Wednesday, October 12, 2005

On the Anti Coca Cola Movement in India

I attended a talk a few days back by Sandeep Pandey. He is the founder of Asha for Education, an organization in which I am a proud and active volunteer. Sandeep currently runs an Ashram near Varanasi in U.P. For the last few years he has become less and less involved in Asha’s basic education related activities, and has become a more strident activist, deeply involved in organizations like the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), the anti Coca Cola movement, etc. He spoke on three topics – (1) the anti-Coke movement, (2) the Right to Information (RTI) movement, primarily in Hardoi district in U.P., and (3) his Indo-Pak peace march. I am an ardent supporter of the RTI movement in India, and it was heartening to listen to Sandeep’s account of how they have succeeded in improving the level of transparency and accountability of the govt. at the Panchayat level. Regarding Sandeep’s Indo-Pak peace march I think it is a hopeful and well-intentioned but completely futile effort.

Sandeep’s talk on the anti-Coke movement gave me much to think about. I have to say that on this issue I disagree substantially with Sandeep, a person for whom I nevertheless have immense respect for having started Asha – with its emphasis on basic education – as well as for his many other activities (such as the RTI movement mentioned above).

Ostensibly the main problem is that Coke draws too much underground water at its bottling plants, thereby depleting the water resources of the local people. However I don’t think this is the real issue, because if it were so then the solution would be fairly simple: work out an arrangement whereby Coke compensates the community for the water that it utilizes, and does it in a sustainable manner, for example by requiring Coke to recharge a minimum amount of groundwater through rainwater harvesting, or requiring Coke to pay some money for the water it utilizes, etc. In other words, if the real concern was water usage, the movement would have been about how to build a better bottling plant that utilizes water in a sustainable manner, or more generally about what rules and regulations need to be developed regarding water usage by industrial units. That, however, is not the goal of the movement. Its goal is simply to shut down Coke (and Pepsi) bottling plants. The real motivation for the movement – at least as far as Sandeep Pandey is concerned – seems to be a strong dislike/distrust of multinational corporations like Coke and Pepsi, and the international trade agreements and arrangements that allow such companies to function. Thus the anti-Coke movement – as articulated by Sandeep Pandey – appears to have become part of the very vigorous anti-globalization movement, which is unfortunate because at the core there may indeed be a legitimate grievance, which is now lost in the anti-globalization rhetoric. It seems to me that the only reason that Coke and Pepsi are targetted - and not other industrial units that may well use similar amounts of water - is that these companies are very visible and fit into the anti-globalization worldview of "big bad multinationals ruining the earth".

The following are some of the specific accusations made by the anti-Coke movement, and my thoughts on those.

