I suggest that we are thieves in a way. If I take anything that do not need for my own immediate use and keep it, I thieve it from somebody else. It is the fundamental law of nature , without exception, , that nature produces enough for our wants from day to day; and if only everybody took enough for himself and nothing more , there would be no pauperism in this world, there would be no man dying of starvation. I am no socialist, and I do not want to dispossess those who have got possessions; but I do say that personally those of us who want to see light out of darkness have to follow this rule. I do not want to dispossess anybody; I should be departing from the rule of non-violence. If somebody else possesses more than I do, let him. But so far as my own life has to be regulated I dare not possess anything which I do not want. In India we have got many millions of people who have to be satisfied with one meal a day, and that meal consisting of chapatti containing no fat in it and a pinch of salt. You and I, who ought to know better, must adjust our wants, and even undergo voluntary privation in order that they may be nursed, fed and clothed.
Speeches and writings of Mahatma Gandhi p.384
I must confess that I do not draw a sharp or any distinction between economies and ethics. Economics that hurt the moral well- being of an individual or a nation are immoral and, therefore sinful to buy and use articles made by sweated labour.
Young India 13-10-’21
According to me the economic constitution of India and for the matter of that of the world, should be such that no one under it should suffer from want of food and clothing. I n other words, everybody should be able to get sufficient work to enable him to make the two ends meet. And this ideal can be universally utilized only if the means of production of the elementary necessaries of life remain in the control of the masses.These should be freely available to all as god’s air and vehicle of traffic for the exploitation of others. Their monopolization by any country, nation or group of persons would be unjust .The neglect of this simple principles is the cause of the destitution that we witness today not only in this is unhappy land but in other parts of the world too.
Young India 15-11,-’28
True economics never militates against the highest ethical standard, just as all true ethics to be worth its name must at the same time him also good economics. An economics that inculcates mammon worship, and enables the strong to amass wealth at the expense of the weak, is a false and dismal science .It spells death. True economics on the other hand, stand for justice, it promotes the good of all equally including the weakest, and is indispensable for decent life.
I want to bring about an equalization of status. The working classes have all these centuries been isolated and relegated to a lower status. I want to allow no differentiation between the son of a weaver, of an agriculturist and of a schoolmaster.
Economic equality is the master key to non-violent independence .Working for economic equality means abolishing the eternal conflict between capital and labour. It means the leveling down of the few rich in whose hands is concentrated the bulk of the nation’s wealth on the other hand , and a leveling up of the semi starved naked millions on the other hand naked millions on the other . A non – violent system of government is clearly impossibility so long s the wide gulf between the rich and the hungry millions persists. The contrast between the palaces of New Delhi and the miserable hovels of the poor, laboring class cannot last one day in a free India in which the poor will enjoy the same power as the richest in the land. A violent and bloody revolution is a certainty one day unless there is a voluntary abdication of riches and the power which riches give and sharing them for the common good. I adhere to my doctrine of trusteeship in spite of the ridicule that has been poured upon it. It is true that it is a difficult to attain. But we made up our minds in 1920 to negotiate that steep ascent.
Constructive Progamme, PP.20-21
I suggest that, if India is to evolve along non-violent lines, it will have to decentralize many things, Centralization cannot be sustained and defended without adequate force. Simple homes from which there is nothing to take away require no policing; the palaces of the rich must have strong guards to protect them against dacoit. So must huge factories .Rurally organized India will run less risk of foreign invasion that urbanized India, Well equipped with military, naval and air forces
Today there is a gross economic inequality. The basis of socialism is economic equality. There can be no Ramarajya in the present state of iniquitous in equalities in which a few roll in riches and the masses do not get even enough to eat.