More Indians behaving like middle class: Friedman

With education and technology, more and more people have tools of middle class, says US journalist-writer

trithesh

Trithesh Nandan | February 1, 2013


Thomas L Friedman at TERI conference in New Delhi on Thursday.
Arun Kumar

Hyper-connectivity is creating a new wave of middle class in India that is pushing for better governance and transparency in the country, according to celebrated author and journalist Thomas L. Friedman.

A large population of 300 million, or 30 crore, may not have the income to match the middle class level but they think and behave like middle class, he said. “With education and technology, more and more people have tools of middle class,” Friedman said on the second day of ‘Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS)’, being organised by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).

He pointed out that the emerging middle class with technology are pushing for better governance, accountability and transparency, which are good for the country. “All of this is (the) key derivative of hyper-connected world,” he said.

Friedman referred to this phase as the one where “friends can kill you much faster than your enemies”, and where “rivals falling are considered much more dangerous than rivals rising.”

According to Friedman, the time is changing because the world is getting hyper-connected. “We have moved from connected world to hyper-connected world and interconnected world to interdependent world,” said the 59-year old author of the books ‘Hot, Flat, and Crowded’ and ‘The World is Flat’ that deals with the subject of connectivity.

He said the next great hope is from information technology (IT) and energy technology (ET), if they meet. “There is much better possibility of glocalisation (global and local punched together) if IT and ET converge. That will be a game changer for the world,” he said.

Highlighting the significant transition in modern values, Friedman asserted, “We need our kids to be the ‘re-generation.’ They need to bring sustainable values back to the market and mother-nature…. We need sustainable values, not the situational values that is the current trend.”

Stressing the need for redefining growth and green GDP, the author said that clean energy is the next big thing, and that the United States has to take the lead in this. “If America goes green, then the world goes green. If America doesn’t go green, then the world will never go green,” he said.

Friedman was also critical of the way the multilateral agreements are taking place at present. “It is better that bilateral agreement happens between countries; (this) can change the climate change deals,” Friedman said.

(Governance Now is a media partner for the event)

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