  1. Coke is depleting water resources. Many kinds of industrial and farming activities use substantial quantities of water. In general water usage in India – in farming, in industry, and by individuals for sanitation, recreation, etc. – is bound to increase as the population increases, and as people’s quality of life improves. Surely the answer to this is to use better technology and better water management principles in order to better utilize available resources in a sustainable manner. This should include more efficient usage of water (for example Coke should work to reduce the amount of water it needs to produce each gallon of Coke), better recycling, better irrigation techniques, etc. It should also include developing a regulatory mechanism with these goals in mind. The answer cannot be to abandon modern industries and move towards a pre-modern economy.
  2. Coke is harmful as it contains pesticides. This may be true, but this is simply because the water that Coke uses in India contains pesticides. Clearly Coke does not buy pesticides from pesticide manufacturers and pour them into Coke bottles. It uses water that is locally available and probably it does some purification of the water, in spite of which some pesticides remain. The real problem - one that needs to be tackled seriously – is the presence of pesticides in the water supply. Targeting Coke for the presence of pesticides in the water supply seems unreasonable. After all, not only Coke but all water-based drinks that use the same water source have pesticides in them – lassi, nimbu pani, etc. Does it make sense to target tea/coffee shops because pesticides, which come from the water and milk they use, are found in the tea/coffee they serve ? In many cities in India, there is quite a lot of air pollution from vehicle exhausts, etc., but does it make sense to blame window manufacturers or ceiling fan manufacturers for bringing polluted air to people ?
  3. Coke increases unemployment by taking jobs away from individuals selling lassi, nimbu pani, etc. According to Sandeep Pandey’s analysis, a Coke plant produces 250,000 liters of soda per day and employs 500 workers; meanwhile an individual producing and selling traditional drinks can make 100 liters per day, and so it takes 2,500 workers to match Coke’s 250,000 liters per day. According to this analysis, in order to employ 500 people, Coke has displaced 2,000 people. This analysis is absurd since it totally neglects the benefits of increased productivity and economic growth. Of course Coke employs far less people to produce an equivalent amount of soft drink than traditional drink makers. But this is entirely because Coke’s technology and management systems allow for much greater productivity, which is a good thing. In general Coke (and other modern soft drink makers) pays its employees higher salaries than traditional drink makers could, and it can do so because of the higher levels of productivity that it brings to the soft drink industry. On the whole, this is a good thing because workers in the soft drink industry can now earn a much better living than was possible in the traditional soft drink industry. The key question is this: is the total economic activity generated by Coke greater than that generated by the traditional soft drink makers it replaces. If the answer is yes (which I think it is), then Coke is good for the Indian economy as a whole. Economic theory says that economic growth through increased productivity will eventually lead to more (and better) employment. Of course a serious problem still remains: many individuals who lose their jobs may not be able to take advantage of the better economic opportunities that become available, and the better jobs being created may be taken by other individuals. Individuals who suffer thus must be taken care of by society since society as a whole benefits from increased productivity and better jobs. Education is critically important for such individuals to take advantage of new opportunities in a growing economy. It can be easily shown that the problem of unemployment can never be solved by artificially enforcing inefficiency. For example in the above analysis it is said that a traditional soft drink maker makes 100 liters of soft drinks per day. If the govt. were to enforce laws that no drink maker can make more than 1 liter per day, would the employment in the traditional soft drink industry increase 100-fold ? Surely not. If the solution to the unemployment problem were so simple, there would not have been any unemployed people anywhere in the world today! Consider another example: the auto industry. Say a modern car factory produces 50 cars per month per employee. A hundred years back say a car factory produced 1 car per month per employee. As per Sandeep Pandey’s flawed analysis above, one would expect the auto industry a hundred years ago to have had 50 times as many employees as the auto industry today. Obviously this is not so. On the contrary, the auto industry today employs more people than it did 100 years ago because productivity has increased and the economy has expanded.

I am not claiming that Coca Cola is an angel, or that it is driven by anything other than the profit motive. So proper regulations and oversight are necessary. But at the same time India benefits from the technology, the management and logistics expertise, as well as the new energy and ideas that Coke, Pepsi, etc. bring into the country. To quote the famous economist Prof. Jagdish Bhagwati "economics is addressed heroically to showing how man's basest instincts, not his noblest, can be harnessed through appropriate institutional design to produce public good." Civil society groups are needed to play an active "watchdog" role, and to highlight the plight of those individuals who have been negatively affected. But the anti-Coke movement's demand to shut down bottling plants and its unwillingness to negotiate with Coke go too far. It is an act of cutting off one's nose to spite one's face.

25 Comments:

Blogger anil said...

cogent view point, very nicely putforth.
thanks

anil

November 09, 2005 5:46 PM  
Blogger Quizman said...

Magnificent. Exactly my views. You articulated what I've felt and explained to my Asha friends all along.

November 10, 2005 12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my friend, the tragedy is that Coke does not pay for any of the ground water it sucks out!

November 18, 2005 7:24 AM  
Blogger Siddhartha Shome said...

Anil and Quizman,

Thanks a lot for your compliments. Quizman, I've read your column on Sandeep Pandey and I agree with much of it.


Anonymous,

I agree with you that ground water is a precious resource and anybody who sucks it out should pay a fair price. So let the debate be about the regulatory and pricing mechanism for ground water. There are many issues to be discussed here. However designing a regulatory mechanism for ground water is not the aim of the anti-Coke movement. Their aim is simply to throw out Coke/Pepsi.

November 21, 2005 7:20 PM  
Blogger Siddhartha Shome said...

There is once again an intense discussion going on in India regarding Coca Cola and Pepsi. A very illuminating post can be found here. It provides a lot of good information, though the author could have made it even stronger by providing more references.

August 15, 2006 9:01 AM  
Blogger Steve Zavestoski said...

I have visited adivasis struggling to keep the Hindustan Coca Cola Bottling plant in Plachimada shut down. Believe me, they are not engaged in this struggle out of shear dislike for a multinational corporation.

Instead, they speak of a fight for human rights, in particular the right to a livelihood that has been threatened by Cocal Cola's overuse and contamination of the local groundwater.

Regulation in India is so weak, and so inconsistently enforced, that shutting down the plant holds greater promise than negotiating water rights.

