Beware of society's moral crisis

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Beware of society's moral crisis

Wednesday, 29 March 2023 | Rajyogi Brahmakumar Nikunj ji

Beware of society's moral crisis

Our skewed planning causes inflation, pollution, consumerism and violence

It has become customary nowadays among leaders of all political parties to discuss, in detail, annual budget or an economic plan, whether it promotes the public sector or the private sector and whether its proposals are labour-intensive or capital-intensive and so on. Nevertheless, few planners and economists have ever bothered about the moral climate plan. They have never considered whether that climate would be congenial to the plan's implementation. Nor, for that matter, have they ever seriously considered reforming the institutional mechanism which will execute the plan. In fact, our statesmen and economists have not fully realised how seriously the moral state of a society affects even secular matters like economic planning and how economic plans affect public morals.

This fact is not given proper cognizance by them that the feverish growth of unaccounted money, the collusion of bureaucrats with business executives or contractors to cheat the law and the exchequer, lack of devotion to work, and the loss of integrity in public life can make a nonsense of even the most meticulous economic plan. If the work of implementation of schemes proceeds at a slovenly pace, if political parties collect funds in all sorts of devious ways and if the moral authority of our leaders gets increasingly eroded, not the best of plans or budgets can improve the economic situation, and improve the lot of the poor. In such an atmosphere, it is only the most vocal, the most combative and the clever, and not the most deprived and the most needy, who benefit from planning.

It is, therefore, necessary to see what concerted effort can be made to cultivate and internalise the values and to reform the institutional mechanism so that the plan is properly executed and the benefits of the plan can reach the poor people and the plan does not generate a system that impels every individual, family or group to maximise its own gains, unmindful of what happens to the rest. As our planning system stands at present, it reproduces inflation, pollution, consumerism and social violence. This is in an environment of wide-spread poverty, dishonesty, income concealment, tax-evasion, etc. and it generates loss of moral values. It is, therefore, time that our economists pay attention to the moral aspect of planning. This is before the moral crisis overwhelms the whole economic system and society.

Today we witness the fall of many governments, empires, kingships, and democracies across the world. The reason behind their collapse is because the values and aims of both leaders and people are not clean. The seed of difficulties in our system is the lack of awareness and practice of values such as cooperation, honesty, serving, self-examination and self-discipline. This is mainly because since childhood we have been taught to compete fiercely in order to succeed rather than to develop individual talents to complement each other; to possess and accumulate more as a means of security rather than sharing our resources and realizing that security comes when there is unity, a sense of belonging among everyone in society. Because of this ignorance towards values, vices are created, resulting in further misery for humanity.  Politics would thus be wrong to use religion, culture and economics for selfish ends or to satisfy power. For example, it should learn the ethics and economics of people's welfare, thus using the power it has gained to strive for purity, peace, and prosperity as a common goal.

(Writer is a spiritual educator & columnist)

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