India’s farmers taking to the streets of New Delhi remind us that globalization is a double-edged sword – good for many but bad for so many others.

Tens of thousands have camped out in the capital city since September, when Parliament passed three agriculture laws.

The protesters insist the acts hurt them by eliminating subsidies they need to survive and letting corporations take control of agriculture. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, however, claims the laws essential to both modernize and privatize his county’s immense agricultural sector, which employs about 560 million.

At the heart of both arguments, in a word: globalization.

Until Jan. 26, India’s Republic Day – much like America’s Fourth of July – the small farmers were calm, waving the national flag, driving their tractors, and giving impassioned speeches.

But the holiday marked a change in their tactics. The farmers climbed famed Red Fort, Delhi’s most politically significant monument – the backdrop for India declaration of independence from Britain.

Defiantly, they planted a Sikh flag not far from the national flag flying on top of the fort. The authorities sprang into action.

The scene turned violent – and deadly. One farmer died and hundreds were injured, including 300 police officers. Another 200 farmers were detained.

From just watching the news, outsiders probably think both the farmers and Modi are making legitimate cases. The farmers need the subsidies and won’t want Big Business bigfooting them. And Modi wants to bring agriculture into the 21st century.

Oh, wouldn’t it be easier if things were black and white – Modi the villain, farmers the heroes?

But no, there is only the illogical violence of a mob, the negative effects of intentions to increase national prosperity, and the sad fact that not everyone pays the same price or sees the same gains for globalization.

Poverty in India is pernicious, according to our best metric, the United Nations Human Development Index (HDI), which factors in not a person’s income but education and life expectancy.

With 1.325 billion citizens, India is the second biggest player in global prosperity statistics – behind only China.

Here’s why that’s sobering: A massive population and pervasive poverty positions India to improve global equality yet make its society less equal.

As academia’s most renowned economist on income distribution and inequality, Branko Milanovic explains: “A more unequal but richer India makes the world more equal.”

So, what is the right path? Modi’s mad dash to globalization? Or farmers’ refusal to abandon their centuries-old lifestyle?

Neither. Modi and the farmers need to find common ground. The government must help them develop new skills and preserve aspects of their culture. And the protesters must be open to pushing ahead, letting go of a few old ways to enter the new world of global competition.