_Essays in Gandhian Economics_ editors Romesh Diwan and Mark Lutz
New Delhi: Gandhi Peace Foundation, 1985
(xii) Whenever the economic man was found to be inconsistent in his behaviour or to give preference to non-economic considerations or seemed to violate every economic law, this was all explained by the non-operation of the phrase "other things remaining the same". The difference between Gandhi and all other theorists is that he begins with the ceteris paribus. [JD Sethi]
(xx) If the economic man and the economic society are so defined as to make them alwasy feel poor, no matter how rich they are, the core of this contrdiction lies int he theory of consumption and demand and not in the theory of production. Even Alfred Marshall, the master creator of the theory was obliged to draw attention to the artificially generated wants. He wrote: "Although it is man's wants int he easliest stages of his development that fgive rise ot his activities, yet afterwards each new step is to be regarded as the development of activities giving rise to new wants, rather than of new wants givving rise to new activities." In other words, "the purpose of economic organisation is not merely to satisfy wants but to create wants". [JD Sethi]
(32) Underlying every page of his book [Unto This Last] is the basic premise that socially meaningful individual action cannot be deduced from utilitarian principles and "balances of expediency" but by _balances of justice_, "meaning in the term justice, to include affection - such affection as one man _owes_ to another".
We may conclude that it was Ruskin's prime contribution to make a strong case for including "social affections" (which Gandhi rephrased as "heart strength") into a more holistic principle of economics.
(38-39) Axioms of Gandhi's Philosophy
Axiom A: _Truth (Satya) exists in and beyond man in an absolute, eternal and living essence._ Nothing else exists besides it. Truth, not man, is the measure of all things.
Axiom B: _The purpose of all life and evolution is to realize Truth._ For mankind this translates into the biological need for self-realization, to know one's self.
Axiom C: _While truth is the end, ahimsa, i.e., self-givign love, is the means._ Truth and Love are ultimately two sides of the same coin. One implies the other. Pure, self-realizing love knows no distinction between ends and means. From this follows the all-important principle that we cannot realize truth without giving up the means/ends dichotomy. To Gandhi, "realizaton of the goal is in exact proportion to that of the means". This he considered "a proposition that admits no exception". It follows that since "means to be means must always be within our reach... ahimsa is our supreme duty. If we take care of the means, we are bound to reach the end sooner or later".
Axiom D: _Human Truth is always relative._ Although we have the innate need to perfect ourselves, no man _is_ perfect. Truth as we can apprehend it is always personal, subjective, and, to that extent, relative to our individual context of culture and history. The individualized and contextual nature of human truth precludes any rigid and precise principles of social policy and social institutions. What is "true" in one context may not be so in another. All we can do is to serve the ultimate Truth by being truthful, open-minded, and tolerant. Whatever is perceived to promote life and serve the vital needs of all men, particularly the poorest of the poor, _is_ true.
(39-41) Foundational Premises of Gandhi's Socio-Economic Thought
Premise A: _Economics, ethics, politics, and religion constitute an indivisible whole._ As such, Gandhi had no kind words about conventional economics:
True economics never militates against the highest ethical standard, just as all true ethics to be worth its name must at the same time be also good economics. An economics that inculcates Mammon worship, and enables the strong to amass wealth at the expense of the weak, is a false and dismal science. It spells death.
Premise B: _Economics is the science of human welfare. Its goal ought to be sarvodaya, the welfare of all._ "True economics stands for social justice, it promotes the good of all equally including the weakest, and is indispensable for decent life".
Implicit in the doctrine of sarvodaya is the basic presumption of equal dignity of and respect for hte life and welfare of every individual. Translated into the sphere of economic policy, it entails top priority for meeting the most basic material needs (water, food, shelter) of everybody before we allocate resources for goods of a lesser importance. Similarly, the individual preference for a dollar's worth of pet food cannot be put on the same scale as a dollar's worth of a peasant's brown rice.
In summary, "the welfare of all" entails satisfaction of the basic material, social, and spiritual needs of the poorest of the poor. it recognizes that everybody has a right to live. Sarvodaya is in contrast to the doctrine of the greatest good for the greatest number which Gandhi considered "a heartless doctrine" which has done much harm to humanity.
