Gandhian economics

Gandhian economics if a term coined by J. C. Kumarappa for Gandhi’s approach to meeting material human needs. It is used as an umbrella term for the following related concepts in Gandhian thought. Namely these principles are:

  • An economy based on needs rather than wants
  • Swadeshi (in the economic sense, localism and material self-sufficiency at the village level)
  • Economic decentralization
  • The value of cottage industry and the interdependence of small, local producers rather than dependence on mass production
  • Bread labor
  • Simplicity
  • Self sufficiency
  • Trusteeship to the spiritual idea of non-possession)
  • Trusteeship of the natural functioning environment
  • Understanding material things to be in three classes: 1) food, clothing, and shelter the rights to which are guaranteed to all 2) the tools one keeps in order to do ones work, which are one’s personal responsibility to obtain, and which one should hold with an attitude of trusteeship, and 3) all other material things, which are considered to be extra, that is, in the realm of ‘wants,’ rather than needs, and therefore inessential.


E.F. Schumacher Society

Ruskin, John,Unto This Last

Principles to Practice, Gandhian Economics