Integral Humanism of Deendayal Upadhyaya
It is a testament to Deendayal Upadhyaya’s foresight that much of what he suggested fifty years ago may seem unsurprising to many since it is now part of the established discourse of Hindutva. His four lectures on Integral Humanism sought to examine existing socio-political and economic ideas and systems and posit an alternative mode of living based on the traditions of Sanatana Dharma. In some ways, his endeavour can be regarded as a research agenda with clear markers for various lines of enquiry rather than a complete policy agenda. And it is the pioneering nature of his ontological foresight that is significant since the practical underpinnings of an alternative vision were only outlined broadly.
He reviews the evolution of Indian society following independence in 1947 and notes its descent into political opportunism, which replaced the antecedent idealism of nationalism itself. In the first two lectures he questions the applicability of the existing social and economic arrangements under Western capitalism and communism and proposes the alternative of Integral Humanism, based on the immanent values of Sanatana dharma.
However, in engaging with contemporary Western ideas and socialist alternatives for society and questioning their validity he does not espouse, in their place, the idea of an inviolable Indic tradition that would restore some mythical golden age. Indeed he explicitly rejected such a possibility on the grounds that adaptation to changed circumstances was both a necessity and acknowledged foundation of Sanatana Dharma. This is the great strength of the living tradition of Sanatana Dharma that inspired Deendayal Upadhyaya.
“..neither possible nor wise to adopt foreign -Isms in our country in the original form in toto” but also counsels that “to ignore altogether the developments in other societies, past or present is certainly unwise.”
In the aftermath of the independence struggle, which had witnessed relative political unity, with the exception of the communists who remained outside the mainstream, differences soon surfaced between political groups. The Congress itself contained many competing views, from ardent capitalist to socialists and diehard communists. In his words: “no definite principles, no single direction in Congress”. This early phase was soon followed rampant political opportunism whose purpose was to gain power without discernible principle. Deendayal Upadhyaya was commenting on the 1950s and 60s, presciently recognizing the dire socio-political outcomes that eventually ended with the veritable implosion under the UPA in May 2014.
It is also no accident that Nehruvian school textbooks blatantly denounced Chhatrapati Shivaji as a bandit and also unashamedly denounced Guru Gobind Singh.
Deendayal Upadhyaya attributed the resulting national drift and disenchantment evident in India to“confusion about our goal and the direction”. In his view, the malaise and political opportunism had arisen owing to an absence of a sense of national identity. It may be inferred that the very idea of national identity was anathema to India’s dominant ruling elites who sought to avoid controversy.
Quite clearly, defining a national identity would have had to be anchored in the history of India and the role prominent personalities played in it. It would have inevitably meant identifying and denouncing foreign invaders and applauding those who resisted them.
The Nehurvian Congress elites who dictated policy were loath to recognize anything that would celebrate India’s Hindu identity and past, only allowing generalized and meaningless banalities. It is also no accident that Nehruvian school textbooks blatantly denounced Chhatrapati Shivaji as a bandit and also unashamedly denounced Guru Gobind Singh. They were unwilling to offend Muslims whose sense of belonging to India, rather than sectarian Pakistan, they thought should be cultivated at any cost. The eventual outcome was to pronounce Indian secularism by Constitutional decree and allow the ascription to descend to triviality and then appeasement of any and every wrong-doing in the name of communal harmony.
While Deendayal Upadhyaya did not advocate a return to some golden age before the Islamic invasions, since so much had changed in the intervening period, he was conscious that British rule subtly induced self-doubt and distaste for Bharat’s own culture and identity in the educated elite. Yet he sought to differentiate between Western science and Western ‘way of life’ (the signature tune of the English language media today). Like the leaders of the 1868 Meiji restoration in Japan, he advocated adoption of the former rather than the latter, but rejected a narrow nationalism, a conception in accord with that of Swami Vivekananda.
