I will say the truth
I would like to begin my talk today with an anecdote.
In a great city, one day, the streets were crowded with tens of thousands of people. They were waiting with great expectation for the arrival of the king. A little later the royal procession came, and everybody in that huge crowd started talking admiringly about the king's celestial garments. But strangely enough, the king was completely naked; he had not a shred of clothes on him.
In all the crowd only one small child, who came perched on his father's shoulders, saw it, and he said to his father with amazement, "Everybody is talking about the king's clothes, but I see he is completely naked." His father said, "Keep quiet, you fool. We will be in great trouble if someone heard what you said." And the father hurriedly made his way out of the crowd.
The king was naked. and the people were praising his garments. What was the matter?
A few months earlier a clever man had come to the court and offered to bring the garments of The gods for the king. He said to him, "Although you have conquered the world, yet you don't have the clothes of the gods. I can make them available to you." The king's greed was aroused. He had everything, but he did not have the gods' clothes. He had not seen them; he had not even heard of them. The man said. "You don't worry. It will cost you a little, but I will bring them for you." He asked for six months' time.
The man was locked in a house in the palace, and armed guards were placed all around him. The man, from time to time, asked for large sums of money. And in the course of six months he was paid many millions of rupees from the treasury. But as he was imprisoned in the palace and so could not escape with the money, the king was undisturbed.
After six months the man returned to the court with the godly clothes in a costly box.
Many kings had been invited to the court to witness the great event. The man opened the box and said to the king, "Please give me your turban." He put the king's turban in the box, took out another one, and proceeded to place it on the head of the king. But his hands were empty, and the king saw it well. The man said to the king, "Do you see the turban?" And then he said in a whisper, "When I was leaving for your court, the gods told me that only those who are legitimate sons of their fathers will be able to see these celestial clothes." His hands were empty, but immediately the king started "seeing" the turban. And he said, "Never have I seen such a gorgeous turban."
So one by one, all the king's clothes were taken away and put in the box. and the king put on the clothes that were not there at all. He was gradually disrobed. And when it came to the last piece the king was very disturbed. But the man said, "It is no use worrying now.
The journey of untruth, once begun, has to be completed. There is no way out. And what will the people say?" And then he openly announced to the court that these clothes would be visible only to those who were truly their fathers' sons. And the king was deprived of the last article of his clothing. But now everybody in the court "saw" the heavenly garments, which were not there at all. Each one of the courtiers thought that when the clothes were visible to all others, they must be there. He also felt, to his shame, that he was the only one in the gathering who was unable to see the clothes, so his parentage was in doubt; but it was wise to keep it to himself.
All this had happened inside the palace.
Then the man said,"Your Highness, the gods also said that as this was the first time that divine clothes were being sent to the earth, it is necessary that they be celebrated by being taken out in a procession. Your chariot is ready. Let us go out." The king was worried once again. But the man said promptly, "Don't worry at all. The drummers will be going at the head of your procession announcing that the gods' clothes will be visible only to those who are truly born of their fathers. So everyone will see them, you need not worry."
The king mounted the chariot, and the procession began. Everybody in the crowd in the streets saw that the king was naked, but no one had the guts to say it. Only a small child had said so, and for this he was scolded by his father. His father had said, "Keep quiet, you fool, you are simply inexperienced in the ways of the world. When you will be a grownup, you will begin to see the clothes. Let us go home, because we will be in trouble if someone heard what you said."
Why do I begin my talk on socialism with this anecdote? What is the point?
In the name of socialism today a great uproar is being raised all over the world. In this huge crowd, shouting hurray to socialism, my position is like that of the little child who exclaimed, "Father, the king is stark naked; there are no clothes on his body." I feel it is time somebody said it.
Human nature is such that it accepts a well-published lie as truth. A lie repeated again and again begins to look like truth. And truth said for the first time does not look like truth. For the last hundred years a systematic myth has been created around socialism.
And its constant propaganda and slogan-mongering have made socialists of those who are not socialists at all. Even those who do not accept it in their hearts have begun to sing hymns of praise to socialism. And no one seems to have the courage to speak against it. I am an inexperienced man in the world of the experienced, and, therefore, I am going to speak out against socialism.
The history of mankind says that it is not necessary that what the large crowd, the masses, accept should be the truth. The crowd has always accepted great lies, and lived with them. Now a new lie, in the name of socialism, has captured the minds of men. So it is essential to understand its full implications.
The first thing to understand is that socialism today stands as an enemy, in opposition to capitalism. But whatever socialism may be, it is the child of capitalism. Capitalism arose out of the system of feudalism. And if capitalism is allowed to develop fully, it will lead to socialism. And socialism, allowed to run its full course, will turn into communism.
And in the same way communism can lead to anarchism. But the basic condition is that these systems should be allowed to evolve fully, completely. But a child can be forced prematurely out of its mother's womb, and the mother may feel tempted to have a child sooner than later. An impatient mother may want to have the child in five months, instead of nine; she will escape four months of labor and see her child earlier. But such a child will be a dead child, not a living one. And even if the child survives, it will be worse than dead.
