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Gandhi’s Economic Thought and Modern Economic Development: Some Reflections

Sudarshan Iyengar ()

Working Papers from eSocialSciences

Abstract: A fresh wave of globalisation since the early 1990s has created both hope and despair. Failure of state has reaffirmed faith in market based institutions. Expansion in trade across national borders and opening the national markets to the world is recommended for speedy and sure economic growth. Gandhiji in the beginning of the 20th century had visualised such a pressure on the British colonies. He warned the developing societies of the cultural onslaught of westernised concept of development and wrote a critique titled Hind Swaraj. Gandhiji also formulated his own thoughts on economy and economics. In this paper Gandhi’s economic thoughts and mainstream economic thought on economic development are examined. Some of the apprehensions that Gandhiji had about the possible negative impact of the western concept of economic development on the developing societies are likely to be true even today when the wave of globalisation is sweeping the developing world. It is argued that solutions for some of the serious problems that arise due to economic behaviour, perhaps lie outside economics. It is also argued that sustainable development is not possible by considering only economic parameters. The author tends to agree with the Gandhi’s thought that if economic development is material progress then it is not real progress and that real progress is not possible with economic considerations alone.

Keywords: economic development; ethical value; swadeshi; globalisation; economic behaviour; Gandhi; Gandhiji; Economic History; Economic Philosophy; Gandhian Economics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2005-12
Note: Institutional Papers
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