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Theory of Trusteeship: Basic Tenets

  • Categories
    Yojana/Kurukshetra
  • Published
    28th Dec, 2019
  • Trusteeship principle basically stands on non-violence rather than violence on which is basic foundation of communism and Capitalism.
  • For a sustainable society, Gandhi’s argument was that trusteeship stands a better chance at the theoretical level.
  • Gandhi described a society based on trusteeship as follows “the rich man will be left in possession of wealth of which he will use when he necessarily requires and reasonably satisfies his personal needs and then act as a trustee for the remainder to be used for the society and by the society.”
  • The fundamental assumption regarding the theory is honesty and integrity of the trustee which is unrealistic in nature and posses a limitation on workability of the theory.
  • However, Gandhi is not arguing of the workability of trusteeship, but he is only promulgating the theory of trusteeship. The idea of trusteeship is based on one particular value that is embedded in Indian tradition. It is the value of aparigraha non- acquisitive nature of the human being that has to be developed.
  • It has so happened that the positive economics has ignored values of this nature.
  • Aparigraha is becomes the integral part of the human behavior and this has to be considered also as a part of the behavior of the economic man. Gandhi departs from the conventional positive economists from this point.
  • Aparigrahi,e., the person who is acquiring wealth but is not acquisitive, has a variety of uses of his wealth. One would be the utilization for self satisfaction - gratification of self-needs.
  • The other part of utility involves an individual deriving the satisfaction and utility by satisfying the needs of others. The important aspect of aparigraha is its multi-utility concept.
  • If this normative nature of aparigrahi is accepted on the mainstream economic analysis, cultivating an aprigrahi individual becomes a major task.
  • In contemporary corporate environment, the dominance of the positive economics is reflected in the acceptance of the exogenous nature of values, i.e., the values have to be treated outside and separately.
  • This is not true because actual human behavior is not bereft of such kind of value systems. The market failure signals the failure of acting like an economic man. In corporate practice often there exists irrationality-value other than profit motive. If space is to be created for such value, then it is possible to create space for aparigraha as a value to be operational. Trusteeship is based on this premise.  
  • If aparigraha is to be imbibed, the approach to view the production system would differ. Also, within the production system, the issues like what to produce and how much to produce would be tackled from a different
  • The society would need to find the way to bring down the acquisitive nature of the population. One solution lies with the introduction of the moral value of aparigraha into lives of the mass through education. However, that is going to be a long process.
  • Gandhiji was repeatedly asked the process of implementation Of trusteeship. Persuasion and non-cooperation was Gandhi’s answer.
  • If the trustee fails to behave as a trustee, the State be justified in dispossessing them with minimum level of restrain.
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