Thursday, April 3, 2014
Economy of Permanence
_Economy of Permanence_ by J C Kumarappa
Varanasi: Sarva-Seva-Sangh-Prakashan, 1997
(19-24) Parasitic Economy: Leading type - a robber who murders a child for its ornaments.
1. Selfishness motivated by greed.
2. Intention: benefiting himself regardless of any injury his actions may cause to others.
3. Harming, if not destroying, the source of benefit.
4. Emphasis wholly on one's own rights.
5. Absence of recognition of one's duties.
6. Absence of altruistic values.
7. Productive of violence.
Chief Test: Destruction of source of benefit.
Predatory Economy: Leading type - a pickpocket who robs his victim without making him aware of his loss.
1. Selfishness motivated by desires.
2. Intent on his own benefit and attempts to attain it, if possible without much harm to his victim.
3. Emphasis wholly on rights.
4. Little or no recognition of one's duties.
5. Absence of altruistic values.
6. Productive of violence.
Chief Test: Benefit without contribution.
Economy of Enterprise: Leading type - an agriculturist ploughs the land, manures and irrigates it, sows selected seeds, watches over the crop and then reaps and enjoys his harvest.
1. Motivated by enlightened self-interest and ambition.
2. His sense of self -respect demands his contributing his personal labour, thought and effort, taking only the benefit so occasioned.
3. Venturesomeness and a willingness to take risks.
4. A desire to benefit co-workers, and others too, if possible.
5. An attempt at a balance of rights of all.
6. An increasing recognition of duties to others.
7. Based on sense of justice and fairplay.
8. May occasion violence.
Chief Test: Benefit and contribution correlated, with a readiness to take risk.
Economy of Gregation: Leading type - a member of joint family working for the good of the family as a whole. A village punchayat or a Co-operative Sciety working for the group it represents.
1. Motivated not by individual self-interest but by the common interests of the group.
2. Submission to the will of group leading perhaps to even self-abnegation and sacrifice of personal interests.
3. Emphasis on the duties to the group.
4. One's contribution being regarded more important than one's share of benefit.
5. Based on altruisitic values.
6. May lead to violence to those outside the group.
Chief Test: Benefit to the group rather than to individual member.
Economy of Service: Leading type - a relief worker.
1. Motivated by the good of others even if the work be seemingly detrimental to self-interest.
2. Pressing forward to perform one's duties unconscious of one's rights.
3. Based on love and deep desire to serve without reward.
4. Brings non-violence and peace and makes for permanence.
Chief Test: Contribution without regard to any benefit received by the worker.
NB: Service as its own reward, you buy happiness by giving away money
(49) We are often led away by low money prices ignoring the great gashes in our economic and social organization made by such short sighted choice of ours. The goods produced by our own neighbours have values which are not represented in the money price. The money value is most often the least important of all considerations, although frequently, it is the sole factor that affects our decision.
(64) House of Social Innovations: This House belongs to the Economy of Gregation. Hence the deciding criterion at every stage will be "what is good for society in general?" And not any consideration of personal benefit to any individual or to any special persons. It is needless to point out that money values will have hardly any place here. Long range consideration will prevail over short range policies.
(65) Proper planning of life is imperative. To be successful the objective of the plan recommended must be universal and be in complete alignment with the eternal order of things. It should not be a convenient attempt (such as the one we voiced in the last House) to foist standardized methods of life on others, with the purpose of disposing of the products of centralized factories, nor should it be such as to kill individual expressions of personality.
(66) The normal working of this body and mind cannot be altered or designed afresh by ignorant man. Hence, it will be futile for any mortal individual to attempt to change the course of life as he wishes it. All that can be done is to co-operate with nature and arrange to maintain the environment in such a form as wiell guarantee its working at its best. This stage or norm is set by nature and man's part is to study and understand nature's requirements and pay heed to it. If there be any departure from nature's norm, it will lead to social maladjustments.
(67) A planner should rather [be] like a gardener. He first prepares the soil, sows the seed and waters it and having done his part he stands aside. The plant of its own nature, drawing the nutriment supplied by the conditioned soil, grows and brings forth flowers.
(68) The condition and environment for the full growth of the faculties of man that have to be ensured are the primary end of planning. Every individual has to have enough wholesome and balanced food, sufficient clothing to protect the body from changes in weather, adequate housing accommodation, full opportunities for training the mind and body for life, clean surroundings to safeguard health and ample facilities for human intercourse, economic production and exchange. Such then are the planners' objectives. Beyond these all other accomplishments should be left to the initiative of the people themselves.
