- Prof. Trilok Kumar Jain - Prof. San­deep Kumar

Economic Challenger - - NEWS - *Prof. (Dr.) Trilok Kumar Jain **Prof. Sun­deep Kumar *Dean of In­ter­na­tional School of Busi­ness Man­age­ment (ISBM) in Suresh Gyan Vi­har Univer­sity, Jaipur. email: jain.tk@gmail.com or tk­jain­bkn@ya­hoo.co.in and 91+9414430763 **As­sis­tant Pro­fes­sor in Cen­tre f


Var­i­ous mea­sures of sat­is­fac­tion with life or hap­pi­ness in de­vel­oped coun­tries ap­pear not to have risen in re­cent years de­spite de­vel­oped coun­tries' high per capita in­comes. The growth in per capita in­come has also proved to be a bub­ble as many economies are now ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dif­fi­cul­ties in sus­tain­ing their sta­tus. There is some prob­lem in the eco­nomic model adopted in those economies. The eco­nomic poli­cies are now in con­flict with en­vi­ron­men­tal poli­cies and ob­jec­tives and they cre­ate neg­a­tive ef­fect on na­ture, so­cial life and per­sonal well be­ing. The au­thors try to look into the ques­tions and put some propo­si­tions along with pos­si­ble roadmap. The au­thors dis­cuss the con­cept of Rel­a­tive Economics as pro­pounded by Acharya Ma­hapragya as a so­lu­tion to the cur­rent eco­nomic prob­lems. The pa­per is in­tended to raise some is­sues and some ques­tions pri­mar­ily fo­cused on pol­icy mak­ers. This is an in­tro­duc­tory and ex­plo­rative pa­per. The ideas in this ar­ti­cle are de­rived from lit­er­a­ture re­views, per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences and aca­demic dis­course with schol­ars.

Key­words economics, de­vel­oped coun­tries, wel­fare economics, eco­nomic growth, hap­pi­ness, ref­er­ence graps, rel­a­tive in­come, sub­jec­tive well­be­ing.


Pol­icy mak­ers across the globe are busy in cre­at­ing eco­nomic poli­cies that serve the hu­man be­ings the best. They have tried their best to cre­ate eco­nomic poli­cies and sys­tems that can en­sure fastest de­vel­op­ment. The ul­ti­mate ob­jec­tive of economics is to bring pros­per­ity, hap­pi­ness, well be­ing, and wealth to the na­tion. This can be achieved only through a set of poli­cies to re­duce gap be­tween haves and havnots, poli­cies to pro­mote en­trepreneur­ship, poli­cies to raise the level of marginal­ized sec­tions of the so­ci­ety, poli­cies to help the so­cial en­trepreneurs and change agents and poli­cies to achieve a fine bal­ance be­tween strin­gency and re­lax­ations. Eco­nomic poli­cies bring out the best of a na­tion. It is dif­fi­cult to iso­late eco­nomic poli­cies from other poli­cies. Eco­nomic poli­cies are in­ter­re­lated and in­ter­con­nected with the po­lit­i­cal poli­cies, for­eign poli­cies, and tech­no­log­i­cal poli­cies. For years, the scope and ob­jec­tives of economics have been de­bated. Peo­ple tried to ex­pand the scope of economics in stages – and its am­bit in­creased from mere wealth science to wel­fare economics. If we look at In­dian thinkers, we find many broader per­spec­tives avail­able. If we look at Chanakya's economics or Ma­haveera's economics, we find that those con­cepts are far more broader and take into ac­count the mul­ti­ple di­men­sions of eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal sys­tem. Acharya Ma­hapragya has pre­sented be­fore us the con­cept of Rel­a­tive Economics , which is pre­sented in mod­ern ref­er­ence (its ori­gin lies in Ma­haveera's ideas). It is a mul­ti­fac­eted con­cept, where spir­i­tu­al­ity, moral­ity, ethics, en­vi­ron­ment, non-vi­o­lence and other re­lated sub­jects have not only a pos­i­tive role, but do af­fect the shap­ing of rel­a­tive economics. Be­sides economics so­cial sciences, psy­chol­ogy etc. have also di­rect bear­ing. There­fore, a holis­tic ap­proach is nec­es­sary for con­cep­tu­al­iz­ing Rel­a­tive


Thus in­stead of ex­pand­ing the do­main of economics in stages, this con­cept takes economics in its truly de­sired per­spec­tive. This con­cept takes over­all hap­pi­ness and well be­ing of ev­ery­one over long pe­riod of time as its ob­jec­tive. In eco­nomic terms, we can say that rel­a­tive economics tries to elim­i­nate ab­so­lute poverty and min­i­mize inequal­i­ties

