(GIST OF YOJANA) A Possibility in the Ecosystem of Swadeshi and Swaraj [OCTOBER-2019]
(GIST OF YOJANA) A Possibility in the Ecosystem of Swadeshi and Swaraj
A Possibility in the Ecosystem of Swadeshi and Swaraj
- Gandhi had developed the thesis of trusteeship as an alternative to capitalism and communism. Since 1900 the world has changed. Communism as an experiment is almost over. There is a feeling that capitalism is the only saviour for humanity and there is no alternative! In this context understanding Gandhi's ideas of Trusteeship is important. When Gandhi developed this concept, he was essentially trying to argue out a theoretical case.
- The basic and fundamental argument he made in this regard was that both
capitalism and communism were founded on violence. In capitalism. Wealth
creation generates violence. Communism that talks generates about equity
also recommends violence. As against both the schools of thoughts,
trusteeship principle basically stands on non-violence. The efforts that
society has to make to achieve this kind of equity arc not on violence.
- So for a sustainable society, Gandhi’s argument was that trusteeship stands a better chance at the theoretical level. This point is very interestingly brought out by Ajit Dasgupta, “it was however with trusteeship as a theory, an idea, a social and moral norm that he was concerned” thus for example, he describes a society based on trusteeship as follows: “the rich man will be left in possession of wealth of which he will use when he necessarily requires and reasonably satisfies his personal needs and then act as a trustee for the remainder to be used for the society and by the society.
- The fundamental assumption regarding the theory is honesty and integrity of the trustee. Unrealistic nature of the assumption did not deter him since the idea essentially was embedded in the nature of a theoretical model. Many commentaries followed on this point. Prof. Dantwala, a well known scholar opined that it was necessary to distinguish the moral principles of trusteeship from the system of economic development and business management that could be deduced from it.
- In other words, Trusteeship is one such theory' from where one should deduce and should not hold Gandhi responsible for such deductions. This point needs to be emphasised as eminent scholars have observed that trusteeship as a concept is not absolute but relative in space and time and on the needs of society. Dantwala differs Iron other scholars. The principle was ‘absolute’ but the application of it can be relative what is relative or tentative is the floor work of political/ economic arrangement based on this moral philosophy. The ‘theory for theory’ must be examined first before we reject his theory on the whole. A number of scholars and philosophers have thought that Gandhi’s idea of trusteeship is not operational.
- However, Gandhi is not arguing of the workability of trusteeship, but he is only promulgating the theory of trusteeship. The idea of trusteeship is based on one particular value that is embedded in Indian tradition. It is the value of aparigraha non-acquisitive nature of the human being that has to be developed. This aparigraha is the foundation of his idea of trusteeship.
- It has so happened that the positive economics, as it evolved, has
ignored values of this nature. Apangraha becomes an integral part of the
human behaviour and this has to be considered
also as a part of the behaviour of the economic man. Gandhi departs from the conventional positive economists from this point. The economic man has an ordinal utility, which is qualitative and comparable. Aparigrahi, i.e., the person who is acquiring wealth but is not acquisitive, has a variety of uses of his wealth. One, and also accepted by the positive economists, would be the utilisation for self satisfaction gratification of self-needs. This is one part of the utility; the other part of utility involves an individual deriving the satisfaction and utility by satisfying the needs of others. In this case, she takes into consideration the satisfaction of family members, relatives, neighbourhood, society at large and the whole world by her actions.
- The important aspect of aparigraha is its multi-utility concept This concept is slightly different and qualitative in nature, and for maximisation of satisfaction, this multi-order utility has to be considered rather than focusing only on the economic man, where the anthropocentric behaviour aims at maximising individual utility.
- This normative nature of aparigraha is accepted in the mainstream economic analysis, cultivating an aparigraha individual becomes a major task. Gandhi believed that the value of aparigraha had been embedded in Indian culture. In contemporary corporate environment, the dominance of the positive economics is reflected in the acceptance of the exogenous nature of values, i.e., the values have to be treated outside and separately. This is not true because actual human behaviour is not bereft of such kind of value systems. The market failure signals the failure of acting like an economic man. In reality, the economic man concept becomes segregated and stands alone in a text bookish world.
- In corporate practice often there exists irrationality-value other than profit motive. If space is to be created for such value, then it is possible to create space for aparigraha as a value to be operational. Trusteeship is based on this premise. Taking the point a little further, one can understand the practical implications. If aparigraha is to be imbibed, the approach to view the production system would differ.
- Also, within the production system, the issues like what to produce and
how much to produce would be tackled from a different perspective The
society would need to find a way to bring down the acquisitive nature of the
population. One solution lies with the introduction of the moral.
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Trusteeship is Based on Ahimsa
- Essentially, trusteeship is based on the idea of ahimsa. The natural corollary of ahimsa is satyagraha, that is, if the wealthy and the capitalist do not part with their wealth voluntarily, then the weapon of satyagraha is to be used. Gandhiji was repeatedly asked the process of bringing about trusteeship. Persuasion and non-cooperation was Gandhi’s answer. He was also asked that if the trustee fails to behave as a trustee, would the State be justified in dispossessing them. His answer was ‘yes’. ‘As a matter of fact, the state will take away all those things and I believe it will be justified if it uses the minimum violence’. It is interesting to note that Gandhi also thought about the role of the State too. He had realised the long process of inculcating a personal moral value in society. The role of the State is only for shorter time. Dantwala had rightly pointed out that if the nature of State was not clear and also if the nature of the State were exploitative and repressive, as has been the general case, then the society would be pushed towards the State capitalism even under this model.
Trusteeship Allows Creation of Wealth
- Trusteeship is essentially about how to possess and how much to possess.
It is not against creation and possession. Creation and possession of wealth
is justified in the scheme of Trusteeship. When Gandhi came back to
Ahmedabad, one of the problems he faced was the textile mill strike. By then
in the entire industrialised work workers union etc. had taken good shape;
negotiation used to go on, but the spirit was that of opponents. It was one
versus the other. Gandhi brought in the change and incorporated the
trusteeship concept.“In the textile mill strike, what I expect of you
therefore is that you should hold all your richer as a trust to be used
solely in the interest of those who sweat for you and whose industry and
labour you owe all your possessions and property.
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