The current global crisis arising out of Covid-19 pandemic that has already consumed hundred of lives worldwide, has once again exposed glaring weaknesses of the economic, social and political order presided over globally by the neoliberal architecture. this article attempts to understand not just the current global and national/regional crises from the perspective of the Covid-19 pandemic, but to take a look at the historical processes of widening inequalities in the context of the overarching phenomenon of neoliberal socio-economic and political programmes. I propose that world capitalism, especially after the growth of sea-based trades, which eventually translated into creation of worldwide imperialism that captured and controlled natural and productive resources in more than half of the world geographical area, has been continuously reinventing itself to remain in the privileged position of power. the ever rising scope and intensity of global capitalism and its current avatar—neoliberalism, is closely associated and responsible for widening economic inequality, socio-spatial concentration of wealth, extensive and irreversible environmental degradation, climate change, political disenfranchisement, accumulation by dispossession and deepening of social class and ethnic divisions and conflicts within national boundaries as well as between and among countries. the current crisis is a culmination of greed based trade and unnecessary competition. It is imperative now to redefine global priorities and in the light of insightful recent innovations in the field.
The current global crisis arising out of Covid-19 pandemic has once again exposed the glaring weaknesses of the global economic, social and political order presided over by the neoliberal architecture. It is not just about morbidity and mortality due to the novel coronavirus—equally significant is the severity arising out of loss of livelihoods for close to a billion populations. The ensuing migrant crisis in India consequent to the sudden lockdown would perhaps be recorded as one of the darkest phases in human history. Their tales of hunger, thirst, destitution, deaths, exposure to involuntary infections, police atrocities and that at the hands of the ‘omnipresent’ ‘self-styled vigilante thugs’ have been heart-wrenching, to say the least. While the tragedy goes on, the political establishments and governments in a number of countries (among whom India and the USA are the most notable), chose to look the other way; their partners in the media making it look sectarian, politically motivated and the product of sinister religio-cultural-political design—the ground reality remaining sequestered.
In a backdrop of environmental catastrophe and climate change the current pandemic sees the proponents and propagators of the ‘neoliberal tragedy’ busy with furthering and deepening of the neoliberal agenda of privatisation and deregulation, protecting the interests of the wealthy and the distinguished at the cost of the unwanted and ill-deserving poor. Our obsession with growth and only growth as a panacea for all the ills is proving to be suicidal.
This article attempts to understand not just the current global and national/regional crises from the singular perspective of the Covid-19 pandemic, but to take a look at the historical processes of widening inequalities globally and most particularly in the so-called developing countries and regional/local and ethnic communities in what is referred to as the global south in the context of the overarching phenomenon of neoliberal socio-economic and political programme. I propose, along with many other economists, political sociologists and geographers that world capitalism, especially after the growth of sea-based trades, which eventually translated into creation of imperialism that captured and controlled natural and productive resources in more than half of the world geographical area, has been continuously reinventing itself to remain in the privileged position of power. The ever rising scope and intensity of global capitalism and its current avatar neoliberalism is closely associated and responsible for widening economic inequality, socio-spatial concentration of wealth, political disenfranchisement, environmental degradation and accumulation by dispossession and deepening of social class and ethnic divisions and conflicts. It is also important to note that globalisation and neoliberalism have moved together, although they do not mean the same things. In simple terms, globalisation in the current context refers to the operation of neoliberal economic, political and social framework on a global scale, which is deeply entrenched through the mechanisms of supranational institutional setups such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Trade Organisation (WTO) and other such organisations within the United Nations.
Neoliberalism and its Previous Avatars
Let us deliberate about the previous incarnations of neoliberalism before we attempt to define neoliberalism as the latest avatar of capitalism. The stage for suction of accumulated global surplus was already set during the heydays of west European imperialism. The productive resources in the colonies were systematically destroyed by the colonial rulers, which eventually turned the colonies as exporters of primary products and not manufactured goods. The autonomous communities that lived in and around the areas of primary resources were ambushed and evicted and their sources of livelihoods systematically appropriated by the ruling classes that also included the traditional indigenous propertied classes. Agriculture was transformed and enclaves of plantation and other agricultural crops introduced to feed the factories and labour in the west (Chattopadhyay and Raza 1975). The entire geo-ecological framework that depended on weather cycles and ecological services were replaced by exotic varieties of seeds and plants that were out of sync with the local ecosystems. Land, water and forest rights (which were not equitable or free from exploitation) were curtailed by the colonial and local ruling classes. The consequences of such interventions by force were ominous for the native populations. Various kinds of tariffs and protectionisms were enforced as world imperialism began to wane. By then, just before World War I, sufficient flight of capital and productive resources had taken place from the colonies rendering people destitute and hungry (Kumar and Desai 1983; Dutt 1940). The negative consequences on the environmental resources and ecologies began to surface, free falling to culminate into World War II. The wealth of nations, measured in terms of GDP and its rate of growth, were deeply established in the minds of the policy makers.
