Gandhian Principle of Trusteeship
The Gandhian Principle of Trusteeship is closely related to the "Social Responsibility of Business".
According to the Gandhian Concept of Trusteeship,
"All business firms must work like a Trust."
Image Credits © Mahatma Gandhi's photo by Seaskyclay.
All assets of the firm must be held by a 'trust' and must be used for the welfare of the society. The firm must keep only a small part of its profits for the honourable livelihood of its owners. The remaining part of the profit must be distributed equitably to all sections of society.
Mahatma Gandhi's Concepts and Quotations
Mahatma Gandhi was influenced by Ancient Indian Philosophy and teachings of holy Bhagavad Gita.
Gandhiji gave importance to following two concepts :-
- Aparigraha i.e. Non-Possession.
- Sambhawa i.e. Equitable Distribution.
Gandhiji also gave importance to following two quotations :-
- "Enjoy the wealth by renouncing it."
- "Excel in your work, produce wealth, take the minimum which you need, leave the rest to the welfare of the community."
Few richest men in the world, especially, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are practicing the Gandhian Principle of Trusteeship. These noble philanthropists are distributing a huge percentage of their wealth for social causes like public health improvement, funding AIDS research and higher education, running programmes for poverty alleviation, etc. Their willingness to solve community's problems as a moral responsibility is quite remarkable and deserves admiration.
Principles of Trusteeship
Gandhian Principles of Trusteeship are discussed in following main points :-
- Reduce Inequalities : This concept tries to reduce inequalities. It tries to reduce the gap between the rich and poor. It tries to reduce exploitation.
- Change of Attitude of Businessmen : According to Mahatma Gandhi, businessmen should change their attitude. They have no morale right to accumulate unlimited wealth while most of their countrymen live in poverty and misery. Each businessman should take enough wealth to live honourably. He should distribute the remaining wealth back to the society. Gandhiji advised the rich businessmen to voluntarily surrender their surplus wealth. If not done so, the poor masses may revolt (fight) one day and plunder their entire wealth by force.
- Social Pressure : People must put social pressure on businessmen to follow the principle of trusteeship. They should boycott (not purchase) the products of those who do not practice trusteeship.
- Legal Pressure : If voluntary measures and social pressure do not work, legal pressure must be put on the businessmen to follow the principle of trusteeship.
- Socialism : This concept gives more importance to socialism. That is, the society is given much more importance than an individual. So, the wealth of the society should be distributed equitably to all its members.
- Consider Social Needs : Businessmen should produce only those goods and services which are useful for all members of the society. They should not produce goods and services, which are used only by few individuals.
- Equal distribution of wealth : According to Gandhiji, all the wealth of the society should be distributed equitably. There should not be concentration of wealth in few hands.
- Earn money by Hard work : A person should earn his living by doing hard work. Earning money without doing hard work is just like stealing.
- No Right to Private Ownership : This concept does not give the right to private ownership except when it is necessary.
- Government Regulation : The Government should regulate trusteeship. No Individual should be allowed to use his wealth for selfish satisfaction or against the interest of society.
Limitations of Principles of Trusteeship
Critical Evaluation / Limitations / Applicability of the Principles of Trusteeship is highlighted in following important points :-
- This concept is not relevant in today's competitive business world because every businessman tries to earn maximum profits and accumulate huge wealth.
- It demotivates the hardworking businessmen. The businessmen will loss their creativity, and they will become lazy. This will slow down the economic development of the country.
- This concept is based on the concept of Socialism. However, today socialism is outdated.
- Businessmen feel that the welfare of the society is not their responsibility. It is the responsibility of the Government.
- This concept is not accepted by shareholders who invest their money to earn the highest dividend.
- This concept is against capitalism. Today, capitalism is proving very successful all over the world. Poverty levels are very low in capitalist countries when compared to the poverty statistics of socialist nations.