Mahatma Gandhi Community Forum

American consumer advocate and third-party Presidential candidate Ralph Nader, a huge fan of Gandhi, has a new book out entitled, "Only the Super-Rich can Save Us". It is a work of fiction that could become non-fiction if the book's events happened. The storyline is that the world's richest man, appalled at the American government's neglectful response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, organizes other rich people and they collectively act to save America and, subsequently, the world. (You guessed it, typical American center-of-the-universe belief.) Nevertheless, I had to wonder what Nader's novel had in common with Gandhi's hope for Trusteeship; performed by the rich to help the poor. Do both Nader and Gandhi see the "Super-Rich" as the center of the universe? Looking at the USA, it would be easy to think that they are. (The richest 1% of Americans own over half the total USA wealth.) Modern transportation has allowed capitalists to decentralize labor and production while centralizing capital. Capitalism grew from mercantilism, which grew and expanded with the Roman Empire. From around the 700's to 1300's, mercantilism all but disappeared in Europe. It was replaced by local barter and trade. But mercantilism returned and grew into today's sophisticated global capitalist structure. The billionaires are now the monarchy. I think it is unlikely that they will save the world. Can we brainstorm: Can Trusteeship and/or Economic Justice be realized?

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Namaste Aunty Kamala ~ Thank you for letting me in on the work of Father Edwin John and the Neighborhood Community Network. Yes, empowerment is what we all seek. The NCN, Gandhi Trusteeship, microlending, radical homemakers, family trusts and banks: these all seem to be threads of the same string. Hopefully, evolution is moving humanity toward greater empowerment of traditional values like love and brotherhood, and away from the industrial values of endless production and consumption for the benefit of few rather than more. ~ Chris
Gandhian way...we must promote again...
Dear Christopher,
I think that the work of Lugari in Gaviotas, Columbia has some solutions...not all, but some, which can be utilized, it puts power back in the hands of the people...and power really does lie in land use.
If we can use education to actually be useful to people rather than business and a failed development model that has ecologically ruined the Earth, we stand a chance at spreading the ideal of democracy. We can then start using trusteeship rather than socialism or communism for resource or management of the natural Creation and all that it provides us with. This will help people to become aware of their own ethical natures, which will raise the standard of life.
You have raised a good question.
Thank you,
Aunty Kamala
Dear Aunty Kamala,
You are right in saying that power really lies in land use. Now, what kind of land use? Is it industrial use of land? Should we use land for producing bio-fuel or for food? Now corporate sector too is making inroads into agriculture sector. They buy up farms or pay the farmers in return of their desired crop. Then they produce, say, tomato or potato to manufacture tomato sauce or potato chips! Let us be clear that land is primarily for food production. The major commercial use of land should be limited to grow cotton or oilseeds (which of course is a part of food product). Commercialisation of agriculture is one of the reasons leading to suicides by farmers in India.They take loans and depend on monsoon for their crop. monsoon does not come and crop is ruined. with it ruined is the farmer and his family.
I doubt if it would be correct to say that we can start with Trusteesm and not with Socialism or Communism. See, Trusteeship presupposes the presence of a capitalist. There is a person having all wealth, How to make him treat it as if it was not his wealth? This may be possible at micro level but at macro level you need to have some plan to transfer wealth from the rich to the poor first. Otherwise it will turn out to be day-dreaming. Ideal but idle.
Yes...this is alternate to both Communism and Capitalism...
America, I think, will never take up trusteeship concept as it is way too forward in promoting her capitalism and spreading the same even in communist china. The silverline of America is the concept of good governance that makes everyone happy, wealthier and powered. And, it rests with the people to choose the right party and the right president.

The super rich I think, will not save people from all the evils, but a consolation.
America experiences "Corporatocracy" as John Perkins writes in his book 'The confessions of an Economic Hit Man'. He has described how Corporates want to control the world. He also confesses his own role in the spread of the loot system. Trusteeship concept is far from them but, why them only? The Super-rich and the rich - and not-so-rich - do not want to share. Even they oppose higher rates of taxation. This leads to more indirect taxes affecting the meagre incomes of the people. Their savings are lost - and found in the cashboxes of the wealthy.
Trusteeship is a concept to be adopted voluntarily, the 'change of heart' is its precondition. There is no evidence or even one example of the presence of this precondition.
I have a deep misgiving about the definition of Gandian trusteeship that would urge the poor to behave more like corporations. I don't see the moral distinction between a family developing trusts for use by their future generations and what U.S. corporations themselves do. The richest 2% of the USA are very, very good at looking after their families. That's all they do. Isn't the Gandian solution to create a larger understanding of human inter-connectedness? Shouldn't we be encouraging people to see the poor as their family, rather than seeing to it that their family aren't poor?


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