PT. DEENDAYAL UPADHYAYA
……..Continuing from previous issue
Instead of producing to meet the demand, the search is on the markets for the goods already produced; if the demand does not exist, systematic efforts are made to create demand. This has become the chief characteristic of the western economic movement. Earlier, production followed the demand, now demand allows the production. Consider the use of tea for example. Tea was produced because people desired and wanted it. But Tea was produced and we were induced to develop taste for tea. Now tea is a common man’s drink. It has become a part of our life. Similar is the case of vegetable ghee. Did anyone ever want to use it? It was first produced and then we were taught to use it. If whatever is manufactured is not consumed, there will be depression. Some of us many remember the great depression of 1930-32. There was abundance of goods at that time but there was no demand. Therefore factories had to be closed down. Bankruptcy and unemployment were widespread. Thus now-a-days it is most important that what is being produced must be consumed.
The search is on the markets for the goods already produced; if the demand does not exist, systematic efforts are made to create demand. This has become the chief characteristic of the western economic movement…
The Editor of “Organiser”, an English Weekly, had gone to USA for a visit sometime ago. Upon his return, he related an interested instance.
There is a factory producing “Potato-peelers”, a device for peeling potatoes. The production of this factory outstripped the demand for the device. The management of the firm faced the problem of finding some way by which people may be induced to buy more potato peelers. They called a meeting of all the salesmen of the firm. Among the suggestions put forward, one was to make the color of the handle similar to that of potato peel. so that along with the peel. the peeler may also be dumped in the garbage, often by mistake. Thus there may be greater demand. Also, the product was offered in a more attractive packing. Now this economic structure is not merely consumption oriented but is clearly leading to destruction. Throw away the old one and buy a new one! Rather than satisfying the need and demand from people. to create fresh demand has become the aim of modern economics. Supposing that we need not worry about the limited supply of natural resources, there is yet the question of balance in Nature. There is a relationship in different parts of Nature. If from the three sticks standing with mutual support, one is removed, the other two will automatically fall. The present economic system and system of production are fast disturbing this equilibrium of nature. As a result on the one hand new products are manufactured for satisfying ever increasing desires, on the other hand new problem arise every day, threatening the very existence of the entire humanity and civilization.
It is essential, therefore, to use up that portion of the available natural resources which the nature will be able to recoup easily. When the fruits are taken, the fruit tree is not injured: it may even be helpful to the tree. However, in the effort to take a greater harvest from the land chemical fertilizers are used which in a few years time render the land altogether infertile. Lakhs of acres of land lie barren in America due to this factor. How long this dance of destruction can go on ?
The destruction provides for depreciation fund to replace the machines when worn out. Then how can we neglect the depreciation fund for nature. From this point of view, it must be realized that the object of our economic system should be, not extravagant use of available resources, but a well regulated use. The physical objects necessary for a purposeful, happy and progressive life must be obtained. The Almighty has provided as much. It will not be wise, however, to engage into a blind rat-race of consumption and production as if man is created for the sole purpose of consumption. Engine needs coal for its proper working, but it has not been produced merely to consume coal. On the contrary it is only proper always to see that with the minimum coal-consumption, maximum energy is produced. This is the economic view point. Keeping in view the aim of human life, we must endeavour to see how with the minimum of fuel, man proceeds to his goal with the maximum speed. Such a system alone can be called civilization. This system will not think of merely a single aspect of human life but of all its aspects including the ultimate aim. This system will not thrive on the exploitation of nature but will sustain nature and will in turn itself be nourished. Milking rather than exploitation should be our aim. The system should be such that overflow from nature is used to sustain our lives.
If such human angle inspires the economic system than our thinking on the economic question will undergo through transformation. In the Western economics, whether it is capitalist or socialist, value has the most important and central position. All economic theories centre around value. It may be that the analysis of value is very important from the point of view of the economist but, those social philosophers which are based entirely on value are for incomplete, inhuman and to some extent unethical take. For example, the slogan commonly heard now-a-days “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 components of production and hence if they take a major share of profits. they think it is their due. On the other hand, communists believe only labour to be the main factor in production. Therefore they concede major share of production to the labourers. Neither of these ideas is correct.
Any economic system must provide for the minimum basic necessities of human life to everyone. Food, clothing and shelter constitute, broadly speaking these basic necessities
Really speaking. our slogan should be that the one 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 eared for by the society. Even society generally fulfils this responsibility. The social and cultural progress of mankind ties in the readiness to fulfil this responsibility. The economic system must provide for this task. Economics as a science does not account for this responsibility. A man works not merely for bread alone, but also to shoulder this responsibility. Otherwise those who have had their meals would no longer work.
Any economic system must provide for the minimum basic necessities of human life to everyone. Food, clothing and shelter constitute, broadly speaking these basic necessities. Similarly, the society must enable the individual to carry out his obligations to the society by properly educating him. Lastly, in the event of an individual falling a prey to any disease. society must arrange for his treatment and maintenance. If a government provides these minimum requirements, then only it is a rule of ‘Dharma’. Otherwise, it is a rule of ‘Adharma’. Describing the King Dilip, Kalidas has said in Raghuvansha “Being responsible for the maintenance, protection and education of his subjects, he was their true farther. Others were merely instrumental in giving them their birth”. The description of king Bharat after whom our country has been named Bharat, also runs similarly, i.e. “by maintaining and protecting his subjects he was called Bharat.” This is his country, Bharat, if in this country maintenance and protection are not guaranteed, then the name Bharat is meaningless.
To be continued…
(Excerpts of the Speech delivered on “Integral Humanism” in Bombay on April 22nd – 25th, 1965 by
Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya in the form of four lectures.)