Gandhi's Philosophy of Work and Its Contemporary Relevance
There is a crisis of work in contemporary technological society. Afunctional definition of work feeds, and is fed by, an economico-technological ideology that valorizes the cult of productivity and of "total work". This in turn reflects a utilitarian conception of the human being, whose worth is now measured in terms of his or her contribution to total "output". Gandhi was one of the sharpest critics of this notion of man and society; he sees it as materialistic, soulless and fundamentally violent. In its place he proposes a moral conception of work that reflects his spiritual view of the human person. E.F. Schumacher takes Gandhi's ideas further in terms of an organization of economic life that promotes simplicity, beauty, social responsibility and ecological sustainability. The phenomenon of globalization heightens the stark contrast between the world-views of Gandhi and Schumacher on the one hand, and that of global capitalism on the other.