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The Saffron Book

Full employment would be the aim so long as each person is productive and produce more than what he costs.

4. Economic Face

Dear Savithri

I have often noticed in your remarks an undercurrent of contempt for wealth, as if being wealthy is unnecessary, or even a symptom of greed.Until I was 20 I used to express similar sentiments, as if all the rich were exploiters accummulating money by depriving others of theirs. Do you also feel the same way?

Karl Marx was not against wealth per se. He stood neither for simplicity nor sanyasic detachment. In fact, in some ways he laid great stress on the material and too little on either the spiritual or the psychological. Otherwise, he would not have interpreted history on the basis of materialism. What the prophet of communism opposed was the unequal distribution of wealth. If Marxism is summed up in one phrase it should be the philosophy of just distribution. In contrast, the American economists inspired by Adam Smith could be called the proponents of growth.

History's great economic debate has been centred around growth versus distribution. Which should be given priority? In my opinion neither. Distribution without increasing production is difficult. It is difficult to satisfy the rising expectations, especially of a growing population. On the other hand, growth is pointless if there were not to be wide distribution. What is the use of growth if its benefits were to be confined to only a section of the people? Merely enabling the rich to become richer and leaving the poor where they are does not make sense. Neither would it be fair nor could it be wise even for the rich.

If the poor do not earn more and do not have more money to spend, how would demand for goods and services increase? Arm without demand increasing, how can growth be sustained? The debate between growth and distribution, between capitalism and socialism, between Adam Smith and Karl Marx has not yet concluded. However,one side of the debate has collapsed. Socialism expired. Its demise was signalled by the breaking up of the Soviet Union. With it unfortunately, the cause of the poor man was abandoned almost across the world. Even societies, like that of China, which continue to claim to be communist, no longer care for the poor. Providing of employment to people is no longer anybody's business. Many corporations, companies and governments appear to be retrenching employees. In India we call the process phenomenon a golden handshake or restructuring, rationalizing the work force or early voluntary retirement scheme and so on.

I have narrated all this merely to build up the backdrop which should help you to see how different the stress would be in the suraaj which I envisage. It is the duty of the state to enable every citizen to have sufficient food, clothing and shelter. So that he/she is not driven to committing a crime or dushkarma out of hunger or exposure. For such a possibly inexcusable crime could be blamed on the state or society,which in turn must lead to collective bad luck or durbhagya. Normally a bad deed by a person would lead to an adverse destiny. But if a society allows him to be driven to crime (say by the denial of food for his child),could the society escape the collective destiny caused by its callousness?

From this premise flows the corollary that the state must create conditions to enable every willing citizen to get productive employment. This is the economic core of suraaj. The state need not guarantee employment as the socialist republics tried to do. They employed individuals regardless of whether they were willing to do a full day's work or not. Even if they sat around, they got their wages. Any number of healthy men and women were given their full salaries and benefits for doing little work. What is the differcace between such employment and state charity? I can see very little indeed. Surely charity is for the helpless. It is not for the healthy. Today in Russia those undeserving beneficiaries are virtually starving; they did not learn to work. The Soviet state has disintegreated; as a consequence of ots collective wrong doings in broadcasting charity to the lazy the undeserving.

Many countries of western Europe run welfare states. This concept now leaves employment to the flow of market forces but gives a dole or a compensation to whoever happens to be unemployed. The approach is prima facie humane but it subsidises non-work. To many people, work and career provide self confidence and a social position. As is often said, man cannot live by bread alone. Men and women, who are comfortably off but without satisfactory work, subtract from, instead of adding to, the progress of civilisation. Suraaj would beneither a fountain of charity nor a spring of subsidy. Rather, it should be a state alive and alert to enabling plenty of opportunities forproductive employment.