Premise C: _The supreme consideration has to be Man._ Economic theory that ignores the "human element" of owed social affection is meaningless.
Premise D: _human welfare economics focusing on what Gandhi called the "human element" implies the crucial importance of a decentralized social economy._ The ideal is a _community economy_ allowing for a living interaction, mutual access, and voluntary cooperation of all its members. It is only in such a setting "bound together in bonds of mutual cooperation and interdependence" that man can respond to his fellowmen and in the process realize social cohesion tantamount to the "universal" glue of Truth.
Premise E: _Economics has to respect the law of Swadeshi._ As we saw earlier, Swadeshi was to Gandhi one of the most basic organizational principles consistent with our need to express ahimsa. He applied it directly to economics: "I should use only things that are produced by my immediate neighbours and serve those industries by making them efficient and complete where they might be found wanting"....
Premise F: _At the very core of Gandhian economics is the concept of rationality._ Rather than mere cognitive calculations of means (i.e., the manipulating of Ruskin's balance of expediency), Gandhi broadens the concept to involve harmonious action of body, mind, _and soul_. Rational action is guided by the inner faculty of _conscience_ which he also calls inner voice. Gandhi's conscience is rational to the extent that it is critical. In other words, even though an action is pursued regardless of its consequences to one's self, we do have to critically examine the consequences ex post and readjust our inner values and our conscience in the process. This way, "even the mistakes committed while seeking the pure path take us a step forward in the quest".
(41-44) Principles of Gandhi's Economic Thought
Principle (i): Nonviolent Ownership - Trusteeship
Trusteeship recognizes the right to private property in the means of production as long as it is responsible to the needs of the community. It is sarvodaya extended to the firm. Absentee ownership of capital and land, investment and production violating swadeshi, excessiv salaries, and expense accounts are not consistent with trusteeship. Violaters would be pressured by public opinion and in the last resort expropriated with appropriate legislation. Trusteeship is also consistent with workers' self-management provided they act as trustees.
Principle (ii): Nonviolent Production - Appropriate Technology
The term "appropriate" is used to designate the production function that maximizes human need satisfaction. First and foremost, no technology should be used which economizes on manual labour, while there are unemployed workers in the community. This is clearly postulated by the premises of sarvodaya and swadeshi as well as conscience and trusteeship.
Appropriate technology also recognizes the capacity of machinery for violence, i.e., to exploit. Men are used to feed machines instead of viceversa. Capital-intensive technology also promotes concentration of wealth and enables "a few to ride on the backs of millions".
Finally, the most appropriate technology does no harm to body, mind, or soul. Machinery, according to Gandhi, should not be turned into a craze. Mass production, yes, but in people's own homes.
Principle (iii): Nonviolent Consumption - Non-Possession
Non-possession follows strictly from ahimsa. "The less you possess, the less you want, the better you are. And better for what? Not for enjoyment of life, but for enjoyment of personal service to fellow beings; service which you dedicate yourself, body, soul and mind".
Everybody is entitled to the basic necessities but the golden rule "to refuse to have what millions cannot" will prohibit the "infinite multiplicity of human wants" observed in modern western civilization. The insatiable material ambition is evidence of an economic system characterized by violence (himsa) fueled by lack of trust and basic anxiety.
Principle (iv): Nonviolent Work - Bread Labour
Throughout Gandhi's writing runs the thread of the importance of work in men's personal growth. The doctrine of bread labour was inspired by Ruskin, Tolstoy, and the _Gita_.
"I cannot imagine anything nobler or more rational than that, for, say one hour in the day, we should do all the labour that the poor must do and thus identify ourselves with them and, through them, with all mankind."
As a corollary, mental and manual labour should not be divided up by classes but in everybody's lives.
Gandhi was convinced that just one hour of daily manual work would induce poets, doctors, and lawyers to moderate the fees they charge for their talents and that the social proliferation of wants would be minimized.
At the same time, he stressed that bread labour could never be forced on anybody, otherwise it would breed poverty, disease, and discontent.
Principle (v): Nonviolent Allocation - Cooperation
Gandhi was no believer in competition, He saw in it a lash of a material and sensuous stimulus that degrades the population. Competition is predicated on fear and insecurity, both of which breed greed and violence (himsa).