(69) The planned life is only to ensure that each person gets his minimum human needs at least. Over and above that, every individual must have as much scope as possible for the individual sense of values to makes its presence felt.
(70) The House of Sublimation: In the Economy Service, to which section the House of Sublimation belongs, personal rights fade away yielding place to duties that assume the regulation of life. Freewill is used to control the animal side of man and his selfish bodily inclinations directing his activities rationally into certain well chosen channels. The scale of values is designed to measure the welfare of others rather than ones own pleasure. Hence the perspective is a long range one, as the immediate personal gain is not the desired end.
(71) The ones in this House [of Sublimation in the Economy of Service], therefore are volunteer guinea pigs and scientific experts rolled into one.
NB: As we all are. Fuller's Guinea Pig ¿¿¿¿¿¿If we feel in our own selves the needs of others, and if we are endowed with creative faculties, we should be able to devise ways and means of solving those difficulties. One belonging to this House [of Sublimation] will suffer or live vicariously in the lives of others. H=e will be more sensitive of the feeling of others and their surroundings than to his own. He will weep with those who do weep and rejoice with those who do rejoice. His scale of values will be altruistic. He will not be conscious of his own rights. He will sublimate his fatherhood into protecting and supporting those who are helpless, friendless, accepting the whole family as his own.
(83) The trend in modern life is to follow fashions by increasing the complexity competitively while lowering the human standard in so doing.
(104) Life when it is allowed to run its natural course is resourceful enough to provide for itself all it needs without any further conscious effort on our part.
(105) To give out one more example of faithful work well done, there is a steel pillar near the Kutub Mimar at Delhi bearing an ancient inscription. This pillar has stood in the open exposed to sun and rain, heat and cold for centuries on end, yet, there not a speck of rust on it.
(114) Any plan to answer our purpose and to lead to the achievement of the Economy of Permanence will have to be centred on the function of work, and be founded on the capacity and the nature of the human being for whom the work is intended.
(115) Unfortunately, most of the plans that are brought out at present are product-centred with a certain amount of attention paid to wages. As in Germany and Russia, such plans will no doubt produce quick results, but they will not be lasting and in time will generate violence, as they do not follow the way of Permanence
(120) In the gregarious stage, as we have seen, there can be two kinds, the pack-type which represents the right-centred economy and the herd-type which represents the duty-centred economy.
As man evolves, his consciousness of duties enlarges and he becomes more and more aware, not of the benefits he gets by being a member of society, but of the duties he is to perform towards the well-being of that society. In the final stage he reaches the service economy in which he realizes himself in the service of others.
In this part of the book we shall consider not the gregation of the pack-type but man working together for the common good of mankind.
(121-122) In this second part we shall see how man should act as a group in production as well as distribution. Here there are three forms in which man may be said to work as a group. (1) In production he works individually, though in certain processes he may have to combine with others similarly paced. This part of man's work along with his neighbours, considers not only his interest, but also theirs and in the long run his larger interests. (2) Then man works jointly, in a group of similar interests, this we call co-operative effort, which is the second type of work in gregation. (3) Then comes the third type where the short range work having been assigned to individuals and co-operative bodies, the purely long range work is taken up by a body of selfless individuals who perform their duties purely with a view to benefit society at large.. Such a group we call the State. At the present time it is difficult to point out anywhere in the world where the State is composed of the type of individuals who would be qualified to undertake this responsibility. The present forms of States are largely failing in their duty towards the common man.
(127) The well-being of a nation does not consist merely in the output of material production. This production is important only in so far as it enables the people to meet their wants. In the first instance, therefore, we must proceed to organize the people to produce goods to satisfy their own needs, in regard to food materials to afford them an adequate diet, clothing to protect them against the weather and proper shelter; then we should arrange for their physical, mental and moral welfare by making available medical aid, education and other social amenities. Before these elementary needs are fully met, it would be folly to aim at producing goods for the export market.
(128) Apart from the mere satisfaction of the physical needs of the people we should aim at inculcating the spirit of self-help, mutual aid, and a consciousness of social solidarity. When we achieve this and we shall have travelled a long way on the road to Swaraj through self-sufficiency.
