Ashish Kothari

Another India, Another World. Towards Radical Ecological Democracy


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65 years after the beginning of Independence, India continues to struggle to meet the basic needs of much of its population. There remains widespread poverty, hunger, malnutrition, unemployment, inequality and other socio-economic deprivations. Additionally, there are increasing indications of ecological unsustainability. A fundamentally flawed model of development, its flaws heightened in the post-1991 phase of economic globalization, is part of the cause. As a counter-current, however, peoples’ initiatives at sustainable and equitable well-being in various sectors are growing and some policy shifts have also taken place in this direction. Building on this, an alternative framework of well-being is proposed, here called Radical Ecological Democracy. This involves a new political governance with decentralized decision-making embedded within larger, ecologically and culturally defined landscapes, a new economics that respects ecological limits and democratizes both production and consumption, and a new cultural and knowledge-based society that values diversity, collective synergism, and public innovation. The combination of peoples’ resistance to destructive development and alternative, solution-based initiatives, with support from other sections of society, can make India a key actor towards a sustainable, just, and equitable world.

Sustainability, Democracy, Equity