Cooperation, on the other hand, appeals to the )human_ element, our need to serve others.
Yet, he felt it important to stress that true (nonviolent) cooperation could only take place after provision of the most essential material needs. This is true both of the individual (bread labour) as well as of the village (swadeshi). Only such a _voluntary_ cooperation "will produce real freedom and a new order, vastly superior to the new order in Soviet Russia".
The problem of scarcity would be largely dealt with by the institutional features of bread labour and localized eocnomy both acting to internally reduce wants as well as by the principles of non-possession and equality.
Principle (vi): Nonviolent Distribution - Equality
Equality meant to Gandhi primarily two things: First, everybody has a basic right to live, I.e., to meet the basic vital needs and live a dignified life integrated in community with one's fellows. As means to such a goal he strongly denounced charity, "the flinging of free meals" at people unable to find work, but advocated guaranteed employment for everybody who wants to work. Secondly, equality as absence of exploitation. He endorsed non-exploitative capital-labour relations as well as non-exploitation of manual by intellectual labour and _above all_ non-exploitation of the countryside by the city.
Principle (vii): Nonviolence in Reforming Economic Systems
Gandhi was no friend of capitalism. On the contrary, he dedicated much of his life to its destruction. But the destruction of an ideology could not be done with violence. The capitalist had to be redeemed and converted to trusteeship. The doctrine to be followed was that of peaceful communitarian socialism rather than the Marxian path of class war and violent revolution. At the same time, it would be false to classify Gandhi as a utopian socialist. He explicitly rejected such attempts at social engineering since they tended to disregard the dynamic quality of human nature.
(44) More importantly, the Gandhian economic construction resting on this alternative set of axioms may very well be the _only possible_ economics that accepts love, or social affection, as a living _relation_, rather than a bounded object which can be squeezed into a utilitarian equation. Ruskin deserves credit for having raised the issue early, a radical and paradigmatic challenge that we can no longer afford to ignore. When Sir D. Robertson surprised his audience at Columbia University when answering his topical question, "what do economists economize?" with "_love_", he may have understated the problem.
(55) A distinction has to be made among three different states. One is the desired or the ideal state. This state is as yet unachieved. Critics doubt if it is ever achievable. Gandhian thought persists in the possibility of achieving this state, otherwise striving towards it is meaningless. For the individual, the ideal state is the achievement of moksha. For the society, it is swaraj for everyone. This is a state in which everyone is ruled by one's ownself and by no one else. It involves absolute freedom of all kinds. The ruling principle in this society is satya - the Truth. The second state is the transition to the ideal state. Gandhi is very clear about the transition path. Conditions laid for this path are rather stringent. That is why his emphasis on the purity of means become persistent. The ruling principles of the transition are ahimsa and satyagraha. The third is the state of the present order. This determines what is possible and what is not possible. This is what provides historicity to the Gandhian method.
(56) In our view, there are six basic concepts that are essential in Gandhian economics. These are all related to each other. There is no hierarchy among them. In other words, these all have equal importance. The order in which these are present is irrelevant. We feel that these six concepts come in pairs of two. They are: (i) swadeshi, (ii) bread labour, (iii) aparigraha or non-possession, (iv) trusteeship, (v) non-exploitaton, and (vi) equality.
Swadeshi may be translated as self-reliance. It follows from the concept of swaraj. There are various interpretations of swadeshi. Some interpret it narrowly as "autarky" or "self-sufficiency"....
Bread labour provides the ethical dimension to swadeshi at the level of personal action. One cannot be self-reliant if one cannot produce the necessities of living by one's own labour....
Non-possession follows from truth and nonviolence. It involves that a person should not possess _anything_ that one does not need.
(57) We feel that non-possession is not compatible with capitalism....
By trusteeship is meant that all those people who possess things as well as "capabilities, abilities, or other natural gifts" must hold these possessions as trustees for all others. In other words, they should not derive the benefits from these possessions for themselves. On the contrary, the possession brings immediately an obligation. Possession is a burden.
In view of the inequalities and the prevalence of alienation, the very concept of market may be exploitative...
