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