SWADESHI - Self Sufficiency

"Ideaz on - “SWADESHI - self sufficiency/protectionist policy - will it lead to prosperity and happiness?”
By P.T. Choudary - Chairman, Institute for Democratic & Economic Affairz (IDEAz)

Quotations for consideration:

  • "This division of labour, from which so many advantages are derived, is not originally the effect of any human wisdom, which forces and intends that general opulence to which it gives occasion. It is a necessary, though very slow and gradual, consequence of a certain propensity in human nature which has in view no such extensive utility; the propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another." - Adam Smith.
  • "No foreign policy tool is more cost effective than an intelligently negotiated trade agreement" - Ian Bremmer

Key concepts:

  • "Proper understanding leads to right action, resulting in Health, Prosperity & Happiness.
  • "On what principle is it, that when we see nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?" - Thomas Babington Macaulay .
  • No person or community or country has all the time, resources and skills to make each thing they need for themselves, better than can be done by everyone else. Therefore to enjoy the best of what is available it is necessary to trade what one makes best in exchange for what others make best.
  • Happiness arises from being able to meet one’s needs at a desired level and still have TIME to chose other activities to undertake.
  • Even unilateral openness to Trade is better than Protectionism.

Key Metrics:

Understanding: THE WORLD THEN & NOW

World Population:

About 10, 000 years ago - less than 10 Million

About 1800 - about 1.0 Billion

Today - about 7.0 Billion

By about 2050 - Projected to be stable at about 9.0 Billion

India Population:

About 1900 - about 200 Million

Today - about 1.20 Billion

Per Capita GDP (in 1990 US $)


For most of the last 2000 years - US$ 300/-

By about 1800 AD - US$ 600/-

Today - over US$ 6000/-


Upto about 1800 with 25% of world GDP - say about US$ 750/-

Today with 5.5% of world GDP - about US$ 1527/-

Swadeshi in Trade Polices is a call for Protectionism. A declaration of inability to innovate and face competition. A call arising out of the mistaken belief that life was great in the past when it is thought that every village was self-sufficient and people lived in perfect harmony with Nature and with their neighbours. A lack of understanding that, as you will never have enough time or resources or skills to make everything you need for yourself, even if you are prepared to make do with less than the best, you will be compelled to choose what to do without and live a life lacking in most of what are today seen as necessities.

To believe that living in such constrained circumstances is the road to happiness is wrong. To keep pointing out that the ‘Father’ of our Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, lived


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