Societal Innovation

A Model for Implementing the “Bicycle Commute Economy” 

By Vinod Khosla, Atanu Day on

The economic development of India’s 600 million strong rural population presents formidable challenges and also great opportunities. A model called RISC – Rural Infrastructural & Services Commons – is presented that has the potential for achieving the multi-faceted goals of sustainable economic development through more efficient utilization of available resources by focusing them into a minimum viable economic size. Five thousand such rural centers, built around existing infrastructure like railway stations, “haats” (informal weekly markets currently in operation in rural India), or Tier III/IV towns could place most of the rural population within a bicycle commute of ACCESS to many modern resources (like power, communications and education). The model calls for concentrating existing and ongoing investments into critical mass population chunks rather than spreading them out into individual villages in uneconomic sizes and at exorbitant cost. Then it allows the “invisible hand” of markets, not planned activities or industries, to drive growth, and direct resource usage on an economic basis…

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