In the name of free trade, the ordinary people of India are losing their livelihoods. Globalization driven by transnational corporations creates a closed society; it is not an opening up. It closes off the options of two-thirds of India -- including the poor, the women, the tribals, the fishing communities, the peasants. It closes off India to her lasting strengths -- diversity, pluralism, sustainability, simplicity and spirituality.



THE POET Rabindranath Tagore, identified democratic pluralism and an ecological culture as the distinctiveness of Indian civilization:

Contemporary Western civilization is built of brick and wood. It is rooted in the city. But Indian civilization has been distinctive in locating its source of regeneration, material and intellectual, in the forest, not the city.

India's best ideas have come where people were in communion with trees and rivers and lakes, away from the crowds. The culture of the forest has fuelled the culture of Indian society. The culture that has arisen from the forest has been influenced by the diverse processes of renewal of life which are always at play in the forest, varying from species to species, from season to season, in sight and sound and smell. The unifying principle of life in diversity, of democratic pluralism, thus became the principle of Indian civilization."

It was this distinctiveness on which Mahatma Gandhi built his ideas and actions for freedom and democracy. The logic of resource exploitation integral to the classical model of economic development based on resource-intensive technologies led Gandhi to seek an alternative path of development for India. He wrote:

'God forbid that India should ever take to industrialism after the manner of the West. The economic imperialism of a single tiny island kingdom (England) is today keeping the world in chains. If an entire nation of 300 million took to similar economic exploitation, it would strip the world bare like locusts."

Official India which took over from the British Raj, however, ignored the ecological foundations of Indian culture and knowledge in all its diversity and pluralism. It ignored Gandhi's ecological insights and put aside the energy of the freedom movement. It followed Nehru's vision of imitating Western systems of production and consumption. Over the past fifty years, the dominant paradigm of development has treated nature as a colony, not as a teacher, and it has treated India's ecological and cultural diversity as a block in the way to progress that needed to be removed - not as a foundation on which to build a sustainable and just future. Nothing symbolizes this shift more than temples at the sources of "sacred flyers" being substituted by dams - the "temples of modern India" as Nehru called them.
The three great myths of development which have caused severe ecological and cultural erosion in India and elsewhere are:

I. Nature is uncreative, unproductive and valueless until exploited as raw material" for industry.

2. Cultures and knowledge systems that build on nature's creativity are also uncreative, unproductive and valueless.

3. There is no knowledge, no economy, no culture, no rights prior to establishment of industrial civilization. They gain value only as raw material for industrial civilization.

Creativity is defined as the exclusive preserve of Western science. Productivity is defined as the exclusive preserve of Western industrial technology. Value is defined as the exclusive preserve of modern market economies.




This "false consciousness" which pervades our societies, prevents critical debate and masks the truth. Ultimately, this false consciousness precludes a collective understanding of the workings of a World economic and political system, which destroys people's lives. The only promise of global capitalism is a World of landless farmers, shuttered factories, jobless workers and gutted social programs with "bitter economic medicine" under the WTO and the IMF constituting the only prescription.

The New World Order is based on the "false consensus" of Washington and Wall Street, which ordains the "free market system" as the only possible choice on the fated road to a "global prosperity". The GRG intends to reveal the truth and disarm the falsehoods conveyed by the controlled corporate media.

Michel Chossudovsky, Editor 29 August 2001

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