The socialism that was born in Russia is such a premature child. Russia was not a capitalist country, so socialism was forced on it much before its time. Socialism was born, but it was born dead. That is why ten million people, all poor people, the very people for whom socialism was ushered in, had to be killed mercilessly. Perhaps in the history of mankind no other country has resorted to such colossal killings as the two socialist countries, Russia and China, have done. And the irony is that the people who were slaughtered were those for whom socialism was brought in. Russia never had ten million capitalists. Ten million capitalists don't exist even in America today. Yet ten millions were butchered in Russia, that we know. And they were those for whom socialism came into being.
But killing becomes easy when killing is done "in your own interest". When somebody kills in your name you are disarmed, you cannot even defend yourself.
And even after murdering ten millions of their men and women and children, Russia remains a poor country. Even today Russia is not a rich country. Its socialism is anemic and sick; it is lifeless. And that's why Russia, for the last few years, has been reverting to the capitalist way. The mistake they made is being corrected by a return to capitalist measures. The basic conflict of Mao Tse-tung with Russia is just this: that Russia is increasingly turning to capitalism.
Experiences of the past fifty years have made Russia realize that socialism was a hasty step on their part, because they have not created capital, created wealth. Remember, if capitalism is developed properly, socialism will be its natural outcome -- in a pregnancy of nine months the child comes out of its mother's womb naturally and silently. So, talk of socialism when capitalism has not yet grown to its full height, is suicidal.
I am myself a socialist, so it will surprise you when I ask you to beware of socialism. I also want the child of socialism to come to India, but on one condition -- that it completes its full nine months in the mother's womb. This country has not achieved capitalism as yet. So talk of socialism here at this moment is as dangerous... as dangerous as it proved in Russia, and is going to be proved in China. China is out to kill millions, and yet socialism will not come there, because nothing in life happens before its time. The law of life does not permit haste. This country has yet to develop its capitalist system.
It is necessary to understand what capitalism means. Today the word "capitalism" comes to our minds as a four-letter word. It is now a much maligned word. We rush to condemn capitalism without knowing what good it has done to human society, and that it is the instrument that will lead human society to socialism. If all men are ever going to achieve equality, if they all are ever going to be free of poverty and attain to affluence, then a hundred percent credit for it will go to capitalism.
It is, however, essential that we understand a few things about capitalism very clearly.
First, capitalism is a system that creates capital, creates wealth. Before capitalism, no other system in the world had produced capital. By capital I do not mean natural resources -- it is that tangible wealth which is man's own creation. If man had not created it, it would not have come on its own from the earth or the skies. Wealth means solid wealth, accumulated capital, which today is the source of all investment, all production.
The wealth in the present world is created wealth. And it does not include that natural wealth which is available from land and sea, from mine and forest, from stream and waterfall, or from anywhere else. During the last hundred and fifty years, capitalism brought into being a real wealth-producing system.
All the social systems that preceded capitalism were predatory systems -- systems wholly based on plunder and loot. Whether it was Genghis or Tamburlaine or any feudal lords of the world, they all had plundered their people and filled their coffers with the wealth of looting. But the wealth in the capitalist system is different: capitalism created its own wealth.
Without giving thought to it, we are accustomed to equating capitalism with the feudal system. We think that capitalism has also exploited others' wealth. This is not so.
Capitalism has really created capital; it has really produced wealth, lots of wealth.
When wealth is created, then, and only then its equitable distribution is possible. Without creating wealth, what are we going to distribute? Today, Indira Gandhi and her foolish friends think that socialism can be established in India, and that wealth can be distributed.
It means that they are thinking of distributing wealth without having it. Today, the country has no wealth. If we embark on distribution, we can only distribute poverty, not wealth. There is no wealth and poverty we have in abundance. And it is already widely distributed.
Distribution is necessary, but before distribution we have to have wealth. Production comes first; distribution follows it. Capitalism produces wealth and socialism distributes it. If there is no capitalism, and so no wealth, then socialism can distribute only poverty and misery. If our country decides to go socialist, it means that we decide to remain poor, and poor forever. It cannot be anything else, because we don't have the instruments that produce wealth.
The second thing to understand is that all the people of the world have not contributed to the creation of wealth. Wealth today is the handiwork of a handful of people, a few individuals. It has not been created by the masses. Only a Rockefeller, only a Morgan, a Rothschild, a Tata, a Birla, a Sahu creates capital, not everybody. If we remove ten names from America, America would be as poor as we are. Without them, America could not have achieved its present affluence.
I have heard that once Henry Ford went to London. At the airport he walked up to the inquiry office and asked for a cheap hotel. The clerk at the inquiry booth recognized him, and he said, "I have seen your photographs in the newspapers; it seems you are Henry Ford. Why do you ask for a cheap hotel? When your sons and daughters come here, they ask for the most expensive hotels." Ford replied, "My sons are the sons of Henry Ford, sons of a very rich man, while I am the son of a poor man. I have made wealth myself. I am not the son of a Ford who produced wealth. So let me find a cheap hotel."