Shouldn't multinationals operating in India be expected to meet the same standards they meet in their home countries? Isn't this the real crux of the issue?

August 15, 2006 11:52 PM  
Blogger Siddhartha Shome said...

Hi zavo, thanks for your comment. I am not familiar with the specific case of Plachimada. There may well be a legitimate grievance here, but unfortunately it is lost in the anti-globalization anti-MNC rhetoric. You identify one problem correctly – regulations in India are weak and inconsistently enforced. Another serious problem is inadequate water infrastructure, i.e., the inability to store water and transport it where it is needed. It follows logically that we need to work on improving the regulatory mechanism, as well as on improving infrastructure. How will it help to shut down the Coke plant? What if tomorrow someone starts some other plant or some irrigation system that uses similar quantities of water? Or what if tomorrow the groundwater usage by the local community increases by the same amount? If Plachimada cannot sustain ground water usage greater than say x liters/year, the problem will manifest itself if more than x liters of underground water is drawn whether by Coke, or by local people, or by anybody else – and such increased usage of water (with or without Coke) is inevitable because of population increase, economic growth, change in lifestyle, etc. I see two options: (1) enforce some regulation to reduce water usage in that area applicable to ALL (not just Coke), and (2) improve water infrastructure, i.e., build more storage tanks and canals, more rain-water harvesting systems, etc. The solution is likely to involve some combination of (1) and (2).

I disagree completely that multinationals operating in India should be expected to meet the same standards as in their home (or origin) countries. Of course MNCs must abide by all local regulations and standards. And govt. authorities and regulators should study regulations in other countries, and import them where appropriate. Let us say GE pays engineers a minimum salary of $50 an hour in the U.S., should it use the same standard for salaries in India? Who will benefit? Not Indian engineers, since imposing such standards will only reduce GEs incentive to hire Indian engineers. Of course I would expect GE to meet – and sometimes exceed – all local standards in terms of salaries, healthcare, workplace safety, etc. Consider a U.S.-origin multinational retailer operating in India. Since U.S. gun laws are very lax (compared to the very strict Indian gun laws), will it be ok for this retailer to sell guns over the counter to all and sundry in its Indian stores? Or should U.S.-origin MNCs operating in France/Germany be exempt from paying the rather heavy taxes that these countries require, and be allowed to pay taxes at American rates? Surely it makes sense to require companies (or individuals for that matter) to follow the standards and regulations in the countries where they operate.

August 16, 2006 9:30 AM  
Anonymous aggi said...

I have followed Cola controversy and had opted to visit their plants and see their website in details.

I have seen many comments put on this Blog asking questions on source of pesticides, what is safe, what are the standards etc.
Few comments here:
1. There are no standards for finished products in World, as also in India.
2. Standards are globally applied to ingradients.And for good reason. Let us take example of milk. You can either chose to have one standard for milk or chose to have 1000 standards for each product made with milk- Burfi, powder milk, milk shakes, Cheese, butter etc .etc.
3. Prevalent standard in India are on Packaged Drinking water- which are conforming to EU standards and are as strict as possible, anywhere in the world. And target companies- Coca-Cola and Pepsi comply with these standards.
4. Same purified water as per BIS/EU standard is used in making these beverages. These companies actually remove contamination whether pesticides or other material.
5. What has CSE done? Tested Soft drink against standards of water (or some proposed standards), in own lab, without any validation from any one else. So it screams that Pepsi has 24 times more pesticides. What is more? What is 24 times more? It is 12 parts in 1,000,000,000. So is it more? OR less? It is more as compared to a non existent standard! BUT less then everything else that we can include in our food basket. Because these companies care for their consumers and their brands- so they have installed latest equipment to clean all ingredients to reach highest safety levels.
5. Who regulates CSE or for that matter any other NGO? Except for an archaic act under which each of this need to be registered- WHAT is the regulation on them? Any standards for CSE to follow? Any ethics for them to follow? Any act of law that they need to subscribe? Any other certification they need? NO, there is nothing. SO they have right to hit below the belt, abuse, defame the country, ride on popularity of some top brands and go unscathed. Any ethics for them to follow? Any act of law that they need to subscribe? Any other certification they need? NO, there is nothing. SO they have right to hit below the belt, abuse, defame the country, ride on popularity of some top brands and go unscathed.

6. They say Indian Govt and states are sold out to these MNCs. Who can make such allegation in any other country? It is a slander of highest order on our Govt. Is anybody taking any action?

