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THE SELECTED WORKS OF MAHATMA GANDHI > Vol. V - THE VOICE OF TRUTH > Part II- Section VII : Economic Ideas > The evil of Industrialism
46. The evil of Industrialism
Industrialization on a mass scale will necessarily lead to passive or active exploitation of the villagers as the problems of competition and marketing come in. Therefore, we have to concentrate on the village being self-contained manufacturing mainly for use. Provided this character of the village industry is maintained, there would be no objection to villagers using even the modern machines and tools that they can make and can afford to use. Only they should not be used as a means of exploitation of others.
Harijan, 29-8-36, p. 226
The present distress is undoubtedly insufferable. Pauperism must go. But industrialism is no remedy. The evil does not lie in the use of bullock carts. It lies in our selfishness and want of consideration for our neighbours. If we have no love for our neighbours, no change however revolutionary, can do us any good…
Indeed, the West has had a surfeit of industrialism and exploitation…. The fact is that this industrial civilization is disease because it is all evil. Let us not be deceived by catchwords and phrases. I have no quarrel with steamships or telegrams. They may stay, if they can, without the support of industrialism and all it connotes. They are not an end.
…They are in no way indispensable for the permanent welfare of the human race. Now that we know the use of steam and electricity, we should be able to use them on due occasion and after we have learnt to avoid industrialism. Our concern is therefore to destroy industrialism at any cost.
Young India, 7-10-26, p. 348
“What is the cause of the present chaos?”
It is exploitation, I will not say, of the weaker nations by the stronger but of sister nations. And my fundamental objection to machinery rests on the fact that it is machinery that has enabled these nations to exploit others. In itself it is a wooden thing and can be turned to good purpose or bad. But it is easily turned to a bad purpose as we know.
Young India, 22-10-31, p. 318
Industrialism is, I am afraid, going to be a curse for mankind. Exploitation of one nation by another cannot go on for all time. Industrialism depends entirely on your capacity to exploit, on foreign markets being open to you, and on the absence of competitors. It is because these factors are getting less and less every day for England that its number of unemployed is mounting up daily. The Indian boycott was but a flea-bite. And if that is the state of England, a vast country like India cannot expect to benefit by industrialization. In fact, India, when it begins to exploit other nations-as it must if it becomes industrialized-will be a curse for other nations, a menace to the world. And why should I think of industrialization India to exploit other nations? Don’t you see the tragedy of the situation, viz. that we can find work for our 300 millions unemployed, but England can find none for its three millions and is faced with a problem that baffles the greatest intellects of England. The future of industrialism is dark. England has got successful competitors in America, Japan, France, and Germany. It has competitors in the handful of mills in India, and as there has been an awakening in India, even so, there will be an awakening in India; even so, there will be an awakening in South Africa with its vastly richer resources-natural, mineral and human. The mighty English look quite pigmies before the mighty races of Africa. They are noble savages after all, you will say. They are certainly noble, but no savages; and in the course of a few years the Western nations must cease to find in Africa a dumping ground for their wares. And if the future of industrialism is dark for the West, would it not be darker still for India?
Young India, 12-11-31, p. 355
Pandit Nehru wants industrialization, because he thinks that, if it is socialized, it would be free from the evils of capitalism. My own view is that the evils are inherent in industrialism, and no amount of socialization can eradicate them.
Harijan, 29-9-40, p. 299
God forbid that India should ever take to industrialism after that manner of the West. The economic imperialism of a single tiny island kingdom (England) is today keeping the world in chains. If an entire nation of 300 millions took to similar economic exploitation, it would strip the world bare like locusts.
Harijan, 20-12-28, p. 422