[Reader-list] Fwd: Turtles, Tatas and Reva

Tapas Ray tapasrayx at gmail.com
Tue Apr 22 20:01:26 IST 2008

I had sent this only to Shuddha by clicking 'Reply'. Should have
clicked 'Reply All'.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Tapas Ray <tapasrayx at gmail.com>
Date: 22 Apr 2008 08:35
Subject: Re: [Reader-list] Turtles, Tatas and Reva
To: Shuddhabrata Sengupta <shuddha at sarai.net>

Aman, Sonia, Shuddha, Radhika and others,

 Aman is spot on. An electric car simply shifts the point of pollution
from the car exhaust to the power plant. It does nothing to reduce our
dependence on energy. In fact, by looking like a "green alternative",
it probably encourages well-meaning people to use more energy.
Interested parties can then make huge profits building and operating
nuclear and hydrocarbon-based power plants, large river dams, etc.,
with various environmental consequences, of which we are probably only
partially aware. And of course, Country A invades Country B to
"promote democracy", and arms manufacturers have a field day.

 One could argue on these lines for other areas of life, too, such as
health care. It relies, very profitably for the pharmaceuticals
industry, on an unimaginably large and rapidly expanding variety of
complex drugs, each with its own set of negative consequences ("side
effects"), which have to be dealt with through the use of other drugs,
which in turn have their own side effects, and so on. And then there
are the space-age technologies being used in diagnostics and treatment
- again very profitably for their manufacturers and with some negative
consequences for the patient's health. Apart from other things, this
approach to health care puts it beyond the reach of the vast majority
of people in these times of market-driven life.

 The same goes for agriculture. As Vandana Shiva has shown, the
technology and profit-driven Green Revolution led to various extremely
negative consequences and in fact contributed to the bloodbath we saw
for several years in Punjab not so long ago.

 The answer probably has to be "low-tech". In transport, as Aman
points out, it means bicycles, rickshaws, etc., and good old walking.
Also public transport that relies on renewable and non-polluting
energy sources. But changes like these entail deep-going changes in
other areas. As Shuddha notes, it means a different kind of plan for
cities. In the USA, for instance, the growth of spread-out suburbia
and exurbia has to do with the car industry.

 Therefore, such changes would mean reversing the developmentalism we
have bought into so enthusiastically, and confronting corporate
interests. The trouble is, the force that once claimed such
confrontations as its raison d'etre - the Left - is as much enamoured
of this developmentalism, and has bought such a comfortable peace with
these corporate interests, that there is no force of any consequence
willing or able to work for the changes we need. It's probably upto us
to create such a force.

 Just my two-bit.


 Shuddhabrata Sengupta wrote:

> Dear Aman,
> You wrote - "Our utopian city should not be one full of REVAs, and it  should not
> be one full of Nanos either .. it should ideally be full of bicycles  and public transport ..and roads designed for cyclists and rickshaw  pullers rather than automobile users - perhaps the ideal vehicle  could be a cross between the Nano and Reva - small, cheap and non- polluting.We could call it the Never"

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