7. Let us all question CSE- who has regulated the whole process of her tests/reports? Any third party oversight committee? Like she speaks of regulation on Companies, who are her validators/regulators. Why should we believe their results? What are the bio datas of her so called experts and who pays them?

8. Why has CSE not subjected the "Control/Retention samples" of all the products claimed to have been tested in other labs- which are accredited for testing pesticides residues. If not CSL- which CSE said tested Colas on behalf of the company , and were paid so are likely to be dubious ( A BIG JOKE, THOUGH), any other labs of similar repute as CSL or even better credentials?

Can their result be verified? Same bottle that she tested give same results even in CSE labs? NO.

9. That brings us back to standards. Even if India wants to do world’s first by having standard on finished product, entire scientific community is unanimous that standards can be made and implemented only when testing protocol and methodology are established. That is to ensure that tests are reverifiable, could be validated and are repeatable.

10. Each of over 100 plants of Coca-Cola and Pepsi in India work within 70-100 different licenses/regulations of Centre/State governments. Over 400 tests are routinely conducted on their products EVERY DAY. How can they escape by flouting rules/any rule? What CSE is implying that all regulators/governments are a SHAM and CSE and Sunita Narain are GODSEND Saviours of human kind. Preposterous.

11. Any law of land that these Companies have flouted? NO. So why these comments from many visitors on this blog and by CSE that these companies are bad? In more than one way they go beyond prevailing standards in the country. BUT CSE paints them as evil, WHY? Whose funds sustain CSE and likes?

12. PESTICIDES- root of this controversy. Has taken a back seat in this rhetoric of CSE. How does it enter your apple and milk (actually every thing that we eat), how can we reduce that, how can we gradually remove that? All this is lost in the TAMASHA of CSE.

13. Question should have been how to reduce menace of a necessary evil. But debate is why not hang these MNCs, even if not guilty.

14. Has CSE ever visited a Coke or Pepsi plant? Or office? Or met with any officials to share her concerns? No, because they are GODSEND, and hence can cook anything in their own premises and serves to humankind. Because they are so "Godly" that they can not go wrong. Very arrogant. Least scientific. Zero democratic. Stinking!!!

15. Something about comments on X or Y. Where to focus. Obviously X. As noted in my comment no.2, Standards are globally applied to ingradients.And for good reason. Let us take example of milk. You can either chose to have one standard for milk or chose to have 1000 standards for each product made with milk- Burfi, powder milk, milk shakes,Cheese, butter etc .etc.

16. About comments that "just because Colas have fewer pesticides than say an apple" they can not be absolved. SURE, but they can only be held guilty if they have not made safe products, have not complied with law of land, have not cleaned contamination that they continue to get from Water/Sugar etc.

17. Finally- It is Consumer who has to choose. But he has right to have "correct" facts and not "Cooked in CSE" facts. Nutrition or no nutrition, if an informed consumer wants to have an apple with 100,000 more pesticides than in a Cola, who can stop him? Any why should anybody stop him? Similarly if a consumer want to consume a Cola which do not have even traces ( going by CSE 24 in 1,000,000,000)and chooses that just for FUN or for REFRESHMENT or for HYDRATION, what is CSE' problem.

18. Water is mandatory, so are milk (at least in India), so are Sugar and wheat and Rice and Tea. No nothing for them? No standards? NO concern. But whole country is made to boil on Colas that are essentially an optional item in our food basket.

19. Anyways who drinks colas- middle class and affluent? Who are reasonably educated to make educated choices? So what is happening in this debate, everybody is talking about protecting health of relatively affluent and educated people from non existent scare of pesticides in Colas, but everybody has forgotten about ill effects on health of POOR people, who eat/drink tap water, milk, sugar, tea, wheat, rice etal.

August 17, 2006 5:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GREAT WORK MAN!
Fighting for truth is also a way of life.
visit jago-hindustani.blogspot.com

August 17, 2006 5:40 AM  
Blogger Siddhartha Shome said...

aggi, thank you for your very detailed and informative comment. Keep up the good work!!

August 17, 2006 3:21 PM  
Blogger Siddhartha Shome said...

An important issue that is getting lost in the discussion on pesticides in sugar, apples, etc., is this: whatever the level of pesticides, a much larger problem is water-borne diseases caused by disease-carrying living organisms. This is primarily caused by the presence of human waste in drinking water. Some half-a-MILLION Indian children actually die from water-borne diseases every year (link and link), and of course millions more fall sick. While the low-level pesticides in coffee, apples, etc. and super-ultra-low-level pesticides in Coke/Pepsi may have negative health effects in the long run, those who are unable to boil/aquaguard their regular drinking water may suffer severely even in the short term, and many may not even live to see the long term. The greatest need is for improved sanitation facilities and promoting a culture and awareness of hygiene.

