Gandhi held three important principles in terms of economy. First, when you make a decision, think about the last person in the society. When in doubt, think about the weakest, poorest person you have seen in your life, and ask yourself whether your action benefits and strengthens them or not. In the present economic system, the last persons are forced to live in inhuman places like slums. At their expense, a few others become millionaires and billionaires. So, the current economic system does not care for the poorest people.
Second, when you make a decision, think about greed and need. He said- there is enough for everyone’s need, not enough for anybody’s greed. If greed-based development continues, people struggling to fulfill basic needs will suffer even more. The purpose of the government should be to facilitate the conflict between greed and need, between powerful and weak, and support the weak ones. But unfortunately, whether in America, India, or Nepal, governments support the rich and powerful. We have been unable to elect a government that works for the poor, creating a needs-based rather than a greed-based economy.
Third, when you make a decision, think about production by the masses, not mass production. The economy needs to provide work for everyone’s hands, giving everyone the opportunity to live a joyful life by using their labor for their own welfare, not serving a factor owner.
We cannot remain satisfied with factories that supply unhealthy food and products so we can work hard to purchase these products.
If we allow powerful, rich people to take all the land and other natural resources, where will the poor and weak people farm and grow their food? So our struggle is to distribute access and control over natural resources and the means of living- land, water, and forests- to poor people, not companies or multinational corporations.
When rural people’s access and control over natural resources is snatched and they are pushed to live in cities under inhuman conditions- what kind of development model is this? We have no more doubt, even more so in this time of a global pandemic, that this economic model cannot and should not go any further. We must change it.
Gandhi said- produce in villages what villagers can produce themselves. Produce in factories only those things that cannot be produced by villagers. When a few companies produce everything for us, we become only consumers. We must change this.