(136) Superficially a rupee appears to be a rupee, but in practice it is not so. A rupee in the hands of a poor man may mean 4 or 5 days' food provisions, whereas in the hands of a millionaire it may represent the value of a cigar. Thus, when a rupee passes from the hands of a poor man into the hands of a millionaire it loses its value considerably; conversely, money when it goes from the rich to the poor enhances in value. Hence we have got to see that in our economy we prevent money going into the hands where it will lose its value and this is what the multi-purpose co-operative society should attempt to do.
(138) Banks as a rule are holders of money. How they use their advantageous position will determine the part they play in commerce and industry. Where a bank uses its power for strengthening its own position as an institution, and if the position of its customers deteriorates as a consequence, such a bank cannot be said to fulfil its purpose in the economic organization. This is as regards money as a medium of exchange.
(138-139) Money as Storage of Purchasing Power:
Again, as regards its comparative imperishability, the right use of this quality in money is to afford storage of purchasing power to the people…. multi-purpose co-operative societies can help [in reducing credit fluctuations in agricultural communities] by restricting the spread of money economy, thus limiting the chances of fluctuation and speculation and by rendering reasonable banking services based not he security of commodities as will prevent the farmer having to dispose of his whole stock at a time….
… Co-operation implies the elimination of competition and working in a kind of partnership resulting in advantages to all. Its basic requirement is an identity of interest of parties to the enterprise. There can be no exploitation in co-operation.
NB: My experiences in co-operative and other collective or communal ventures is that some people engage in self-exploitation especially within these situations.
…. Their [co-operatives] legitimate sphere would be to bring local village spinners and weavers into a living touch with one another. They have to bring about co-operation all along the line- raw material produced with artisan and then with the consumer. The co-operative societies should be the link binding all parties together - like a silver wire that holds the pearls together.
(153) India was originally a republic of villages, and each village was a self-governing unit. It has developed certain ideas of state based on the types of personalities commonly found in society.
(154) We cannot have dictatorship in economics and at the same time, democracy in politics. Such claims to democracy are merely smoke-screens. Democracy in economics must be based on decentralized production in villages on individual basis.
Of course, irrigation, roads and such large projects will have to be undertaken and for that purpose you must select from society people who have a long range view. Therefore all ministers and all government officials should be persons with long range view. If they talk in terms of money, 'will it pay'?, then they are not people of the right sort to hold the present responsible posts. In the long view 'will it pay?' will not be the criterion. 'Does it answer the purpose of the people' is the question that should be asked. Government is not a commercial institution; it is not an institution for making money or producing bureaucrats. Government is there to serve the people. If it serves the needs of the people it does not matter what such service costs. It has got to be rendered. That is the fundamental principle that we have got to remember. Here is the big difference between private economy and public finance in this that public finance takes a long range view. While planning for democracy, every citizen is to be made conscious of the part he has to play in the whole scheme.
(156) If you have built these mud huts for the villagers at a cost of Rs. 250/- each you must build huts for yourself at a cost of Rs. 125/-, if you want to serve the villagers. If you do that they will come and listen to you as they would realise you have no 'self' in you. That is the secret of it. Ours is not a barbarian country. We have got a culture of values not based on money. We have got our 'Brahmanical standards.'
(157) First of all, in a poverty stricken land, every one must have food and clothing. That is why we should approach the problem from an agricultural point of view. It is not a question of harnessing the patriotism of the people. It is a question of harnessing every man. Ultimately we have to solve the problem of food and clothing to every one....
We want to build a world power. If so we must start with this cultural value, and we must plan the villages upwards. That is the only way of solving not only our own problems but those of the whole world.
(158) Government Opposition: Democratic government based on representatives requires an opposition to direct its working. The water in a river is kept to its course by the banks. If the banks are of rock it is best. If not the banks get eroded and the river silts and shifts its course. Hence there can be no competition between the banks and the water for the bed of the river.
Similarly the director and the directed cannot be competitors. There should be co-operation and not competition.
As the waters of a river are kept in their course best by its rocky banks, so also the Government of a country has to be directed by forces which lie outside the official sector of the Government.
(158-159) The composition of the cabinet itself reflects the structure of imperialism in the economic field. Centralised industries need to gather the raw materials from the four corners of the world and send back their finished products to markets in the uttermost parts of the glove. This necessitates wide-spread use of money and transport and control of political power. To achieve this Foreign Affairs, Finance and Army, Navy and Air Force become essentials. Hence these have secured coveted status in the British Cabinet.