Deendayal Upadhyaya offers a critique of Western economic and political and doctrines and questions their suitability for Bharata. He rightly acknowledges the critical advance of democracy alongside nationalism and socialism and provides a brief sketch of socialist protest against exploitation and the huge impact of Karl Marx. His principal difficulty with Western doctrines was the historically demonstrated contradictions and inconsistencies between their various aspirational components.
For example, he is conscious that democracy does not overcome either class conflict or resolve the problem of inequality under capitalism. Recent work by Thomas Piketty has posed a significant query about the propensity of capitalist markets to habitually create major economic divides.
Deendayal Upadhyaya also argues that the values of the West are somewhat specific to their circumstances and history and they too, he points out, have abandoned some certainties. In the case of the insuperable difficulties faced by Marxism he is prophetic. He sensibly avows about way forward ideas:
“ones that originated in our midst have to be clarified and adapted to changed times and those that we take from other societies have to be adapted to our conditions.”
The notion of tabula rasa and a beginning that largely eschews the past was tried in post-revolutionary Russia by a group of ruthless and extraordinarily gifted intellectuals. But their efforts ended in total failure.
Not only did Russia implode as a polity, society and economy, a condition from which it is yet to recover, a moral vacuum emerged with its collapse after 1990.
The brutal erasure during seventy years of communist rule of much of its antecedent culture led to a sectarian and intolerant religiosity and amoral, nihilistic criminality that recognized no social or moral boundaries once communism collapsed.It is this phenomenon, in a lesser manifestation that Upadhyaya identified in the trajectory of independent India.
“If culture does not form the basis of independence then the political movement for independence would reduce simply to a scramble by selfish and power seeking persons.”
This notion of an integrated whole is imputed by Upadhyaya to collective as well as individual life and their well-being. He proposed that needs of the individual were a composite whole that could be satisfied by what he described as ‘integral humanism’.In speaking about the Bharatiya culture, from which society needs to draw inspiration and formulate policy, he poses an ontological contrast with key Western ideas, as represented by Hegel, Marx and Darwin. He posits the notion of society as an integrated whole rather than relationships and interaction of isolated individuals and innately conflictual elements.
“We have thought of life as Integrated not only in the case of collective or social life but also in the individual life.”
He regards conflict as instances of breakdown and co-operation as abundant as competition and discord. This may be contested on empirical grounds,but the endeavour to achieve the co-operation is surely an undeniable aspiration of societies. And, in his view, central to Bharatiya thought and culture is:
“Unity in diversity and the expression of unity in various forms”
Upadhyaya asserts that the way to achieve the harmony for an integrated and satisfying life is to follow the ancient ethics of Bharatiya culture. He suggests the absence of an integrated whole (body, mind, intellect and soul) leads to trade- offs between these multifaceted dimensions required for the ‘good life’, examples of which most western societies highlight. Implicit in his argument is individual transformation from within, which contrasts with the established sociological notion that the social structure essentially create the individual.
It might be noted that this is the major contrast between religious ontology and the interpretation of social science. It could be argued that the interaction of these two levels of causality could be in equilibrium if established societal structures allowed the individual to exercise, what modern social science describes as ‘agency’ and genuinely so, i.e. societal arrangements that facilitate conscience and morality rather than prompting perpetual efforts to gain short-term advantage.
Deendayal Upadhyaya considers Dharma the overarching principle that should govern all social, political and personal life. For him, it regulates Artha, Kama and Moksha, the latter the outcome of selfless conduct in accord with Dharma. It also regulates the conduct of economic affairs, implementation of justice and governance. On governance, he considers undue accumulation of political and economic power as contrary to Dharma, implicitly criticizing communist regimes and could be regarded as querying the impulses of state-dominated, democratic socialism as well. In general, Upadhyaya associates the preponderance of power, including economic monopolies, as a source of corrupt and adharmic misconduct.
In his third lecture, Deendayal Upadhyaya discusses the dynamics of how societies form and function. He disputes the notion that society is the sum total of its individuals, created by some sort of social contract. He asserts that
“nations do not come into existence by a mere cohabitation”.
