Intergenerational equity

April 25, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Posted in Blogroll, General | Leave a comment

Last week I was reading a newspaper article about rampant unauthorized mining in one of the Indian states and its effects on the environment; one term “intergenerational equity”, which in this context means unsustainable use of resources now and depriving future generations, caught my attention. It triggered the thought process to explore what this concept would mean in other contexts.

Then I read another article by Rajni Bakshi in Times of India which examined the less known aspect of “civilizational Gandhi” as he posed certain fundamental and troublesome questions about the development models. The essence of her interpretation was one of differentiating between what we need and what we want. The exercise of exploring “the vase realm between the extremes of involuntary deprivation and born-to-shop consumption” can be quite “creative rather than frustrating”. She took the example of the recent catastrophe in Japanese atomic reactors and explained how taking the conventional approach to development leads to “comparative review of risk assessment between different forms of energy, whereas the model based on needs and not wants would force a collective introspection – not about specific technologies but about basics” of how much energy do we really need and how much is wasted. Though she did not specifically mention how this model would help future generations, the connection was obvious.

Then I remembered a talk which I had attended some time back by Dr. Harish Chandra who is B.Tech (IIT-Kanpur) & PhD (Princeton, USA) and is an expert Internal Combustion Scientist. For last few years, he got interested in Vedic scriptures and currently devoting his time to research and talks on this subject. He talked on a variety of topics from Vedas & Upanishads which are relevant even today. But one such area which caught my attention was the basis on which the professions were categorized in those days and each person was free to choose the profession based on his passion and capabilities. These professions were broadly based on the need of the society to take care of the three basic shortcomings. “Adnyan” meaning lack of knowledge, “Anyay” that is lack of justice and “Abhav” which is shortages. The expectation was for each professional to understand how his profession helped to tackle one or more of these shortcomings and together work towards removing them so that every member of the society could lead a better life.

If these concepts are adopted by the organizations of today, they will certainly help the future generations of employees & customers. It will avoid many cases of sudden and rapid growth followed by an equally sudden fall which we have witnessed recently. It will lead to a more sustainable growth and higher employee & customer satisfaction over longer periods of time.

I would really appreciate any thoughts / experiences from you that either support or challenge what is said above.


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