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I = S - M

The modern way of thinking about economics has been I = M - S Where I is the I as in me, M is what is 'mine' and S is what ...

5/17/16

To heal we must become whole. We must lose our egos until we see that we are one. You are not just you as you think of and see yourself. You are also me. You are also your worst enemy.

As long as we cling on to our sense of 'me' we are limited. From this limited perspective the first step in consciousness is self interest. We recognize, in this limited state of being, the importance of self preservation and self expansion. 

With further development of consciousness we recognize other interest as our guiding principle. This is the second step in consciousness. It leads to acts of kindness. However consciousness does not stop here. 

In the third and highest state of consciousness we recognize that we are one. In this state of one interest there is no separation, only wholeness. 

Gandhiji described this state of one interest in his talks on the Bhagavad Gita at the Sabarmati ashram thus: 

It is in man's nature to do good for all selves are one. Since that is so, the apparent separateness of each self has no significance. When this is realized man's ego melts away. Man's essence, which is the atman, is all-pervading, because he who has realized it will not see himself as different from others, but will see all in himself. For such a person, therefore, doing good becomes part of his nature. When he seems to be serving other creatures, he is doing so not out of kindness to them, but is merely following his own nature. To us who are enveloped in maya, it might seem like he is practicing virtue, but in truth it is not so; he is acting only according to his nature towards all creatures.

What a contrast it is to compare Gandhiji's beautiful description of human nature to that of the modern economist. To have an economics based on the lowest level of human consciousness is to expect very little from ourselves. This is the state that modern economics finds itself in. And what a pitiable state it is! 

We must recognize that the teachings of modern economics are but the first step of human consciousness, that higher states of human consciousness are possible. With the growth of human consciousness into higher states it is possible to have higher states of economics. 

These higher states of economics are what I call Gandhian economics. 

5/16/16

What gives meaning to life? Not money, not getting ahead, not acquiring things, but consciousness alone. 

Individual consciousness (atman) wants to merge with the universal consciousness (brahman). Which is why we engage in the ordinary business of life. 

When we recognize economic activity as consciousness we create a whole new way of looking at economics. Then we ask ourselves how may wholeness be achieved in our lives.

5/10/16

Economics is commonly thought of as no more than an expression of the law of demand and supply. That is so but not in the narrow, split way, of modern economics. Let us look at the terms demand and supply with fresh eyes.

What is demand? Is it not desire?

What is the ultimate desire for? What is behind your desire of this or that? We do not desire things for their own sake. Rather our desires are expressions of a primary impulse, that is the desire for the darshan, or being in the presence, of God.

And where does supply come from? You may say it comes from this company or that government. By ultimately all supply comes from God.

So the law of demand and supply thus reformulated is the law of wholeness. It is a gestalt,  parts of God (us) seeking God (the whole) while God (the whole) offers its parts (us) a chance for a reunion.

When thought of as wholeness, demand and supply make a lot of sense. 

4/29/16

The Bhagavad Gita gives us a wonderful word which expresses what human beings must strive to be to realize God:

vitaragabhayakrodhah

I like this word a lot. Not only is my own name embedded in it but its meaning, according to Gandhiji, is "who are free from all attachment, fear, and anger," a perfect summary of the work ahead for each of us human beings. 

Instead of putting self interest at the heart of our economics, as does modern economics, what would happen if we made vitaragabhayakrodhah the heart of our new economics? 

I invite you to meditate upon this, then apply it, and affirm it. 

4/11/16

karma + vikarma = akarma

The Bhagavad Gita has given us this beautiful economics formula. You can see from it how different our conception of work is from that of the West.

Karma is action. We work, that is action. We engage in karma. Vikarma is how we engage our souls in our work. Our souls are simply our inner essence. Work without soul is mighty effort indeed! When we engage in work of that nature in our society we are proceeding incorrectly. Wrong work leads to exploitation. Tomes have been written analyzing the nature of exploitation. But friends, exploitation is only a reality when work is devoid of soul.

When work is done with the engagement of the soul one hundred percent something magical happens. Right work results in akarma, or unwork. Akarma can not be analyzed in terms of exploitation because there is none.

If work is the basis of economics it seems to me that we must start by understanding the nature of work. We would all do well to meditate upon the simple formula, the very foundation of our new economics and keep Krishna's wise words in our hearts, "By going there you will understand how utterly serene the mind can be while performing continuous service; you will understand how, though action rages without, the heart can be tuned to produce unbroken music."

Meditation: karma + vikarma = akarma

Exercise: How can I today wholeheartedly engage my soul in my work? 

Affirmation: I can separate my work from the fruits of that work, letting go of the fruits!

4/7/16

If we are to make practical inroads into ushering in the new reality that awaits us we must start with ourselves. I would suggest that we all work on the following elements within ourselves:

1. Harmony
We must exist in harmony before we can do anything in the world. Harmony is not the common image of the happy individual (happily) consuming a wide variety and large quantities of material and spiritual goods. Harmony has nothing to do with commerce. Harmony is an inner strength, and inner peace that must be earned. The only effective way that I know of to develop harmony is long and rigorous meditation.

2. Balance
This has nothing in common with the modern economist's conception of equilibrium. Balance can not result from opposing forces acting against each other, such as the case of supply and demand, which are mere inventions of modern economics. Balance comes from following the inner voice in each and every action that one engages in. It comes from right action without considering the fruits of the action.

3. Openness
Once harmony and balance become a way of life one naturally opens, much like a flower, to take in and express one's inner essence. Openness means never using history to make judgements, rather responding in the moment, improvising in the moment.

These, in my opinion are the preconditions for allowing the new economic reality to come into existence. Friends, it is hard work but what do we have to lose? Can we tolerate another year, another month, another day, another moment even of the reality that we live in?

I for one can not. 

4/4/16

Q. Can you explain how the idea of trusteeship can function in a practical way in our very imperfect world? It seems to me that everywhere people look to their own interest so that there must be policies that redistribute wealth and income to fight that tendency.

A. When you talk about 'a practical way' do you not assume that the fundamental nature of our economic organization can not change?

Q. I don't see any evidence that there is a natural progression towards sharing so I say that the redistribution must take place by the use of rules and regulations.

A. And yet we can not begin to talk about a new way of living or organizing ourselves until we do two things. Firstly, we must accept that our old ways of thinking have not worked and will not work in the future. Secondly, we must accept that each of us must go through a period of intense soul-searching, that society itself must go through such an intense period of soul-searching. What will result from that is a very different way of being and living and thinking about things.

Q. You do not accept the evidence of what is as the basis of the formulation of your new policies.

A. Not only that, I do not accept that the way things are are a reflection of human proclivities let alone human potential. The fact is that the reality that you point to me is the result of a profound splitting of the human being. When people are no longer whole their organization, their foundations, their very lives are no longer whole. What is simply points to the fact that we are split. Surely that can not be the basis of understanding wholeness.

