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.
Posted by Abhay Burjor Ghiara at 10/04/2015