Many coun­tries have achieved re­mark­able eco­nomic pros­per­ity (in terms of GDP and per capita in­come). The de­vel­oped coun­tries' very high per capita in­come and im­pact of lib­er­al­iza­tion on rate of eco­nomic growth in some coun­tries since the start of eco­nomic re­forms is gen­er­ally as­sumed to have raised the eco­nomic wel­fare of the com­mon peo­ple dra­mat­i­cally. In China alone, in less than three decades, aver­age real in­come per capita rose more than six times and that more than 250 mil­lion peo­ple have been lifted out of 'dol­lar a day' poverty (Raval­lion Chen, 2007) . More­over, within a quar­ter of a cen­tury its 'hu­man de­vel­op­ment in­dex' rose from 0.37 to 0.68 (UNDP, 2010). Th­ese data and in­stances cre­ate at­trac­tion for such eco­nomic poli­cies. The de­vel­oped coun­tries have al­ways cre­ated an at­trac­tion and glam­our for the youth of the de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. Any eco­nomic pol­icy adopted by de­vel­oped coun­try is eas­ily im­i­tated by other coun­tries. How­ever, we have to look at the other side of de­vel­op­ment also. Ev­ery coin has two as­pects and so is the case with the de­vel­op­ment plan­ning. The de­vel­op­ment plan­ning of the present times ig­nores non­hu­man be­ings. It is fo­cused on ma­te­rial progress and pros­per­ity and cre­at­ing greater com­forts for only hu­man be­ings. The de­vel­op­men­tal plans have looked only at the statis­tics that churn out num­bers and fig­ures only and have ig­nored the im­pact on sur­round­ings, im­pact on other liv­ing be­ings and im­pact on our val­ues and be­lief sys­tem. It is not sur­pris­ing that more and more species are be­com­ing ex­tinct ev­ery­day. It is not sur­pris­ing that more and more catas­tro­phes (which are in­di­rectly man-made) are emerg­ing. We are wit­ness­ing changes in cli­mate and our sur­round­ings. The last few decades have been the hottest in the last 1000 years. It is pre­dicted that in the next 100 years, the aver­age tem­per­a­ture of mother Earth will rise by 4 to 5 de­grees which will make life dif­fi­cult for hu­man be­ings also. The num­ber of cows dy­ing due to eat­ing plas­tic contents is well known. The ris­ing pol­lu­tion has made the liv­ing dif­fi­cult for hu­man be­ings what to talk about other liv­ing crea­tures.


New for­mats of in­dus­tries and com­pa­nies have wiped out the sur­vival pos­si­bil­i­ties of small, cot­tage and house­hold in­dus­tries. Th­ese trends are en­abling larger and larger com­pa­nies to dom­i­nate, which will ul­ti­mately cre­ate a new eco­nomic sys­tems favour­ing larger scales of economies. The in­di­rect im­pacts of th­ese trends are many, which we fail to no­tice to­day. The larger com­pa­nies cre­ate im­per­sonal work sys­tems and con­vert the work en­vi­ron­ment into mech­a­nis­tic work sys­tems, which alien­ate peo­ple from each other and from the en­vi­ron­ment at large. Larger com­pa­nies spend a great deal of money on CSR prac­tices, but their own in­ter­nal pro­cesses cause sub­stan­tial harm to en­vi­ron­ment and ecol­ogy. With th­ese sys­tems de­vel­op­men­tal plan­ning must be wholis­tic. It must take into ac­count long term de­vel­op­ment per­spec­tives. GDP or other eco­nomic data are in­suf­fi­cient to look into de­vel­op­ment per­spec­tives. We must take more broader mea­sures. We must look at im­pact of poli­cies on hu­man be­ings and also on en­vi­ron­ment. We must try to look into the im­pact on peo­ple in terms of qual­i­ta­tive mea­sures also – like hap­pi­ness, health and fit­ness and over­all sat­is­fac­tion.

The present de­vel­op­ment plan­ning and eco­nomic poli­cies are mak­ing peo­ple in­di­vid­u­al­is­tic, per­sonal goal ori­ented, and ma­te­ri­al­is­tic de­vel­op­ment ori­ented. This ap­proach will ul­ti­mately bring down long term pros­per­ity of peo­ple. We have to change the de­vel­op­men­tal pro­cesses and per­spec­tives and

make our de­vel­op­ment more broad-based.

