Ancient Futures: Lessons from Ladakh for a Globalizing World

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Overview

A moving portrait of tradition and change in Ladakh, or "Little Tibet," Ancient Futures is also a scathing critique of the global economy and a rallying call for economic localization.

When Helena Norberg-Hodge first visited Ladakh in 1975, she found a gentle people, a pristine environment, and a self-reliant economy. But then came a tidal wave of development. Over the last three decades, this remote Himalayan land has been increasingly exposed to outside markets and Western notions of "progress." As a direct result, a whole range of problems-from polluted air and water to religious conflict to eating disorders-began to occur for the first time.

Yet this is far from a story of despair. Social and environmental breakdown, Norberg-Hodge argues, is not inevitable or evolutionary but the product of conscious political and economic decisions. In a new Afterword, she writes of inspiring initiatives already under way that aim to restore Ladakh's cultural integrity, including a 5,000-strong Women's Alliance and village-level renewable energy projects. She also reports on the worldwide relocalization movement, which rejects the economics of exploitation and works to rebuild place-based cultures that strengthen community and our connection with nature. This classic account of a culture's dismantling and renewal challenges us to redefine what a healthy economy means, and to find ways to carry ancient wisdom into our future.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Norberg-Hodge first went to Ladakh in 1975 and has spent six months there every year since. This slim volume is her soapbox to air her views of how Ladakh should be. Part 1 is the romantic, idealized Shangri-la where everyone is happy and contented. Then she portrays Ladakh after the tourist invasions and economic development. Next is a tirade against multinational corporations that are responsible for all the world's problems (strange, since India banned most international companies 20 years ago). Finally, Norberg-Hodge describes her work in establishing local organizations to introduce local-level, low-capital inputs. A popular and sensitive introduction to Ladakh is needed, but this is not it. Not recommended.-- Donald Clay Johnson, Univ. of Minnesota Lib., Minneapolis
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781578051625
  • Publisher: Sierra Club Books
  • Publication date: 5/12/2009
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 484,119
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Helena Norberg-Hodge, the first non-Ladakhi to become proficient in the language, lives in Ladakh for part of each year. The rest of the time she travels and lectures about the urgent lessons Ladakh has to offer the world.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments iv

Foreword H. H. The Dalai Lama vi

Introduction Peter Matthiessen viii

Prologue: Learning from Ladakh 1

Part 1 Tradition

1 "Little Tibet" 9

2 Living with the Land 19

3 Doctors and Shamans 37

4 We Have to Live Together 45

5 An Unchoreographed Dance 55

6 Buddhism-A Way of Life 72

7 Joie de Vivre 83

Part 2 Change

8 The Coming of the West 91

9 People from Mars 94

10 Money Makes the World Go Around 101

11 From Lama to Engineer 105

12 Learning the Western Way 110

13 A Pull to the Center 115

14 A People Divided 122

Part 3 Looking Ahead

15 Nothing Is Black, Nothing Is White 133

16 The Development Hoax 141

17 Counter-Development 157

18 The Ladakh Project 167

Epilogue: "Ancient Futures" 180

Afterword: An Economics of Happiness 193

Further Reading 213

Index 219

About the Author 225

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