Chandrasekaran Balakrishnan discusses M K. Gandhi’s views on economics in the latest issue of Pragati.
In the wake of the global economic crisis, it is pertinent to examine Gandhi’s views on economics and ethics. Writing in Young India (1921), Gandhi argues:
“I do not draw a sharp or any distinction between economics and ethics. Economics that hurt the moral well-being of an individual or a nation are immoral and, therefore, sinful. Thus the economics that permit one country to prey upon another are immoral…The economics that disregard moral and sentimental considerations are like wax works that, being life-like, still lack the life of the living flesh. At every crucial moment thus new-fangled economic laws have broken down in practice. And nations or individuals who accept them as guiding maxims must perish.”
This is akin to what Adam Smith emphasised in his first book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, in which he coined the phrase ‘invisible hand’.
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The opinions expressed in this essay are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of CCS.