Are Gandhi’s Economic Precepts Relevant in the Era of Globalization?
14 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2012
Date Written: December 30, 2009
The idea of economic self-sufficiency was an important element of M.K. Gandhi‘s economic thought, and part of his vision of freedom. Because the experience of colonial rule was associated with economic backwardness and dependence on imports of manufactures, most nationalist thinkers and political leaders of newly independent countries espoused self-sufficiency as an integral part of the struggle for freedom. There were, however, major differences in the way they interpreted the idea of self-sufficiency. Mahatma Gandhi‘s concept of self-sufficiency was more radical than most. He sought to correct the negative impact of modernization on the traditional producers who tended to get displaced in the face of competition from modern industries. He therefore advocated an economic arrangement wherein the marginalization of agriculturists, rural artisans and household industries would not occur. He recommended a development path that incorporated the following principles -- (a) Local self-sufficiency, especially in the rural areas, which would give villages a significant measure of autonomy. Rural artisans and agricultural producers would have a synergistic relationship. (b) Rejection of modernization, particularly of labour-saving machinery. Gandhi preferred the provision of employment over pursuit of high economic growth; (c) Simple lifestyle that was not dominated by materialism. He was against the enslavement of people by means of temptation of luxuries that money can buy. (d) Sensitivity to the issue of environmental sustainability.
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