Churning the Earth: The Making of Global India
By Aseem Shrivastava and Ashish Kothari
But surely liberalisation has led to poverty reduction, as the WB claims? No: it turns out that poverty, as gauged by hunger, has increased. The measures of poverty favoured by mainstream economists are often misleading, Shrivastava and Kothari point out. Judging poverty by purchasing power, as the WB does, neglects the fact that essential expenditures are expanding. Because commons are being privatised or damaged, for instance, people in rural areas now have to pay for firewood and food they used to gather for free. So even if a labourer is earning more cash – and has thereby graduated above the poverty line based on purchasing power – in reality she could be much worse off today than before. “It appears that widespread hunger persists in India not despite growth, but perhaps because of it,” observe the authors. Cambridge economist Partha Dasgupta has shown that when its ecological endowment is accounted for, India as a whole has been steadily losing wealth. Every day the poor experience this loss: as interminable treks to collect water, or as ailments that go untreated because medicinal plants can no longer be found. The capacity of India's natural resources to sustain its people has almost halved in the last four decades, and the rate of destruction is increasing. Shrivastava and Kothari predict a partial collapse of India's ecology and a steep increase in social conflict if the neoliberal model continues to operate. Although they avoid doomsday scenarios, it is clear that famine could hit within a decade or two as climate change compounds localised environmental damage, such as that done to water sources, and leads to food shortages.
Romila Thapar addresses invitees at the
Southasian relaunch of Himal Southasian,
IIC, New Delhi, January 2013.
China, Southasia and India
On May 19 2013, newly appointed Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived in New Delhi for a series of meetings with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The visit is Keqiang's first outside of China since assuming power in March.
From our archive:
Purna Basnet discusses Chinese engagement in Nepal vis-a-vis security issues in Tibet and broader geo-strategic plans in Southasia (April 2011).
Fatima Chowdury relates the story of Calcutta's Indian Chinese community through the lens of political and economic upheavals in Southasia and China (May 2009).
Simon Long notes the importance of the Sino-Indian relationship for the rest of Southasia (September 2006).
J.N Dixit ruminates on the strategic concerns of the 'Middle Kingdom' in the wake of India's 1998 nuclear tests (June 1998).