Here, the word productive means that the produce of each person's work should exceed in value his/her wage or income. If someone costs his employer say Rs. 5000 per month, his work should be worth more than this amount. So that every working person contributes some surplus for the society or the common good which in turn the state could spend for development, in order that the civilisation blooms with time and not wither. To enlarge the concept of the productive employment, it may be said that whoever is self employed produces goods or services worth more than the money he takes home. No one is likely to pay him more than he is worth. Even a baloon vendor can be cited as a good example. Unless his baloons bring more fun or joy to  the children, their parents would not buy them. And hypothetically, in the perception of the parents, I the value of the fun or satisfaction must be more than what they pay the vendor. There is however no comparable acid test of productivity in a job. In the private sector there is a greater sense of result orientation. In the public or the government sector, procedures tend to supersede the product. In the Soviet Union, most of the economy belonged to the government. And the result was unfortunate. Not all the bounties of nature were able to sustain an under productive system. In contrast, Japan is not gifted with many natural resources and yet it bloomed with the productive surplus of its people. I quoted this contrast merely to show thee my view of the economic face of suraaj is pragmatic, to assure you that I am not dreaming but trying to envision.

The essence of Hindueva is liberty. The individual is free to sow as much as he/she likes. There is no limit to karma, either  qualitative orquantitative. Do as many good deeds as you like. No church or priest is there to watch. The Hindu panda or poojari in the temple is only to assist in performing pooja. His writ does not run beyond the boundaries of the temple. Nor is he a part of a chain of priests that conduces pooja in another temple. There is no ecclesiastical network. Nor is there anyone even remotely comparable to the Pope or the khalifa or the Shahi Imam of Delhi. Yes, there is literature to explain what is life, human and divine, and to guide the reader on how to traverse from one to the other. Read it if you like or listen to a guru interpreting it. But there is no broker between a Hindu and his God.

This also holds good for the economic sector of life in suraaj. The state would not participate in investment, production or distribution. Its role would be confined to helping out when and where the citizens are unable to either invest, produce or distribute chose goods and services which are widely perceived to be essential, like the building of large dams, perhaps running the national railways. A more important function of the state would be to ensure that one citizen does not obstruct another from pursuing his economic goal or karma. Compete yes but come in the way, no. Infringement or violation of law must be punished impartially and effectively. The state must also create systemic mechanisms that help to ensure an equitable playing field between citizen and citizen, between citizen and foreigner. The concept of swadeshi is an example.

Swadeshi or national self reliance is necessary to make sure that the business tradition and commercial aptitude, that so many Indians can be proud of, are not destroyed. In fact, they are the pillars of our economic ethos. They should not only be protected but also promoted.I know that, as a leftist, you will sympathise with this view. Yet you could snap back at me or rather at Hindutva and ask how do we propose to keep pace with the rest of the world? You could remind me that the world had become a global village and also tell me that we cannot have the cake and eat it too. But we can. If we think with an open mind and perhaps also use a tool of reasoning provided by Georg Hegel, the eighteenth century German philosopher. In the course of expounding his theory of dialectical imperialism (not materialism which Karl Marx took up), he adapted an ancient Creek equation which helps to think clearly and to resolve an apparent contradiction. It was postulated that if there be a thesis and an antithesis, it should be possible to discover asynthesis.

Say swadeshi or self reliance is the thesis, the tradition. Say, the times have changed, the world has become a global village and
globalisation is now the necessary fashion. How to reconcile this opposite or anti-thesis with the thesis? By arriving at a synthesis, which would accommodate both the needs. India needs to preserve, protect and promote its entrepreneurial aptitude in the smallest of shopkeepers to the largest of its businessmen. Yet the country has to keep pace with the latest technology in the world and also its goods and services muse be able to compete with chose made by rival countries.

The answer, or rather the synthesis, would be in the creation of an individual sector of business and industry. Its speciality would be that only individuals would hold shares in such a company. A company must not be allowed to invest in it. Individual foreigners yes. But Indian institutions, including Hindu Undivided Families, no. The purpose is to prevent a multi-national corporation (MNC) or a large house to enter this personal sector through the backdoor. The capital or equity could go up to say Rs.10 crore. Its products would be exempt from central indirect taxes like the excise duty, so that they could compete against the products of the largest of corporations whether foreign or Indian. The tax exemption should give them the handicap start and enable them to survive and succeed in the face of the severe competition offered by giants and their economies of large scale.

