In his speeches at the Thana Meet 1973, which constitutes his ‘Magnum Opus’, Shri Guruji explained the basic Hindu view on economic problems. Deductions that naturally flow his enunciation are as follows:
The basic requirements of life must be made available to every citizen.
Material wealth is to be acquired, so that we can serve God in the form of society, in the best possible manner, and out of all that wealth, only the minimum should be used for selfsake the denial of which will hamper out capacity for service. To claim or to make personal use of more than that is verily the act of theft against the society:
यावद् भ्रीयेत् जठरं तावत् स्वत्वं हि देहिनाम् ।
अधिकं योभिमन्येत स स्तेनो दंडमर्हति ।।
Thus we are only the trustees of the society. It is only when we become true trustees that we can serve the society best.
Consequently, there must be some ceiling on the individual accumulation, and no person has a right to exploit someone else’s labour for personal profit.
Vulgar, ostentatious and wasteful expenditure is a sin when millions are starving. There must be reasonable restrictions on all consumption. ‘Consumerism’ is not compatible with the spirit of the Hindu culture.
‘Maximum production and equitable distribution’ should be our motto; national self-reliance, our immediate goal.
The problem of unemployment and under-employment must be tackled on war-footing.
While industrialisation is a must, it need not be the blind imitation of the West. Nature is to be milked and not raped. Ecological factors, balance of nature and the requirements of the future generations should also be taken into account. There should be an integrated thinking on Ecology, Economics and Ethics.
Greater stress should be laid on the labour intensive rather than capital-intensive industries.
Our technologists should be required to introduce, for the benefit of the artisans, reasonably adaptable changes in the traditional techniques of production, without incurring the risk of increase in unemployment of workers, wastage of available managerial and technical skills, and complete decapitalisation of the existing means of production, and to evolve our own indigenous technology with great emphasis on decentralization of the processes of production with the help of power, with home instead of factory, as a centre of production.
It is necessary to reconcile efficiency with employment expansion.
Labour is also one form of capital in every industry. The labour of every worker should be evaluated in terms of share, and workers raised to the status of shareholders contributing labour as their share.
Consumers’ interest is the nearest economic equivalent of national interest. Society is the third, and more important party to all industrial relations. The current Western concept of ‘collective bargaining’ is not consistent with this view. It should be replaced by some other terms such as, ‘National Commitment’ i.e. the commitment of both the employers and employees to the Nation.
The surplus value of labour belongs to the Nation.
There need not be any rigidity about the patterns of industrial ownerships. There are various patterns, such as, private enterprise, nationalization, co-operation, municipalisation, democratization, self-employment, joint-industry etc. For each industry the pattern of ownership should be determined in the light of it’s peculiar characteristics and total requirement of the national economy.
We are free to evolve any variety of socio-economic order provided it is in keeping with the basic tenets of Dharma.
But changes in the superstructure of society will be of no use if the mind of every citizen is not moulded properly. Indeed, the system works ill or well according to the men who work it out.
Our view of the relation between individual and society has always been, not one of conflict, but of harmony and co-operation, born out of consciousness of a single reality running through all the individuals. The individual is a living limb of the corporate social personality.
The Sanskaras of identification with the entire Nation constitutes the real social infra-structure of any socio-economic order.