Society, in the view of Upadhyaya, has an autonomous ontology and is also not necessarily coterminous with geographical space. He makes an interesting contrast between personal morality and that which arises from social dynamics. He recognizes that individuals, who are moral in their personal life,can be immoral in their behaviour towards society and vice versa, Indians often being an example. Deendayal Upadhyaya defines the nation as more substantial then the individuals comprising it, deriving from an ideal connected to a motherland and, presumably, its culture and historic memories. The values that constitute the nation he defines as ‘Chiti’, commendable attributes recognized as meritorious. He almost posits an a priori constitutive morality for personhood.
To elaborate: “Chiti is the touchstone on which each action, each attitude is tested, and determined to be acceptable or otherwise.’Chiti’ is the soul of the nation. On the strength of this ‘Chiti’, a nation arises, strong and virile if it is this ‘Chiti’ that is demonstrated in the actions of every great man of a nation.”
Quite crucially, Upadhyaya’s conception of the nation and society is different from the view German romanticism that counter-posed itself to the Enlightenment and espoused exclusivism and innate ethnic and national superiority:
By contrast, Upadhyaya conceives of the individual as representing himself, the soul of the nation as well as wider ‘mankind’ in a spirit of cooperation and unity. He stresses the complementarity of the individual with society and his plural persons with other layers of human organisation:“Not only have [the Aufklärer] failed to educate the public: they have also suppressed the few seeds of culture that lie within them. They have criticized folk poetry, myth, and music as so much superstition and vulgarity, and they have elevated the artificial dramas of the French court into absolute norms. Even worse, by preaching their new gospel of the cosmopolitan individual, they have made people ashamed of their national identity. People no longer feel that they belong anywhere, because they are told they should belong everywhere. The result: the people are alienated from the living sources of their own culture, their national traditions, language, and history. Now, thanks to the Age of Enlightenment, people will become perfectly alike, the pale ethereal embodiments of a single universal nature. The Aufklärer preach tolerance only because they believe everyone shares in this abstract humanity. Never do they value cultural differences for their own sake.“
“The groups larger than nation such as “mankind” are also represented by him. In short, an individual has a multitude of aspect, but they are not conflicting; there is co-operation. Unity and harmony in them.”
He also repudiates the idea that conflict between the state and the individual and between classes is a natural occurrence. Underlying his conception of society is the need for various components that comprise it to function in an integrated, harmonious way. He decries that idea that the State should be overpowering and possess absolute primacy over other institutions of society, perceiving in it the cause of the decline of other societal organisations essential for its healthy operation.
Upadhyaya makes the interesting point that historic Hindu society survived and continued to function because it was not synonymous with State organisation though also calamitously affected by the capture of their State by invaders:
“Those nations whose life centred in the state, were finished with the end of the state. On the other hand, where state was not believed central to its life, the nation survived the transfer of political power.”
The characteristic of the resilience of self-governing Hindu communities, identified by Deendayal Upadhyaya, may be contrasted with the collapse of Buddhist communities in past centuries. Power in Buddhist communities was centralised and lower levels of organisation dependent on State patronage from above in order to function. In the aftermath of foreign conquest, collapse radiated to all levels quickly.
However, Upadhyaya also recognizes the importance of the State, which historical Hindu society, robust at other levels, may have failed to reinforce sufficiently, a possible reason for it succumbing to invaders.
“Dharma wields its own power. Dharma is important in life. Shri Ramdas would as well have preached to Shivaji to become a mendicant and spread Dharma following his own example. But on the contrary, he inspired Shivaji to extend his rule, because state too, is an important institution of the society.”
At the same time, Dharma, according to Upadhyaya, is not confined to places of worship nor is it synonymous with religion. He argues it is much broader, the basis for sustaining society and the universe itself, varying in time and place, depending on circumstances and need.
