ARTICLES : Gandhian view on Economics

Read articles written by very well-known personalities and eminent authors about Gandhian view on Economics and it's relevance today.

Gandhi's Views on Economics

By Sharon Coutinho

Truth and Non-Violence are the foundation stones of Gandhian Economics thoughts. According to Gandhiji, work is not only an economic activity. It’s necessary for spiritual growth. Bapu wanted that India should have its own economic policy. It should not follow any foreign countries policy.
In this paper I would be highlighting on six points:

  1. Swadeshi
  2. Mechanization
  3. Industrialization
  4. Trusteeship
  5. Villagism
  6. Decentralization

Swadeshi literally means ‘of one’s own country.’
Swadeshi is defined as that spirit within us which restricts us to use the service of our immediate surrounding to the exclusion of the more remote. It aims at the removal of unemployment and poverty. It doesn’t advocate rejection of foreign trade, in fact it advocate a healthy and non-exploitative form of trade. According to Bapuji, Swadeshi is not just good, it do comprise of our culture, tradition and values. Bapu wanted that people in India should have sufficient demand for their produce and therefore, he pleaded for the use of Swadeshi goods. However, its wrong to assume that Bapuji was altogether against foreign goods. Its clear from his word that says, “It is criminally foolish to produce the goods which are not profitable to be produced in our country, instead of producing them we should import them.”


Gandhiji had no objection to mechanization of production if it doesn’t hurt the dignity of man and self-reliance of villages. He believed that mechanization is good when the hands are few for the work to be done. In a country like India, here lab is abundance maximum industries should be labour intensive and not capital intensive.


Gandhian economics is not based entirely on handicraft and cottage industries Gandhiji visualized that electricity, ship building, iron works etc. should exist side by side with village and cottage industries, Industrialization leads to maximum exploitation of man and nature. Industrialization is based on large scale and highly sophisticated technology which leads to unemployment, poverty, urbanization, deforestation, desertification, pollution etc. large scale industries should be owned by the state and administrated wholly for public good.


According to Gandhi, capitalist and rich should consider themselves as trusty of society and make use of their wealth for the benefits of society which is known as trusteeship. Gandhiji wanted that co-operative system should be developed in India, in agriculture and many other fields so that everyone economic welfare can be achieved.


Gandhiji always said that India can’t be developed unless we develop the village of India, there has to be grass root development. In his opinion and which very correct that the process of development in India should being from village level. Gandhiji always profounded that agriculture should be supported by some subsidiary occupation like bee keeping, animal husbandry, khadi, paper making, mud utensils etc. Gandhiji advocated that women should contribute in agriculture and I subsidiary industries or by the way of playing charkha. He wanted that every home there should be charkha which will enable the use of local productive resources and man power able in villages.


Gandhiji strongly advocated decentralization of economic system. Gandhiji believed that centralization is the root caused of exploitation which leads to unemployment and poverty in India as the powers are concentration in the hands of few because of centralization. There has been wide gap between the haves and have nots that is rich are become richer and the poor are becoming more poor.

“The earth has sufficient resources to satisfy one’s needs, but not for one’s greed.”

- M. K. Gandhi

From the paper presented by the author at a Nasik Camp, Oct. 2007