Thursday, August 9, 2007

Indians Protest Wal-Mart

" "Our culture is not the wasteful consumption that we see in the first world," he said. "This is the country where Gandhi taught people to live on minimum resources. These large retail companies will push us aggressively to consume more and more."

Vandana Shiva, an environmental activist and author, said that traditional small-scale retailing in India was environmentally more efficient than the international operations, which are queuing to enter the market.

"Part of our culture is where we shop - we are holding the protest here to show that this is the India that we value," she said, gesturing towards the labyrinthine network of lanes crowded with hawkers selling slippers, saris, plastic toys and children's clothes, café-owners boiling milky tea or frying potatoes, and men with stalls piled high with fruit.

"Look at the vegetable cart," she added, pointing to a man pulling vegetables behind him on a two-wheel mobile shop unit. "It produces zero emissions, uses no fossil fuels, causes no damage to the environment and brings the produce directly to your doorstep. What could be more efficient than that?" "

What a load of crap. 17 identical little stores selling the same sandals, all in a row, is efficient? Each of them dumping all their waste in the middle of the tiny road, is efficient? And where do you think the vegetable cart gets its vegetables? He doesn't drag that cart all the way from the farm. Smoke-belching, diesel-guzzling tiny trucks deliver them to each litttle delivery stop. Wal-Mart wouldn't put out of business the chai-guys or the vegetable carts, but it would increase quality and purchasing ease while adding economies of scale to a colossal country that has always ignored it and all related efficiencies.
Americans aren't usually in the position of defending Wal-Mart, but geesh.
[Written by Ian]

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