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

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. ...

4/8/11

Gandhian economics is not about following Gandhiji blindly to the letter. It is not about finding out every word Gandhiji ever said about any topic related to economics and then repeating it, perhaps in modern garb, with econometrics tacked on for respectability. That approach may be called a Gandhist economics. That is the approach that most economists professing Gandhian thinking have taken. They usually limit themselves to one or two of Gandhiji's books that they consider to have economics content. Then they repeat what Gandhiji said with new words.

I have never seen the point of this exercise. We must create a living, breathing study in the spirit of Gandhiji. We must apply his definition of experiments to the world of economics around us. We must look at all his writing, on every topic imaginable, to get glimpses of the brilliant insight that his approach to life can teach us about developing a method of writing about economics. Sometimes it is his writing on diet that may inspire us. For instance, an agitated follower of Gandhiji who had resolved to become a vegetarian even while living in a meat eating family wrote to Gandhiji a letter that carried this thought: Through some substantial self-restraint the writer had managed to become and stay vegetarian while living in an extended Indian family. His family had recently brought to his attention the thoughts of the much-revered Swami Vivekananda, who urged his countrymen to partake of meat offering to take upon himself any sins that may befall people who did so. To this Gandhiji calmly replied that one must always do what feels right to us through a process of inner searching and turn down the views of even the greatest of authorities in favor of the results of our own inner experiments.*

I am always moved by this letter to a man whose own faith had been shaken by the words of authority. I am moved to attempt a creation of a Gandhian economics, in the spirit of Gandhiji, without looking to anyone, not even Gandhiji as the sole authority, but rather allowing bapu to lead us by shining his light upon our world. I have no desire to belittle the great scholars who may know much more than me about what Gandhiji said about this or that. They may be great in their own way. This for me is a personal search, the story of my own experiments with the truth of economics.

*Young India, 7-10-1926. 

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