Ecology, Economy: Quest for a Socially Informed Connection
Felix Padel, Ajay Dandekar, Jeemol Unni
140 x 216 mm
Year of Publishing
Territorial Rights
Orient BlackSwan

Ecology, Economy is an elaborate argument to establish society as central in policy-making for holistic development. The book presents cases of the adverse effects of resource utilisation—water, metals, power, land—on Adivasi communities in particular. It presents an overview of the paradoxes inherent in ‘development’ projects, emphasising the drastic drop in the standard of living of rural communities, and the immeasurable damage to India’s ecosystems and resource base.

The authors highlight the tussle between real growth and the rule of law, the informalisation of labour under a neoliberal economy, and current threats to ‘Adivasi Economics’—the little monetised systems based on a long-term symbiosis with the natural environment, based on taking from the ecosystem without intrinsically damaging it.

It asks: what is real development? How can we transform present developmental patterns to achieve a more truly sustainable path towards collective well-being? Is there any politically feasible path out of the multidimensional economic, environmental, social and climate change cataclysms facing us now in India and worldwide? Contrary to seeing dissent as ‘anti-development’, this book puts a face to the people on whom ‘development’ is imposed.

A product of the confluence of anthropology, policy analysis and rural economics, this volume also comes with an extensive Bibliography to lead researchers and every interested reader towards a rich body of work. It will be useful for students and scholars of sociology, economics, anthropology, ecology and environmental studies, development studies, political science, law and international affairs.

List of Tables, Figure and Images
List of Abbreviations
Preface: What is Real Development?
1. Two Cultures: A Balancing Act between People and Profit
2. Adivasi Economics
3. Resources: Water Systems
4. Resources: Mining and Metals
5. Resources: Generating Power
6. Resources: Land, Labour and Life Forms
7. Development in a Financial System based on Debt
8. Rule of Law


'With its insightful analysis, a clear-eyed vision for change and a compelling call for action, this strong sharp book is for everyone who cares about India and our shared future.'

Amita Baviskar, Sociologist, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi

Ecology, Economy addresses important and complex questions with a refreshing directness: For a start, what is poverty? Does industrialisation reduce it or massively increase it?…. [It] provides a valuable overview of some of the most pressing issues that confront India, and indeed the world, today. It is essential reading for all who seek to understand why so much of India’s population is up in arms against the policies that are being imposed upon the country by its elite.’

Amitav Ghosh, author of The Glass Palace (2000) and Sea of Poppies (2008),

‘Ecology, Economy is an anguished appraisal of the battle between life and death being played out in remote corners of the world, not least in swathes of India. On one side is a culture of extraction and industrialization that is devastating the planet, and on the other side the life-affirming values of indigenous societies that have survived for thousands of years and could yet show us the way forward. … [E]ssential reading for all who care about life on earth, including our own. ‘

Madhusree Mukerjee, former physicist and author of Churchill’s Secret War (2010) and
The Land of Naked People

‘In a decadent era marked by a lethal cretinization of the intellect under the onslaught of a high-tech-mediated, money-driven celebrity culture, this volume is a breath of long-awaited fresh air.… It is a devastating demonstration—on grounds theoretical and empirical, no less than Dharma itself—that finance-led corporate-consumerist business-as-usual under the nose of a kleptocratic, sell-out State, has long ceased to be an option to plan for the future of humanity. The moral and political agency of traditional rural communities ultimately holds the key to everyone's survival.’

Aseem Shrivastava, ecological economist and author (with Ashish Kothari)
of Churning the Earth: The Making of Global India (2012)

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