An average village in India does not really benefit from the current economic system. The story of Kuthumbakkam, a village in Tamil Nadu, shows how people can locally create viable economy based on the regional sources and inter-village exchange. Main charasteristics of the Network growth economy are high localisation of production and consumption and focus on self-sufficiency.
Initial conceptual foundation could be found in marxism and even more in gandhian economics (Kumarappa). The focus was gradually moving from goals of infrastructure creation and employment at all costs to different goals. These are decent life for all, end of migration to cities and self-sufficiency in terms of energy and majority of other economic sectors. Economics in the village tend more to a solidarity economy, changing cycles of production, creating local employment in environmentally sound production. Kuthumbakkam is unique also regarding the empowerment of people and especially regarding overcoming the obstacles of the caste system.
I explore the connections between global transition strategies and this village community. I believe some important lessons can be learnt from Kuthumbakkam – not only for other states of India but also for transition practices around the world. The Network growth economy can be very inspiring for a conceptualisation of the society which does not depend on economic growth.
As Elango Ramaswamy, the community leader, says:
“The Network Economy concentrates on prosperity creation rather than poverty eradication. This initiative focuses on evolving self-dependent economy in the rural areas rather than worry about their place in the global market”
This media entry was a contribution to the special session „How can local Network growth economy serve to global degrowth?“ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.