Whatever wealth America possesses today is the creation of a handful of inventive geniuses and a few others who knew the art of producing wealth. Why didn't the whole world produce wealth? Why does not India produce it today? It is still so poor. India has the oldest culture, yet we could not produce wealth. We failed to develop the art of creating capital, because as a people we have been against wealth, anti-wealth. That is why our genius could not take the road to prosperity and affluence. Whatever intelligence and talent we had, we channelized it in the direction of sannyas, renunciation. The man who could have been a Ford became a Shankaracharya. The man who could have been a Rockefeller became Gautam the Buddha. So we produced great sannyasins; we produced Buddha, Shankara, Nagarjuna, Mahavira. But we failed to produce able capitalists -- those skilled in creating wealth. Because of our opposition to riches, we could not direct our talent that way.
A traveler, Count Keyserling, after his visit to India, wrote in his diary a small sentence:
"India is a rich country where poor people live." I was a little amazed to read it. And I thought Keyserling was simply crazy. If India was a rich country, how could its people be poor? And if its people were poor, how could it be called a rich country? But then I understood his joke. A paradox -- and yet how true! India has the potential, the talent to become rich, but it is essential that the country's talent and will flow in that direction in an organized manner. Then only riches are produced.
Please do not remain under the illusion that capital is produced by labor, by the toil of the laborer. The laborer, the worker, is not the creator of wealth. The primitive people all over have been toiling for ages, and yet they could not produce any wealth. The poor of Africa have been toiling hard, and yet Africa is steeped in poverty. The poor of Asia also have been toiling, but are as poor as any. If labor could produce wealth, the whole world would have been rolling in wealth. The producer of wealth is someone else. He is the entrepreneur -- the creative talent behind capitalism. Capitalism gave opportunity to such talent to produce, organize and manage wealth. Capitalism is organized production on a mass scale.
The great change which capitalism made was that it substituted manual labor with machines. Because man's labor cannot produce wealth. However hard his hands toil, they cannot produce enough even to fill his stomach.
In the time of Buddha, the entire population of India was twenty millions. And this population could not have been bigger than this, because nine out of ten children had to die for lack of food, medicines and housing. There was no way to save them. But during the last hundred and fifty years, a tremendous thing happened; it is called the population- explosion. Today there are three and a half billion people on our planet. Three and a half billion people are alive today, only because of capitalism. Without it they would have perished. It was unthinkable in the times before capitalism that this planet could maintain such a huge population. What did capitalism do?
First, it replaced man with the machine; it introduced technology. It freed man from labor and engaged the machine. This in its turn had two results. The capacity of the machine is limitless; man's capacity is very limited. What one machine can do in a day will need tens of thousands of men, even millions, to do with their hands. It is because of the machine that the phenomenon of mass production was possible. With the machine began the enormous stockpiling of wealth in the world.
And secondly, with the advent of the machine man became free -- free from slavery. The end of serfdom. liquidation of slavery, was another gift of capitalism to mankind. Had not the machine come into being slavery would never have ended. It was impossible to banish serfdom and slavery without the machine. Without the machine man would have had to remain in bondage because then he was bound to be forced to work, whipped to work hard. For without force it is not possible to make a man work hard. Only with the coming of the machine could slavery be liquidated.
Today man is free: he is not a slave.
But socialism has been spreading another illusion, another lie. It has given currency to a false notion that it is labor, it is the worker, who creates capital and wealth. It is not really so. Already labor plays a secondary part, a very small, insignificant part in the production of wealth. And sooner or later the worker is going to become superfluous. Then the machine will have replaced him entirely. Within fifty years there will be no man known as a laborer on this earth. And it will be good. It is degrading for a man to do a job which a machine can do. So the worker will be useless. Gradually the worker has been ceasing to be a part of the productive system. And in fifty years he will become wholly useless.
He will not be needed at all because labor is a non-essential part of production.
The essential part of production is the productive mind. But socialists have given currency to an illusion that wealth has been produced by muscles, brawn, and that labor is the kingpin of the productive machine. If this insistent lie wins, and brawn dominates the brain, then mind will disappear, and brawn will return to the very time, thousands of years before, when poverty and starvation stalked the earth.
The entire wealth of the world has been the invention of the mind. Mind has created all wealth. And remember, not all the people have contributed to its production. All the people have not even worked for it. One Einstein discovers a law, and the whole of mankind profits from it. One Ford creates wealth, and it becomes distributed among all.
But it is being said that the capitalist exploits the wealth of the people. There could be no greater lie than this. The wealth that does not exist, how can it be exploited. Only that wealth call be exploited which exists some where. How can a non-existing wealth be exploited?
Capitalism does not exploit; it creates wealth. But once wealth is created, it begins to show, and becomes the object of envy for thousands. The hold of socialism is not because it believes in equality between man and man. It is not true that every man thinks the other as his equal. The basic cause of its hold is the innate jealousy of man. He is jealous of those who have succeeded, who have prospered, who have sought and found a place in life. A major part of mankind has always lived in inertia; they have never produced wealth or power or knowledge. But they have certainly become conscious. They have come to see that some people have intelligence and knowledge and wealth. They have something. And for sure, the jealousy of the masses, of millions of masses, can be aroused and whetted. The revolution that took place in Russia was the result of jealousy.
