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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 ...

5/7/14

There is so much suffering in the world. If we stop and pay attention we can see it everywhere. I grew up in India. I now live in the United States. In both these countries there is suffering. Too much suffering.

I am not talking about suffering as a sophisticated psychological concept. I am talking about plain human, animal, and vegetational suffering. People are hungry. Animals are mistreated. Vegetation is destroyed unthinkingly.

How is it that there is so much suffering? If economics is the science of wealth it has clearly not worked for most people in India or the United States. Apart from a few fabulously rich people in both countries, people work hard, too hard, simply to keep things going, paycheck by paycheck.

So economics has not worked for most people. It has done them a disservice. It has impoverished them.

How can we rethink our economics so that it may be of real benefit? I would suggest the following:

1. Means and ends must be convertible terms. Gandhiji emphasized this so please pay close attention to this. Actions (means) that create suffering, environmental harm, dislocation of societies and lifestyles are not to be engaged in. That is because our means should also be capable of being seen as the ends! We can no longer justify violence in any sphere as a means to an end. The means are the ends and the ends are the means! Since our ends are peace and the end of suffering for all, the means can not include suffering.

2. Think small. We must engage with the communities we live in to create, share, and co-develop our economic resources as well as the fruits of putting these resources to use. When we think small we realize that production and consumption are not separate acts, they are two sides of the same coin. To consume local products means to produce local products and together they create local engagement and wealth.

3. End greed. We must begin to give up our greedy natures bit. By bit. There is no power in being wealthy unless someone else is poor. Wealth is simply power over others. Wealth implies poverty. And the cause of it is greed. But where does that power take us? Rich or poor, we must all die. Would we all not live better if we gave up our greed and started to enjoy each other, enjoy our animals and our beautiful planet earth?

This is only a start. You probably have many more ideas. Good! Let us each implement our own ideas without organizing, without categorizing, without classifying. That is what I call a Gandhian economics. It is the only way to end suffering. And we can do it. I am sure of it.

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