Looking at the other concepts we feel that equality in the Gandhian system involves "all possible achievable quality". It is something more than equality of opportunity. It does accept difference in natural gifts. But this is a part of diversity and not a question of equality.
(59) The fact that consumption is limited does not imply the conclusion that the utilities are also limited. On the contrary, even though the level of consumption is low, the acquisition of utilities may actually be far larger. This follows from the fact that in neo-classical economics, consumption is the only source of utility. In Gandhian economics, there are two other sources.
Work in Gandhian society is, by and large, a source of utility. In neo-classical economics, it is full of disutility. This difference arises from the nature of work. Work in Gandhian economics is "self-defined" work, while in industrialized societies it is "stranger-defined" work.
Secondly the quantity and quality of leisure in Gandhian economics is also far higher. In neo-classical economics, leisure is treated as a source of utilities via consumption of non-basic goods. As Lindler has argued, the leisure in the American society is so little that it has led to the dissipation of the culture and the "very pleasure of life". In Gandhian economics, not only is there more leisure, but the leisure is also not wasted in the process of consumption and its maintenance. Instead, this leisure is available for genuine satisfaction.
(61) In the Gandhian system the production modes cannot be exploitative by their very nature. The technological change must satisfy the following three major conditions:
1. Technology must increase the productivity of the worker.
2. Technology must not replace the worker.
3. The worker must have complete control of the technology.
[Romesh Diwan, Sushila Gidwani]
(69) Apart form economic feasibility, Gandhi's rationale rested on a moral and metaphysical notion of human labour. To him, labour is not just a commodity for sale in the market in exchange for wages to compensate for the disutility of labour. He was reluctant to measure the opportunity cost of work in terms of sacrifice of leisure. In his system, labour had a dignity and a moral substance which was not for sale. This notion he derived largely from the Bhagavadgita. He was especially influenced by the following passage:
Work is more excellent than leisure;
The body's life proceeds not lacking work
...If one eats
The fruits of toil, that thief steals from his world,
He that abstains
To help the rolling wheels of this great world,
Glutting his idle sense,
Lives a lost life, shameful and vain.
(90) If inequalities are minimized, what seems voluntary poverty today will become normal consumption.
(90-91) The concept of "non-possession" implies a very different utility function and a different criterion for seeking an equilibrium value. The basic assumptions are as follows: (i) Welfare depends not only on consumption and the economist's utility concept but also on service to others and the welfare of others; (ii) utility space is limited; (iii) the objective is not maximization of utility but obtaining a certain level of welfare - the underlying philosophy is contentment or "enough instead of greed"; (iv) the prices are determined by an income distribution where inequalities are at a minimum or zero; and (v) there is no need for the existence of a market. However, such consumer behaviour is not incompatible with a limited market.
(93-94) [Swadeshi Propositions] The consumer will cooperate with the producer neighbour _in the process of improving the efficiency of production_. This translates into the idea that the utility function contains not only the commodities produced in the neighbourhood but also a variable reflecting cooperation with the producer. In this sense consumer and producer do not generate antagonistic relationships, such as in the dictum that the consumer is sovereign and the producer the willing slave. On the contrary, the consumer and producer are jointly involved in a cooperative effort.
(96) Gandhi: Economic equality must never be supposed to mean possession of an equal amount of worldly goods by everyone. It does mean, however that everyone will have a proper house to live in, sufficient and balanced food to eat, and sufficient khadi with which to cover himself. It also means that the cruel inequality that obtains today will be removed by purely non-violent means...
(100) Trusteeship is based on the idea that "what belongs to me is the right to an honourable livelihood, no better than enjoyed by millions of others. The rest of my wealth belongs to the community and must be used for the welfare of the community." [Romesh Diwan]
(109) In the last analysis, the fundamental problem of global destruction lies in the production of destructive nuclear weapons. A major part of neo-classical economics deals with issues of production: what, why, and how are "goods" produced? ONe wonders if nuclear weapons are "goods". However, neither economic texts, not economies of repute, have made any effort to explain the production of nuclear weapons. On the contrary, economists have shied away from questions about nuclear weapons. Simply because the economists have not raised these questions does not mean that these questions are not important. These questions need to be raised. The question is: why are destructive weapons and things like that produced? What motivates people to produce these things? Who gains and who loses in the production of such destructive things?
