Will it kill us?

by Dina on September 5, 2009 · 2 comments

in Indian Culture,Life

Leon Benjamin argues that command and control organisation is actually killing people, in a post titled “How public companies are killing their own employees”.

“I was working in Bangalore with Tesco a few years ago. I remember having conversations with successful upwardly mobile young Indian technologists about new houses, cars, holidays.  I pointed out that what comes with all this prosperity is the slew of western ailments associated with the export of capitalism’s model of organisation – diabetes, stress, obesity, jealously, distrust, rapacious greed and so on. They just laughed at me. This was published last week:

India outsourcing workers stressed to the limit. From obesity to sleep disorders – a healthcare crisis in the making?”

I’m not surprised they laughed at you, Leon!

In many parts of India, we’re still early on in the ‘capitalism-consumption’ curve  and are at the stage where we’re enjoying the early fruits of capitalism.  From a position of having/owning little, to this desire for more more more, and more.

Perhaps this can be situated in different aspects of our emerging culture of consumption – people have the desire to own items that are badges of success and they find easy availability (many more highly compelling ‘consumer’ touch-points), and easy access (thru credit for instance) to them. It’s difficult for us to think of the possible long-term negative fall-outs as we’re still enjoying the move from not having to having.

I found this really interesting series of relevant posts called “Consumerism in India – a Faustian Bargain” by Professor Z penned in 2006 at his blog, The Curious Stall!!!  I quote here from the Epilogue to the series – it’s a fair warning to us!

An article (login may be required) in today’s New York Times provides the perfect epilogue to the now-concluded five-part series “Consumerism in India: A Faustian Bargain?” (Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) In the series, I focused more on the psychological and social consequences of life in a consumer society. I also touched on the impacts on the lives of people implicated in the global chain of production and consumption. What I did not mention were diseases of affluence. Adult onset diabetes, now more widely known as Type 2 diabetes, is a perfect example:

In its hushed but unrelenting manner, Type 2 diabetes is engulfing India, swallowing up the legs and jewels of those comfortable enough to put on weight in a country better known for famine. Here, juxtaposed alongside the stick-thin poverty, the malaria and the AIDS, the number of diabetics now totals around 35 million, and counting.

The future looks only more ominous as India hurtles into the present, modernizing and urbanizing at blinding speed. Even more of its 1.1 billion people seem destined to become heavier and more vulnerable to Type 2 diabetes, a disease of high blood sugar brought on by obesity, inactivity and genes, often culminating in blindness, amputations and heart failure. In 20 years, projections are that there may be a staggering 75 million Indian diabetics.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Leon Benjamin September 6, 2009 at 6:43 pm

Let’s face it. ‘The future is about less’. Doing better with less;

“Let’s stop claiming to dominate nature and the world; let’s stop making possession a superior end. Let’s put our cherished deviancies, such as the manufacture of desire and its bulimic satisfaction, back in their place. Today’s progress must be situated on the side of being rather than of having.”

“Let us dream: A politician takes the side of talking to us about the world as it is, as it risks becoming; he or she forecasts not sweat and tears, but difficult tomorrows; she or he proposes that we talk about it, as responsible citizens, and allows us to perceive robust paths along which to advance, with a smile, towards the era of less … A less that will consequently take on the character of better.” Robert Lion is President of Agrisud International, a member of the National Council for Sustainable Development.

2 namrata September 9, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Take a look at some of my research on Corporate Wellness called ‘ Work to Live, Live to Work? – http://futurechat.in/corporate-wellness-2008/

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