Mahatma Gandhi Community Forum

True 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. True economics, on the other hand, stands for social justice; it promotes the good of all equally including the weakest, and is indispensable for decent life.”  - M.K.Gandhi


Gandhiji believed that morality plays a crucial role in upholding the goodness of human nature and livelihood. His perception of economics is no exception as it matters much to the running of anyone's life. A good economics, according to the field experts, is a balanced equation of trade and commerce with a focus on value of money and commodities. A man's income and wealth has sufficed impact on the economy of the nation as a whole.


Economy in ancient days was at the helms of the wealthy lords and landowners who ruled the economy of the masses that came under their reign. Later in good olden days, proliterarian revolution disbursed the economy in to common man's hands and the laborers’. But, the dominant social status has never left the masters out of economic spectrum. With the industrial revolution, they came back with the sizable vigor not so much as the lords and landowners had in the past, but with a scientific, modernized calculation of monetary issues.


Gandhiji lived in the infantry era of such an industrial and mechanizing world which had traces of exploitation of the weaker generations in the society by the mill owners and foreign controllers. The weaker section of the society involuntarily submitted themselves to the stronger paving ways for slavery and exploitation. The masters stood in the way of prevailing cultural and ethical standards of the poor lives what they considered as savage and primitive dictum.


In the early twentieth century, Gandhiji preached his philosophy of Sarvodaya (Uplift of all), a micro-economical structured suited for villages of India. Before, people were immorally and ignorantly learning to adopt the foreign methods of building economy with no sovereignty and freedom or right to control over their economy.  His programme of Sarvodaya encompassed self determination, class-less society equality, and welfare for all based on John Ruskin’s book Unto the Last. His Sarvodaya theory of political economy had three basic roots:

  • The good of the individual is contained in the good of all
  • All professions have the same value. Barber, Carpenter, Lawyer etc. have equal right to earn from their professions. No one is superior or inferior to the others professionally.
  • Livelihood based on bread labour is worth living.


Is today’s economy run up to this dictum?  Economists and scientists have well organized and classified our professions and developed a system that meddles with all of these basic principles. An individual is more or less worshiped as God for his undue professional skills and power in every walk of the life while common good of the society is left out for negligence. People fight over the designations and titles within the departments and even inter-departmental line of businesses. Each one thinks that their profession is superior or inferior to the others leaving some higher command to decide which is the best or the worst. Bread labour is completely lacking in many professions due to whole or partly mechanization.


The economy built around such a social infrastructure completely lacks the welfare of all. The universal uplift of the people is obliterated fully with professional exploitations and prejudices. The economy runs merely on the needs of the electorate leaving the poor as poorer and rich to richer.  And, this has become a science of modern economy with many theories and statistics supporting these depraved practices in arriving economic decisions. Gandhiji’s notion on “decent life” has taken different shapes decaying cultural facets of the society and deforming the economic face of the country.


Once again, we must remember what Gandhiji meant: True economics never militates against the highest ethical standard,…..

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