Aug 17

India’s counter to conventional Globalization: The Re-Birth of the Geo Khādī Revolution

The common principle of globalization holds to an understanding that market economics will dictate what the most efficient areas for a country’s production will include.  First world countries are generally believed to have advanced technology, and high levels of automation. As such the majority of companies within this sphere are services based industries.  Developing and emerging markets rely mainly on labor intense mass manufacturing, agricultural and complementary services (think outsourcing of call centers, basic to mid level banking processes). The theory holds that the products consumed by the first world countries are produced by the developing countries where mass production labor is cheaper. The apparent perfect complementary mix allows both developing countries and first world nations to prosper.

When this theory was at its zenith we saw corporations invest around the world to make sure they had the most efficient and profitable operations. The problem with the theory is that it does not always hold true and its long-term benefits to all parties involved can be disastrous.  China, the US and European markets are all facing the adverse affects of Globalization. India on the other hand has taken a more balanced approach. While there are a number of outsourcing call centers that have added to the wealth of the country, the growth and allure of the Indian market is not through automation or streamlining but rather through it revitalization in its native production of products and services.

In the time of Gandhi, this movement was known as the Geo Khādī revolution. Geo Khādī (a word literally meaning cotton) platforms consisted of encouraging all Indians to only buy Indian produced products whose whole ingredients come from India. This movement was so significant that it changed the consumer behavior across India and is forever immortalized in India through its flag where the spinning loom sits as a symbol of the Khādī revolution.

While the popularity of the self produced and consumed products waned with the opening of India’s borders to the west, it has re-emerged as many Indians and foreigners have re-discovered its charm. As such, the Indian government has overseen or been involved in largely successful initiatives around handmade silk production and embroidery, organic farming, fashionable shirwal kameez’s, carpentry and other specialized artisan trades.

The re-emergence of the Geo Khādī philosophy coincides with a growing India that refuses to automate and become solely service based as it grows. What many of the top philanthropists and government officials realized is that globalization by itself will not bring India to be the dominant world power. With a rising population and over 1 billion Indians the key is not to automate but to promote, integrate and involve as many natives in industries as possible. Streamlining and creating factories are not the solutions India is pursuing. With a plethora of capable labor bodies and a growing middle and affluent class India is well setup to be able to avoid the downfalls of a heavy dependence on globalization while capitalizing on internal economics and growing trades within its own borders.


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