– Professor Dr. M.M. Goel*
As consumers, producers, distributors and traders, the global citizens have to accept the realities of recession (if not depression) and slow growth rate in the global economy caused by covid crisis. Is there any mantra to fix the problems in the global economy including India? What we should do to come out of the impact of covid crisis and revive the economy suffering from covid created crisis?
As ‘Needonomist, I believe in the principle of ‘Needonomics’ as the smooth path of survival and revival of the global economy in post covid era. Needonomics requires actions suiting circumstances as a common sense approach of ‘cut the coat according to the cloth’. It is an old proverb mostly before the ready-made dresses started flooding the shopping mall. In those days, people bought the cloth according to the requisite measurement for stitching new dresses, including the coat. Even now many people do that. However, if the cloth purchased is cut more at one or two places than the required length and breadth, then there will be shortfall of material for other areas of the body, like arms, collar and pockets. Like the body and mind coordination for any action of ours, these two, income and expenses, go together. It is all in one’s hand; mostly in middle class and even among higher income group of people, too. A father is the breadwinner of a family. He works and earns, so that he and his family members who depend on him for a living, find all the bare necessities and live peacefully. At home, both the father and mother jointly discuss and plan the monthly expenditures so that it should not overlap the income. This proverb applies not only to individuals but also to business establishments. Of course, a company may raise a loan to expand or diversify its business. But it must do so judiciously; otherwise it can even go bankrupt. Even the government of a nation has to keep in mind it’s total resources while spending. if it does not do so and goes on borrowing recklessly from banks and foreign countries, it could result in severe economic problems for the nationals. The saying is of great practical value applying it in life makes one happy and contented.
Income can be compared to output, and expenses to input. If the input exceeds the output, then there is bound to be financial crunch every month. This will lead to debts and worries. And if the same situation persists, resulting in the accumulation of debts, it would shatter the peace in the family. So, it is the duty of the heads of the family to chalk out a strategy in such a way like cutting the cloth to the requisite measurement that both ends can be met with. It is not applicable to family alone, but applicable to any economy in the world including India. Now even the super power USA also undergoes trials and tribulations, resulting in recession.
It is worth quoting a great saying by an anonymous writer, “They live in a beautiful little apartment overlooking the rent.” Though it sounds funny, it is true in many families who give utmost importance to luxury, a sort of face-saving attitude among their near and dear, by borrowing money and becoming debtors in the long run. One must have some comforts. There is no second opinion about it. But at the same time, it is the best policy to curtail unnecessary expenses.
To say goodbye to the ‘Cobra Effect’ of international debt, we should adopt needonomics which is ethical, nonviolent and spiritual in nature and says no to greed authenticating economic thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi , is based on the logo of Life Insurance Corporation (LIC )of India ‘Yogakshemam Vahamyaham’(Your welfare is our responsibility).
The joy of freedom cannot be found in the art of living for the livelihood but with the art of giving by adopting life style of altruism (not me but you) with limited use of resources for the self. The excessive dependence on FDI can be reduced to a considerable extent by adopting needonomics.
The call for stopping the use of foreign ( Chinese ) goods can be successful only if we confine to needs only and say no to greed which falls in the domain of greedonomics (economics of greed ). Internationalization of Indianization is possible by adopting diplomacy of Glocalization (think globally and act locally) and sharing and caring of others.
To enhance the international stature of incredible India, we should stop war of words and win over the adversaries in neighbourhood with diplomacy.
To create capacity in the economy, we have to build infrastructure which require investment and is dependent on domestic saving rate. This is possible with expenditure policy based on needonomics. One can increase the capacity of investing, saving and donating for public wellbeing only by confining to needs. There is no substitute of the control of expenditure and consumption for investment to enhance the capacities and capabilities.
I believe that ‘needonomics’ is necessary and sufficient for solving the economic and non-economic problems anywhere in the world including India.
Needonomics is required for saying no to most of the problems caused by Greedonomics (economics of greed) including violence, terrorism, exploitation, deprivation, discrimination, discontent and corruption of all kinds prevailing in the society. Endless greed is the real menace facing the world today.
To my mind, an economist who speaks and argues needonomics is known as Needonomist.
