About the book
It took mankind 50,000 years to reach its first significant technological milestone: a six-inch blade that touched off a series of rapid changes in the life of the Stone Age people. Today, the milestones come at dizzying pace, and every decade or so produces a breakthrough that transforms our lives—from the food we eat to how we communicate with others. Transformed too are the ways in which countries jostle for advantage in the global marketplace. And those who cannot compete, whether it be individuals or businesses or nations, fall by the wayside.
Extreme Turbulence: India at the Crossroads provides an overview of where the world is at this inflection point in history, in respect of trade, technology, energy, resources, population and the environment, among other things. More important, it looks at how India is placed in these areas, and how it can benefit from the transformed global scenario in the coming years, if it is to move up to a place in the super league. There is already a belief, in middle-class India, that the country is on its way to becoming an economic superpower in the near future. This belief, warns Upendra Kachru, is fraught with danger. For in this changing scenario, the benefits are great, but the costs of failure are equally high. In assessing just where India could be and how best it can get there, he looks not only at competitive and resource advantages but also some key weaknesses that we have to overcome to sustain high growth and remove the widespread poverty—the quality of governance, a bureaucracy that is mired in red tape, and rampant corruption, for instance. In doing so, he presents a remarkably clear picture of a complex situation that will be invaluable to anyone who has ever tried to crystal gaze.
'Turbulence in our lives is caused by a series of factors: by the forces of change in various fields; by scientific discoveries; by social, economic and political restructuring; by the impact of globalization; and by the inability of the environment to sustain our needs. As also changing lifestyles and values. These irregular and random changes are becoming more and more frequent, resulting in a continuous churning of our immediate environment. And when change happens with such frequency and rapidity, it results in extreme turbulence.
The noted American sociologist Daniel Bell and many other theorists support the view that the opportunities and threats seen in today's world have not been encountered in the history of mankind. The challenges that have to be faced today are different. Today's environment is dynamic in nature. The frontiers of the external environment are moving ever so often.