Q. Would trusteeship, the idea that each may earn what they want to as well as keep it as long as they don't believe that they own that wealth but accept that they are simply trustees of that wealth provide a solid and sustainable basis to our economics?

A. Which economics are you talking about? If you plan to simply tack on this idea of trusteeship to all your other ideas such as self-interest, survival of the fittest, and so on that would be no firm basis for trusteeship.

Q. Then what is needed? What about human rights?

A. What is needed is a complete reinvention of the human being in its original and natural form as someone who is deeply connected to his inner voice, inter-relates meaningfully with others based on tenderness and duty rather than demanding of rights, and strives to be whole in all spheres of life. Such a renewed human being will be aware of many of his or her God-given talents, develop them fully with the cooperation of others, in turn helping others to realize themselves. The rights that you are talking about come about as a result of an integrated, whole life. They are not the starting point.

Q. Can this change happen in our lifetime?

A. It can happen in the blink of an eye. Right now, right this moment pledge to be kind, pledge to be whole, to live and work for universal oneness. Let go of fear, do your work, and don't always be looking to see if your rewards are on their way. Do this now and your life changes now! If you assert that life changes only when the results, the rewards come, you misunderstand the purpose of life. In Gandhiji's words, ours is simply to "do or die," and as the bhagavad gita says, "you are entitled to your work but not to the fruits of the work."

4/2/16

What do we seek? Some say we seek things, material goods. Others say we seek comforts, leisure. Still others point to religious and spiritual spheres as the ultimate things that we seek. 

But the important question is not what we seek. It is why we seek. And the pursuit of that question, why do we seek is really the most important thing. In answering that question we come to understand the nature of the human being. 

4/1/16

Thoughtfulness is how I define the standard of living. A group of people with plenty of material possessions but no thought for others is a group with a very low standard of living. On the other hand, a group of people with very little in terms of material possessions but great thoughtfulness towards each other is undoubtedly a group with a high standard of living. Kumarappa writes

We must bear in mind that the true test of civilization is not our material possessions or our manner or mode of life but the thought we bestow on the well-being of others. *

And what exactly creates well-being? It is certainly not the so-called consumption championed by modern economics. Consumption is a one-way street. It is a using up of resources. It is the least mindful and most thoughtless of actions. Well-being is created by a sense of purpose, a sense of belonging, a sense or responsibility and a spiritual understanding that we are One.

When we gauge our own lives or assess the life of our society we may confidently use the yardstick of thoughtfulness to measure the standard of living.

* Why the Village Movement by J. C. Kumarappa 1949 page 3. 

3/23/16

Here is a basic framework for Gandhian economic analysis when it comes to policy. When we are considering a project with largely economic dimensions, we must examine the means independently from the ends.

We can never say, "Well the ends are so lofty so we may accept the means, whatever they may be." Instead we must ask ourselves, "Regardless of the ends what is the nature of the means? Are the means the right action?" If they are, they will be consistent with truth and nonviolence.

Next we must examine whether the proposed policy leads towards wholeness or towards splitting.

Modern economics, with its idea of raising standards of living leads directly to the splitting of the individual. Work is not meaningful, it is wrongly seen as a "means to an end" and separates the worker aspect of the person from all of his or her self--moral, religious, loving, social, creative, earth-intelligent.

We must only accept policies that move us towards wholeness. Work that uses all of a person's abilities, that enriches their moral and social consciousness would be accepted while work that is demeaning, soul-less and self-defeating such as that under modern economics must be rejected.

This is just a start. But I challenge us all to start implementing it, starting right now! Only then can we see change in our lifetime.

3/11/16

There is only one goal. That is to be whole again.

How human beings live and work determines whether they remain whole or are split.

Modern man is split. That is obvious to anyone who inquires into the human condition. In spite of tremendous increase in measured wealth, in the so-called standard of living, humans are more miserable than ever.

So the question emerges, why are humans split?

Human beings are split because of their economics. How they live and work is generally profoundly disconnected to the natural order of things. In place of harmony and balance, most people, especially in the West, but increasingly in the East as well, live lives of meaningless, disconnected work and neglected family and community lives. There can not be a rich web of interconnections when the core is rotten. And that rotten core is the system of modern economics.

In an act of absolute violence modern economics split the means from the ends. This way of looking at life involved using whatever means possible, guided only by self-interest, to maximize tradable output. Instead of seeing people as inherently good, as responsible caring members of families and societies, modern economics emphasized the individual, that too one that only seeks maximum satisfaction. This way of splitting means from ends led to the justification of the use of horrific methods never before used or even imagined by mankind. Nuclear power, dependence on fossil fuels, global and constant war are all considered to be appropriate means.

This has gone on for so long that the sickness of split humans has spread worldwide and violence and war, greed and exploitation have become the norm. In the name of peace we wage war, in the name of feeding people we poison the earth, in the name of the future we destroy the present. Everywhere we create a race of obedient workers working meaningless jobs, blindly following their politicians and leaders, ignoring their children, families and community in their restless (and pointless) attempts to get ahead.

Modern economics can be summarized in the following schematic:

means-production-distribution-consumption-ends

Everywhere people are engaged in means that seek only to maximize production. Then there is an arbitrary and usually unjust distribution of that production. How else can we explain CEOs making billions while ordinary workers make less and less? The tax system is generally regressive in effect so that the poor are getting more and more destitute even as the rich get richer. Where I live the number of homeless people has easily multiplied by four times in the last few years while the simplest single-family house sells for well over a million dollars.

Consumption is the 'opiate of the masses.' By flooding the markets with cheap, shoddy goods and entertainment services, modern economics ensures that people stay too busy consuming to really question their lives.

This consumption is supposedly the ends of the whole corrupt, repressive, exploitative and splitting system of modern economics.

But there is an alternative--Gandhiji gave that to us a hundred years ago! Gandhiji said that means and ends are convertible terms, that there is no difference between means and ends. In other words

means = ends

and what follows from this equation is the total collapse of modern economics. For the system of

means-production-distribution-consumption-ends

can only exist as long as means and ends are violently and forcibly separated.

Once we are enlightened with the deep understanding that means are the ends and ends the means, we will never again use violence (means) to achieve peace (ends), never again work meaningless jobs (means) to support our families (ends), never again follow individual self-interest or greed (means) to achieve a meaningful and happy life (ends).

Instead we will understand that only nonviolent means will lead to nonviolent ends, only meaningful work will create meaning in our lives, families and communities, only doing things for the good of all or One-interest rather than self-interest will lead to wholeness.

Friends, I am as scarred as you are by the violence of modern economics. I have been guilty of being seduced by modern economics for much of my life. I have paid the price for that with a broken family, lost friendships, and the malaise of meaninglessness. I have been there and continue to struggle with many of these issues each day. I am not a saint, just a very ordinary human being who lost his way in modern economics and was saved by Gandhiji.

