Saturday, September 5, 2009

Globalisation or Localisation???

The last day of Term 1 was signed off by a seminar on Localisation by Dr. Helena Norberg-Hodge.
A Swedish environmentalist, Hodge has worked with communities in Ladakh and Leh for more than three decades. She believes that localisation and not globalisation is the way forward. Local products for local people.
As part of the interaction she showed us a movie titled "Paradise with side effects" where two Ladhaki women travel to UK and see the lifestyle in London. The crux was that the west is not paradise. And we (developing countries) should not follow their lifestyle. We need to have our own lifestyles that is community centric.
Also her post film discussions were centred around how globalisation was only big business, big economies etc etc. The usual ranting that one would expect at the World Social Forum.
To quote from her institution's website,, "
A consistent theme in ISEC's educational work is the need to shift direction - away from dependence on a global economy dominated by huge corporations and supranational institutions, towards economic structures that are more decentralised, diversified, and ecological. One way we disseminate this message is through lectures, seminars, and interviews with ISEC Director Helena Norberg-Hodge. We also organize workshops and conferences on global-to-local initiatives."

In these recessionary times one would have to be careful while talking about virtues of globalisation, but I believe that globalisation is no longer a 'either-or' phenomena. Globalisation is a movement which is here to stay. What matters is how to use this movement for larger good.
Localisation is an utopian concept. If local produce is used only for local community, it leads to higher costs and the overall community suffers as a result. What is local? Is it at the village level, district level, regional level or at the national level?
Coming to globalisation, is it only about big business? Do only big companies, MNCs win in globalisation? We in India followed "import substitution" for many decades post independence. What ensued was cheap quality products in short supply and at high prices. When the economy opened up in 1991, the domestic manufacturers suddenly found themselves competing with MNCs who flooded the market with better quality products and at lower prices. Did all domestic manufacturers close shop? Some did but India now boasts of companies like Infosys and Bharthi which were post 1991 companies.
There are ills about globalisation. If left to developed economies, it will become a highway where less developed economies are like cycles competing with the big trucks. We need to fine tune globalisation to make sure that everyone has access to opportunities to make a decent living.
Localisation is not something that will succeed.Good to hear and nice to dream about but something that is not workable at all...atleast not at the level to challenge globalisation.

1 comment:

  1. very true...localization would be like going back to the hunter-gatherer stage.
    Though locals should be given a chance but u can't completely stop globalization!