If you travel to India and ask its urban youth what they think of globalization, you would probably receive a lot of positive responses. India’s economic liberation, which began in the 1990s, has allowed Indian teenagers living in the city to gain access to a variety of new technologies and ideologies. Thanks to globalization, adolescents can now get their hands on the new iPhone 5 or go watch American movies at the brand new multiplex.
In rural India, however, the situation is more complicated. Vivek Dhejha of the New York Times argues that liberation has lowered poverty levels in India, albeit by a small amount. Rural India, which consists of a farming society, and is home to some of the most impoverished groups in the nation. Hemanth Sannur argues that globalization has improved Indian agriculture. They note how liberation has helped farmers adopt new technology and increase agricultural production. However, the numbers that Sannur uses in his article are old (they only show data from the early 1990s). As Vivek notes in the New York Times, agricultural production seems to be declining in recent years.
Farmers help us understand the reason for this decline. At the beginning of economic liberation, India allowed foreign agricultural corporations such as Monsanto to enter the agricultural sector. These companies sold new farming technology such as sees and herbicides to Indian farmers. Farmers, believing in the West’s technological powers, bought a lot of these products. However, they didn’t get the results they expected. Most farmers reported that the seeds produced lower yields or contained fake seeds. And agricultural pests soon grew resistant to the chemical deterrents used against them. In this case, contrary to the popular mantra of globalization, new technology does not lead to a better outcomes.
Furthermore, globalization affects the rural community in uneven ways. While it plays a great role in the agriculture, globalization has done little to improve the community’s lifestyle. For example, a large portion of India’s rural poor live without basic infrastructure such as constant electricity, stable housing, or good sanitation. Thus, in most cases, farmers today are still stuck in an impoverished state.
When looking at the macroscopic level, it is easy to conclude that globalization has done wonderful things for India. Today, the country has reached new heights of economic prosperity. But, on closer inspection, one finds that the effects of globalization are uneven and complicated. Globalization has heavily impacted urban centers and produced many positive results among the country’s middle class and upper class populations. In rural areas, globalization has not been able to alter the community quality of life and the introduction of new farming techniques has led to disastrous results.