So was the Chinese revolution. And the talk of socialism in India also stems from this very source. Jealousy is behind them all. But remember, we cannot transform a society through jealousy. And also remember, the transformation that comes through jealousy can never be fruitful, nor can it bring peace, well-being and happiness to society. It can't do any good. It is also good to remember that through jealousy we can destroy a system, but cannot create a new order. Jealousy has never been a creative force; it can unmake, it can destroy, but it cannot make -- jealousy cannot even think of it.
I have heard that a man died. Before he died he called all his sons to his deathbed and asked them for a promise. They were asked to fulfill a last wish of their dying father. His elder sons were wise about the ways of their father, so they kept their distance. But the youngest did not know his father well, and he went to him. The father said to him in a whisper,"You are my only true son, and I entrust you with a responsibility. After I am dead, cut my body into pieces and throw them at the houses of the neighbors." When the son asked, "What do you mean?~" the dying man said, "When my soul will be on its way to heaven, I will have great peace of mind to see my neighbors being driven to jail. My heart will be well-satiated. All my life I desired to send them to prison. One neighbor has a big house, while mine is so small. The other has beautiful horses, and I have none. They have this thing and that thing, while I have nothing. The least I can do is this: after my death my corpse should be sliced into pieces and thrown on their rooftops."
This man lives in jealousy. You can, for sure, have a big house, but not through jealousy.
It happens through creativity. Yes, Jealousy can reduce a big house into a small one, hut it cannot turn the small house into a big house. Jealousy has no creative power, it is the companion of death. not of life.
Jealousy is at the root of the influence that socialism has in the world. Jealousy is its very foundation. What is interesting is that this jealousy does not afflict the really poor people as much as it does those who are midway between the poor and the rich -- the political leaders. And remember, the harm their jealousy will do to the rich is not that big.
Ultimately it will be the poor who will suffer the most. Because the wealth that the rich ones are creating is ultimately going to pass into the hands of the poor; it is already reaching them, it is bound to reach them. There is no way to stop this process.
Once I was traveling by train to Delhi. A gentleman was with me in the same compartment. On our way we came across a big building, and around it were a few huts.
The gentleman, pointing the big house out to me, said, "Do you see that large mansion, how it has become so big? It has done so at their cost, at the cost of those huts. It is responsible for their miserable state!" I said to him, "You see it the wrong way. You remove the big house from their midst, and see what happens. The small ones will not become big with the removal of the big building; rather, they will just disappear. It is because of the construction of that large building that the huts have come into being; it is as it should be. The small ones owe their existence to the large house. No house can be built alone. When a large house is constructed, ten small ones come up in its wake. After all, who is going to work for the construction of the big house? And if you pull it down, all others will soon disappear."
In the past, if ten babies were born, nine of them had to die. Capitalism has saved those nine from death. As a result, there has been phenomenal growth in the population of the poor, who have to live in small houses, in hovels. It is a painful thing that they live in miserable conditions. But the problem of providing them with good houses will not be solved by pulling down the big ones.
I say that if the big ones are destroyed, the small ones will also perish. They have come in the wake of the big ones. In a way, the nine surviving children, who used to die in the past, owe their lives to the big houses. It is because of capitalism that the worker gets employment and wages and houses to live in. That worker will die if you expropriate capital and distribute it.
Our efforts should be to raise the workers to the height of the capitalists. On the contrary, we are trying to pull down the latter to the level of workers. We have to strive to turn the small houses into big houses. And to do so we will have to construct bigger and still bigger houses. Then alone we can attain to socialism, and not otherwise.
But very often false reasoning comes in our way. This is happening in communist China.
They think that by destroying the big houses, they will raise the height of the small ones.
This is not possible. Surely the big house will go, but that will not help the poor. If the poor people, with small houses, could build big houses, they would have done it a long time back. No, with the destruction of the rich, the poor will return to their old inertia, their habitual lethargy.
Before being removed from his high office in Russia, Khrushchev had made a very significant statement which is worth considering. He said that the greatest problem that his country was facing was that no one was wiling to work, that the youth of Russia was not at all interested in doing anything. It is strange that the workers of Russia, the young men of that socialist country, are not willing to work. They are lapsing into lethargy and laziness. Stalin had forced them to work, and so the way he was treated after his death is understandable. His dead body was removed from he grave in Red Square facing the Kremlin, where he used to acknowledge the salutes of his people for decades. As long as he was alive, he tyranized Russia like a monster and indulged in mass killing. Force and fear of death had made the people work. But as soon as that fear was removed, people lapsed into inaction.
Capitalism, on the other hand, introduced the factor of incentive in production -- the incentive to work, to produce. Productive work became very attractive. This attraction, this incentive to work, will go if capitalism goes. This is what has happened in Russia.
But there is a way out of this dilemma. If capitalism is allowed its full growth, and socialism stems from capitalism very naturally, then incentive will remain. And it seems to me this is possible. It will be possible in America. How paradoxical it is, but it is true nonetheless, that in the course of the next fifty years America will increasingly move toward socialism and Russia will move toward capitalism. Without knowing and without a bloody revolution America is turning socialist every day. Why? Because when there is abundant wealth, too much wealth, private ownership of propertY becomes meaningless.
