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Announcement: Predatory growth in India - A critique and an alternative A lecture by Aseem Shrivastava (Cambridge, UK - 29 Oct 2013)

26 October 2013

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Tues, Oct 29, 1-2pm

Political Ecology Group

Seminar Room

Dept. of Geography

Predatory growth in India.

A critique and an alternative

The Uttarakhand floods during the summer of 2013 are a grim portent of the predatory implications of India’s growth.

They were the worst in recent decades. While it may be an exaggeration to call them ’man-made’, their intensity was surely greater on account of man-made factors like anthropogenic climate change and unruly economic growth, exemplified by such phenomena as accelerating tourism and the construction of roads and dams. Greater precipitation in higher altitudes was predicted by a 2007 report of the IPCC.

Taking my cue from the Uttarakhand disaster, I will examine the socio-economic and ecological impact of globalization in India after its first two decades. I will consider the way the reforms were introduced, what they consisted of, and what results they have precipitated. I will offer many reasons why the expected development transition (as it has happened in Japan, East Asia, and the Western world) is most unlikely to happen in India. I will argue that the mind-set of globalized developmentality that our elites have now come to believe in can only worsen, in the long-run, prevailing conditions of poverty, unemployment, inequalities and environmental devastation. The final result may be a uniquely Indian dystopia which will threaten the agro-ecological foundations of the civilization that the people of the Sub-Continent have known

Do Indian elites have the courage and vision to suspend an unsustainable business-as-usual and build a new India, respectful of nature and the urgent needs of hundreds of millions? What evidence – in the shape of actual experiments – can be mustered to find hope for this new, ecological India? What sort of politics will need to emerge to defend, strengthen and mainstream these experiments which are today mere islands in a sea of unsustainability? How might they

I will suggest that if such experiments can be defended by appropriate policies, backed by a new, environmentally sensitive politics, a “radical ecological democracy” can be envisioned which would bolster hopes to face the increasingly formidable challenges with a high chance of success. India is uniquely placed by the facts of history and destiny to serve as the world’s ecological pioneer – if only it would surrender its present “corporate nationalism” and stop misunderstanding its role in the world as an aspiring superpower.

Notice re: Predatory growth in India - A critique and an alternative A lecture by Aseem Shrivastava
29 October 2013 at Cambridge, UK