To implement the principle of ‘Needonomics’, I believe that strategy of spiritually guided materialism (SGM) flowing from LIC of India’s slogan in the logo ‘yogakshemam vahamyaham’ in Sanskrit which loosely translates into English as “Your welfare is our responsibility” derived from sloka no 22 of chapter 9 of Bhagvad Gita “ananyāśh chintayanto māṁ ye janāḥ paryupāsate teṣhāṁ nityābhiyuktānāṁ yoga-kṣhemaṁ vahāmyaham”. Meaning there by “There are those who always think of Me and engage in exclusive devotion to Me. To them, whose minds are always absorbed in Me, I provide what they need and preserve what they already possess”
Recession in the global economy including India needs proper diagnosis by the economists of all shades and creed with Gita based wise words of wisdom (www) to create conducive climate and work culture with honesty of purpose. It needs to be understood, analysed and interpreted that spiritualism and materialism are complementary to each other and not substitutes. To mitigate the miseries of materialism, modern economics must consist of spiritualism which is necessary and sufficient for ethical behaviour of economic actors including consumers, producers, distributors, traders and above all policy makers and facilitators. Economists have the unique responsibility towards the moral empowerment of all the actors in the economy.
I believe that a consumer as a hero of economics is always interested in a heroin (goods and services) and all those who pollute the relationship are called villains in the real drama in the market. Everyone is a consumer and is expected to behave in the market with rational behaviour which falls in the domain of consumer psychology.
Consumer psychology is the study of why and how people buy things in the market (online and offline). Every consumer should consume the goods and services as per the needs. It is unfortunate that leading economists of the world promote greed as the basis of economic growth, turning it into a “Greedonomics”. Economics should be based on need, not on greed. It should be a “Needonomics”, and not a “Greedonomics”.
For revival of the economy, we need street smart citizenry as consumers, producers, distributors and traders. A person is street smart with the attributes including simple, moral, action oriented, responsive and transparent (SMART) along with needonomics in the present economic scenario of materialism and consumerism.
We have to adopt SIMPLE model of empowerment consisting of six human development activities such as spiritual quotient (SQ) development, intuition development, mental level development, love oneself attitude development and emotional quotient (EQ) development. The synergy of these six aspects is essential requirement for us to emerge and realize our full potential.
My perceptions about globalization in present times of covid created economic crisis is to understand, analyze and interpret globalization as internationalization of Indianization which I have been promoting since 1991.
To implement the vision of ‘Atamnirbhar Bharat Abhiyan announced by Indian prime minister, we should avoid over emphasizing ‘vocal for local’ and be little diplomatic and use the wisdom for ‘Glocalization’ to promote Vasudhiava Kutumbakam (the world is one family) as the Indian ethos. We have to control our tongue and appetite of the war of words and agree to disagree respectfully. For determination of implementing Atamnirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, we have to accept needonomics as the key for self-reliance. It is pertinent to mention that self-reliance (Atamnirbhar) without the knowledge of the self as soul ( atma) is a distant dream and calls for imbibing human values of public wellbeing ( lokmanagal).
To give defeat to the socio-economic problems, we have to adopt needonomics. For conducting welfare schemes for the poor, we require resources which must be spent judiciously.
To justify the relevance of needonomics in present times of covid crisis, we have to accept and understand Bhagvad Gita as a treatise on welfare economics and management. It needs to be accepted as a sacro-secular epic for the entire humanity. For me, Gita is my guru which is the heart of Krishan. Economy can be people friendly and socially beneficial only if undertaken in accordance with NAW approach (Need, Affordability and Worth of the goods and services). The pertinent questions before the people ‘Do one Need the good or service, which has been so glamorously advertised? Is the good or service Affordable? Is the good or service Worth its price?’ The market should satisfy the essential needs of the people, create employment opportunities and be utilitarian. We have to understand, analyse, interpret and adopt NAW approach for the goods and services. To create work culture, there is need of converting holiday culture in to holy-day culture. I firmly believe that the rate of progress in spiritualism is faster than the rate of progress in materialism. Therefore, there is need of accepting spiritually guided materialism (SGM) strategy making a case for ‘needonomics’ which is nonviolent, ethical and spiritual (no to greed ‘greedonomics’) as a solution of various problems in any economy. Efficacy and esteem should be the belief to shape the economy which calls for zealous (not jealous) human resources with spiritual input. To make it happen we should adopt an evolutionary approach and should not expect miracles.
I believe an enlightened life helps in developing skills, values, wisdom and vision to align and harmonize new connectivity among various economic sectors in the global society. Gita is useful to all those who are interested in exploring such a journey to life, living and providing leadership driven by nobler objectives for riving the global economy. To seek real happiness with kindness, we should possess something to share with others as altruism with limited means falls in the domain of needonomics.
* Former Vice Chancellor and Needonomist Professor retired from Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra. Disciple of Gita as heart of Krishan.