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Ecological Thinking of Tagore and Ecological Equity: A 21st Century Perspective

Khan, Haider (2024): Ecological Thinking of Tagore and Ecological Equity: A 21st Century Perspective.

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In this paper, drawing inspiration from Tagore’s writings and experiments in rural development in Bengal in places like Shilaidaha, Patisor and Shriniketan, I develop a part of what I have been calling an ecological global political economy approach. I motivate the discussion by focusing on the links between ecological crisis and income distribution. I have chosen the concrete context of Bangladesh, a country likely to be affected severely by global warming and climate change to illustrate through simulation the theoretical results. Using a fairly neutral and conservative assumption of uniform distribution of loss it can be shown axiomatically that inequality increases when effective income is considered leading to ecologically adjusted income distributions. In line with Tagore’s intuitions, the simulations presented here for Bangladesh demonstrate that both inequality and poverty measured by some popular indexes increase significantly under even this mild assumption and the assumption of moderate income loss. Thus a case can be made for a strategy of Tagore-inspired equitable rural development.

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