Aspects of Economics


NOT only an absence of material prosperity but also an excess of material prosperity leads to an end of Dharma. This is the special point of view of this country. The West has not thought of the result of material means. When these means create an addiction to them or to the things and pleasures to be had through them, then we can say that material influence has been established. In the absence of material wealth it ceases to be a means and becomes an end in itself. When there is too much of it, it ceases to be a means of righteous conduct and becomes a means of sensual pleasure. As these pleasures have no limit a person given to them will always feel a want of wealth and at the same time his addiction to pleasures will reduce his capacity to produce wealth.


“SWADESHI’’ and “Decentralisation’’ are the two words which can briefly summarize the economic policy suitable for the present circumstances. Centralization and monopolization have been the order of the day for all these years, knowingly or unknowingly. The planners have become prisoners of a belief that only large-scale centralized industry is economic and hence without worrying about its ill-effects, or knowingly but helplessly they have continued in that direction. The same has been the case with “Swadeshi’’ The concept of “Swadeshi’’ is ridiculed as old-fashioned and reactionary. We proudly use foreign aid in everything, from thinking, management, capital, methods of production, technology, etc. to even the standards and forms of consumption. This is not the road to progress and development. We shall forget our individuality and become virtual slaves once again. The positive content of “Swadeshi’’ should be used as the cornerstone of reconstruction of our economy.


NOT only because of different ideals of life but also because of different conditions in terms of time and place the way of our economic development will have to be different from that of the West. But we are tied to Marshall and Marx. We believe that the economic principles they have discussed are eternal. Even those Who realise that they are dependent upon certain systems are not able to step out of their orbits. The economic prosperity of the West has created a blind belief in us about the Western system of production. Western economists have produced so much critical literature that we easily feel overwhelmed by it. We cannot rise above it. It is possible that this science of economics may have some principles that do not depend upon time, place or system and can prove useful to all, but very few have the capacity to assess this quality. Our education cannot create people with such a capacity. Our economists may be experts in Western economics, but they have not been able to make any solid contribution to it because the Indian economy can neither provide them the necessary thought nor the necessary field for experimentation.


NO fundamental rights, whether related to property or other things, are eternal. They are all dependent upon the interest of society. In fact these rights are given to the individual in order that he may perform his social duties. A soldier is given weapons because his duty is to protect society. If he does not do his duty he loses the right to bear weapons. Similarly the right to property is given to an individual so that he could do his duty by society. For this purpose it becomes necessary to define and modify these rights from time to time. No right to property is absolute of society.


THE right of ownership is actually the right to use a particular thing within definite limits and for a definite purpose. These rights keep changing with the times. Hence as a matter of principle we may not get entangled in the quarrel between the individual’s rights and the right of society. For us the State is not the only form of society. We believe that the individual, the family, the community, the State are all different forms in which society expresses and fulfils itself. The joint family is the practical unit in this country in which we seek to preserve the social sense in the individual, in which every individual has the right to earn, but the right of ownership vests in the family. Wealth is used for the benefit of the family. It is this Indian principle of Trusteeship that has been propounded by Gandhiji, Guruji and other thinkers.


IT is a matter of surprise that today a share-holder in joint stock companies, who has no other connection with the company except a share in its profit, should be able to exercise ownership rights while the worker who works in an industry, sets its machines into motion and depends upon it for his livelihood should experience a feeling of being a stranger to it. This feeling is not proper. It is therefore necessary that along with the share-holder the worker should be given ownership rights and a share in its management and profit.


THE slogan commonly heard now-a-days is “one must earn his bread”. Normally communists use this slogan, but even the capitalists are not fundamentally in disagreement with it. If there is any difference between them, it is only as regards who earns and how much. The capitalists consider capital and enterprise as important factors of production and if they take a major share of profit, it is because they think it is their due. On the other hand, communists believe only labour to be the main factor in production. Therefore they concede a major share of production to the labourers. Neither of these ideas is correct. Strictly speaking, our slogan should be that he who earns will feed and every person will have enough to eat. The right to food is a birthright. The ability to earn is a result of education and training. In a society even those who do not earn must have food. The children and the old, the diseased and the invalids, all must be cared for by society. Every society generally fulfils this responsibility. The social and cultural progress of mankind lies in the readiness to fulfil this responsibility.


WHILE imports may help us tide over our present difficulties, the real solution to the problem lies in maximising agricultural production in the country. That we have not done sufficiently in this direction needs no saying. The present agreement is an eloquent testimony to the Government’s failure on this front. With the passage of time we have become increasingly dependent on foreign sources. We fear that due to availability of food in plenty at present the Government may become complacent in their efforts to raise production locally. The US Ambassador feels that America is following this policy only to let the struggling people of the democratic world realise that “there can be both freedom and food”. But what we want is our freedom and our food. That is possible only if we revive our old slogan of “Freedom from foreign food”. Dependence on foreign sources will impoverish and entangle us.


IF a vote for everyone is the touch-stone of political democracy, work for everyone is a measure of economic democracy. This right to work does not mean slave labour as in communist countries. Work should not only give a means of livelihood to a person but it should be of the choice of that person. If for doing that work the worker does not get a proper share in the national income, he would, be considered unemployed. From this point of view a minimum wage, a just system of distribution and some sort of social security are necessary. (To be continued..)

(Excerpts from the book – “Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya
A Profile” edited by Sudhakar Raje)