The Text of Integral Humanism

Chapter 4, Part 3

Guarantee of Work

It is clear that the resources must be produced by our own efforts. Therefore. where a right to a guaranteed minimum is recognized, any individual who does not share in the efforts to produce is a burden to the society. Similarly any system which obstructs the production activity of the people is self destructive. Such a system will not enable the individuals to fulfill their responsibility. Not only that, but even if the requirements of an individual are met, while he does not share in the efforts, his personality will not develop fully, his progress as a human being will be distorted and lop-sided. Man has stomach as well is hands. If he has no work for his hands, he will not get happiness even if he gets food to satisfy his hunger. His progress will be obstructed. Just as a barren woman experiences emptiness in life and consequent dissatisfaction, so does a man without work.

The guarantee of work to every able bodied member of the society, should be the aim of our economic system. Today we witness a very strange situation. On the one hand, a ten-year-old child and seventy-year-old man are toiling and on the other hand youth of twenty five is driven to suicide for want of work. We shall have to remove this mismanagement. God has given hands to every man but by themselves hands have a limited capacity to produce. They need assistance of capital in the form of machines. Labor and capital bear the same relation to each other as that between man and nature. The world is a creation of these two. Neither of them can be neglected.

Capital Formation

For capital formation it is essential that a part of production be saved from immediate consumption and be used for further production, in future. Thus capital can be formed only by restraint on consumption. This is the basis of capital formation to which Karl Marx refers to as "surplus value" in his treatise. In the capitalist system the industrialist creates capital with the help of this surplus value. In a socialist system, the state undertakes this task. In both the systems, the entire production is not distributed among the workers. If production is carried on through centralized large-scale industries, the sacrifice on the part of the worker in creating the capital is not given due recognition. The advantage in decentralization is in the fact that the workers has a sense of direct participation in the management of this surplus value or capital. Machine is the most common from of capital. Machine was created in order to reduce the content of physical labor in production and to increase the productivity of the worker. Machine, therefore, is an assistant of the worker and not his competitor. However, where the human labor came to be considered as a commodity to be purchased with money, the machine became the competitor of the human being. The principal drawback of the capitalist view point in the fact that by making the machine a competitor of human labor and thereby displacing and competitor of human labor and thereby displacing and subjecting human being to privations the very purpose of creating machine has been defied. Machine cannot be blamed for this. It is the fault of the economic and social system which cannot distinguish between the object and the instrument. We shall have to take into account the limitations on usefulness of machines and decide on its field of application. From this point of view to import the machinery from Western countries, where shortage of manpower was the guiding factor in the design of machines would be a serious mistake. The merits of machine are, not independent of time and place. Machines are a product of the modern science but not its representatives. Scientific knowledge is not a monopoly of any particular country. But its application has to take into account the particular condition of each country and its requirements. Our machines must not only, by tailored for our specific economic means, but also must, at least, avoid conflict with our socio-political and cultural objectives, if not support them.

Professor Vishvesaraya has said in one of his books, that while considering the system of production one must take into account the seven 'M's. These are man, material, money, management, motive power, market and machine. The skill and ability of the workers or those who should be provided with work must be considered. Easy availability of the required raw material. and the quality and properties of the raw materials available cannot be ignored. We must also think of how much money is available as capital. How this capital can be increased and at what rate? How best it can be utilized for maximum production? How much of it should be put in the fixed assets and how much should be kept in the liquid form? We must also pay attention to the form of power available in the country in addition to the human and animal labor. Wind, water, steam oil, gas, electricity and atomic power can supply the motive power. Of these, which form of power can be obtained in what quantity and without being uneconomic must be thought of while deciding upon our methods of production. In the same way managerial skills are also important and deserve the attention. If the ability to co-ordinate the efforts of a dozen workers is wanting, all of them will remain unemployed. It is also necessary to think of the usefulness of the goods produced to the society. This means that production of any particular commodity cannot be justified economically without the consideration of the market it commands. Taking into consideration all these factors we should design suitable machines. Instead, we find now-a-days that we install the machines first and try to coordinate all other factors afterwards. Other countries of the world did not progress in this fashion. Otherwise new machines would not have been invested. We are importing the machines and hence, we have little knowledge. We shall have to develop a Bharatiya technology.

None of the seven factors is unchangeable. In fact each one keeps constantly changing. Those who are entrusted with the task of planning must think of how the change is directed towards progress, how physical hardship is reduced, and waste of energy is minimized. As an illustration let us take the low productivity of our worker. It can be increased by using machines, and it is necessary to do so. But if the machine is such that requires only a few men to run it, then the rest of the people will be thrown out of employment. If the machine has to be imported from other countries at such a heavy cost that the additional production it causes will be insufficient to make it economic, then such a machine is not suitable to our requirements. Just as to let a part of the installed capacity of a factory remain unutilised is a losing proposition, so also to let the people of this country remain unemployed is a losing proposition. May, this is even worse. Whereas a machine ties up only the capital invested in it in past, the unemployed people have to be fed, which is continuous and unending drain on resources, consumed at double the speed. Therefore instead of the usual exhortation "Every worker must get food", we must think of "Everyone who eats must get work", as the basis of our economy. No doubt charakha has to be replaced by machines but not necessarily automatic machines everywhere. Full employment must be a primary consideration and then the rest of the six factors suit this.

Man's Place In The Economy

The use of manpower and the employment question will have to be thought of in the context of the human being as a whole, as an integral being. The economic theories of the past few centuries and the structure of society based on these theories, have resulted in a thorough devaluation of the human being. His personality is altogether irrelevant to the economic set up. Capitalist economy recognizes only an "economic man", whose all decisions are based entirely on calculations of gain and loss, in terms of material wealth. For this economic man, five rupees are always more than four rupees. He works solely to gain more wealth, and execs to get the maximum gain. For him, just like other commodities, human labor is a commodity to be brought and sold In the market. This is free enterprise. It holds all other restriction and regulations unjust, save the brake of competition. In the race no one is prepared to stop and give a helping land to the weak who is left behind; elimination of the weak is considered just and natural. He is uneconomic, marginal unit, not fit to exist. This is what it advocates. By the elimination of such marginal units, the economic power accumulates in the hands of a few. This is considered normal and natural is capitalist system. But when monopoly is a established, even the check of competition ceases to operates. In such a. situation the incentive resulting from competition is no longer available. Prices are arbitrarily fixed and quality of products deteriorates.

Even as regards the consumer's needs, the capitalist is guided not by the necessities and desires of the consumer. but by his purchasing power. The needs of the wealthy and the well fed are attended to rather than those of the poor and the hungry. As a result where countless varieties of goods are produced for he needs of the wealthy, even the basic necessities of life for the poor become scarce. The centralization and monopolization of reduction totally undermine the influence of the consumer. The markets are so organized that the consumer has to go by standard products. This standardization is on the increase at such a pace that individual preference of the consumer is ignored. Like the books in the library, even human beings are allotted numbers as consumers. The system which boasts of giving highest importance to the individual has ironically destroyed all individuality. Clearly, the capitalist system is incapable of helping the development of an integral human being.

Go on to Chapter 4, Part 4

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4

Material sourced from
The material presented here is not factually modified in any way.
Base URL:

Home | Archives