(113) It is proposed that the total production in a society be divided into three categories: (i) Production that creates "values-in-use"; these are the "goods". These are the material goods and services that help the advancement of human beings This production is best produced by the voluntary and cooperative systems. (ii) Production that generate "values-in-exchange". This is a set that contains both "goods' and "bads". The nature of htis production is defined by the market and exchange relations. (iii) Production that promotes "values-in-threat". This is a set that contains nothing else but "bads". It has the effect of harming people. Weapons are clear examples. There are a number of other goods that fall within this category. This set is encouraged by large and centralized systems of authority and production.
(114) Work involves two principles: (i) exertion of strength and (ii) accomplishment of something. To answer the question, what is work, one has to answer the two related questions: (a) exertion of whose strength?, and (b) accomplishment of whose definition? For the general case of work, there are tow parties involved: one, the person who exerts the strength, call this person A; and two, the person who defines the task, call this person B. In the special case, A and B can be the same person. The nature of work will depend upon the nature of the relationship between A and B.
(118- 119) Gandhi: The human body is meant solely for service, never for indulgence. The secret of happy life is renunciation. Renunciation is life. Indulgence spells death... No sacrifice is worth the name unless it is joy. Sacrifice and a long face go ill together... This service is impossible without bread labour, otherwise described in Gita as Yajna. It is only when the man or woman had done bodily labour _for the sake of service_, that he or she gets any rights to life. The Gita says that anybody who eats without performing yajna, in Tolstoy's language bread labour, is a thief, 'eats sin'. _but body labour becomes yajna only when it is undertaken in a spirit of service not of indulgence...
(129) One can deduce three major _economic_ objective of the Gandhian economic system: (a) full employment; (b) economic equality; nd (c) emphasis on Swadeshi. These are strictly economic objectives. In Gandhian economic thought, economic objectives are the handmaidens of the moral and ethical objectives of the system. The goal of the Gandhian system is the welfare of total society - "Sarvodaya" - including the poorest of the society. The structure of a Gandhian economic system and the attainment of the above-mentioned economic objectives within the framework of this structure should ultimately contribute to the realization of the overall goal of the Gandhian system - the welfare of the total society.
(131-132) Self-reliance does not mean autarchy; it simply means absence of dependence. There are several elements in a policy of Swadeshi, of self-reliance: (A) The society must be capable of satisfying the basic minimum needs of its people without dependence on external sources. This also means that each society will have to define its minimum standards in terms of its economic capacity. They must be attainable within the productive limits of the society. (B) Self-reliance also means the maximum use of indigenous resources and technology. Society will make an effort to obtain needed commodities from within by utilizing unemployed resources and by the development of an appropriate skill profile of the labour force and by the growth of appropriate technology (C) Swadeshi or self-reliance does not mean absence of trade with other societies, although foreign imports have to be discouraged if, as Gandhi believed, they injure the millions of India. A self-reliant economy will buy only those goods that meet the following conditions: (i) they are essential for the growth of its people; (ii) they are not produced locally; and (iii) it is not possible to produce them locally in the near future by the development of appropriate human skills and technology.
(132) To quote Gandhi: "In this structure composed of innumerable villages, there will be ever-widening, never ascending circles. Life will not be a pyramid with the apex sustained by the bottom. But, it will be an oceanic circle whose center will be the individual, always ready to perish for the village, the latter ready to perish for the circle of villages, till at last the whole becomes one life composed of individuals, never aggressive in their arrogance, but ever humble sharing the majesty of the oceanic circle of which they are integral units."
(133) ... led Gandhi to advocate an economic organization that can be characterized as a decentralized, market-negotiated economic system...
First, Gandhi believed that economic decisions are to be taken by individuals...
Secondly, Gandhian economy postulates a system of private property. Production firms will be privately owned or will be cooperatives of workers and farmers....
Thirdly, a Gandhian economic system uses material incentives for the least-paid members of the society who also have least decision-making authority and rely heavily on moral incentives for the elite. Gandhi advocated the concept of "trusteeship".