Is­sues for de­vel­op­ment plan­ning :

De­vel­op­men­tal plan­ning must look into the long-term well-be­ing of peo­ple, which can­not take place un­less a wholis­tic ap­proach is adopted. We have to keep en­vi­ron­ment, ecol­ogy, also in our per­spec­tives. We have to re­mem­ber that lop­sided de­vel­op­men­tal plans can­not sus­tain. We have to adopt tech­nolo­gies, which are ap­pro­pri­ate for our sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment. We have to cre­ate a de­vel­op­men­tal per­spec­tive plan, which should look for broader mea­sures rather than just GDP. Some of the is­sues are as un­der : a. ed­u­ca­tion b. health care c. fresh air, fresh wa­ter and fresh food for

peo­ple d. green­ery, en­vi­ron­ment and bal­anced eco

sys­tem e. har­mony with na­ture, en­vi­ron­ment and

ecol­ogy f. hap­pi­ness and well-be­ing and joy of liv­ing g. tech­nolo­gies that foster sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment rather than quick prof­its

There is a need for con­certed ef­forts to evolve long term de­vel­op­men­tal goals, which can help our civ­i­liza­tion. The my­opic de­vel­op­men­tal plan­ning has landed de­vel­oped coun­tries in ut­ter con­fu­sions to­day and the peo­ple are find­ing dis­il­lu­sioned in­spite of ma­te­rial pros­per­ity and eco­nomic progress (in terms of statis­tics).

Dif­fer­ences in per­spec­tives of de­vel­oped and de­vel­op­ing coun­tries

The i ssues for de­vel­oped and de­vel­op­ing coun­tries are dif­fer­ent. De­vel­oped coun­tries are look­ing into is­sues re­lat­ing to re­dis­tri­bu­tion of wealth, while the de­vel­op­ing coun­tries are cop­ing with ba­sic is­sues like food, cloth­ing, hous­ing, health care etc. The im­pact of de­vel­op­men­tal plan­ning on well­be­ing and hap­pi­ness is also a mat­ter of study. Easter­lin & Sawangfa (2009) made a care­ful de­scrip­tive study of 12 de­vel­op­ing coun­tries for which suf­fi­ciently long and com­pa­ra­ble time se­ries data were avail­able. All 12 coun­tries ex­pe­ri­enced ris­ing real in­come per capita. Three (China, In­dia and Chile) ap­peared to ex­pe­ri­ence a fall in their aver­age sat­is­fac­tion with life whereas nine showed a rise in their score, al­though in only two (Mex­ico and Venezuela) was the rise sta­tis­ti­cally sig­nif­i­cant. How­ever, the change in the score was not pos­i­tively re­lated to the growth of in­come per capita, and in ev­ery case the change in the score fell short of that pre­dicted by the cross-sec­tion re­la­tion­ship within a coun­try.

Is de­vel­oped coun­tries' ex­pe­ri­ence com­mon to all economies? Easter­lin (2009) ex­am­ined hap­pi­ness scores in 13 ex-com­mu­nist coun­tries of Eastern Europe. Hap­pi­ness col­lapsed when their economies col­lapsed, but it failed to re­cover com­men­su­rately with in­come. This was at­trib­uted to the non-in­come changes that ac­com­pa­nied the tran­si­tion to cap­i­tal­ism, such as ris­ing un­em­ploy­ment, in­equal­ity and in­se­cu­rity. The so­cioe­co­nomic changes ac­com­pa­ny­ing eco­nomic tran­si­tion ap­peared to re­duce hap­pi­ness. The ul­ti­mate goals of our de­vel­op­men­tal plans to raise the level of hap­pi­ness, thus re­quire broader mea­sures.

Lack of con­cen­sus on de­vel­op­ment goals

There are di­ver­gent ap­proaches to de­vel­op­ment. De­vel­oped and de­vel­op­ing coun­tries are not unan­i­mous about most of the is­sues. Whether it is agri­cul­ture, free trade, cli­mate re­lated is­sues, or trade in ser­vices, the di­ver­gence is well known. Th­ese is­sues are far more smaller is­sues in com­par­i­son to broader is­sues like de­vel­op­men­tal plan­ning, hu­man de­vel­op­ment in­dex mea­sures, hap­pi­ness in­dex, spir­i­tual well-be­ing and con­scious cap­i­tal­ism. How can we have a con­sen­sus on th­ese mea­sures and con­cepts, which are not only more im­por­tant than any other is­sues, but also more dif­fi­cult to mea­sure. We have to evolve a com­mon un­der­stand­ing first for the cause of our civ­i­liza­tion and for our next gen­er­a­tions.

