ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Local Wishes vs Social Costs

The classical theory of modernisation recognises only one path to modernity and the tendential disappearance of diversities during the last stage of the process. The development of Karur as an industrial district demonstrates how the spontaneous reproposal of processes that are well known in the European sphere, but which reflect systemic traditions strongly connected with a production system that is 'anchored' to quite definite localisms, highlights the existence of multiple modernities. One effect of this process is a general 'diffusion of possibilities' in the local social tissue for those who are able and know how to exploit them. The small units also manage to provide concrete answers to the problem of unemployment among the most disadvantaged social classes. Manifestations of the 'high road', that is the competition between the units based on the constant attempt to bring improvements to the products is evident; but so is thelow road' with high social costs: Precarious working conditions, exploitation of the workers, low cost labour, few innovations, relatively low quality of the products, environmental pollution.

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