(134) Fourthly, a Gandhian economic system postulates participatory democracy in all institutions and emphasizes that economic decisions should be group-negotiated rather than individually-managed decisions....
Fifthly, Gandhian economy visualizes village communities as primary macro units; with the primary responsibilities to attain the goals of full employment, economic equality, and self-reliance...
Sixthly, Gandhian economy emphasizes individual choices and decisions.
(135) Seventhly, a Gandhian economic system will be characterized by some income differentials that are functional in the sense that they are necessary for ensuring the growth of the individuals concerned....
Finally, Gandhian goals of full employment and providing minimum standards of consumption to all can be easily ensured by (a) fixing a minimum wage that will enable a worker to by the minimum amounts of basic necessities at socially determined product prices; and (b) giving him a right to seek a job in productive enterprise - farm or firm - in the community.
NB: Living wage?
(137) A Gandhian society will make these decisions by following Wicksell's "unanimity rule". If the elite or some other group requests a higher income to satisfy some needs, which they claim to be necessary for their moral and creative development, they will have to justify and convince the other members of the validity of their requests. If satisfaction of their unique needs has some adverse impact on other groups, e.g. the cutback in their consumption of basic needs, loss of their jobs, etc., this alternative cost will become visible and will be taken into explicit consideration in social calculus. Such an open dialogue will enable the society to search for an optimum solution. Open and full participation by all in the process of decision-making will ensure that the merging hierarchy of needs will be the one that is necessary for the fullest development of all individuals in the group.
(141) Gandhian society has several in-built mechanisms to control abuse of power by the elite. These mechanisms are:
(a) right to minimum living standard and right to a job;
(b) full participation by all in the decision-making process;
(c) complete access to all information;
(d) clear definition and careful enforcement of elite's prerogatives and responsibilities; and
(e) right to nonviolent non-cooperation and civil disobedience (satyagraha) granted to all individuals.
These mechanisms will help individuals to take themselves away from the rigidities of orthodoxy and from the fanatical furies of collective bodies...
In fact, the smallness of size and large number of firms plus the public availability of all information makes Gandhian economy more akin to the "ideal" competitive system than the ones actually prevailing in the Western world. A Gandhian economic system, therefore, is likely to more efficient in the attainment of the twin goals of such a society - full employment and economic equality. [Suresh Desai]
(146) It was a fundamental creed with him that social evil and economic exploitation go on because they are allowed to go on. Nothing was inevitable in social reality but thinking made it so.
(149) Kenneth Rivett has adequately analyzed this aspect of Gandhian thought by formulating the question"what was Gandhi against?" His answer is that the Mahatma was fundamentally not against the process of economic development, nor against machine civilization as such but against the particular brand of "capitalistic rationality" that leads to a neglect of the social and moral costs of over-urbanization and lays an exclusive stress on the personal profitability of locating the next factory nearest to the major industrial center.
(154) To Gandhi, the right choice was not to plunge into capitalist development but to develop a "communaucratic" social economy, based on decentralized rural life.
(161) "The end to be sought", he wrote, "is human happiness combined with full mental and moral growth". The Gandhian doctrine of economic growth, being a part of his general theory of growth, cannot meaningfully be formulated purely in economic terms.
(161-164) Gandhian Doctrine of Balance Growth
(a) Philosophical Balance: a balance between economic progress and moral progress. To achieve such a balance, one must shift the emphasis from maximization to optimization of production, from abundance to adequacy of the production of material goods and service.
(b) Structural Balance: a balance between the rural and urban sectors of the economy. To achieve such a balance, growth of the urban sector must not take place at the expense of the rural sector. Here one must shift the emphasis from centralization to decentralization of economic activities.
(c) Ecological Balance: a balance in the relationship between man and his environment. Long before social concern grew over the environmental crisis in the Western industrial societies, Gandhi showed his awareness of this crisis as a natural by-product of uncontrolled economic progress and autonomous development of modern, large-scale technology. He stressed the need for deliberate choice of technology and for restraints on the level of production in order to maintain a proper balance between man and his environment.
