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Can development and globalization be balanced?

The picture of history of the tortuous path of globalization and the heavy cost it has entailed were graphically depicted by Dr Rahul Varman, Professor, Department of Industrial & Management Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur and Dr Manali Chakrabarti, Honorary Adjunct Research Associate, Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata; Senior Fellow, Indian Council for Social Science Research and Guest Faculty, IIT, Kanpur at the Asian Confluence Centre at Shillong on Friday evening. Dr Varman and Dr Chakrabarti narrated the horrific tale of civilizations that are extinct now and those that are surviving amidst globalization in a talk titled “Balancing Development and Globalization” as part of the Centre’s “Innovation Talk Series”. According to Wikipedia, Globalization (or globalisation) is the process of international integration arising from the interchange of world views, products, ideas, and other aspects of culture.

Dr Manali Chakrabarti is an economic historian with interest in labour processes and industrialisation in colonial India. Dr Varman’s presentation offered case study of the corporate economy, which is the latest emergence in the process of globalization put in the question in sharp relief, how do we balance globalization with development, how do we make it inclusive and what role the civil society can play. A select audience representing stakeholders in private sector, public sector, NGOs, academicians, economists, social activists, students and teachers, media persons listened to the presentation with rapt attention that developed into a highly enlightening interactive conversation. An idea that was passionately discussed is that we should go for a model of development where much more is done to develop the village putting heavy investment and giving prime importance to education.

The talk succeeded to provoke everyone present and inspire them in search of an alternative model or models of development. Dr Sanjeeb Kakoty, Assistant Professor, Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Management, Shillong while introducing Dr Varman and Dr Chakrabarti assured full cooperation to the Asian Confluence for taking initiatives in this line as a civil society organisation and which was reciprocated by the duo. Sadhna Srivastava, well-known journalist, filmmaker, TV anchor shared her experience in the context of globalisation and the corporate economy which is cornering all the wealth of the world for purposes other than welfare of the majority population of the globe. President of Integrated Centre for Action, Reformation and Empowerment (ICARE) Tokiwaio Blah also participated in the discussion.

The talk shed light on many of the core issues that afflict the development of north-eastern region in addition, balancing the aspiration for development of people in this age, where winds of globalization leave nothing and nowhere untouched. The Asian Confluence has launched this talk series to retain and strengthen its initiative in search of creative thinkers and doers and bring them in touch with the civil society of the Northeast and South and South East Asia for creating a better future for India with Northeast civil society playing a key role. The “Asian Confluence”, is civil society platform to promote an open space for cultural and intellectual exchanges towards creating better understanding of the North Eastern region of India in the larger context of India as an emerging power in East Asian geopolitics.

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