Basic Kumarappa

The Gandhian economist J C Kumarappa held that “The wealth of a nation consists not in  what a few possess, but in the extent to  which  the  majority  can satisfy  their  daily wants, especially needs. Looked at  from this angle, increase in the number  of  millionaires  in  a  country  need  not  indicate  increase  in  the  prosperity  of  the nation. Indeed, it may indicate the  opposite,  if  the  accumulated  wealth  was  occasioned  by  restricted distri  bution.  When judging the well-being of  a  nation,  our  consideration  should centre round the way in which purchasing power is distributed among  the citizens.…  Democracy cannot exist where there is  starvation, nakedness and poverty alongside of glut and glamorous living,  which condition indicates exploitation  of the weak by the strong.” 

Pranjali Bandhu of the South Asia Study Centre in Udhagamandalam, Tamil Nadu has a new book out, BACK TO BASICS: A J C KUMARAPPA READER. With a foreword by T G Jacob, also of the SASC, this has been published by Odyssey. 

This volume puts together selected writings by the Gandhian economist J.C. Kumarappa (1892-1960) in the contemporary context of aggressive neoliberal economics being executed by global corporations with national governments in the role of able facilitators. 

The selection covers themes like Kumarappa’s economic thought, his politics of anti-imperialism and world peace, his views on religion– particularly on Christianity–,his ideas about education, science, agriculture, the village economy and the land question, cottage and large-scale industries and on the socialist models presented by the then Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. Self-reliance and sustainability are vital themes in his oeuvre; in short, an economy of permanence.   

In paperback, in our Economics and Development Studies sections, 432 pages, Rs 750. ISBN:  9788190061551