(d) Technological Balance: a balance between small-scale and large-scale technologies. Gandhi's views on technology have often been misinterpreted Gandhi was not opposed to the use of modern technology as such. He was opposed to indiscriminate, non-selective adoption of imported technology, purely based on its effect on productive capacity. In the context of the Indian economy, he saw a tremendous need for the development of small-scale technology that would increase the efficiency of rural production without creating any technological displacement of labour. At the same time, he saw the need for large-scale technology for which the ideal location would be large urban centers. The point that he strongly emphasized is that the adoption of Western technology to economize on labour and expand production at the cost of rural de-industrialization and mass unemployment was not the proper choice of technology under the prevailing economic conditions in India. He endorsed a proper mix of technology in order to optimize the social benefits of science and technology.
(e) Distributional Balance: a balance in income distribution. Given the existence of gross inequality, to achieve a greater balance would require strategies to redistribute income. In the context of a growing economy, Gandhi's doctrine may be interpreted as a doctrine of dynamic equilibrium in the pattern of income distribution so that exploitation is reduced to the minimum. In modern growth theories, the problem of income distribution is generally assumed away. Gandhi was fully aware that a high rate of growth does not necessarily guarantee an equitable distribution of income. The latter issue is tied up not so much with the rate of growth as with the pattern of growth. This is the reason why Gandhi opposed Western-style economic progress through urban-oriented large-scale industrialization. He would settle for a slower rate of growth for the sake of a greater diffusion of technology and productive capacity to revitalize the rural economy and also for the sake of a greater regional balance in the distribution of income. [AM Huq]
(172) Gandhi once wrote: "The world of tomorrow will be an must be a society based on non-violence. That is the first law... Equal distribution - the second great law of tomorrow's world as I see it - grows out of non-violence. It implies not that the world's goods shall be arbitrarily divided up but that each man shall have the wherewithal to supply his natural needs, no more."
(173) Thus it is clear that despite the emphasis on self-sufficiency, to the extent it si possible, as suggested by the Doctrine of Swadeshi, a positive doctrine of international trade from the Gandhian perspective does indeed emerge out of the mixture of Gandhian idealism and Gandhian pragmatism. The following distinctive features of this doctrine may be noted as follows:
a) it accepts the logic of the principle of comparative advantage but rejects it as the sole basis for trade among nations.
b) it accepts reciprocal _need_ rather than reciprocal _demand_ as the determinant of terms of trade among nations.
c) it postulates an international economic order based on international cooperation and understanding of mutual need, rather than on market forces and competition.
d) it is guided by a purpose higher than the purpose of pure economic gain. That is the moral purpose embodied in the notion of service to govern the flow of trade among nations. It suggests an international economic policy which is hte antithesis of "beggar-my-neighbour" policy, well-known in modern international economics.
e) it is an economic doctrine into which is infused the philosophical principle of "Ahimsa" of Nonviolence and non-exploitation.
f) it offers maximum protection against unequal distribution of gains from trade among nations in sharp contrast with the conventional doctrine of international trade. [AM Huq]
(186) A non-exploitative technology must not create hierarchy and privilege. It must not encourage centralism. For these reasons, technology must satisfy four basic conditions: (i) the operators must have full control of the technology; (ii) the technology must not replace the worker; (iii) the technology must increase the productivity of the workers; and (iv) it must be productive of goods and services _needed_ by the worker. [Romesh Diwan]
(196) Gandhian focus is on the "simplicity" of life founded on basic human needs and a progressist view of moral and ethico-spiritual fulfilment of life...
The Gandhian view is one of Man-in-Nature. This leads to a sensitivity to an ecological balance and man's place in it.,,,,,,,,,
(197) The Gandhian concept of man is one of an integral man and the Gandhian concept of society is that of an integral society. The Gandhian concept is one of an integral transformation of man and society. In the Gandhian conception, the processes of individual (spiritual) transformation and political transformation are inevitably interconnected. The Gandian concept basically pursues the unity of the individual and the social order. Gandhi stresses the unity of the private and public life. It is the Gandhian view that private life must be transparent and in that transparency, we can see the public life too. In the Gandhian thought, the stress is on the unity of the individual and social praxis. The Gandhian conception may be termed as the "Unity of Existence".