Will you join me today in building a whole life for your self? Even if there are just two or four of us in the whole world we can make a difference. The point is to start, today.

3/9/16

Modern economics is built on the three-fold model of production-distribution-consumption. First a society, it is asserted, must decide what to produce using available but scarce means. Next that society must decide how to distribute the fruits of all the effort that was put to producing things in step 1. Lastly, the society must consume the fruits of work in accordance with how those fruits are distributed, this consumption being the ends of economics.

Gandhiji said simply that

means = ends

so the whole three-fold edifice of modern economics collapses when we approach economics from Gandhiji's perspective. 

Then there is no production-distribution-consumption but only right action. 

As the Bhagavad Gita tells us, our work is to commit to right action in all aspects of our life without any attachment to the fruits of that action. We create by connecting with family, with neighbors, thereby creating a society. A real society is one where people's wealth is in the rich interconnections that they have developed with others through right action. 

We don't commit to right action to create wellbeing in society:

right action = wellbeing

That would be separating means and ends. Instead we commit to right action simply because that is the right thing to do:

right action = right action

That is the essence of Gandhian economics.


1/6/16

I = S - M

The modern way of thinking about economics has been

I = M - S

Where I is the I as in me, M is what is 'mine' and S is what is shared.

So we are brought up to think that we are what we have , what is ours (M) minus what is shared (S). Sharing in that formulation takes away from me (I). 

Gandhian economics suggests that we reverse this usual formulation to read

I = S - M

I am what is shared (S) and what is 'mine' (M) takes away from what I am (I). 

Wealth consists in our interrelationships. The greater and more wonderful our interrelationships the greater and more wonderfully do we share, enriching the 'I'. 

11/26/15

Symbols are important. Symbols are inherent in any world view.

In the world view of modern economics the symbol deeply inherent is that of self interest. That mankind is slave to, indeed is driven by, the need to satisfy its self interest.

Gandhian economics has a very different symbol inherent in it. That symbol is love. Mankind is capable of love. Love at the level of love for another, love for family, love for society, love for everyone and everything in our world.

The thing is self interest is very easily accessible. If I do not live a life of meditated action, of deep and consistent contemplation, I know that I myself fall into a very self interested state. It is a very small minded, a very small hearted state.

When I work hard to be more mindful of my life, of others, of mother earth herself, I find myself capable of love. Sometimes I am so overflowing with love I want to hug everyone around me. In my hardest moments, in my trials, I find gratitude towards God, that which is infinite love.

So we could say that Gandhian economics is economics as if love matters.

11/5/15


10/20/15

A Gandhian economy is not an economy closed off from the rest of the world. Though small, vibrant, local economies are the very substance of Gandhian economics, appropriate international trade has an important role to play is such an economy. 

In Gandhian economics we are interested in qualitative relationships, not the quantitative relationships assumed and analyzed by modern economics. We are looking for harmony rather than equality, with the notion of oneness and wholeness rather than the notion of equilibrium.

Equilibrium requires the presence of two or more opposing forces which are then met at one (or more in the case of multiple equilibria) point. In Gandhian economics we reject the notion of the equilibrium and look for harmony instead.

This is not just a theoretical approach. In fact we do not separate theory from practice. Instead we practice wholeness at all points:

Harmony happens at the point where 

X - M = (S - I) - (G -T)

where X = exports; M = imports; S = saving; I = investment; G = government purchases; T = tax revenue

viz. the harmony in the trade position of the economy depends upon the harmonies between the investment and saving positions on one hand as well as the harmony in the government's budget position. That is to say that if the nature of saving and the nature of investment in our economy are in harmony and further that the nature of government spending and taxation are in harmony, then there is the very great potential of a lively international trade with the rest of the world that is also in harmony


Dear friends,

Our local news source for the Indian community, Siliconeer, ran a story on me this week.

https://siliconeer.com/current/2015/10/17/selected-to-join-fulbright-committee/

Wishing you all well, peace & love. 


10/17/15

Western economics thinks along the trajectory of an arrow shot upwards towards the sky--ever harder striving, higher so-called standards of living, all at the cost of fragmentation of the psyche and the family. Means are used to achieve the ends. The mathematics of Western economics is a linear thinking.

Gandhian economics thinks along a gentle curve, a circle to be precise. Means and ends are ever convertible and create wholeness. The mathematics of Gandhian economics is circular thinking. 

Friends, we are not individuals competing to get to the top. We are One. Together we make, not a hierarchy, but a circle. 

10/4/15


The essence of Gandhian economics

A quote from Schumacher:

"Divergent problems, as it were, force man to strain himself to a level above himself; they demand, and thus provoke the supply of, forces from a higher level, thus bringing love, beauty, goodness, and truth into our lives. It is only with the help of these higher forces that the opposites can be reconciled in the living situation." (Small is Beautiful, New York, Harper & Row, 1989, p 103)

Schumacher was the second greatest economist of our time (by his own admission the greatest being Gandhiji). Like Gandhiji he firmly brings us back to God as the center of our analysis. 

And a quote from Brother Lawrence:

"It is however needful to put our whole trust in God, laying aside all other cares, and even some particular forms of devotion, very good in themselves, but yet such as one often engages in unreasonably: because in fact, those devotions are only means to attain to the end, so when by this practice of the presence of God we are with Him who is our end, it is then useless to return to the means. Then it is that abiding in His presence, we may continue of love, now by an act of adoration, of praise, or of desire; now by an act of sacrifice or of thanksgiving, and in all the manners which our mind can devise." (The Practice of the Presence of God, Aeterna Press, London, 2015, p 16)

Brother Lawrence was a simple, awkward, uneducated (by his own admission) lay monk who lived in Paris in the 1600s. All he did day and night was stay in the presence of God. From this lifelong practice he arrives at the same insight that Schumacher, the great economist, does. And of course they both echo Gandhiji's wise words:

"Means and ends are convertible terms." (Young India, 31-12-1931, reprinted in M.K. Gandhi, The Essence of Hinduism, Delhi: Farsight, 2009, p 67)

So the starting point of the new economics that we are creating together, all over the world, involves invoking the forces from a higher level, namely God who is our supply, and to do so in a simple way of life where we are constantly in God's presence. By thus obliterating the artificial divide between means and ends, we attain wholeness. 

That is the essence of Gandhian economics. Its only reason for existence is to bring love, beauty, goodness, and truth to our lives, which in my opinion are also the essence of wholeness.


9/27/15

Gandhian economics does not teach equality. It teaches oneness. Equality is the result of oneness, not a method of proceeding. It is a policy outcome, not policy itself. This confusion has caused quite a muddle in our thinking.

Equality means two things are equal. In that mathematical construction of the relationship we create separation. If I say, "you are my equal," I am immediately setting up a separation of "us" into two parts, viz. you and me. 

