Gandhi View on Economic Equality

Gandhi View on Economic Equality:

To Gandhiji working for economic equality is the master key to non-violent independence, for a non-violent state is an impossibility so long as the wide gulf between the rich and the poor and conflict between them is not abolished. By economic equality, Gandhiji means approximate and not absolute equality. According to him, “Economic equality must never be supposed to mean possession of an equal amount by everyone. It does mean, however, that everyone will have a proper house to live in, sufficient and balanced food to eat, and sufficient khadi cloth to cover himself. It also means that the cruel inequality that obtains today will be removed by purely non-violence means. The goal that society tries to reach is equal remuneration for all kinds of work”. It has since been incorporated in the Directive Principles of the Constitution.

For bringing economic equality, Gandhiji would, as far as possible, avoid legislative expropriation and confiscation as these involve violence. To induce the rich to accept the ideas of economic equality and hold their wealth in trust for the poor, he would depend upon persuasion, equation and other non-violent means. According to Gandhiji’s theory of trusteeship of the wealthy for their superfluous wealth lies on the doctrine of equal distribution. The only alternative to trusteeship is confiscation through violence. By resorting to violence, society will be poorer “for it will lose the gifts of a man who knows how to accumulate wealth”. Non-violent non-cooperation is the infallible means to bring about trusteeship because the rich cannot accumulate wealth without cooperation in the poor in society.

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