August 17, 2006 4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello,
i like your posts. the analysis are very logical and truthful. keep writing.

a burmese indian

August 21, 2006 2:02 AM  
Blogger Siddhartha Shome said...

Hi Burmese Indian, thanks a lot for your comment. Really appreciate it.

August 21, 2006 10:41 PM  
Blogger Arun Sharma said...

Hi siddhartha, As always you maintain your objectivity and analytical ability. I am particularly impressed by your writing!

Remember me??? Arun Sharma from St.Vincent's, MIT pune!!! contact me at ams.arunsharma@yahoo.co.in

September 26, 2006 11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is my comments and replies to Aggi's post dated aug 17th .
--------------
Aggi has primarily targeted the findings of CSE
in general regarding the standards of food products and pesticide contents
in COla.



I am not too curious about whether Cola contains pesticides or not , as
the vegetables and fruits and water in India does contain some amount of
it .
But that is not the reason why a lot number of people call Cola as evil .
Neither it is due to
any Anti Globalisation/Anti MNC pattern of thoughts . There are many many
other reason why
Coca Cola should be banned from operating in India. A few of them are
------------------

1 Unlike milk, sugar ,tea etc, which are human beings conditioned needs
and can be avoided with
a little of discomfort ,Water is a primary (in fact one of the most
primary )needs for existence of life.
And Coca Cola is extracting under ground water , in very large quantity (
in lacs if litres )resulting in drying out of
agricultural land, other water resources like
ponds , wells etc.

Aggi,if u have really visited any Coca Cola plant
,please revisit the area once again, but this time
not the plant buiding but the adjoining premises
and ask the local people whether they have experienced any changes in the
quantity and qualtity of water they get now , from that they
used to get before Cola started operating .
They will have a common tale to tell , that they
face extreme shortage of pure water now a days ,and water they get now a
days has got some residue.
This has been happening in places near to Cola plants all over in India.
It was evident that Cola Company were extracting much more water in
quantity than they were permitted ,and that was the reason fot this
scenario. It is evidently an incident of breaking the law of land ( thats
not a big deal in this country , though )

There were incidents in which the chemical industrial leftovers of
producting, distributed by Cola company to local people
as fertilisers , contained contents of toxic chemicals and ,resulting in
health problems for people who had physical contact
with them .

Pure water is one of the rare resource in India and sadly, it is an
essential resource. For this reason, the people who live nearby the cola
plants do have every right to defend this basic resource , and that has
been happening in all cola plants in India
for last couple of years or more. But inspite of all these acts of
exploitation ,cheat , Cocal Cola company is least concerned about the the
very existence of these people , which comes to in terms of a large
thousands ,if not lacs )
I dont say Cola should stop business just because there is water shortage
, but they should look other tehcniques such as rain water harvesting and
defenitly not under ground water . Spare it for millions of people in
India who cant afford to pay
Rs 15 per litre oor more on a daily basis.

And as long as the company keeps a deaf ear towards this mass cry, there
is every reason to call such a company as evil.

Now regarding the health issue, lets leave the pesticide part aside. Even
then ,it is clear there is nothing in Cola that
is enriching health . But fruit juices and many other health enriching
drinks cannot afford to compete to the aggressive
marketing techniques done by the cola gaints ( not blaming them on this ,
they have right to market ) and eventually lost
their market or never got into market . But it is the public who are at
the losing side ( its been so for long time ).
The question is : why should we drink some thing which is not doing any
good for health, when we do know a lot of drinks (cant call products
because lot of them are yet to obtain a product status or standards )
which are evidently good for health ?

October 25, 2006 10:28 AM  
Blogger CHEY said...

my anti-coke 2 cents:

http://timematterenergy.com/Pages/Coca.htm

chey

July 12, 2007 11:30 AM  
Blogger keith harmon said...