Private ownership will be useless only when there is an abundance of wealth, much more than is needed. If we go to a village today, we will find that there is no private ownership of water, because in the village there is plenty of water for a small number of inhabitants.
But if there is a shortage of water tomorrow, and the number of inhabitants goes up, personal ownership of water will come in. Now air is free for all. But if tomorrow there is a shortage of air, shortage of oxygen, and the number of people increases, then clever and resourceful people will store oxygen in tanks and lock them up in their houses. Private ownership will have started. Private ownership of wealth will last as long as there is scarcity of wealth and excess of population. There is only one logical and natural way of ending private ownership, and it is that wealth becomes as abundant as air and water.
And it is possible. Even today, one who is considered poor in America, is a rich man according to Russian standards. The rich man of Russia is way behind the poor man of America. But it is not accidental. And it is a matter of serious consideration that even after fifty years of socialism Russia remains a poor country. For the last ten years. Russia has not even been producing enough food for its people. It is not only India which has to import food from outside, even Russia has been buying its food from the capitalist countries. Where is socialism if socialist bellies have to be filled with capitalist food?
Lethargy and sloth have gripped Russia once again capitalism provides incentive to work, to produce. If that incentive is removed, then force is the only alternative. Then you have to make the people work at gunpoint. But a social order maintained by force cannot be lasting.
I have heard an anecdote about Khrushchev.
Khrushchev was addressing a party meeting and vehemently criticizing Stalin. Somebody from the rear of the gathering said, "Sir, when Stalin was committing these crimes, murdering millions, deporting tens of thousands to concentration camps in Siberia, giving the whole of Russia a bloodbath, you were with him. Why did not you protest then?"
Khrushchev became silent for a full minute, then he said: "Will the gentleman who asked this question kindly send me his name and address?" But the man did not rise in his seat again. Then Khrushchev said, "You please rise and just show your face." Yet nobody stood up. Khrushchev then said, "I remained quiet for the very reason which forces you to be quiet right now. To remain alive I had to keep quiet."
In capitalism, wealth is produced in a very natural manner. Capitalism does not use a stick, a gun, or force of any kind. It provides incentive to work, to produce. Every person has a small world of his own, and his own motivation, his drive. If my wife is sick, I can work through the night for her sake, but if I am told that humanity is on its sickbed, it will go over my head. Humanity is such a distant thing that I fail to relate with it. I remain completely unaffected. To educate my child I can do anything. I can toil under the midday sun. But if you tell me that we have to educate all mankind, it does not inspire and stir me at all. It seems so unreal. I can very well understand and appreciate if you suggest that I should have a house of my own with a beautiful garden in the front, but tell me to work for the prosperity and well-being of the nation, to turn it into a great garden, and the thing gets lost in smoke.
The circle of man's consciousness is very small; it is like an earthen lamp shedding its light on a limited area of five square feet around itself. Such is man's consciousness; its scope is very limited. The family is that small circle of man's consciousness. He has largely been confined to his family so far, and he has not yet grown enough to go beyond its limit. As he tries to raise his sights beyond the family -- society, nation and humanity are the beyonds -- he begins to lose his interest, his incentive, his drive. Society, nation and humanity -- these are such vast spaces that they do not mean a thing to him, they do not affect his consciousness. They simply don't inspire him.
Capitalism launched a drive for production of wealth on this very basis -- on the basis of man's limited interests, individual incentives. It made him work and earn for himself and his family. And the drive succeeded immensely. Capitalism created both knowledge and wealth. The knowledge we gained in the hundred and fifty years of capitalism equals the knowledge of the world gained over a period of eighteen hundred years after Christ. And again, mankind has gained as much knowledge in the last fifteen years as it had gained in the first hundred and fifty years of capitalism. And the amount of knowledge gained in the last five years again equals the previous gains. What the old world had taken eighteen hundred years to achieve, the world of capitalism has done in just five years. A miracle indeed!
And still we go on condemning capitalism without realizing what it has done for us. It has prepared the way for every man and woman to participate in the production of wealth. It has created that space where wealth will rain like water. It has laid the groundwork for the coming of immense affluence, for an abundance of wealth. And the day we have that abundance of wealth the child of capitalism will be born. That will be true socialism.
What do I mean when I warn you against socialism? I ask you to let the time of pregnancy be complete. Capitalism is that time of pregnancy -- let it complete nine months. Even Marx had not imagined that capitalism would first be liquidated in Russia, because Russia was not capitalist. Marx had not dreamed that China would turn communist, because that country was then terribly backward and poor. Marx had thought that capitalism would break down first in America or Germany. But it broke down in Russia and China. And now the effort in India is to liquidate it. These are all poor and backward countries without any capital, without any assets. But they have one thing in abundance: they have large masses of the poor. And the envy of the masses can be easily aroused.