Hu­man di­men­sion to growth pat­tern and di­rec­tion

There is a need to give hu­mane di­men­sion to our growth pat­tern and di­rec­tion. We have to look at sub­jec­tive as­pects of de­vel­op­ment and broader mea­sures of growth. We have to look at over­all hap­pi­ness and over­all sat­is­fac­tion of peo­ple. We have to pro­mote sys­tems which pro­mote col­lec­tive well-be­ing rather than in­di­vid­ual ac­com­pa­l­ish­ments. We have to pro­mote plans and pro­grammes that fo­cus on long term sat­is­fac­tion and value based de­vel­op­ment rather then ma­te­rial well be­ing. Con­sumerism has not come by chance, we have brought i t through sus­tained ef­forts. Ad­ver­tise­ment wars and mod­ern mar­ket­ing tac­tics have been planned and taught to our ex­ec­u­tives and stu­dents which have cre­ated the new ma­te­ri­al­is­tic per­spec­tive. When we can spread con­sump­tion ori­en­ta­tion through the mod­ern mar­ket­ing per­spec­tives, we can also wipe it and re- in­state hu­man ori­ented de­vel­op­men­tal plans. In­spite of all the ma­te­ri­al­is­tic work cul­ture, there are still cases of great ini­tia­tives for hu­man cause. Th­ese cases need to be pro­moted. This pro­mo­tion should take prece­dence in our eco­nomic plans also. We must re­mem­ber that economics af­fects po­lit­i­cal sys­tems , so­cial fab­ric and value frame­work. We have to use economics for trans­for­ma­tion of our civ­i­liza­tion.

Per­spec­tives of Rel­a­tive Economics

The con­cept of Rel­a­tive Economics is based on the vi­sion of de­vel­op­ment as pro­pounded by Lord Ma­haveera. This con­cept has been pop­u­lar­ized by Acharya Ma­hapragya. Rel­a­tive Economics is for har­mo­nious re­la­tion­ship around hu­man be­ings and na­ture. For years, econ­o­mists have fo­cused on ex­ploita­tion of re­sources. Gov­ern­ments af­ter gov­ern­ments have adopted only one stance – to ex­ploit the nat­u­ral re­sources. 'Ex­ploita­tion' seems to be an ob­jec­tive of the pri­vate en­trepreneurs, but how can it be the ob­jec­tive of the na­tion, which is hav­ing sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ship with the na­ture and en­vi­ron­ment. For decades, de­vel­oped coun­tries gave the high­est pri­or­ity to the achieve­ment of rapid eco­nomic growth. In the last five years, how­ever, the bal­ance of pol­icy ob­jec­tives has moved some­what in the di­rec­tion of cre­at­ing a 'Har­mo­nious So­ci­ety', for in­stance, show­ing greater con­cern for re­duc­ing in­come in­equal­ity and for im­prov­ing so­cial se­cu­rity. That move can be seen as a re­sponse to the is­sues that un­der­lie this pa­per. Now de­vel­oped coun­tries are also real­iz­ing the flaws in their poli­cies and now they are talk­ing about sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment.

Con­cept of Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment

Sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment en­vi­ron­ment or eco-sys­tem is the top pri­or­ity and en­sures that we meet our re­quire­ments with­out de­stroy­ing en­vi­ron­ment. Brundt­land Re­port (1987) of the UN stated that "Sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment is de­vel­op­ment that meets the needs of the present with­out com­pro­mis­ing the abil­ity of fu­ture gen­er­a­tions to meet their own needs." The con­cept of sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment is still pop­u­lar in de­vel­oped coun­tries only. The econ­o­mists in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries are not yet tak­ing this con­cept se­ri­ously. The rea­sons of this di­chotomy is that the econ­o­mists still con­tinue with nar­row per­spec­tive of economics of wealth max­imi­sa­tion.


We need to spread the con­cept of rel­a­tive economics. For at­tain­ing the de­sired re­sults from the con­cept of rel­a­tive economics, it is nec­es­sary to in­volve large mass of peo­ple, rather than re­strict­ing this dis­ci­pline to a few in­tel­lec­tu­als and ac­cel­er­ate the pace of im­ple­men­ta­tion. We must re­mem­ber that there would be con­flict in the tra­di­tional con­cept of economics and the con­cept of rel­a­tive economics. The tra­di­tional con­cepts of economics em­pha­sise on i ncreas­ing

con­sump­tion and (some­time un­rea­son­able) ex­ploita­tion of re­sources, but the ob­jec­tive of rel­a­tive economics is to limit con­sump­tion, through con­trolled de­sires and check­ing com­forts and lux­u­ries.