In his beautiful and wise commentary on the Bhagavad Gita Gandhiji says:

"It is only if we have faith in our hearts that, although we exist as separate beings, we are all one--it is only then that we can feel a sense of equality. Otherwise, even two leaves are not equal."* 

Friends, do we have the courage to see that we live in just such a world, where even two leaves are not equal, and that Gandhiji gave us a clear economic methodology of action rooted in the Bhagavad Gita emphasizing oneness. 

It is incumbent upon us to adopt this simple approach and allow for the flowering of a new, whole human being and a new, whole society. 


*See especially the edition published by Jaico Publishing House, Mumbai, 2010





9/8/15

Modern economics makes a slight-of-hand in making the equality of buying and selling as the central pillar of its theoretical structure.

buying = selling

However the fact is that whatever is bought is in fact sold! This is a trivial observation, what we would mathematically call an identity, rather than an equality. An identity is true by the very way in which we define the terms and tells us nothing novel or interesting about how magnitudes may potentially relate to one another.

While buying is identical to selling, the idea that buying equals earning is far from trivial. Mathematically, it is a true equality rather than an identity.

buying = earning

How we buy ends up equalling, over time, and through the complex and drawn out process of what we call the economy, how we earn.

So we must pay a lot of attention to how we buy. When we buy from neighbors, from businesses that promote wholeness, that are integrated in the society that we live in, we create the foundation for whole earning for everyone who resides in our society.

It is simple as that!

8/20/15

God is our supply. God gives us everything that we need.

Not what we want. What we need.

So supply has to do with needs not wants.

Sometimes we need suffering in our lives. Often we don't want it, but we may need it. Just as much as we need joy.

Supply is the unfailing flow of resources from God to meet our needs.

8/17/15

At a recent gathering of friends an erudite economist says:

"How can you begrudge self-interest? It is what is universal, what connects us all, each to each."

I reply:

What is truly universal, what truly connects us is God. I have traveled the world and I have yet to find even in the farthest reaches of the earth families, communities and societies that do not believe in God. They may call their God by different names but they all have the sense of something much bigger than themselves, far greater than their miserable self-interest, which is based only on fear and greed. So I say that God is what truly connects us and God is who is universally considered to be holy or hallowed, both words that mean 'whole'. What connects us, each to each is wholeness.

When asked by the distinguished Christian leader Dr. John R. Mott what had brought deepest satisfaction to his soul in difficulties, doubts and questionings, Gandhiji replied quietly, "A living faith in God."

God connects us all, everywhere in the world. To create wholeness in our lives we need to bring God back inside our homes. Back to our work. Back to our lives.

8/12/15

What do I imagine to be the perfect world? I can do no better than the words that my own teacher Kumarappa quotes from Anquetil du Perron in Public Finance and Our Poverty (1945):

"When I entered the country of the Marathas, I thought myself in the midst of simplicity and happiness of the golden age, where nature was as yet unchanged, and war and misery were unknown. The people were cheerful, vigorous and in high health, and unbounded hospitality was an universal virtue; every door was open and friends, neighbours and strangers were alike welcome to whatever they found."

This description is not a figment of du Perron's imagination. I know that for a fact for my wife and I visited this mythical-seeming land of the Marathas during my Fulbright in India. It is after all this time still the same. I must also inform you, dear reader, that this is my ancestral land.

That it is unchanged, untouched should not come as a surprise. After all Kumarappa, the father of Gandhian economics, called it the economy of permanence. 

8/5/15

Shukracharya in the 8th century CE argued for an economy based on morality. In fact morality is indispensable when it comes to the economy. For the economy is how people live and work, how they connect with each other (for no man or woman is able to create all that he or she needs by himself or herself), and how they grow.

Not how what they produce grows but how they grow. Whether they grow into fearful and greedy souls or whether they come to the realization that all life is one. The former has been the path taken by the modern economy, which is to say most of the world, while the latter is the clear path that Gandhiji lighted up for us with his wisdom and love.

These are simple matters but we have to care to listen.

Why do we accept greed and competition as the basis of economy? Is it not a wonder that we do so? Stop for a bit and think about it. Do we have any tradition anywhere in the world of sustained wisdom, something that has had lasting value and was passed on through many stages of the society that taught greed as a principle to be adopted in living and working?

No, all sustainable traditions have taught, as did Shukracharya, that morality was inseparable from economy. In modern times this idea found its clearest expression in John Ruskin's Unto This Last, the book that was to profoundly influence Gandhiji's life and make him, in the words of the great humanitarian economist E. F. Schumacher, the 'greatest economist of our age'.

Gandhiji taught us that

means = ends

so that the adoption of violent means would create a violent society, the adoption of greed as a means (as Adam Smith and most economists following him have argued for) will only lead to a very greedy society and the adoption of competition as the means will create a society of cut-throat competitors.

Survival depends on cooperation rather that competition. If we cooperate to create good work and good families we will have a society with people who are fulfilled by their work and loved by their families. The creation of a new economics is well within our reach. All we have to do is let go of fear and greed and accept wholeness as our guiding principle.

We should love our work and work our love. We should love our families and we should love our neighbors. We should work with others instead of against them. That is all that Gandhian economics asks of us. Would you join me in making this happen one person, one workplace, one family, one society at a time?

8/3/15

I would like to see a world that is more interconnected not less. So I am not arguing for a world where we make walls around us. That is not the true meaning of swadeshi at all.

True swadeshi sees everyone as one.

Since it makes sense to use our resources wisely we turn to our neighbors first both to share the fruit of our labor and to seek that which they may have produced.

We are truly one.

Let's be sensible about it. We are all one but let's turn to our neighbors first.

When we do that we end up creating a real society. That is all that Gandhiji wanted us to understand about economics. 

7/26/15

Why do we believe what we are told? Why do we not think for ourselves?

Is it because we have been trained like Pavlov's poor dogs to respond a certain way to certain stimuli? I think it is. In my own case the Pavlovian analogy is not so far-fetched. My so-called teachers carried canes in their hands and beat us mercilessly if we did not do exactly what they wanted us to do. I remember once I was caned for speaking in Hindi, once for eating 'Indian food' out of my plastic lunch box. Both those were forbidden. So for me it is not hard to understand why I would 'buy in' to the brainwashing that passed for an education. With that sort of education it is a wonder that I ever 'got out'.

And the only reason I 'got out' was because of Gandhiji.

Growing up in a system far worse than the one I was subjected to, Gandhiji managed to find his bearings and with strength and dignity declared freedom from the stupid bigoted colonial education that all of us in India grew up with. Which is why he is my bapu, my father.

He is our bapu.

