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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 ...

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. 

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