Marx's thinking was very scientific. He rightly said that capitalism would be abolished in the most developed countries, where it would have attained its full growth. Because when wealth is abundant, private property becomes meaningless. Marx did not know that revolutions would be made, not on the measure of capitalistic development and affluence, but by exciting the jealousy of the pool. The countries that became socialist are all very poor countries. Socialism should have first come to America, but it did not. In a way, socialism is entering America, but very silently. Whatever is significant in life comes very silently; it does not come with drums and trumpets. No one knows when a seed bursts into a sprout; no announcement is made when the sun rises. Whatever is meaningful in life walks on silent feet. and one comes to know of its coming only after it has already come. What comes with drums and trumpets, know it is trying to come before its time.
Socialism wants to come drumming and shouting, and without knowing that it cannot come until capitalism is completed. What will happen in India if we destroy its nascent, developing capitalistic system, and embark on distributing its scanty wealth? This will, of course, gratify the poor man's jealousy, but he does not know that this will also bring still more poverty and misery for him.
The system of capital-building in India today needs every cooperation. Indeed, it is the right time for India to take a decision and resolve that in fifty years' time we will create capitalism and become capitalist. Then socialism will come; it is then bound to come -- and it will come of itself. It will not need an Indira or anyone else to help it come. It will come on its own, like capitalism. Did anyone bring in capitalism? No, capitalism came by itself when the feudal system reached its peak. Socialism will come the same way. But patience is needed, patience is essential. And we seem to have no patience at all. And impatience will cause us so much harm that it cannot be calculated. And will it be any use to be wiser after the event?
I have heard... Once a socialist visited the USA's Rothschild and said, "You have grabbed the wealth of the nation. If you redistribute it, the country will become rich." Rothschild heard him patiently, then took out a piece of paper, made some calculations, handed him five cents and said, "Here is your share. You take it. And whoever else will come to me I will give him his share. If I were to distribute my entire wealth, each person in the country would get five cents. I am prepared to distribute, and I will not refuse anyone who comes for his share. But do you think socialism will come if everyone gets five cents?"
Rothschild had at least five cents to give. Birla, Tata and Sahu of India will not be able to give even one cent. We do not have capitalists as such, because capitalism here is in its embryonic stage. Bombay is a little well-off, but Bombay is not India. The whole of India is poor. Her living conditions today are like those of Europe before the industrial revolution. We have not even had our industrial revolution, and we are dreaming about socialism. First, let the industrial revolution come. First, let the whole country be covered with industries and industries. Let the whole country be engaged in producing wealth; let there be millions of big and small Tatas and Birlas, and kt the whole country be filled with wealth. And when there is abundant wealth here, no Tata, no Birla can stop the distribution of that wealth.
My understanding of the problem is this: It is only the Tatas and Birlas who can produce that enormous wealth which is needed for distribution. Distribution cannot happen otherwise.
If I warn you against socialism, it does not mean that I am the enemy of socialism. In fact, the socialists of the day are its enemies, for they do not know what they are doing.
They are setting on fire the very house they live in. They will be burned, and with them the whole country will be burned.
India's poverty is very chronic. So think well before you take a step in this direction. Let not the capital-forming process in this country break down. In fact, it is already weakening, but we do not see it. It seems we have decided not to see anything with open eyes. The government is making a mess of everything it undertakes to do. For every one rupee invested in the private sector of industries, we have invested two in the public sector. But all the public undertakings are running at a loss. Yet the government says that all the industries should be nationalized.
It is important to see and understand what is hiding behind the facade of socialism. We talk of socialism, when in reality it is state-ism that comes. In the name of socialism, state capitalism is enthroned. It is nothing but state capitalism. Socialism means that the society should own wealth; that is, wealth should be in the hands of the society. Does this really happen in socialist countries? The contrary happens. From the hands of the society, wealth passes into the hands of the state. Where we had innumerable capitalists, now there is only one -- the state. And we know how inefficient the state is. Even the petty shopkeeper in a village is not as inefficient as the state. The inefficiency of the state is appalling. Even the petty grocer, even the peddler in the street, is more intelligent than the state. And we think of entrusting the entire wealth of the country and all its means of production to this state. One wonders if India has decided to commit hara-kiri!
It will be dangerous. Men who hold power are already mad -- mad with power. They now want to take over the power of wealth as well. They cannot tolerate that wealth should remain in the hands of others. In fact, power-drunk people all over the world are anxious to grab economic power for themselves. Then they will have total power, absolute power in their hands. Political power plus economic power makes for what is called totalitarianism. Political power alone was enough to turn their heads; if economic power also passes into their hands, they will become dictators. And then nothing can be done to remove them . After all, nothing could be done to remove Stalin and Hitler from power.
Do you know that Hitler was a socialist? The name of his party was the National Socialist Party. He was also a socialist. Now Mao cannot be removed from power.
And also remember, governments in the world already hold enormous power, political power. If economic power also passes into their hands, the individual will become quite impotent. The whole nation will become impotent. Then the individual is left with no power, nothing. You may not be aware that individual freedom, freedom of thought, can only exist if there is political freedom, if there is economic freedom. If economic and political power are in the hands of a single group, then the individual is deprived of his freedom of thought. There is no freedom of thought in Russia. There is no freedom of thought in China. Tomorrow it may not be here in India either.