“The complete treatise on the rules in general and their philosophical basis is the meaning of Dharma. These rules cannot be arbitrary. They should be such as to sustain and further existence and progress of the entity which they serve.”
Deendayal Upadhyaya is critical of India’s federal constitution and the enshrining of special privileges based on attributes like caste, religion, language and province. In his opinion, they are contrary to the principles of Dharma, which enjoin the essential equality and unity of all citizens. He favours a unitary Constitution though with the devolution of executive and decision-making authority to lower levels of societal organisation, from regional states to village panchayats.
The profound defects of the Indian Constitution are rarely acknowledged by Indians, its framers sanctified as infallible. The Indian Constitution adopted a Westminster style parliamentary system that has conspired to articulate every active and dormant social, political, linguistic, religious and supposed ethnic fissure and division in India and magnify them manifold. A Presidential system of governance, with appropriate safeguards and decentralisation, would have mitigated these dangers, which, instead, are being mobilised by the adversaries of Sanatan Dharma and Bharat to undermine it, as a prelude for much worse.
Upadhyaya then proceeds to define Dharma as a form of natural law, ‘innate’, but not theocratic, the latter being the absolute rule of an individual or his supposed inviolable, scripturally-derived ideas. In his view, all actions, even of the gods, must conform to Dharma. This strong assertion needs much more sustained discussion of the sources and precise character of Dharma since it is also changeable with circumstances. He suggests Dharma is regulated action as opposed to unrestrained behaviour, a formulation that may not be regarded as adequate to the weight of authority Dharma must assume as the guide for action.
However, much of what Upadhyaya posits is underpinned by prioritising human reason. It may also be reasonably argued that although the Sanatan Dharma tradition accords a privileged place to the wisdom of sages, it does not insist on its immutability. Reasoned argument allows questioning and changed Dharmic certainties (like paradigms), a process the philosopher of science, Thomas Kuhn regards as the product of ‘inter-subjective consensus’.
On the specific issue of religious freedom in the rule of Dharma Upadhyaya affirms it must be circumscribed when it encroaches on the freedom of others not of that particular faith.The implications for exclusivist monotheisms are clear and the imperative for decisive action against their aggressive encroachment. He correctly points out secularism in India was defined in opposition to theocracy and Dharma wrongly assimilated to the latter. Of course it has descended into complete intellectual banality and political absurdity, merely an instrument for justifying monotheistic aggression. He challenges this error:
“There is some misunderstanding arising out of this. Religion was equated with Dharma and then secular state was meant to be a state without Dharma. Some said ours is a state (without Dharma), whereas others trying to find a better sounding word, called it Dharmanikshepa (indifferent to Dharma state).”
“State can only be Dharma Rajya (rule of Dharma) nothing else. Any other definition will conflict with the reason of its very existence.”
Upadhyaya’s argues that the separate organs of statehood and governance within the body politic are all on the same plane and subject to the dictates of Dharma. It would beg the question who will adjudicate Dharma when disagreements arise about its meaning and applicability. However, it is quite clear from the tenor and drift of his overall argument that, ultimately, reason, based on foreknowledge of tradition and history, would be the basis of adjudication and course corrections are to be expected in the modern sense recognised by Thomas Kuhn.
He also faults the argument that the people should be deemed unfailingly supreme because, in extremis, it is possible to demonstrates thatthey reach Adharmic decisions, which should be contested, e.g. the surrender of France to the invading German army by Marshall Petain. Thus, Upadhyaya insists that Dharma must prevail against the will of the majority. Such a proposition will be regarded as controversial, but consistent with allowing non violent, dissent of conscience against majoritarian wrong-doing.
The question posed as to what is Dharma and who will decide the correct interpretation in the diverse circumstances in which its application is desirable, yields to the primacy of reasoned debate. He also denies the right to divorce in accordance with Hindu custom even when both partners wish, a principle on the integrity of marriage that might have to yield to practicality in the end for individual cases.