There is a cri­sis of con­fi­dence in masses. Peo­ple have started ac­cept­ing dif­fi­cul­ties as a part of their lives. Peo­ple have started ac­cept­ing dis­rup­tive poli­cies as nat­u­ral con­se­quences of de­vel­op­ment. Peo­ple are up­rooted from their em­ploy­ments, their place of work and from their land, but they fail to raise their voice. There is cri­sis pre­vail­ing among econ­o­mists and plan­ners. They go with the as­sump­tion that hap­pi­ness, well­be­ing and rel­a­tive economics or other sim­i­lar con­cepts are not prac­ti­ca­ble. They go with the as­sump­tion that hap­pi­ness is the out­come of wealth cre­ation. They go with the as­sump­tion that eco­nomic sys­tem will cor­rect it­self. It is not easy to break th­ese as­sump­tions. The in­tel­lec­tu­als are hard to con­vince. They re­quire em­pir­i­cal ev­i­dences. We have to start from the in­di­vid­u­als. We have to doc­u­ment case stud­ies of those en­trepreneurs, who adopt fair prac­tices and re­straint in their per­sonal and pro­fes­sional life. We have to train peo­ple in so­cial en­trepreneur­ship and spir­i­tual en­trepreneur­ship. We have to pre­pare case stud­ies of suc­cess­ful prac­tices of eco­nomic growth, cou­pled with ethics and th­ese case stud­ies should be pop­u­lar­ized so that peo­ple can re­dis­cover their con­fi­dence in fair­ness, hon­esty and age old In­dian val­ues. Where and how to start it? The start­ing point should be a group of teach­ers, vol­un­teers, writ­ers and thinkers who fully un­der­stand this con­cept and are will­ing to abide by this. They must share this con­cept. Ef­forts should be made to in­cor­po­rate this con­cept in the cur­ricu­lum of dif­fer­ent cour­ses and there should be work­shops to train masses in this con­cept. There should be a re­search in­sti­tu­tion ex­clu­sively ded­i­cated to un­der­take case stud­ies and ex­per­i­ments on this con­cept and to de­velop the re­quired re­sources, lit­er­a­ture, teach­ing aids, books and au­dio-video aids. Cer­tainly, let us change the in­di­vid­u­als, they will form groups of like minded per­sons and slowly we will be able to build un­der­stand­ing and opin­ions about con­cepts of rel­a­tive economics. Blanch­flower, David and An­drew Oswald (2004). 'Well-be­ing over time in Bri­tain and the USA', Jour­nal of Pub­lic Economics , 88, 7-8: 1359-86. Clark, An­drew and An­drew Oswald (1998). 'Com­par­i­son-con­cave util­ity and fol­low­ing be­hav­iour in so­cial and eco­nomic set­tings', Jour­nal of Pub­lic Economics, 71, 1: 133-55. Clark, An­drew, Paul Fri­jters and Michael Shields (2008). ' Rel­a­tive in­come, hap­pi­ness and util­ity: an ex­pla­na­tion for the Easter­lin para­dox and other puzzles', Jour­nal of Eco­nomic Lit­er­a­ture , 46, 1: 95-144. Di Tella, Rafael, John Haisken-DeNew and Robert MacCul­loch (2007). 'Hap­pi­ness, adap­ta­tion to in­come and to sta­tus in an in­di­vid­ual panel', NBER Work­ing Pa­per 13159. Di Tella, Rafael and Robert MacCul­loch (2006). ' Some uses of hap­pi­ness data in Economics', Jour­nal o f Eco­nomic Per­spec­tives , 20, 1, Win­ter: 25-46. Di Tella, Rafael, Robert MacCul­loch and An­drew Oswald (2003). 'The macro­eco­nomics of hap­pi­ness', Re­view of Economics and Statis­tics, 85, 4: 809-27. Durkheim, Emile (1897 [ 1952]). Sui­cide. A Study in So­ci­ol­ogy , trans­lated by J.A. Spauld­ing and G. Simpson, Lon­don: Rout­ledge and Ke­gan Paul. Easter­lin, Richard (1974). ' Does eco­nomic growth im­prove the hu­man lot? Some em­pir­i­cal ev­i­dence'. In P. David and M. Reder (eds), Na­tions and House­holds in Eco­nomic Growth: Es­says in Honor of Moses Abramovitz , New York and Lon­don: Aca­demic Press: 98-125. Easter­lin, Richard (1995). 'Will rais­ing the in­comes of all in­crease the hap­pi­ness of all?' Jour­nal of Eco­nomic Be­hav­iour and Or­ga­ni­za­tion , 27, 1: 35-48.


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