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ramble - I

just saw this talk on TED. Its the usual evangelical white man's talk to other white men about the need for understanding a people as a people rather than a 'problem' or a 'situation'. its about the 'shadow city' as he calls the slums in developing world. its an interesting talk and an earnest attempt in the right direction. However, in their politics to humanize, they tend to absolve the other forces at work. earlier in his talk, he talks how these shadow cities are expanding and more and more people are trooping in, without questioning why is that the case. he talks of how the shadow cities lack basic amenities of life but all these cities are built on hope and freedom. true, but what is making the people uproot themselves culturally, socially, materially and move to inhuman filth-holes in hope of what? while everyone should be able to enjoy his rights, at the same time he need not be elsewhere, far from his home to enjoy those rights and freedom.
compound this with a geopolitical perspective in another TED talk and you see the shape of world we are headed to. with the current system, every third human will be a squatter in a city by next year. Don't you think we have passed the danger zone, with cities housing more people than it ever could. its about time, money made in cities goes to hinterlands where economic and social infrastructure building projects help rebuild lives the way that sustains and helps grow indigenous ways. instead of cursing biharis, help create opportunities in Bihar with the immense wealth that Mumbai generates. if mumbai dissolves as the lone beckon of hope in the process of creating million towns with equal opportunities, every one would be better off. (notice 'lone' .. need to decentralize) If rich cities keep on guarding their wealth against the underprivileged, this will undoubtedly bring red revolutions. developments to watch out for: bangkok v/s rest of Thailand, north-west china v/s CPC. these are the once i am a little aware of. let me know of any other such conflicts that are about to come to fruition.

the economies right now of big cities are oiled with the sweat of the people from these shadow cities. An alternative has to be established where a people (mass) is not reduced to cheap labor oiling excesses (of few). a strategy has to be found out where, the economic system is slowly transformed from the current one to a decentralised one where the big city is not the centre at all. this will only happen with democratic access to resources such as power, energy, infrastructure, water. current technologies do allow for decentralisation and tribalisation to take place towards smaller independent village/ town units...
energy sources such as oil which by their nature require centrality and spoke system (dont know the exact term.. essentially where the source is at one place and consumption at many different places.) only further increase preponderance of imperialism/nationalism.
a truly democratic source of energy such as solar energy will allow for decentralized and independent governed units.
we need more such technologies that enable decentralization and independence for smaller units of governance to see a better tomorrow. the biggest issue would be water. i am hopeful that science and technology will surely come up with a solution.

reduction in distance between cause and effect. the decentralization and small units will help reduction in distance between production and consumption and as such a people will know what efforts have gone into producing what. this appreciation is must if we wish earth to sustain life beyond this century. US fat sob changing cars after clunkers with borrowed federal moneys needs to know the tribal (probably thousands of miles away; who was uprooted from the land where continuous mining has led to his erasure of identity, depletion of natural resources, alteration of geography and consequent socio - economy that might have existed there) whose steel has gone into making the car (his steel because he stayed there.. its another matter that a abstract entity called nation appropriated that resource as its and decided that someone else is more worthy of the spoils than the one suffering.)
disclaimer: this is only a blog entry, rambling thoughts.. not a thesis.. don't mind inadequate reasoning backup. hmm.. though i do wish i could take this up more seriously to study in detail.


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