In the last century, Gandhi was recognized as the leader of swadeshi as a challenge to invading colonials. Swadeshi is a Sanskrit word for economic self-reliance. Vinay and Lindsay are now building Global Swadeshi – a social network, mainly engineers, working on global economic self-reliance as part and parcel of political autonomy.
Global Swadeshi is almost a contradiction in terms – but it captures the meaning of networked self-sufficiency. It applies on a global scale and is for everybody – beyond the fears of the Dark Ages.
I look at self-sufficiency – or lack of it – as the root cause for human suffering. People say, ‘It’s the power structure,’ ‘It’s the corporations,’ ‘it’s greed and human nature,’ and so on.
I say – can you point to one tragic human event in history that did not have self-sufficiency as its underlying cause? Look at colonialism. Look at Iraq – we go and plunder because we don’t have enough oil for ourselves. Or: global power brokers fund World War II so they can cash in. This is just a fear-based reversion to abuse of others so that the perpetrators could meet their own needs – as they are not sufficient in themselves. You get the picture.
In a culture beyond the Dark Ages, economic self-sufficiency is perhaps the most important goal that should be achieved, if peace and prosperity for all are the goals.
The good news is that we can be materially self sufficient – in more ways than we think. For example, people laugh at me when I talk of extracting aluminum from abundant local clays (aluminosilicates). But to me, it’s a natural part of industrial swadeshi. It’s only that we’re still wallowing in the dark ages of industry, in general – so this type of thinking is forbidden. But – just like self-sufficiency in food, fuel, or energy – industrial swadeshi is around the corner if we want it.