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  • Author: Rajni Bakshi
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relation
  • Abstract: Economic reforms in India have often arrayed proponents of market-led growth against human rights advocates anxious that markets give primacy to profits over people. A quarter century after the reform process was initiated in the early 1990s, this conflict has sharpened. At the same time, this narrative of polarised positions seems increasingly worn out. Business and society at large have always been intricately co-dependent. This interface is now taking many new forms across the world, with some entrepreneurs seeing profit as a means, rather than the end goal of business. This paper explores these questions. It reviews if and how trusteeship can be a lodestar for globally navigating businesses and public policies through a period of technology- driven disruptions and the uncertainties unleashed by climate change. Trusteeship is a frame of reference on which a wide variety of business models can be based. The emphasis is on transforming rather than demolishing the capitalist system. In essence, Gandhian trusteeship reposes faith in the capacity of individuals and entire classes to re-form themselves, on the premise that the capacity to seek redemption is intrinsic to human nature. There was logic rather than dreamy wishful thinking behind these claims. Gandhi believed that it is a fearful man who tyrannises others or attempts to accumulate wealth by force or by unfair means. By contrast, a voluntary adoption of trusteeship means respect for human dignity, fostering relations based on truth and shared goals. Thus, Gandhi urged labourers to approach employers from a position of strength and self-respect since labour is as vital a component of production as capital, land, and technology. In a time mired by corruption and competitive greed, trusteeship may at first glance seem like a pipe-dream. Can this closer examination perhaps give you cause to rethink?
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Reform, Employment
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Rajni Bakshi
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relation
  • Abstract: Degrowth as a creative goal does not sit well in most societies today. But water is a key to fostering new imaginaries because it most starkly manifests the risk of forced and chaotic degrowth-as-collapse. By 2040 an estimated 33 countries, including USA, China and India, will face severe water scarcity. India had a rich heritage of elaborate traditional technologies and modes of social organisation that ensured adequate and reliable supply of water even in arid regions. Many of these old community-based systems of watershed management and storage withered away as water was transformed from a sacred gift to just a ‘resource’ that could be privatised and/or controlled by governments. Today while local water-shed management is supported by government policy this tends to be overwhelmed by large projects that add more directly to GDP growth. Nevertheless, over the last quarter of a century, a wide variety of civil society and academic interventions in India have attempted to revive, or document, the multi-dimensional wisdom on which pre- modern societies based their relationship to water.
  • Topic: Economics, Water, Climate Finance
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Rajni Bakshi
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relation
  • Abstract: Indian business—perhaps even society at large—is currently buoyed by the expectation that we are entering a period of sustained economic growth that might finally make poverty a problem of the past. In this context, it might seem counter-intuitive to draw attention to the possibility of a decelerating global economy and projections about reversals in human well-being. However, there is mounting evidence to show that the prevailing models of economic growth cannot continue unchecked to the end of the 21st century. Apart from the truism that infinite growth is not possible on a finite planet, the accelerating impacts of climate change are set to play havoc with a reliable supply of many natural resources—including food. Unless growth is redefined, degrowth will be forced upon the global economy, as a consequence of chaotic instability in eco-systems and due to the brittleness of political, social, and economic systems
  • Topic: Global Recession, Reconstruction, Reform, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: India, Global Focus