Ancient Futures: Lessons from Ladakh for a Globalizing World

Paperback (Print)
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 41%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $4.65
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 72%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (13) from $4.65   
  • New (4) from $10.18   
  • Used (9) from $4.65   


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.

Read More Show Less

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
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781578051625
  • Publisher: Sierra Club Books
  • Publication date: 5/12/2009
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 522,594
  • 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.
Read More Show Less

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

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)