(163) It may be said that such industries, as are run by government, are very often wasteful. We must condone a certain amount of waste. Concentration of wealth is much more wasteful. All these wars are the result of concentration of wealth and power consequent on centralisation of industries. Look at the huge amount of wealth that has been wasted during the last few years.
(176) Of late there has been a good deal of discussion as to the line which true education should take. Gandhiji suggests education should be made self-supporting. He writes "By education I mean an all-round drawing out of the best in child and man - body, mind and spirit. Literacy is not the end of education nor even the beginning. It is only one of the means whereby man and woman can be educated. Literacy in itself is not education. I would therefore, begin with the child's education by teaching it a useful handicraft enabling it to produce from the moment it begins its training. Thus every school can be made self-supporting, the condition being that the State takes over the manufactures of these schools…."
(186) The following details of group cleanliness are indicated:
(a) Suitable and cheap drains, even if only open ones, and their periodical cleaning and disinfecting with indigenous materials.
(b) Use of drainage water for kitchen gardens and fruit trees and flushing latrines.
(c) Collection of all rubbish and its conversion into manure.
(d) Keeping village wells, paths, tanks and open places clean and uncontaminated.
(e) The making and maintaining of small gardens for the village public, children's playground and clean little open spaces.
Health: 1. Village dietetics… Villages must be taught the nutritive values of different articles of food which are or can be produced in the villages. Every family should understand the meaning of a balanced diet and how to get it under village conditions...
2. Drinking water...
3. Preventive measures - Preventive measures against disease should be emphasized more than curative measures…
4. Ordinary ailments and cheap remedies - ...Natural methods and cheap remedies with suitable village herbs and drugs should be emphasized…
5. Recreations and exercises
Village Organization… 1. The village panchayat - There will have to be a village panchayat for each village or a group of villages…
2. Multi-purpose Co-operative Societies - Just as the panchayat is the instrument of political and administrative organization, the Multi-purpose Co-operative Society is the instrument for the economic organization of the village. The Multi-purpose Co-operative Society will deal with the following items:
1. The obtaining and storage of the food produce of the village.
2. The processing of food articles.
3. The balanced distribution of local products and of such imports as are necessary.
4. The stocking and supply of the instruments for agricultural operations, village industries, etc.
5. The stocking and supply of raw materials like cotton, wood, metal, etc., for local industries.
6. The marketing of finished products.
7. Arranging for the change of surplus village produce for necessary materials and goods from outside.
8. The organization of important village industries as inter-related co=operative units, so that, as far as possible profits and benefits are equitably shared by the village community as a whole… The object is that there should be no unemployment or under-employment.
9. Up-to-date technicians and those with artistic training should be made available to village artisans to help and improve their work…
10. … one fully trained trained Co-operative Inspector for each area….
3. Gram Seva Sanghas - The question may be raised where is the place for a Gram Seva Sangha, where a panchayat and a Multi-pirpose Co-operative Society are together organizing village life. It should not be forgotten that the village panchayat and the Multi-purpose Co-operative Society will be run only by a few elected people whereas all the adults who have elected them will have only a waiting and watching program me unless they are also harnessed to constructive work under the various headings of village reconstruction. The Gram Seva Sanghas will be non-official voluntary bodies which would organize all such work as will help the panchayat and the Multi-purpose Co-operative Society to fulfill their task. Rural development officers and village development officers and others should help in organizing, strengthening and utilizing the Gram Seva Sanghas which should be autonomous bodies with their own constitution, rules and funds. Government may give grants to these Gram Seva Sanghas, but without fettering their autonomy. The Gram Seva Sanghas will organize bodies of voluntary meetings and festival, for the protection of life and property in the village and for various services on such occasions as the prevalence of epidemics or floods or similar emergencies. Inf act for every full-time paid Worker under Government, Panchayat or Multi-purpose Society there will have to be humorous nonofficial voluntary servants of the village from the village trained for such work by the Gram Seva Sanghas.
Note - We have dealt with Village Panchayats, Multi-purpose Co-operative Societies and Gram Seva Sanghas as the three instruments of village organization. But the ultimate aim of village organization is village self-sufficiency in food and clothing and other major needs of village life as also self-reliance and self-dependence as far as possible as the foundation of village life and all this to be achieved on democratic and peaceful lines.