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Planetary Democracy

Prahlad Shekhawat

By Vandana Shiva
South End Press, Cambridge, 2005, price not stated.


After the dissolution of the Soviet Union it was propounded that we have reached the end of history where Liberal capitalist democracy was declared as the highest stage we are likely to achieve. Some differ and talk about a third way between socialism and capitalism. Many especially in the non western world feel that a plurality of paths of ecological and political development in harmony with the local environments and cultures should be allowed to flourish. This is the call that is being made form the platform of the World Social Forum. The environmental ,womens and peace movements are trying to provide an alternative by combining the local and global and at the same time allowing space for indigenous pluralism. Vandana Shiva’s Earth Democracy is both a vision and a manifesto as part of the social movements search for alternatives in order to propose that another world is possible.   Vandana Shiva is a strong eloquent personality, combining activism and intellect of a high order both at the local village level in India and at the greatest alternative forums on the global stage. She feels equally at home with peasant women in remote Himalayas, and at nuanced scientific discussions about agricultural technology and international patent laws. It is therefore interesting to see how she weaves together different threads into a holistic vision.   Vandana Shiva begins with laying down the following principles of Earth Democracy: 1. All species, peoples and cultures have intrinsic worth. 2. The earth community is a democracy of all life.3. Diversity in nature and culture must be defended. 4. All beings have a natural right to sustenance.5. Earth Democracy is based on living economies and economic democracy. 6. Living economies are built on local economies.7.Earth Democracy is a living democracy. 8 Earth democracy is based on living cultures. 9. Living cultures are life flourishing. 10. Earth Democracy globalizes peace, care and compassion.   In the next four chapters she discusses the meaning and process of living economies, living democracies, living cultures and Earth Democracy in action. She does so with her unique blend of critique of corporate globalization ,hidden connections, analysis and activist passion.   Living economies means the process and spaces where the earth’s resources and commons particularly food and water are equitably shared and meaningful livelihoods are supported. The basis for Earth democracy emerges from the consciousness that while we are rooted locally we are also connected to the wide world, indeed ...

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