And he is the bapu of what we may now call Gandhian economics (though he never called it that). This would be an economics, a study of how people live and work in the 'ordinary business of life' as whole beings. People not split into consumers and producers but whole people who do many things: Live, work, love, laugh, enjoy their families, their friends, contribute to the building of complex inter-relationships and hence society itself. That is what we are exploring in these pages.

We are inspired by our father's example in rejecting the conventions of what passes today as economics, just as it did 100 years ago in Gandhiji's own time. We are building up, bit by bit, ideas, principles, theory and applications of a multifaceted, pluralistic and above all whole body of ideas that replaces the conventional ideas held by economics today which serve only to split each of us, split our families and destroy what is left of society.

We can change the world. We have to start with ourselves. We have to deprogram ourselves from our Pavlovian training and think for ourselves, chart our own paths across the sea of our life.

Gandhiji can serve as a useful compass on this journey. Which is why I write and which is why we should read him in his own words. 

7/23/15

I don't have to look far to see that there is humanity and then there is rationality. Humanity is a felt thing. You know when you follow Truth and when you follow unTruth. It is simple and can be trusted. This is the path that Gandhiji urged us to take.

Rationality gives precedence to cold reason over human considerations. Rationality is the path urged by modern economics. It is rationality alone that made it possible for the British to tax salt in India at levels that were unsustainable for the poor but immensely profitable for the government. India being a land of the poor, its very spirit was broken by this law. The salt lay in plain sight in the earth and yet its harvesting was forbidden even when done for the sake of the cattle who needed an occasional lick to sustain themselves.

There are accounts of cattlemen taking their cattle out late at night so that the cattle could lick some salt. Often such attempts were aborted by the overzealous police. The men were beaten, their cattle impounded. Such was the use of rationality in economic policy-making in British India.

It was a very profitable policy. All it lacked was humanity.

And that missing humanity makes all the difference between bad policy and good policy, between life wasted and life sustained. It is hard for me to believe that in my own country of birth (and that of Gandhiji) and all over the world people still, to this day, buy into the idea of rationality as the guiding principle of economic policy.

Friends, that is not just silly, it is downright dangerous. That attitude has brought the world to the brink of destruction. Only humanity can save it. 

6/9/15

We want to live a good life. But we don't know how. Everything that we try is what we have learned. What we have been taught.

And yet, and yet, unless we truly try something different, something our fathers and fore-fathers and mothers and fore-mothers never tried, unless that is to say we can break out of our entire world-view, created for us through the modern family, society and schooling, we are unable to create something new.

This something new is waiting for us. It is our future. The question is, is it going to be realized?

Unless we change in the now, this very moment, the past continues into the future. Our only hope is that we may awaken in the now and change. We must break that continuity from the past to the future to truly have a future that is different from where we have been.

Yesterday the people suffered. Everywhere, not just in the so-called poor countries. Tomorrow people will suffer. Unless we can break the curse and that breaking of the curse has to happen in the present moment. It has to happen now.

So what we are up against is a monumental challenge. I am not saying: We have to go to such and such a place and do such and such a heroic task. I am saying that we have to change. And we only have a moment to do so.

We have to change now! Without each one of us changing in this very instant, all the things that we are saddened by, all the stupendous unrealized potentials of human beings and Mother Earth, that is to say our past and our cherished future will remain, as it has for eons, a tragedy.

It doesn't have to be that way. All it takes is for one of us to embrace change in the now.

When we embrace that change, we change. We no longer operate from our automatic programming of school, family and society. We let go of the twin feelings controlling us, fear and greed.

And suddenly we are free.

6/4/15

As above so below. As in the small so in the medium and so in the large.

Whether we explore the microcosm, the mesocosm or the macrocosm we find the same economic relationships hold true for the economic system.

In what I call the economy of use the microcosm consists of whole individuals living whole lives as parts of whole families and whole societies. Gandhiji said that a group of people did not make a society. A group of people by themselves are what he called 'the masses'. It was when people had interrelationships that a society was created. Interrelationships are impossible without wholeness. The modern split is fundamental because it precludes society by negating wholeness.

Such a whole microcosm is reflected in the mesocosm. The village is not just a source for labor or raw materials or markets. It is all these and much more. It is itself a society by which I mean that there are interrelationships that are fundamental to the well-being of the village society. Production is with local materials, found within a five mile radius around the village, using local labor and enterprise and for local use in the village and neighboring villages. The city is not just a center of production, drawing resources in from far and wide. In fact the city, just like the village, uses local resources, local labor and produces for local use.

In the macrocosm the entire country produces not for export but for use. It produces not at the cheapest cost but at the appropriate cost that would sustain the local economies. Imports are largely unnecessary because the micro- and meso- components of the macrocosm are self-sustaining and self-reliant.

Friends, once again: As above so below. As in the small so in the medium and so in the large. So when we examine our present economic system or what I call the economy of more more more, we find at all levels the basic disconnect, the splitting that is at the heart of modern life.

In the microcosm of the economy of more more more is the split individual struggling to juggle relationships, keep up with paying her bills, working at a job at a company owned by unknown entities, generally directed by someone far away. It is a struggle to know who exactly one is, once stripped away from one's labels: what schools did you go to, what recognitions did you receive, how much are you worth? Just as the individual is fragile so are her relationships, especially vulnerable being the family. Work keeps piling up, debt keeps piling up, the kids are disrespectful, friends unreliable, the pressure is always on. There is no time to sit around and tell stories, to work together, the laugh together, to tend to the garden together, to hug trees.

I hope I have not lost you by now dear reader. Perhaps you are thinking, what nonsense! This ain't economics! Well hold on. This all is decidedly economics, just not the economics that you were drilled in. You will have to step outside your schooling to see what I am talking about. Let us continue. In the mesocosm the village is seen simply as a source of three things: raw materials, labor and markets. Thus in country after country rural areas have seen food production replaced by so-called cash crops. Good land that could sustain millions of families on the whole grains is used to grow sugar cane for the sweet-loving city folks, corn to feed animals who live their entire lives in cages, cotton to make billions of items of cheaply made cloth such a T-shirts that are used for a little while and thrown away and so on. In village after village young people leave looking for work. They head to the cities and leave behind clean air and water, the beautiful land itself to live in slums to make money to send home to their families. And finally the crap produced in giant factories in cities far away are shipped back to the villages for sale. Traveling in my ancestral lands in India I found that the red rice that I grew up on was no longer available where it once originated from. The hand-pounded rice, nutty and brown of my childhood is also not available. Bajri, Juwar and the other grains of my childhood are available only in the cities! In the villages themselves, where they once grew all these things locally, the only grains that you can buy is white polished rice and wheat, both of which come from the cities in branded form. And what about the economy of the city? Overpopulated to the point that it is difficult even to walk around such as in my city of birth. There are people everywhere! They have flooded in from the villages and keep flooding in every day. People working so hard that in many families I talked to children were sent away to live with grandparents because with husbands and wives working twelve hour days, commuting for another two to four hours a day, six days a week, there is no time for family life. Overpopulated, incredibly polluted and filthy are our cities as they keep pumping the economy of more more more.