But these things happen step by step -- gradually -- and take people unawares. Take away a man's property and you destroy ninety percent of his personality. With the loss of property, he is ninety percent dead. With the loss of property his capacity to think withers away, because his capacity to be an individual, to be himself, has withered away. The individual will die if the state has absolute power. Currently, the greatest problem facing the whole world, and even this country, is how to save the individual. The state is out to grab everything, but it grabs with cunning. There is a method in its madness. It grabs power in the name of the people themselves. It says this iS being done in their interest; it is in their interest that wealth and means of production are being taken over. So the politicians not only usurp power, they also win the applause of the people, the very people who are being dispossessed. The people who applaud them do not know that they are applauding their hangmen, who are tighening the noose around their necks. Soon they will be hanged.
Once property and the means of production pass into the hands of the state, that state becomes absolute, despotic. And in the same measure the individual becomes helpless and impotent before it. The individual becomes faceless, even soulless. For the last fifty years a small group of fifty persons is ruling Russia. Power has constantly remained in the hands of this group; it is not allowed to go elsewhere. Whether Stalin dies or Khrushchev comes in; whether Kosygin, Breshnev or whosoever is there, this caucus of fifty, tightly entrenched in power, has been keeping Russia under its jackboot. This group has been the Frankenstein of Russia. No opposition is possible, no dissent is possible.
Before a man thinks of dissenting, his tongue may be cut; before he thinks of opposing, he himself may disappear from the world. What can the individual do if the entire power is in the hands of the state?
So remember, the power of the state has to be increasingly reduced; in no case should it increase. For, ultimately, we need a society in which the state will be just a functional unit, nothing more. I don't think a food minister of a country should have much importance. How is he important? The family cook has a place in the family -- the same place a food minister has in relation to the country. He is a big cook. If he serves us good food, he should be praised sometimes, but only as much as a cook is praised. Sometimes you may tip him, but only in the way you tip a cook. But the present food minister is not a cook, he is a man of power. He has much power. But he is aware that his power lacks something. It lacks something because people have personal, private property. And private property can rebel. Private property can dissent, resist and fight. The man of property can think, and think freely. The man in power wants to deprive him of it.
The politician is very ambitious. He wants to have all the power in his hands. But when the state usurps both political and economic power, revolution becomes impossible; then there is no way to rebel and revolt. How strange it is that Russia had a revolution, and today Soviet Russia is the one country where revolution is impossible. It is unthinkable to stage another revolution there because the state has at its disposal enormous and unheard of means to suppress its people, to regiment and to control them. Walls have ears, and the tentacles of the state are spread all over. The husband is afraid of his wife. While talking to her he thinks twice if he should tell her what he wants to say, because, who knows? -- she might be a secret agent. The father cannot talk to his son freely because to talk freely is dangerous. Maybe the son belongs to the young communist league, and he may pass the information on to the authorities. Every son is taught it is the nation that matters, not the father or the mother. The husband and the wife are not important. What is important is the society, the state.
Socialism is spreading a very illusory idea that the individual has no value, when in reality, the individual, and only the individual, has value. He is the highest value indeed!
What is the value of society? What is society but an empty word, an abstraction. The individual is real; the individual is concrete. Society is merely a collection of individuals, a conglomeration. But in the great din and bustle of socialism, that which is has no value and that which is not has become valuable. That is why the individual can be sacrificed at the altar of the society. In fact, the individual has forever been sacrificed for gods that do not exist. A god, a goddess, a sacrificial ritual -- anything is good enough to sacrifice him for.
The latest god is the society. And behind the society stands its real god -- the state. The individual can be sacrificed for this super-god. You can massacre the individual because he has no value, he is nothing. It is the group, to the society, that is valuable. But where is the thing called society? I have never come across it. I have searched for it here, there and everywhere. But everywhere I have met the individual and not the society. Wherever you go, you will find the individual. Only the individual is. And he is the ultimate value. And it is dangerous to destroy this value.
Someday socialism will come; it is certain. But it will come, not to finish the individual, but to fulfill him. Beware of the socialism that comes to wipe out the individual. It is not socialism, it is pure and simple murder of the individual.
Behind socialism is the state -- behind socialism is the power-hungry politician. They are afraid of decentralized power, and so they want to have all the power for themselves.
And the last thing that I'd like to say today is that never has the state had as much power as it has now. And it is so because of the tremendous development in technology.
Recently a friend sent me a picture. I was shocked to see that picture; I could not sleep the whole night. I was much worried. But I wonder if any concern was felt about it in the rest of the world. News about it was printed in newspapers everywhere. A scientist opened the skull of a horse, inserted an electrode into it and then closed the skull. And the horse does not know a thing about it. Now signals can be sent to this horse by radio from places thousands of miles away, and the horse will follow the signals; it will do what it is told to do. The horse will feel that the signals are coming from his own mind. If the scientist, sitting in his laboratory thousands of miles away, signals the horse to lift his leg, the horse will do his bidding. If he is asked to dance, he will dance. The friend sent me the picture of that horse, and he said, "What a great invention!" I sent it back, saying, "It is most unfortunate." Why did I say so? Because sooner or later, the state is going to place this electrode in the brain of man, and he will not know of it. Then rebellion will be impossible.