Hello

I think your arguments on Coke are specious at best and poorly thought out based on your unconsciousness about how the world works. I started reading hoping to find something really innovative, but it was "innovative" in a very pro-capitalist, anti-humanist way. Which is disappointing. Watch my site for a response to the Coke groundwater story.
www.allthingspas.com
blessings
keith harmon snow

November 16, 2007 5:08 PM  
Blogger keith harmon said...

sorry
http://www.allthingspass.com
keith harmon snow

November 16, 2007 5:08 PM  
Blogger Neemaj said...

siddhartha, your name is the same as Gautam Buddha's and means "one who has attained the object of his coming on earth". I suppose you think that the right wing ideas cultivated in the mediocrity of fremont where you dwell in self-loathing over your roots, are the accomplishment of this object. You choose to spew venom against those who have taken a tough stance and given their lives to fighting against injustice. I am ashamed that you're Indian. Please try to understand the moral dilemmas underlying the people whom you so gingerly cast aside and understand that even though you were taught to think in a linear fashion with your engineering background that life happens in systems and everything is inter-related. You need to heal yourself and start living up to your name.

March 19, 2008 9:48 AM  
Blogger Siddhartha Shome said...

Hi Neemaj,

First let me thank you for taking time to research my name and whereabouts..

But I would much rather that you spent that time researching the issue in hand and posting your comments on the issue..Being a man of science, I look foward to your viewpoint. Hopefully I will find it well supported with scientific and economic facts and not blab.

March 26, 2008 2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Siddhartha,

I visited your blog by accident and was immediately hooked. I agree with most of what you say. However, I have a minor disagreement with your current post on the anti coca cola movement.

First, let us focus on what we agree:

1. I agree that most people who protest against Coke, do so because of their general anti-globalization stance. Coke and Pepsi are good punching pads.

2. I agree with you that "Coke contains pesticides" and hence is more dangerous than nimbu pani is a ridiculous argument. CSE (and Sunita Narain) popularized this view, but I guess her real intention was to show that our water contains dangerous levels of pesticides.

3. Coke increases unemployment is also a similar argument devoid of merit. It is sad that most of these distinguished people don't have an understanding of Economics 101 and you have to spend a lot of energy teaching economic theory.

However, I disagree with your first point about coke's usage of water. I do so after having first hand knowledge of the situation in Plachimada where this agitation against Coke plant started.

While it is true that all industries will use substantial amounts of water, soft drinks is a peculiar industry that uses really huge amounts of water. This is easily understandable if you look at the nature of the industry. Also, if you look at other industries or farming, they might use water as a byproduct or in their manufacturing process and will release the water as waste into the same area. Of course, there are problems with this as well, but in general water more or less remains in the same area. But with Coke, most of the water from that area is used and exported outside of that area.

Since ground water is a community resource (shared by a lot of people), disproportionate exploitation by a few should be disallowed or regulated. The only solution that I can see is to have coke use only a limited amount of water from each location and have their plants spread out across different locations. How ever, from what I understand, the local authorities were not very successful in coming up with these regulations. Once, the plant was allowed, Coke started drawing too much water and the only way to prevent them from doing so was to totally disallow the plant. Also, it is not as if other industries with similar water requirements were allowed and coke was singled out. Plachimada is a sleepy agricultural village without many industries. There is nothing that comes even close to Coke in terms of ground water requirements.

However, I do agree with you that all opportunities for a creative win-win solution was lost when the anti globalization lobby took over. But, anti-globalization was not the reason why it was opposed in the first place.

November 30, 2008 9:00 PM  
Blogger Siddhartha Shome said...

Anonymous,

Thanks a lot for leaving a comment here.

I agree with you that there may be some legitimate issue here with Coke drawing too much water from the ground in Plachimada. Here is a quote from my blog post, "at the core there may indeed be a legitimate grievance, which is now lost in the anti-globalization rhetoric".

Many creative "win-win" solutions could have been thought of. For example, the single Coke plant could be replaced by a number of geographically dispersed smaller plants. There could be some kind of exponentially increasing tax/fees levied on those who draw water beyond a certain quota. Coke could be asked to construct rainwater harvesting facilities in order to recharge ground water. And so on and so forth.

Unfortunately, it appears that the anti-globalization crowd is not in the least interested in finding a practical solution to core problem.

December 01, 2008 8:39 AM  
Anonymous Whatsername said...

Hi, I found your article interesting, and the quotation of Jagdish Bhagwati at the end even more interesting... could you tell me where you got that quote? Just wanted to read the whole book or article that the quote is in.. Thanks!

December 06, 2011 10:27 PM  
Blogger Siddhartha Shome said...

Jagdish Bhagwati's quote is from his book "In Defense of Globalization"

December 06, 2011 10:53 PM  
Blogger jitender rastogi said...

Looks like a paid corporate stooge is busy writing articles.

June 10, 2012 7:47 AM  

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