledging the impressive growth rates of the mainstream economy, it presents evidence that puts a big question-mark on their political and ecological sustainability. It reviews the socio-economic and environmental impact of the reforms, arguing that the high growth has been of a predatory nature. While it has enriched already privileged classes, and enhanced the life-chances of the top quarter of the population, it has done so by increasing inequities and hurting the livelihoods of vast numbers of people, making them more insecure. This is especially so where it has damaged the ecological basis that makes life possible for hundreds of millions. Moreover, tying India more closely to the global economy at a time when the latter is more volatile than ever aggravates the situation. As conflicts over water, land and natural resources grow, the prevailing form of globalization threatens the future of India as a civilization.
Urgent steps are needed to forestall a rapid descent into socio-ecological chaos. The book discusses alternatives to current policies, which must be supported by the State for us to effectively change course. Fundamental political reform is needed: a radical ecological democracy needs to emerge from a range of grassroots movements and initiatives, as also from policy changes, many of which are already under way. Such alternative paths would be based on fundamental principles of ecological sustainability, social equity, universal livelihood security and the revival of crafts.