Overall Upadhyaya opposes the blind materialism of consumer society, very much in keep with Vivekananda’s critique of the modern world
Deendayal Upadhyaya’s moving contention that humanity should not be held hostage to grinding work routines is a sane basis for judging economic development and equity. He also affirms the primacy of production of basic necessities for all and protection of the environment rather than production for limitless consumption.
These are normative sentiments that seem to be at odds with the dynamics of modern economies, but cannot be repudiated out of hand. The likelihood of even a significant minority worldwide attaining the consumption level of the majority in advanced economies is remote and an environmental check, transmitted through prices, already a reality. It may be the case that fewer physical materials are required for production as the service component, derived from intellectual capital rises with incomes, but the absolute amounts of the former used in production do not diminish.
He notes that supply, the inner dynamic of modern capitalist production, requires demand to be created in the way economies have ended up evolving. Upadhyaya suggests that this turning point in the modern economy is an artificial outcome, which is not based on environmental sustainability and some normatively ascribed human need for reasonable living. Implicit in his argument is the Sanatana Dharma notion of co-existence between humanity and other living creatures, both animate and inanimate.
The fear that production without limit was exhausting the environment and leading to destruction of civilisation was an issue also was raised by Baba Ramdev recently. He also suggested that everyone in India could not achieve the living standard of the better off in the most advanced nations. Overall Upadhyaya opposes the blind materialism of consumer society, very much in keep with Vivekananda’s critique of the modern world:
“It will not be wise, however, to engage into a blind rat-race of consumption and production as if man is created for the sole purpose of consumption.”
Displaying a profound sense of humanity and concern for all, Deendayal Upadhyaya rejects capitalist and socialist ideas about just shares from production.Upadhyaya avers that provision must be made for all, including the old, children and the disabled:
“Really speaking our slogan should be that the one who earns will feed and every person will have enough to eat.”
He strongly supports a ‘welfare state’ that provides the minimum necessities, ensures free education and medical care as a right, in conformity with the precepts of Dharma. This aspect of his convictions is at odds with the contemporary new Right in India that has blindly declared faith in capitalist markets because India’s quasi socialist mixed economy managed to produce such a veritable disaster that held back economic growth, constraining entrepreneurship and self-help. But Upadhyaya regards both economic systems, capitalist and socialist, as inimical to human dignity and justice. There is clearly an unresolved tension between Upadhyaya’s aspiration for human dignity and justice and a viable means of achieving them in the practical world of socio-economic organisation. But current experience and evidence do not resolve them in favour of extant economic systems and deeper reflection on how to achieve them is merited.
On some specific issues he concurs with goals sought by most societies though their achievement has also proved difficult. He wants society to pursue the goal of full employment, which he regards as a necessity for a fulfilled individual life. Its absence he blames on mismanagement. Upadhyaya is critical of large scale production because it alienates workers and removes their direct involvement with the process of capital formation. He suggests that the competition between capital and labour occurs because the latter became a commodity to be purchased. He feels machines should not compete with labour and their import from abroad a mistake. In his view machines need to be in accord with specific needs of the society in which they are to be used and also be consonant with its socio-political and cultural objectives.
These are, effectively, normative judgments about desirable outcomes that cannot be overlooked because the dynamics of the modern economy predispose contrary outcomes. Yet, since Deendayal Upadhyaya put forward his opinions in 1965, on issues like large scale production, evolving economic structures suggest alternative modes of organising production that are no less productive. And technological modes that allow opportunity for meaningful family life and offer scope for personal creativity. In addition, it may be suggested that shared ownership of productive assets may motivate everyone involved in production activities to identify newer and more humane methods of organising it.
Deendayal Upadhyaya imputes the ills of Indian production methods to imported machinery unsuitable to the conditions of the country. These are not the views of an economist, but experience of exactly this phenomenon decades later, during the rule of the UPA, between 2004 and 2014, highlighted the pitfalls of unrestricted capital goods imports. He calls for a ‘Bharatiya technology’ to overcome the supposed impasse. He is concerned that capital and machinery employed should not lead to unemployment and be appropriate to keeping labour employed.