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WILD MEAT AND WET MARKETS: A GLOBAL DIALOGUE
Wet markets operate in most Asian countries including India. China reported its wet markets as the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan and also more recently in Beijing. These wet markets, a traditional part of popular local culture in Asian countries, are increasingly becoming a cause of concern for the international community and health practitioners across the globe. This article attempts to understand how global authorities and their Asian partners are looking to regulate these infamous wet markets to significantly lower the risk of viral and other pathogenic load from these unhygienic wet markets.
SEA WALL IN THE MALDIVES AND ITS SUSTAINABILITY
The Small Island developing states are particularly vulnerable to the peril of climate change. Sea level rise, increase in sea surface temperature, high incidences of drought and flood are some of the vulnerabilities that loom large over such island states.The republic of Maldives is one such example, which has been publicly advocating for the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Despite being one of the least contributors to such emissions, the Maldives faces the highest impact of global warming. Being one of the lowest-lying island nations, it has been undertaking various steps to curb the egregious impacts of environmental catastrophes.One of the response measures taken by the Maldives is the construction of seawalls. This article discusses this, while accenting the drawbacks and benefits associated with the approach.
TO PLUCK AT WILL: FRUIT TREES IN COMMON PROPERTY
Despite many governmental initiatives, malnutrition in India remains a major health challenge. There is a marked deficit of fruits in the diet of most Indians, consuming much lower than what is recommended by the World health organisation (Who). One of the reasons behind this is the high price of fruits and thus its inequitable access. As we prepare ourselves to live in a world marred by COVID-19 and a shrinking Indian economy, we must think of new ideas to manage access to food, especially micro nutrient rich fruits. This paper explores the possibility of planting endemic fruit trees in public spaces like roadsides and parks, that can help in increasing the consumption of fruits amongst the poor. It also attempts to analyse whether this can serve as a long term solution to bridge the gap between fruit production and consumption in India.
RESPONSIVE URBAN PLANNING: COVID-19 A TURNING POINT FOR REAL CHANGE IN INDIAN CITIES
The global challenge of COVID-19 is still unfurling. States are grappling to control its remorseless spread with varied success and its impact both on long and short-term scales are still being understood. However, a distinct urban bias in its spread across the globe and universal response of lockdown and social distancing for its control has brought pertinent questions to the fore. Urban planning and the future of our cities in terms of urban life and city form therefore needs to be revisited. In India, the exodus of migrant workers from its large cities has added yet another dimension to this challenge.
PAUSE AND REBOOT
REFLECTIONS ON ECONOMY, SOCIETY AND POLITY DURING COVID-19 GLOBAL PANDEMIC AND LESSONS FOR INDIA
Migrants & borders: My wishlist in a post-Covid-19 world
Former Professor of Economics and Education, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Covid-19: Politics Of Knowledge, Public Health And The World Order
In the present era of a knowledge society, the world order will be shaped more than ever before by the politics of knowledge. In the post-CoVId world, public health knowledge is likely to be a significant contributor. This article briefly discusses the various contemporary public health approaches evident within the discipline: global health, community medicine and critical public health. Then it goes on to analyse country level policy approaches to the COVID-19 pandemic, delineating a tentative four-category typology, based on available information. Finally, it sets out the possible outcome indicators that should be used to assess the national responses.
Inequalities in Access to Academic Spaces
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Understanding Caste and Class - Categories and Measurement
The caste has been a unique social institution in India. It has also emerged in a new form after the mandalisation of caste in the early 1990s resulting in the extension of reservation to Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in government jobs and also in admissions to colleges and universities. The relative size of population of various caste groups particularly of the OBCs is also a matter of debate. Census does not provide population data on OBCs, however, it is possible to assess it from nationally representative sample surveys. Further, the correspondence between caste categories and class has been a matter of debate. This paper presents an assessment of class within caste categories based on data from nationally representative sample surveys.
The Middle Class - As the Class of No Class
An attempt to understand some of the ambiguities around what it means to be middle class in India has been made in this paper. It also discusses the influence that the middle class supposedly has on Indian politics despite these uncertainties.
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THE DANGAL IN THE JUNGLE, PART 1
YOU KNOW YOU’RE SOMEBODY WHEN YOU’VE APPEARED ON AN INDIAN DANGAL POSTER — IN OTHER WORDS, IN A WRESTLING ADVERTISEMENT.
WOUNDS AND THE WOMB
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E8 Caste and the Indian Tech Ivies
IIT grads are highly sought after in Silicon Valley. Are they bringing deep-rooted prejudices with them?
I was happily married, happily employed, just plain happy. Until the accident