Costs of development

When Yang tided over Yin « Sa

“…even as we speak of great development, we need to ask ourselves, “What is development?” Development to me may be the ability to communicate to the world using my Apple Mac laptop built and bought in California, while I stretch on the divan in my seaside home in Cuddalore in South India. Development to the fisherman, who is my neighbour, may on the other hand, mean the ability to feed his family every day. That would mean catching fish that are not bloated and poisoned by the many Chemical factories that have made Cuddalore, formerly a thriving fishing hub, one of the post polluted towns in the country. My neighbour may never want to sell his fish. His family, however, needs to eat and he cannot afford the tinned salmon I buy from the air-conditioned store in Pondicherry 20 minutes away. Who polluted this man’s resource? Not he, but a famous Chemical factory that has grown unrestrained in the last decade.

This indicates the existence of a patriarchy in globalization – something that Vandana Shiva characterizes as an extension of the “White Man’s burden” – a desire to develop, similar to the desire, in past years, to civilize. I, however, see it as a “teacher’s burden”. The family with the Mac Book sees themselves as superior to the fisherman who has not finished school and he in turn sees people like the Koya and the Zapara as less than he. Each wants to teach the one on the “lower” rung of the ladder to “be modern.” This is only a microcosm of the world scenario, where, despite much talk about inclusivity, decisions are made top-down based on one definition of “development.”

I am able to follow the costs of development and the different things development means to different sections of people.I cannot follow how this whole evil has come about because of masculinization or patriarchy unless she means that if the resources continue to be owned by men this is what will happen-skewed development .She further makes the woman a victim and by extension,the Mother Earth herself who is supposed to be another female victim herself.

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Retired banker with poetry and photography as chief interests

4 thoughts on “Costs of development”

  1. Hi,
    I might be able to answer that, as the author of the post. Well, Eco-Feminist philosophy looks at aggressive development as essentially male in consciousness. It is structured, rigid, hierarchical, based on conquest. It is dependent on a cultural modification of nature and cannot occur without subjugation at some level. The most basic level where subjugation occurs is nature, and this is where destruction begins. The female consciousness, on the other hand is passive, complex – force of conservation and intuition (not rationalism). Consider the biological fact that any species under threat or even human beings under stress tend to bear more female offspring than male.

    Globalization in the 21st century is the expansion of business, economics and in general a way of life as conceived by one people – a people who have had what Fritjort Capra calls a Yin-led civilization, based on aggressive policy, expansion and the spread of one single idea of “freedom” and “development”.

    By application, Earth, as the subject of conquest of this male consciousness for development is close to female consciousness. Thus the duality in values that identifies nature as close to Woman and culture as close to Man.

    So the ultimate question is not merely about whether men or women should own resources but about where this whole idea of “ownership” of resources as basic as water and knowledge came from. Can anyone claim to have conquered the right over water?

    While, of course, gender-skewed development is a manifestation of the overriding influence of the male consciousness, the question of masculinization and patriarchy goes much deeper.

    I hope that answered that question. If not, you’re welcome to write to me at the address on

  2. I really do not see any point in believing that male consciousness is aggressive ,the female one passive or conversely all that is aggressive in human nature is male and all that passive female although the concept of prakriti-purusha is deep-rooted in our cultural conscious.This assumes that the male is the chaser ,the female chased with its archaic concept of female passivity.I believe that the traditional role of the aggressive male and a docile female archetype had their roots in economic specialisation -the male going out to earn bread and the female rearing children and keeping the house-forced by the need to raise a family and keep it protected from outside dangers.Somewhere along the way the human society added the additionality of female chastity in order to leave no room for an irresponsible male for disowning the offspring or may be,to prevent promiscuity and possible loss of “purity” of the race.All this does not in any way lead to the thrust of your argument that globalisation as practised is basically patriarchally-driven and as a result development tends to remain skewed and one-sided.

    I believe you say subjugation ,which is supposedly a male characteristic applied in relation to the mate is further extended to Mother Nature and destruction follows.Can we say if the decision-makers are female a better management of the environment will follow ? I don’t believe so. I also do not know if it is a scientific fact that humans in stress tend to bear female offspring.

    Anyway ,thanks for responding to my question and take care.

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