The Economic problem of man and its solutions – Book Sample
INTRODUCTION (Being an Address delivered in the Muslim University, Aligarh.
on 20th October, 1941). The economic problem which occupies in these days the centre of our intellectual life had never before come to so much prominence or assumed the importance it does today. I use the word “prominence” because, as a matter of fact, the importance which economics naturally has for the life of mankind has always, in every age, impelled individuals, communities, nations, countries and indeed all men to pay due attention to it.
But in our days this attention has turned into an obsession leading to the creation of a new science of economics, embodied in voluminous books, with high-sounding terminology and large organization at its back.
Along with this, new complications have been intercluded in the production, distribution and acquisition of the necessities of life. As a result of this there is such a plethora of discussion and scientific research about economic problems, that in face of it all the other problems of mankind seein to have paled into insignificance. Strange to say, however, that the object on which the attention of the whole world has been riveted in this manner, instead of getting any nearer solution, is becoming more and more complicated.
In fact it has become a veritable enigma. The abstruse terminology of the science of economics and the scholarly subtleties and hair splittings of economic experts have so confounded and mystified the ordinary people that the poor fellows, on hearing these expert discussions, stand aghast before the complexity of their economic problem and lose all hope of its solution, like a patient who is frightened on hearing from his doctor a biggish Latin name for his disease and thinks that he can be cured of his indisposition only by the special grace of God.
In point of fact, however, if the smoke-screen and cloak of this scientific terminology and technical discussion is cast aside and the matter is looked at in its plain, natural simplicity, the economic problem of man can be easily understood, the advantageous aspect of the various solution adopted can be examined without difficulty, and the correct solution of this knotty problem can come within easy grasp of the ordinary man.
Apart from the magic of professional complications and the rigmarole of terminology woven round this problem, a further complication has arisen by reason of the fact that the economic problem of man which was, indeed, a part of the larger problem of human life, has been separated from the whole and looked at as if it were an independent problem by itself.
And gradually this attitude has taken such a firm root that the economic problem has come to be regarded as the sole problem of life.
This is even a greater mistake which has made its solution infinitely difficult. This attitude is, however, utterly unscientific.
It is as if an expert in liver diseases isolates the liver from the whole bodily system and, disregarding the position allotted to and occupied by the liver in the human body and its relationship with other bodily organs, starts looking at the liver in isolation; and then becomes so much absorbed in its examination that ultimately the whole bodily frame and physical system appears to him as a vast liver and nothing else.
You can very well understand that if the problems of bodily health were sought to be solved by this “liverish” attitude, how impossible of solution they would become and to what extreme dangers will human life be exposed.
In the same way if economics is isolated and segregated from the whole of which it is a part and an attempt is made to solve all the problems of life by means of economic panaceas as if man were no more than an economic animal and his moral and spiritual aspirations have no reality apart from his economic endeavours, you should not be surprised if choas and confusion are the final result
Believe me, the existence of experts and specialists is one of the many calamities of modern age. A comprehensive and general outlook of life and its problems is becoming rare every day. Man has become a toy in the hands of one-eyed specialists of the different sciences and professions.
If there is a physicist, he starts solving the riddle of the universe on the strength of physics alone. If one is observed by psychology, one seeks to build up a whole philosophy of life on the basis of his psychological observations and experiments. If man’s knowledge is confined to sexology, he announces straightaway that the whole of human life is rotating on the axis of sexual passions so…
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