In fact, that should indeed happen in the normal course of economic activities because, correctly priced by the market,both labour and capital should, in principle, both be kept employed. Of course temporary unemployment while people change jobs and substitution of capital and labour occurring, in response to changing prices, is not unexpected. In addition, he is concerned that note should be taken of the availability of different forms of energy to be used for production. Indeed this is now national policy in India and across the world, in the quest for renewable and affordable energy.
In a deeper critique of capitalism, Deendayal Upadhyaya observes that it created economic man without humanity, in practice discarding those who fail in the system. Capitalism is a system of economic ownership and dynamics that abhors regulation and restrictions and the drive for profits alone prevails. Upadhyaya notes that the result is a concentration of wealth and monopoly power, which means competition is minimised and prices are arbitrary,quality also declining. In addition, the distribution of wealth means that producers concentrate on the requirements of the wealthy rather than the poor and needy. In his view, consumer choice is also reduced as products become standardised. In the end, a system that is supposedly based on the individual destroys individuality.
He also has a negative view of socialism in which the transfer of all productive assets to the State created an impersonal institution that went even further than reducing people to mere ‘economic man’. Man was turned into an abstraction, unable to exercise even the individuality permitted by capitalism, his tastes, preferences abolished and abilities ignored. The incentive to perform that existed under capitalism was also undermined.The class of capitalist exploiters was abolished, but replaced by a new class of bureaucratic oppressors. The Marxist idea that revolution is inevitable eliminated subjective effort to reform.The moral righteousness in achieving the supposed historic purpose of classless society ends in totalitarianism and its cruel propensities. Upadhyaya considers that:
“Both these systems, capitalist as well as communist, have failed to take account of the Integral Man, his true and complete personality and his aspirations.”
He suggests that the way forward is by recognizing that:
“Man the highest creation of God, is losing his own identity. We must re-establish him in his rightful position, being him the realization of his greatness, reawaken his abilities and encourage him to exert for attaining divine heights of his latest personality. This is possible only through a decentralized economy.”
The basis of Upadhyaya’s conception of the relationship between man and the economy, indeed man and society is integral humanism, a holistic view of him. He puts forward a series of proposals for India’s economic system:
- An assurance of minimum standard of living to every individual and preparedness for the defense of the nation.
- Further increase above this minimum standard of living whereby the individual and the nation acquires the means to contribute to the world progress on the basis of its own ‘Chiti’.
- To provide meanings employment to every able bodies citizens by which the above two objectives can be realized and to avoid waste and extravagance in utilizing natural resources.
- To develop suitable machines for Bharatiya conditions (Bharatiya Technology) taking note of the availability and nature of the various factors of production (Seven ‘M’s).
- This system must help and not disregard the human being, the individual. It must protect the cultural and other values of life. This is requirement which cannot be violated except at a risk of great peril.
- The ownership, state, private or any other form of various industries must be decided on a pragmatic and practical basis.
But there is some tension in the goals identified and the crucial question of the means, the process, of their achievement though he recommends ‘swadeshi’ and decentralisation as vehicles for progress. But thecrucial issue remains what are the practical means of achieving the goals enumerated. Helpfully, Upadhyaya affirms the need for reform, the replacement of outdated institutions and practices in favour of the new, even if it causes some pain, though he cautions against mindless disregard for tradition. He ambitiously proposes:
“to reconcile nationalism, democracy, socialism and world peace with the traditional values of Bharatiya Culture and think of all these ideals in an integrated form.”
His view is that the achievement of progress and nobility requires abandonment of some aspect of the past and the creation of new institutions that:
“kindle the spirit of action in us, which will replace the self-centredness and selfishness by a desire to serve the nation.”
