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4.1 Introduction
4.2 Gandhian Economic Philosophy
4.3 The Main Features of Gandhian Development Theory
4.3.1 The Gandhian Philosophy of Economic Concepts Related to Development
4.3.2 The Gandhian Principle of Self-Sufficiency
4.3.3 The Gandhian Theory of Balanced Growth
4.3.4 The Gandhian Dochine of Trusteeship
3.3.5 The Gandhian Model 0:' Si~stairlable Development
4.3.6 Gandhian Survodaya Plan
4.3.7 Gandhian concepts of austerity and abstinence
4.4 The Rural Development Model Based on Gandhism
4.5 A Critical Appraisal of Gandhian Development Theory
4.6 Let Us Sum Up
4.7 References and Selected Readings
4.8 Check Your Promess - Possible Answers
In the previous three units we discussed the most advocated theories of
development. In this unit you will study the Gandhian theory of development.
Although, Mahatma Gandhi was not a development economist, yet his theory
is important to development. The Gandhian theory of development is based
on the ideologies of Mahatma Gandhi, who is regarded in India as the Father
of the Nation. At the outset, Gandhian economics rejects the precepts and
assumptions of mainstream economics. It represents an alternative to
mainstream economic theories as a way to promote economic progress without
emphasizing material pursuits, or compromising human development.
After studying this unit you should be able to: e discuss Gandhian economic philosophy;
e analyze the main features of Gandhian development theory;
e explain the rural development model based on Gandhism; and
e spell out the criticisms of Gandhian theory.
Gandhi's economic philosophy was greatly influenced by Ruskin's Unto
This Last. From this book: he learnt: (a) that the good of the individual is
Theories of Development contained in the good of all; (b) that a lawyer's work has the same value as
the barber's, in as much as all have the same right to earn from their work;
and, (c) that a life of labour, i.e., the life of the tiller of the soil and the
handicraftsman is the life worth living. Further, Gandhi was also inspired by
the ideas of Thoreau, Tolstoy, and Kropotkin. Tolstoy's principles of simplicity,
asceticism, and equalitarianism became a part of Gandhi's phlosophy. Besides,
the Indian scriptures (the Bhagavad Gita, and the Upanishads) and Indian
saints such as Kabir, Mira, and Guru Nanak, also left a deep impression on
Gandhi's ideas on economics are embedded in his philosophy of life. Gandhian
economics differs from mainstream economics in the following manner
1) It replaces the assumption of the perfect mobility of labour with the
assumption that community and family stability should have priority.
2) It rejects the more-is-always-better principle. It replaces the axiom of
non-satiation with a principle of limits, the recognition that there is such
a thing as 'enough' material wealth.
3) It recognizes that consuming more than 'enough' creates more problems
than it solves, and causes consumer satisfaction or utility to decline,
rather than increase.
4) It aims at a better quality of life, rather than higher standards of living
as propagated by other economists.
Let us have a clear idea of Gandhi's philosophy of life to understand Gandhian
economics. Gandhi viewed life as a whole, and not in its isolated
compartments. According to the Indian scriptures, there are four aspects of
an individual's life: Artha (money), Kama (desire), Dharma (righteousness),
and Moksha (liberation). These aspects are interrelated, and, therefore all of
them should be harmoniously developed. Money is required to satisfy the
basic requirements of life, however, it is not the end in itself. Man's aim is
not to multiply worldly desires and engage his whole life in acquiring wealth
to satisfy all his desires. The goal of life is to control desire and transform
it, through righteousness, into liberation. He argues for the liberation

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