Aseem Shrivastava is an environmental economist, activist, and a freelance writer. He is also the co-author of Churning the Earth: The Making of Global India. Shrivastava began his Log Lunch talk by describing the concept of money as a form a debt that is a claim against the Federal Reserve Bank or the economy and credited to the holder of the money. As the economy grows, so does debt. He then talked about the green economy and its relationships of finance and environmental problems. As our market economy continues to encourage people to put a price on the natural environment, the environment becomes a monetized asset that can be sold or exchanged, With these two concepts in mind, Shrivastava talked about India’s entrance to the global economy twenty-five years ago and the accelerated commoditization and monetization of the land since that period.
Shrivastava argued that although India’s economy has grown, only three percent of the population has benefitted from the financialization of the economy and poverty has remained largely unaffected. For example, actual food intake of the population has not been properly addressed. Calorie intake has either remained the same or declined and food production over population has also remained the same or declined. At this point, any trickle down from the economy should have worked over the past 25 years. Furthermore, India is low on the human development index, despite this the most recent World Bank reports showed that India was living at twice the rate of consumption than was sustainable. The environment has already begun to show signs of the unsustainable way of life. Floods have increased in some areas that have caused damage and erosion due to the increase in the sand mining industry. In his book, Shrivastava addresses some of these examples in his book about India’s entrance to the global economy.
For more information about Aseem Shrivastava’s book, Churning the Earth, look at its website here: http://www.penguinbooksindia.com/en/content/churning-earth
by Helen Song ‘14