Deendayal Upadhyaya’s conception of society and the economy is moral and philosophical. It derives from the view of an integral man, whose aspirations and life need to be multi-dimensional, based on Dharma and facilitated by institutions that uphold Dharma. This is not a technically elaborated roadmap that provides specific guidelines, except at a general level. There are of course proposals for governance, the establishment of appropriate institutions and legal and constitutional provisions to underpin them.
On the economic front, as we have seen, he proposes outcomes rather than elaborating policy proposals on how to achieve them, except to enunciate broad organisational principles that could be sustained. Some the latter arise from his critique of social systems that existed, in particular communism, which has collapsed and capitalism in the throes of serious difficulty.
Before dismissing his ideas as vague and excessively idealistic it might be appropriate to broaden his critique of capitalism and communism to vindicate the legitimacy of searching for alternatives. The latter cannot arise in a vacuum because there is no tabula rasa from which an unencumbered beginning is possible and indeed Upadhyaya is aware of it. The motive for renewing the quest should be based on the strengths and pitfalls of historical experience. The present juncture of economic crisis across the world and malaise in economic thinking is a good place to begin.The general point is that advanced economies of the world began their journey a mere 250 years ago and their experience cannot be regarded as the last word in the possibilities of economic organisation and the society it produces.One must also look searchingly at its achievements and failures in judging alternative ideas and aspirations.
The first two economies to begin industrialisation were England and Holland in the mind 18th century. Their advances were undoubtedly catalysed by preceding changes within their societies, for example, the infamous enclosure movement in England that robbed the landless of traditional rights over the use of land. This was a brutal experience. Undoubtedly, new ideas on economic organisation were also a facilitator.The person most associated with them is Adam Smith though he had predecessors, who are not as well known, but had anticipated many of his ideas on economic organisation. Industrialisation of Europe was also accompanied by brutal conquests of the non-white world, followed by desolation, slavery, genocide, looting and enforced de-industrialisation. These options are unavailable now.
Capitalism has changed profoundly and the competitive model of Adam Smith has retreated. It has created an underlying problem of underconsumption and permanent instability that economists like Michal Kalecki and John Maynard Keynes sought to address. On the issue of international trade, theorists Brander and Spencer and Paul Krugman have questioned the validity of unquestioned competition in the context of monopolies.
In fact, large corporations operate internal markets. But markets and private ownership under capitalism are not synonymous though the former is associated with political freedoms. Smith’s political economy in fact sought to overcome the problem posed by Hobbes on the need for dictatorship to forestall the cruelties of ‘all against all’ disorder through mechanisms for cooperation in the marketplace.
One the issues of basic necessities, for all of recorded history and the present, as well as any reasonable projection into the future, that is the level of life the overwhelming majority have experienced and can expect. The related question is how to ensure basic protection without diminishing work incentives, which partly depend on the gap between welfare and wage levels. But comprehensive state- provision of welfare seems to undermine family bonds, a disaster that has unfolded in the UK and Europe. In the contemporary world that is developing many will only know their own biological paternity, since the state has become the father, through DNA testing, which will become essential before marriage!
Industrialisation under capitalism and socialism has not adequately confronted the issue of an environmental check that will assuredly prevent the overwhelming majority becoming significant beneficiaries of economic success. The related question that is already posed by many is the impact on the quality of life, which includes mental health issues and urban living that is well nigh impossible in many places for the majority, living in desperate conditions.It also disrupts traditional relationships and family ties that have always underpinned human society. These are issues implicit and explicit in Deendayal Upadhyaya’s four lectures. His truncated lectures, delivered to an audience, were not a fully complete programme. Their purpose was to identify desirable goals for Indian society and the intellectual and spiritual basis for their attainment. The crucial dimension was the conception of Integral Humanism, grounded on the values of Dharma. His broad sketch is a worthy agenda for investigation that researchers should consider seriously.
Gautam Sen (Dr. Gautam Sen is President, World Association of Hindu Academicians and Co-director of the Dharmic Ideas and Policy Foundation. He taught international political economy at the London School of Economics and Political Science for over two decades.)
Courtsey – Indiafacts