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Production by Masses, Not Mass Production

Which are the negative effects of mass production?

1. In capitalist countries, the population is to some extent reaping the fruits of industrialization driven by liberalization, privatization, and globalization (LPG).

2. But greater goods are available only for fewer people.

3. The big concern is that growth is unsustainable in a market economy.

4. Omnipotent and omnipresent technology has created alarming situations threatening the very life on earth.

5. Ownership over natural resources remains a fundamental issue.

How is the developing world performing?

1. After the time of industrialization, newly independent and developing countries were handed over inferior and polluting technologies.

2. Authoritarian political leadership led to an exodus of political, environmental and ecological refugees.

3. So, climate change and geopolitics are leading them towards unsustainability.

4. Most of the developing world is faced with economic, social, political and environmental issues.

5. Gandhi’s Swadeshi may offer a possible solution under these circumstances.

What is Gandhi’s concept of Swadeshi?

1. Hindustan darshan by Gandhiji exposed him the exploitation of the British.

2. The Tolstoy Farm and the Phoenix Ashram were his response to Western civilization.

3. Gandhi molded the ideas of self-reliance and Swadeshi for Swaraj through his ashrams in India.

4. Swadeshi got its first mention in 1905 and last in 1947.

5. Swadeshi is not merely what is produced in one’s own country. It means reliance on our own strength (of body, mind, and soul).

6. The fundamental point of Swadeshi is to have development from below and from self-sustaining local production systems.

7. It opposed large-scale production.

8. Gandhi considered Swadeshi as the key to economic salvation of India.

9. Swadeshi in its purest form was considered to be the highest point of universal service.

Where can the idea of Swadeshi take form?

1. Gandhi dreamt of a society based on a new democratic nature and equitable system with decentralization as the engine.

2. He gave the idea of an ideal village, where every village will be a republic or panchayat having full powers.

3. Every village must be self-sustained and capable of managing its own affairs.

4. But it does not exclude dependence on and willing help from neighbors or from the world.

5. Agriculture is to be the primary occupation and source of income, and village industries play a supportive role.

6. Swadeshi meant local for basic needs and self-reliance.

7. So, Swadeshi should be applied to everything, from hand-woven cloth to all other things.

Why is Swadeshi needed now?

1. Neither capitalism nor socialism could achieve the objectives of social justice, economic equity and national integration simultaneously.

2. The developing world ignores environment and ecological ethics in production and consumption.

3. Mass production is inherently violent, ecologically damaging and self-defeating in terms of non-renewable resources.

4. Gandhi’s self-reliance would produce the necessities of life by one’s own labor. This meant, there should be production by masses rather than mass production.

5. This is based on the criterion of equity, an important aspect of ethics.

6. Keeping individual at the centre, Gandhi believed in one’s moral development.