In Churning the Earth: the Making of Global India, economist Aseem Shrivastava and ecologist Ashish Kothari interrogate what is unarguably the question of greatest consequence for our times: does contemporary globalisation, as a “definitive prescription not just for a certain arrangement of economic affairs, but for a way of life”, offer solutions to the impoverishment of billions of people, and for unborn generations and non-human species?
This immensely significant and compelling book—one of the most important in recent years—maps painstakingly the political economy of both the socio-economic consequences and environmental impacts of the current growth path. The picture emerging from this densely argued treatise is bleak and harrowing—a picture of greed, inequality, suffering, and the reckless, irresponsible destruction of the planet’s resources.
The authors worry also about the values at stake in the path of growth embraced by the Indian elite, of competiveness, aggression and covetousness, which have pushed other values—cooperation, compassion, integrity, frugality, simplicity, responsibility, equity and loyalty, to the background. They make no attempt to hide their indignation, but this never compromises their extraordinary scholarship and rigour and their magisterial mastery of facts. The tone is measured and reasoned, not shrill or accusatory, even as they demolish, one by one, almost all the claims of neo-liberal economists and planners.