At a time when disillusion with neo-liberal development nostrums is mounting, alternative models of development are being revisited. Kerala`s 30 million people may not have experienced rapid growth in GDP per capita, but they have for the past several decades achieved a remarkable social record in terms of adult literacy, infant mortality, life expectancy, stabilising population growth, and narrowing gender and spatial gaps.
What are the implications of the disjuncture between human development and economic growth? What are the political, social and cultural factors responsible for Kerala`s success? Does its human development record necessarily relate to sustainability in environmental terms? How inclusive has the Kerala model been, particularly for the fishing community and other socially marginalised groups?
Can the new people`s campaign for decentralised development from below make Kerala`s development experience more enduring? What realistic view can be taken of its replicability elsewhere in India or further afield in the South? These are among the most important questions explored in this timely reassessment.
Govindan Parayil teaches at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
1. Introduction: Is There a 'Kerala Model' of Development? - Govindan Parayil 2. Is the Kerala Model Sustainable? Lessons from the Past, Prospects for the Future - Richard W. Franke and Barbara H. Chasin 3. Poverty Alleviation as Advancing Basic Human Capabilities: Kerala's Achievements Compared - K. P. Kannan 4. Social Capital and the Developmental State: Industrial Workers of Kerala - Patrick Heller 5. Of New Popular Politics of Development: The Kerala Experience - Olle Toernquist 6. Kerala's Development Achievements and Their Replicability - V.K. Ramachandran 7. Normal Kerala within Abnormal India: Reflections on Gender and Sustainability - William M. Alexander 8. What Does the Kerala 'Model' Signify? Towards a Possible 'Fourth World'? - M.P. Parameswaran 9. Knowledge, Democratization, and Sustainability: The 'Kerala Model' of Scientific Capacity Building - Wesley Shrum and Sundara R. R. Iyer 10. The Kerala Model: Its Central Tendency and the 'Outlier' - John Kurien 11. Sustainability and the 'New' Kerala Model - Rene Veron 12. The Kerala Model: Some Comparisons with the Sri Lankan Experience - Rex Casinader