A chemical revolution is taking place. Such drugs have been discovered that will make it impossible for any revolution to happen. It has been found that a rebel has certain elements, certain chemicals in his system which the non-rebel, the conformist, lacks. And a search iS going on to find out such drugs as LSD, mescaline and other, to finish the rebel in man. Someday, it is just possible a few drops of chemicals will be secretly mixed with the water of your city's reservoir -- from which the whole population gets its water supply -- and without their knowing, they will lose their rebellious spirit, their power to say "No". It is exceedingly dangerous to allow the state to take over absolute power, because it has at its disposal such superior technology that it can wipe out the individual completely New techniques of brainwashing have been developed and perfected which can erase man's memory. If a man is kept in solitary confinement for six months, his memory can be wiped out with the help of electric shocks, drugs, brainwashing methods and the rest.
If he was a no-sayer, a non-conformist, a rebel, he will forget it all; he will even forget who he was. If he had an ideology, his ideology will be gone. He will fail to say who he was and what his ideology was. He will be like a small child and will have to learn his alphabet once again. He will have to begin from the beginning.
If science is going to put so much power in the hands of the state, and then economic power is also taken over by the same agency, it means that we are preparing our own funeral.
The politician does not deserve power. The politician is not worth the salt. The truth is that throughout history he has failed to prove his worthiness; he has only shown his unworthiness, utter unworthiness. In fact, the power of the politician should be taken away; there is no need whatsoever to add to it.
The politician also knows that if he says that all power, all property, should belong to the state, people will say no to it. Therefore he wears a different mask and says that all power, all property, should belong to the society. But the society is an abstraction, and so the state appropriates everything in the name of the society. Whatever, today, goes on in the name of socialism is really state capitalism. And I hold that private capitalism is far superior to state capitalism. Why?
Private capitalism is superior because the individual in private capitalism is free. It is superior because every individual has the incentive to produce wealth. It is superior because power is distributed and decentralized. And it is superior because if someday wealth is produced in abundance, socialism will come by itself. Not that it will be forced to come, it will come by itself. It will come, not be made to come. Forced socialism will be dangerous. Let it come on its own. But how will it come?
It will come just like a seed blooms into a flower. It will come naturally and by itself, not forced to come by the gardener. If the gardener uses any force, there is every possibility that the seed itself will disintegrate and disappear. And the flower will remain a distant cry. But then, the question remains: What should be the role of the gardener?
The gardener should prepare the soil, sow the seed, water it, care for it, and protect it from its enemies. Then the seed will sprout, the plant will grow and bear flower and fruit and the rest of it. In the same way, the seed of capitalism has to be cared for, if socialism has to come.
Many people find contradictions in what I say. But what I say is so simple, so clear. I repeat: Socialism will stem from capitalism if the latter is allowed its full growth. But capitalism should go only after it has completed its job. But today, unfortunately, the capitalist himself is gripped with fear. He cannot say with courage that capitalism has a rationale to be, to live. He also says socialism is right. And there are reasons for it.
The capitalist is afraid. He is afraid of the great crowd all around him. He is scared by the slogans and the flags and the noise raised by the power-hungry politicians. And in panic he says. "Then socialism is right." I see even the biggest capitalist is terrified; he is trembling. He thinks he has committed a sin; he feels guilty. And it is amazing.
Capitalism has provided ways and means to keep such a huge society of men alive. It is thanks to capitalism that, today, three and a half billion men and women are alive on this planet. It is capitalism that created wealth and abolished slavery, and introduced the machine and technology and freed mankind from the drudgery of manual labor. And lastly, socialism is going to come through it. But the tragedy is that the engineer, the architect of that great system, is stricken with fear.
Eisenhower has said that once, while talking to a communist, he was fumbling -- he could not argue with him because he felt that what the communist was saying was right. Even Eisenhower has no arguments. Capitalism has no answer, no philosophy. Then it will die, if it has no answer to communism.
I want capitalism to have its answer. Capitalism should have its own philosophy, so that it lives fully, and in turn, gives birth to socialism. Socialism is the child of capitalism.
And remember, if the mother is sick, the child will not he different; it is bound to be diseased. But the effort is on to bring out the child by killing the mother. It is necessary to beware of these fools who are making such efforts.
In the course of the coming four talks I am going to discuss with you the many sides of this problem. And I would like you to send me your questions. if you have any, in writing, so that I can deal with them at length.
It is a very vital question, and deserves serious consideration. Lots of rethinking is necessary on every side of the problem. The effort is worth it. It is not necessarily so that what I say is right; it may be wrong. So I invite you just to think, and objectively. I don't expect more. If so many of us here think together and have a perspective of socialism, it will help the whole country."
I am grateful to you for listening to my talk with attention and love. And I how to the God who resides in the hearts of each of you. Please accept my salutations.