And what about the macrocosm of the economy of more more more? The history of the world since the Industrial Revolution should make that very clear. When the system creates an appetite that can never be satisfied, what modern economics calls 'unlimited wants', there is a need for ever larger sources of raw materials, an ever larger source of labor and ever larger markets. Since this is in fact impossible, since the earth is only one and life itself is limited, it only means one thing: war. The macrocosm involves constant battles big and small for more more more. More raw materials, more command over labor, more markets. When every country starts doing that someone's got to get hurt. That someone is the innocent who bleeds to death in the economy of more more more.

Let us wake up to this madness. Let us spend more time with ourselves in thought and contemplation. Let us spend time with our children. Stop buying them things and start buying them time. Time to do projects together. Time to simply sit and laugh. Let us examine our work and let our work sustain us. Let us let go of two things in our lives that make us slaves to the economy of more more more: fear and greed. Letting go of fear allows us to be ourselves instead of being judged by our degrees and job titles and how much money we make. It allows us to leave the pack racing towards more more more destruction of the human being, families, societies, and the human race itself. Let us let go of greed and learn to be happy with what we have. Everything we need is available to us simply and with very little effort. We must work to live but let us not live to work. Let us be the owners of our own destiny by starting to be the owners of our own time, our own tastes, our own wholeness.

We don't need to wait for the world to change. We can change. Now.

Once again my friends, as above so below. As in the small so in the medium and so in the large. When one of us changes we change the world.

5/29/15

Modern economics is a conjuring trick. The effective conjurer creates an illusion of magnificent proportions--chopping a beautiful young woman in half, the disappearance of a wedding ring and its reappearance, the correct prediction of a privately chosen playing card. So does, in like fashion, the modern economist.

The two tools of the act of conjuring that is known as modern economics are misschooling and hijacking

Having gone through the rigorous process of misschooling in modern economics in two continents, I may be considered qualified to make a statement or two on this topic, since no one else has. You see, once you have been misschooled it is in your self-interest to keep your 'bloody mouth shut,' as my adviser in graduate school in economics advised me to do. I have kept my 'bloody mouth shut' for too long not just from self-interest but also from consideration for the feelings of my old teachers and professors. I have come to realize that that is wrong and that I must speak up. 

I was first misschooled at Jamnabai Narsee School in Bombay, where I did not have to read a single word of Gandhiji's in all my years of miseducation. This school was considered one of the best schools in Bombay. The only time Gandhiji came up was right before Gandhi Jayanti one year when the school arbitrarily decided that students would give speeches on Gandhiji's birthday. 

Since I was considered to be the best speaker in my class, my teacher handed me a speech written by one of my classmates' father and asked me to 'mug up' the speech to deliver on Gandhiji's birthday. The speech made me nauseous. It had profoundly stupid statements such as, "He was known as the naked fakir.

Luckily for me I went crying to my father. He had studied in a school run by freedom-fighters and read Gandhiji's autobiography in its original Gujarati (his Principal had given it to him) and was able to help me make my own speech which I delivered to all the other fourth standard students. After that Gandhiji was never mentioned again in my school. 

That brings us to college. I received my BA in economics from St. Xavier's College, Bombay. This college was considered to be one of the best colleges in the country. In my five years of miseducation at St. Xavier's I never had to read Gandhiji and I had never even heard of Kumarappa! The elocution contests were sponsored by the chamber of commerce and needless to say I never once won these competitions or even got selected to represent my college. I must hasten to point out that my professors were some of the sweetest people I have ever met. They were kind, generous and taught us what they themselves had been taught. I remember my mother, who was herself denied an education by her parents because she was a girl, asking me quite innocently in my third year of college if we studied Vinoba in economics class and I asked (much to my shame now but not then), "Who's that?" I would like to point out that as a National Talent Search Examination (NTSE) Scholar I was considered to be one of the brightest that the college had produced. 

I fear things are not much better now. If asked about Hind Swaraj, the bright college student today is very likely to ask, "What's that?" And referring to Ram Rajya, the same student is most likely to think that reference was being made to bigoted ideas of the extreme right. 

I received my MA in economics from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois and awarded the title of University Fellow. If India had been a miseducation, America was miseducation magnified. In the name of education, mental gymnastics aided by mind-numbing mathematics were presented and memorized, all in the aid of preserving a patently unequal economic system controlled by the rich and powerful. 

That has been my own experience of misschooling in economics. Had it not been for my father, a brilliant maverick economist, and our family's tradition of reading and long conversations late into the night, I would have been perfectly molded into the model economist. Unfortunately for me, my father died when I was 16 years of age, and that loss left me at the mercy of my misschooling until my awakening

Let us return to our analogy of the modern economist as showman-conjurer. We have examined above the first of the two tricks up the conjurer's sleeve, that is miseducation. We understand through my personal experience how so-called higher education in modern economics is brainwashing in the interests of fear and greed. It is not that Gandhian economics is rejected by this system, it is that it is never ever brought up! Show me the economics professor who talks of Gandhiji in his or her class and I will touch their feet. I have yet to touch any economist's feet. 

The second tool of the economist-conjurer is hijacking! The modern economist hijacks concepts that should with common sense mean one thing but are made to appear as something else altogether. We will examine just two of about a thousand such concepts.

Consider rationality. Common sense tells us that people and animals and as scientists have shown us more recently, even plants, are rational in the sense that they care about being alive and preserving their kind. So we would have to agree that the common sense meaning of Rational Man would be that he (or she) take actions that would preserve mankind. But modern economists insist that the basic axiom (axioms are never proven--they are stated as accepted facts) of life is that individuals only care for themselves, that they want more more more, that human wants are unlimited! Common sense tells us that if every single person wants everything that is in this world and more, mankind would perish from constant conflict. That would hardly be rational for the species!

Consider freedom. Modern economists say freedom consists in being able to buy anything one pleases. But common sense tells us that to buy things means to use money and to use money in turn means to have to earn it. How is a person to be considered free who has to toil long hours, not to grow his or her food, but to make someone at the helm of a very large organization fantastically rich? This so-called freedom is paid for by the blood and sweat of the people forced to work long hours at meaningless jobs, away from their families and communities, to purchase shoddy goods that are put away in a while, food removed of all nutrition that is bad for their health, just to plop down in front of a giant television set where they will be told what they must consume next.

Rationality and freedom are just two of a thousand common sense ideas that have been hijacked by modern economists and brought into the conjuring act.

With the skillful and persistent use of misschooling and hijacking the modern economist is constantly creating illusions for the world to see and believe.

In the meantime suffering increases, we are more lonely than ever before and parents have no time for their children and children have no use for their parents. 