(198) Elements of a Gandhian paradigm:
(ii) The cause of all contradictions is centralism. It may be described as a situation in which a few control the means and the power to make decisions which affect many who are left out. By this criterion, for instance, an elective representative system of the present type is centralist. So are, of course, the communist (so-called people's democratic) conceptions and practices.
(iii) Centralism, as the source of social contradiction, has two major locii: (a) the sphere of production (Economy); and (b) Power (State).
(199) (v) Centralism in production leads to exploitation. Centralism in power leads to oppression. The two centralisms reinforce each other.
(200) (xiv) No meaningful process of change can be generated by those who are in the "centralist" structure, either of production or of power - because these are structures of privilege. It is only the victims of centralism, that is, those who are exploited and oppressed, who alone will initiate change.
(xv) The process of change started by the victim of the "structure of privilege" will only reproduce the system if it copies the centralist system itself, even if only in a new form. That is, the victims of change in their process to change society should not have centralism of production or power. This means that for the praxis of change, the following conditions should be fulfilled:
(a) The praxis must be broadly based, that is, it should be a mass movement.
(b) The mass movement be not characterized by centralism in its ideology or in its organization.
(c) If the movement becomes centralist in its organization, then it will acquire the property of the State (such as the Bolshevik Parties are).
(d) The movement should be free of violence. In its objective conditions it should not arm itself. In its subjective conditions it should be firmly rooted in the ideology of nonviolence. It is these two characteristics of the movement to expose exploitation and oppression that gives it the moral force of "truth" against "non-truth". The movement must not engage itself in falsifications like the State. Otherwise this moral force will be weakened and the goal of real and lasting changed will be defeated.
(e) Individuals have a central role in this praxis. It is be incarnating the values of trust and nonviolence, and by the magnificence of their example that individuals express moral force.
(201) A Human State will be a decentralized society of equal partners.
(220) [In Gandhian economics] Labour had four components: (a) bread labour which is a kind of minimum physical labour which must be performed by everybody from the philosopher to the ordinary labourers; (b) earning labour for living as is normally understood in economics; (c) as an instrument for self-actualization; and (d) as a method of service to others. Once this fourfold view of labour is accepted; no degree of division of labour can really dehumanize man totally.
(224) Gandhi defined a polity as some kind of system of oceanic, concentric circles rather than as a pyramidal system as all modern political systems are. In his view, the larger circle has to get its support from the smaller circle so that no matter however small a circle may be, one can play one's role there as well as be linked to the largest circle.
(229-230) But it would be necessary to understand the preconditions Gandhi laid down as absolutely necessary for the practice of Satyagraha. First, there can be no Satyagraha for an unjust cause. Otherwise the principle of truth will be flouted. Secondly, Satyagraha excludes the use of violence in any shape or form, in thought or action. Thirdly, Satyagraha presupposes a clear distinction between a willing obedience to the laws which are good and opposition to those which are immoral. In the final analysis, the superiority of the law of conscience has to assert itself over other laws for a Satyagrahi. Fourthly, Satyagraha is an instrument available only to those who have no hatred towards their opponents. Fifthly, a Satyagrahi must have the capacity and willingness to suffer. That is why Gandhi insisted more on a small revolutionary minority rather than a whole people undertaking it. Sixthly, Satyagraha means, among other things,8 constant engagement in constructive social work so that Satyagraha as a struggle does not become negative. Seventhly, Satyagraha calls for total humility on the part of those who practise it. Last but not least, Satyagraha is the expression of discipline and sincerity. As Gandhi said, it challenges our honesty and our capacity for national work and our willingness to submit to discipline. [JD Sethi]
(232) Collard, David. 1978 _Altruism and Economy: A study in Non-Selfish Economics_. New York, Oxford University Press.
(237) Mathur, JS. (ed) n.d. _The Economic Thought of Mahatma Gandhi_.
McLaughlin, Elizabeth T. 1974 _Ruskin and Gandhi_. London: Associated University Press.
(238) Narayan, Shriman. 1970 _Relevance of Gandhian Economics_. Ahmedabad: Navajivan Publishing House.
(242) Varma, Vishwanath Prasad. 1965 _The Political Philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi and Sarvodaya_. AAgra: Lakshmi Narain Agrawal.