Indigenous knowledge (creation of human well-being with a modicum of Earth resources) in India was augmented in the twentieth century with new technologies. The new technologies have raised Indian well-being, but these
improvements has been insufficient to motivate Indians to choose families small enough to achieve human sustainability.
Fortunately, within India a stable population (29 million) currently meets the criteria for human sustainability -- modest per
capita taking of Earth resources combined with small families. The one significant difference in the indigenous knowledge
of Kerala contrasted to India is central to the human experience, family structure. We may identify weak patriarchy versus
strong patriarchy. The fact that the rapid increases in the well-being measures of Kerala have occurred in the last half of the
twentieth century suggests a strong synergy of the new technologies (especially public education and western medicine) with
the weak patriarchy in the Kerala part of India. Within the low Indian incomes and low per capita consumption of Earth
resources, the high well-being measures of Kerala have been sufficient to cause a rapid decline in total fertility rates to a
sustainable level, lower than in North America. The low consumption of Earth resources in Kerala can be viewed as a
benchmark for sustainability -- efficient human consumption. This efficiency benchmark is found in the weak patriarchy of
Kerala within the strong patriarchy India -- a contrast of indigenous knowledge.
Alexander, W.M. Gender Matters: Place Located Indigenous Knowledge: Finding the Value of Per Capita Earth Resource Consumption Necessary for Human Sustainability. In: Microbehavior and Macroresults:Proceedings of the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute ofFisheries Economics and Trade, July 10-14, 2000, Corvallis, Oregon, USA.Compiled by Richard S. Johnston and Ann L. Shriver. InternationalInstitute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET), Corvallis, 2001.