I could go on and on and on. I could write a book on all this. But really, who is listening? Who would bother to read my book?



5/28/15

Modern economics has been marketed to the masses under the guise of freedom. But following my self-interest is not freedom. It is following the basest of my instincts! I admit that I am selfish. I am perhaps the greediest person alive. 

But am I truly free when I am selfish and greedy? No, I feel like I live in a prison of my own making. I am not free.

Something inside me makes me want to be free. And sometimes I feel very deeply the following: 

Freedom consists in following the highest of my instincts. 

Do you think self-interest is the most we can hope from human beings? Is greed the most we can hope for? I do not think so. 

And if the most selfish and greedy person in the world (that I undoubtedly am) feels in his bones that he can be more than he is, is that not a sign that true freedom is possible?

The answer is, yes!

But we must give up on modern economics before true freedom can become a reality.




5/24/15

Modern economics is about what. What kind of school do you go to, what degrees do you earn, what you do for a living. Furthermore, what do you buy, what do you possess, what do you amount to?

Gandhian economics is the name we give to multiplicity of approaches that are all about how. How do you learn, how do you act, how do you live? Furthermore, how do you buy, how do you possess--do you only own things that you use, how do you make your life as a part of society?

How is infinitely more important than what. However, at present, what, being backed by money and power, is trampling over how. This has been the history of our modern era.

However much we are trampled upon and neglected, we must speak up. How we do it is very important. 

Which is why I write and teach. 



5/18/15

What is Gandhian banking?

The banking system is raw power, like horses, bullocks, steam or electricity, that may be used for evil (as it has so far in modern times) or for good (as I propose). The principal tool of this magnificent system of unrivaled power is interest.

The banking system flows capital to various channels and receives a reciprocal flow called interest. That is natural and the way it should be. Interest is ever flowing in the opposite direction of the flow of capital. 

However, interest has been misused so far to create poverty rather than wealth, to drain communities of wealth rather than build communities. This has happened because of the misuse and abuse of the concept of interest. 

A Gandhian banking would involve the simple proposition:

That interest is ever flowing as a reciprocal flow to capital and that interest should be paid on productive loans but be unpaid on use loans. 

When money is borrowed for productive purposes, to start or expand a business for instance, a profit is expected to be realized, new wealth is created in the world, and so the paying of interest is the most natural thing in the world. It is simply sharing of the new wealth so created.

When money is borrowed for use, to buy food or shelter for instance, no profit is expected, no new wealth is created, and so the paying of interest would be the most unnatural thing in the world. In this case interest if paid would lead to the impoverishment of the borrower and would make the world a poorer place. 

For much of the history of the modern world interest has been charged and paid for both productive loans (where it is natural to do so) and use loans (where is is unnatural to do so). The result of this is that wealth has multiplied (as a result of the former) even as people have been impoverished (as a result of the latter). 

Understanding the difference between productive loans and use loans is crucial and has so far been ignored in the modern economy since the industrial revolution. But the ancients understood this distinction perfectly, always allowing interest on productive loans while frowning upon interest on use loans. The ancients called this latter practice usury, meaning 'wearing down'. 

Let us summarize the economics of Gandhian banking:

1. Interest flows always as a reciprocal flow to capital.

2. In the case of productive loans interest is borne by the borrower. This is a business transaction. The profits are shared out of new wealth created.

3. In the case of use loans interest is borne by the lender. This is a social transaction. There are no profits involved and to charge interest drains the borrower. By charging no interest wealth is maintained and not drained. 

4. The system of Gandhian banking is a sustainable system of banking. Like the ancients we recognize that charging interest on productive loans is simply sharing profits while refraining from charging interest on use loans keeps wealth from being drained from those in need.

The banking system is indeed raw power, like bullocks, horses, steam or electricity. Together let us use it for good.  

5/16/15

We must "be the change we wish to see." A corollary from this is that we become what we see. If we see harmony we become harmony. If we see selflessness we become selfless.

And then there is also this: If we see corruption we become corrupt. If we see self-interest we become self-interested.

Krishnamurti said in the last talk he gave in Bombay, "Corruption is not just passing money under the table. Anytime there is self-interest there is corruption. Self-interest is corruption."

What is the task ahead of us? It is not to change anything 'out there'. It is to change ourselves bit by bit. I am the most selfish man alive, the most greedy. However my task is not to judge. My task is not to make a leap.

My only task is to be a little less selfish and a little less greedy each day. Every single day. And to share this profound change with you, my readers.

Change, however small, can be seen. At first only we ourselves see it. And we change. And then others see us change. Then they become the change.

Friends, you, me, we, are One.

5/15/15

Gandhiji's image is on all of India's currency. But currency in India and everywhere in the world is part of the modern banking system of more more more that is distinctly un-Gandhian. This is unfortunate because like steam or electricity the banking system is a tremendous force that can be tapped for good.

To understand what banking in the economy of use may look like we must first understand how modern banking emerged and how it works. Once we do that I will outline how we can develop a distinct banking system for what I call the economy of use: A banking system for the benefit of all. 

The history of modern banking can be explained very easily. When people had money that needed looking after a man with a strong box would offer to look after the money for a small fee. Let us imagine 100 villagers leaving their gold money with the man with the strong box; he becomes their banker. The villagers come to the banker to withdraw some of their money and to deposit some new money to be kept safe for them.

The banker soon sees that he has a large reserve that is untouched. Although part of their deposits are withdrawn by the villagers, fresh deposits come in all the time. The banker realizes that in practice this large reserve that is permanently unused is about ten times the amount that he needs to have ready and available for the villagers who withdraw their money in any given period of time.

Imagine that each of our 100 villagers has deposited 11 gold coins with the banker. Then the banker would see that 100 gold coins were enough to keep at hand for any withdrawals and 1,000 gold coins were available to him, the banker, to play with as he saw fit. 

Though the money rightfully belonged to the 100 villagers, it was the banker, by the device of lending and relending money not his own, who tapped into a tremendous power beyond the wildest dreams of agriculturists or manufacturers, kings or queens, conquerers or imperialists. 

Powerful as it is, the story so far is only the story of proto-banking. We need to see Act II of our play to see banking in its real form emerge. 

This happens when our banker realizes that he need not keep any money at hand at all! The villagers keep faithfully depositing their money with the banker and he in turn hands them receipts, little pieces of paper emblazoned with many seals, that are the banker's promise to pay. And lo and behold the entire village starts accepting these little pieces of paper and starts circulating these little pieces of paper for real goods made with real human effort. With this paper money is born and the modern banking system is established. 

Having established how modern banking was created we can now turn to how modern banking works. This can be explained in 4 easy steps:

1. The banking system creates money out of thin air. The amount of money created is about ten times as much as any individual or potentate with that amount of money could create.

