[Vision2020] Amitav Ghosh Quote: Gandhi in 1928 on "economic exploitation" from "The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable"

Ted Moffett starbliss at gmail.com
Fri Dec 3 19:24:51 PST 2021

Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett

All text below from page 112-3 "The Great Derangement: Climate Change and
the Unthinkable:"

Imperialism was not, however, the only obstacle in Asia’s path to
industrialization: this model of economy also met with powerful indigenous
resistances of many different kinds. While it is true that industrial
capitalism met with resistance on every continent, not least Europe, what is
distinctive in the case of Asia is that the resistance was often
articulated and
championed by figures of extraordinary moral and political authority, such
as Mahatma Gandhi. Among Gandhi’s best-known pronouncements on
industrial capitalism are these famous lines written in 1928: ‘God forbid
that India should ever take to industrialism after the manner of the West.
an entire nation of 300 millions [sic] took to similar economic
it would strip the world bare like locusts.’

This quote is striking because of the directness with which it goes to the
heart of the matter: numbers. It is proof that Gandhi, like many others,
understood intuitively what Asia’s history would eventually demonstrate:
that the universalist premise of industrial civilization was a hoax; that a
consumerist mode of existence, if adopted by a sufficient number of people,
would quickly become unsustainable and would lead, literally, to the
devouring of the planet.

Of course, Gandhi was not alone in being granted this insight; many
others around the world arrived at the same conclusion, often by completely
different routes. But Gandhi occupied a position of unique social and
cultural importance, and, what was more, he was willing to carry his vision
to its logical conclusion by voluntarily renouncing, on behalf of his
the kind of power and affluence that is conferred by industrial

This was perfectly well understood by Gandhi’s political enemies on the
Hindu right, who insistently characterized him as a man who wanted to
weaken India. And indeed it was for this very reason that Gandhi was
assassinated by a former member of an organization that would later
become the nucleus of the political formation that now rules India. This
coalition came to power by promising exactly what Gandhi had renounced:
endless industrial growth.
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