The personal sector should also be kept outside the purview of the Industrial Disputes Act. The idea would be to encourage entrepreneurs to start labour intensive enterprises. Today they are reluctant to do so for fear of having to carry and pay the employees even when orders are few and business is dull. Take for instance, garment exports in which orders from overseas fluctuate sharply. The Indian suppliers prefer to keep small factories of their own and farm out or sub-contract the work to others including housewives who are willing to stitch the garments at home. This method has the disadvantage of quality variation. Suppliers from other countries like China have large factories with hundreds of tailors. This is an important reason for their being more competitive than Indians. In  the process, India loses. What is particularly unfortunate is that our citizens lose employment opportunities. Seasonal or even temporary work is better than no work. Once India becomes a major supply market, it would have many suppliers. It is possible that although one factory at a certain time might not have orders, yet other factories I could have work to offer to the same tailors. The vital objective is to enable business to grow freely and helpbring about prosperity.

Near full employment is not difficult to achieve provided it becomes the overriding aim of our economic policy. Unfortunately, Jawaharlal Nehru and his advisers like P.C Mahalanobis used the Soviet development as the model for India. Even assuming that the Soviets were on the right track, our leaders forgot the difference between Russian and Indian conditions. Industrialisation was necessary but evidently our economists of the time overlooked the fact that their industry is primarily the deployment of machinery and not the employment of human beings which, incidentally, was India's prime need.

Even in the fifties when planning in India was inaugurated, to create one job cost an investment of rupees two lakh in plant and machinery. Today, the figure would be 50 lakh or more. In short, Nehruvian planning put the cart before the horse. This lopsided priority took such deep roots in popular thinking that, to this day, a district or a taluka leader would ask for setting up udyog or an industrial unit in his area. He does not appeal for a project that would provide employment to a large number of his brethren.

For example, it seems to occur to comparatively few that even domestic tourism can create employment on a large scale. I have visited a cinema city ten kilometres from the town of Portiers in France There were twenty different types of cinema located in a beautiful man-made landscape. The site was selected by a private firm largely because the land was cheap. The city has become a tourist attraction. Since it takes at least three days to enjoy all the cinemas, in turn, a large number of hotels have come up in the surrounding area. The total employment created, including for transport, from Portiers and back, was of the order of 10,000 persons. The cinema city itself directly employs only 1500. And this is in France which is short of people and does not have either the numbers or the comparatively lower wages  that we have in India.

Typical of the attitude of some of our leaders was a statement by H.D. Deve Gowda, when he was prime minister, that India was too large a country to worry about tourism.

A fair number of foreign tourists, especially from East Asia, visit Varanasi, the Jerusalem of Hindus and Sarnath where the Buddha attained enlightenment. If one observes the infra-structural facilities, one would be left with the impression that rather than attracting visitors we seem to be discouraging them.

The Saffron Book
Prafull Goradia
1. Awake and Unite!
2. Why The Saffron Book?

10. Small States
3. Vision
4. Economic Face
5. Abolish Casteism
6. Bride Burning, Divorce
7. Rape, Prostitution
8. Revolutionising Education
9. The Constitution

11. Nationalism
12. Pan-Islamism
13. Communism
14. Subnationalism
15. Casteism

16. Hindutva is Dialectical
17. Origin of Hinduism
18. Medieval Phase
19. Modern Resurgence
20. Not Fundamentalism
21. Not Fascism
22. Tolerance
23. Strengths
24. Weaknesses
25. Opportunities
26. Threats
27. Individual Brilliance

Hindu Paradoxes
42. Idolatry
43. Fatalism
44. Double Standards
45. Masochistic Fringe
46. Fifth Column
47. No Soul before Birth

48. Proselytising Unwelcome
49. Myth of Divide and Rule

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