2. The banking system governs money completely, creating a State within a State. Money is different from food and other goods and services. While everything else takes effort to produce, money can be produced effortlessly by the banking system. It can be used for evil or it can be used for good.

3. Money which is the 'product' of the banking system is perfectly liquid. It can be used for whatever the banking system wants without having to wait or lose value. Hence the banking system can control business and industry, agriculture and its related infrastructure, and in general the entire economy. Perfectly liquid money, without limit, can energize X and enervate Y, make lives and break lives, and over time drain wealth or revitalize communities by the selective charging or non-charging of interest.

4. No other system, not agriculture, not industry, not services, can outcompete the banking system for the simple reason that the banking system uses money that is counted ten times over and over again. 

We have explained how the banking system was established and how it works everywhere and always in all of the world. We now need to explain what capital and interest are. 

Capital is defined as the produced means of production. Capital is used to do things with: to make things, to buy things, to go places and to do stuff. Interest is capital's reciprocal flow. Like a shadow it is ever present whenever capital is involved and flows always in the opposite direction of the flow of capital.

Capital can flow into two distinct places: productive investments and use investments. Productive investments are activities that involve the use of capital to make more and other stuff. Someone borrowing capital to start a business would be an example of productive investment. Use investments are activities that are concerned with the daily act of living in society. Someone borrowing capital to feed her family or to marry would be examples of use investment.

Historically, although the charging of interest for productive loans was always accepted, the charging of interest for use loans was heavily frowned upon and termed usury. There were legal and more importantly moral safeguards against usury in society. 

Banking in what I call the economy of use would seek to harness the fantastic power of the banking system for good rather than evil. It would consist of the following propositions:

1. We accept that interest is everywhere and always flowing as a reciprocal flow to capital. 

2. While interest is ever flowing, interest should be charged and paid only in the case of productive loans. In the case of use loans interest should not be charged nor paid but borne by the lender rather than the borrower. Thus we shall permit of no usury.

3. The banking system is a tremendous motive force like steam is to a steam engine. We must harness it and use it for good.

4. In the economy of use, productive loans are defined as loans obtained for the purpose of doing something productive in harmony with Mother Nature and contributing to the family and community. Use loans are defined as loans for the purpose of obtaining things that will and must be used rather than hoarded. 

5. Dignity Banks should be set up in village after village, community after community, and should charge a simple interest of 5% for productive loans and 0% for use loans. In a few years if the principal is depleted, fresh infusions of capital should be made to the Dignity Banks.

Thus would banking under the economy of use harness the quiet power of banking to do good rather than evil. I ask people and groups with money and capital to help me achieve this goal. We are all in this together. We are the 100%. 


5/14/15

In the year after India gained independence, 2.1 million acres of good, cultivable land was used to grow peanuts all of which were chemically and heat-converted into hydrogenated oil marketed with duplicity as vanaspati (vegetable) ghee

At the time according to Kumarappa two acres of such land could easily support a family of five year-round. 

The government's support of the vanaspati ghee industry brought unimagined wealth to the owners of the industry and ancillary industries. On average vanaspati ghee was priced at one and a half times as much as cold-pressed locally made oils. 

At the same time that families were paying 50% more for a markedly inferior product detrimental to their health, 5.25 million souls were being denied their right to their most fundamental livelihood: their right to grow and eat food instead of starving. 

Sources for calculations: Gram Udyog Patrika, July/August 1947 and April 1949. 
What is the economic history of my country? Tomes have been written on this subject. Worldwide the media celebrates India's success story. The story of India's suffering and malnourished millions remains untold. Between the obfuscation of the scholarly tomes and the unabashed obsequiousness of the media the Truth lies forgotten.

Let us tell the economic history of my country. And let us do it in a minute. 

Soon after the British left India Gandhiji was put up on a pedestal as Father of the nation and conveniently forgotten. Fear and greed, rather than Truth and Love, ruled the day. The Government supported corrupt and wealthy businessmen in setting up Agricultural Colleges that specialized in removing nutrition from the food. 

Polished rice replaced brown rice, maida replaced whole grain flour, chemically processed hydrogenated oil marketed as vanaspati ghee replaced cold-pressed oils made locally, refined sugar replaced palm sugar once grown on land too hilly for cultivation. 

The hungry, starving millions in India's 700,000 villages paid high taxes and ate worse than they ever had. Their meager food supplies were now devoid of any nutritional content. Their suffering grew. Millions of farmers committed suicide and continue to do so to this day.

Gandhiji's image is on all of India's currency while the economy follows none of his principles. Someone's got to speak up. Which is why I write. 



5/11/15

Kumarappa, the father of Gandhian economics, said that under British India the poor paid 88% of their income in taxes and received back 12% in Government services. The astonishing fact is that this proportion has not changed in India after independence. The still more astonishing fact is that this proportion holds true for the poor worldwide, from poor countries to America, richest of the rich countries.

It does not take more than a quick calculation to realize that the majority of the world is poor. Not only that but that in each and every country in the world the poor constitute a majority! So when we are talking of humanity we are really talking of the poor. Humanity is paying 88% and getting 12%. Once again it is easily seen that under this system misery must grow. 

So we must accept that misery has grown. This is not theoretical. Unless you are really checked out it is self-evident. We can see it everywhere. And we must accept that misery is growing. 

Humanity was miserable, is miserable and will always be miserable at an increasing rate if we continue as we have for centuries. How can we accept this? How can we accept a system that ensures that humanity will always be miserable? Human life is a gift of Mother nature.Could it be that we have disrespected this gift? That we have lost our dignity by denying humanity its dignity?

Gandhian economics is a simple and honest program to end misery. The poor are humanity! We are the 100%! Let us work together as brothers and sisters to change the world.
The story of my country is the story of fear and greed trumping Truth. 

Barely a year after independence Einstein warned India that the use of chemical fertilizers and tractors would lead to the destruction of the soil and in the long run cause untold misery. 

Kumarappa, the father of Gandhian economics, himself warned my countrymen that unless India were to be organized on decentralized principles focused on organic farming and meeting all its needs through local economies, he feared the worst for the country's future.

Even as bigger and bigger monuments have been placed in the memory of Gandhiji, all around the country and all around the world, his ideas and values have been totally ignored, often by the same people who are putting up the monuments.

And so the story of my country is really the story of the world. In country after country local economies that were once self-sufficient, that once created thoughtful employment for people and animals, that once engaged nature is its awesome flow, have been destroyed. 

Fear makes us follow self-interest and greed makes us maximize. Self-interest and maximization lead to power, centralization, fabulous wealth for the few and destitution for the majority. Together they lead to work that is devoid of meaning, the breakdown of family life and hence the breakdown of society. 

Even Einstein could never have imagined the world that we have created by abandoning Truth. Do we now have the courage to abandon our own self-interest and our own maximizing behavior and instead choose Truth?

That is all that Gandhiji asked us to do. Really!