ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Nature of Our Economy

Can enlightened, expert advice to the powerful resolve the intractable environmental question?

The commercial media chose to virtually ignore the report of an expert group chaired by the Cambridge professor emeritus of economics, Partha Dasgupta on green national accounting for India, released by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 5 April in New Delhi. Perhaps the effort needed to grasp even the executive summary of the report put off our journalists.

The prime minister was, of course, happy to see his “old friend and one of the most distinguished economists in the world, Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta”. But he steered clear of saying anything substantive about the recommendations of the report, rather spending his time listing all the initiatives that his government has presumably taken toward “greening the Indian economy”. The question that looms large is whether such technocratic approaches such as Partha Dasgupta’s will, if and when they are implemented, give the public a fair idea of the extent to which capitalism in India is degrading or regenerating the renewable resource base, the degree to which it is depleting the non-renewable resource base, and the irreversible harm it is inflicting on the biosphere and the planet.

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