The following points highlight the top nine economic ideas of Radhakamal Mukherjee. The economic ideas are: 1. Balanced Development of Industries 2. Regional Economics 3. Institutional Theory of Economics 4. Rural Reconstruction and Rural Planning 5. Planning in India 6. Population 7. Ecological Theory of Population 8. Industrial Labour 9. Economic History.
Economic Idea # 1. Balanced Development of Industries:
Dr. Mukerjee laid emphasis on Cottage and Village industries which was passing through a great economic revolution in India. There was a great vitality for cottage industries even under the unfavorable conditions. There was a great future for these industries if they formed economic organisation, mechanical processes and business management.
He justified cottage industries on the ground that they were the product of environment as well as of social and ethical ideals cherished by the country. They supplement the slender earnings of poor cultivators, at the same time.
Western industrialism had created large inequalities, but he was not against large scale production. He supported the development of an industrial system based on the Indian heritage. According to this, for sound economic development both large and small industries have their proper scope and importance.
Economic Idea # 2. Regional Economics:
Dr. Mukerjee stated that economic regions are determined by regional geography, physiography, internal organic factors and historical traditions. The analysis of economic institutions maybe scientific because these factors should be considered dynamically. Praising communalism of East, he said that this communalistic ideal of each for all and all for each is sought to be realised in the constitution of the social unit in India, such as the family, the social group and the community.
Economic Idea # 3. Institutional Theory of Economics:
According to Dr. Mukerjee, the institutional theory can be studied both by inductive and deductive methods, the outlook throughout being regional, historical, comparative and normative. Economics must base itself on social psychology which reveals unity between the individual’s behaviour and social institutions.
As he pointed out that the institutional equilibrium was the result not of an automatic adjustment of economic, political and social forces, but of deliberate planning. The institutional approach could only prevent a relativistic analysis of an individual’s actions and bridge the existing gulf between economic theory and economic policy, He further added that throughout the course of economic history, social norms and institutions always affected economic values.
Economic Idea # 4. Rural Reconstruction and Rural Planning:
Ground works of Economics, Rural Economy of India, Hand Problems of India, and Changing Face of Bengal and Planning the Country Side, all these five books of Mukerjee, explained the rural problems of India. He suggested co-operative farming, the organisation of caste guilds on district, regional basis, agricultural practices and methods of more efficient regions should be introduced in the underdeveloped regions of the country.
Peasant farming should be rehabilitated on the basis of an appropriate land settlement, utilization of human waste, intensive cultivation, consolidation, cooperative irrigation and development of rural transport. Guilds and co-operative societies might be developed into regional associations of producers and consumers to eliminate the middlemen.
Mukerjee stated that the plan included the co-ordination of activities in agriculture, education, marketing, panchayat, sanitation and forestry. He included the problem of drought or famine, human and cattle disease and this underlined the importance of the development of canal and well irrigation, erosion control, pest control, use of improved seeds, cattle development, stability and security of employment, permanent lights in land, fair rents, and protection from usury or exploitative credit. He further added that planned industrialisation was essential to rural development. Rural reconstruction could not be successful unless it was linked with the development of communications and rural industrialisation.
Economic Idea # 5. Planning in India:
Dr. Mukerjee felt that economic planning had assumed a great significance because of the growth of economic nationalism. After the second world war planning became pervasive and now it covers all aspects of our economic life; and aims at social welfare.
The main aim of our five-year plans should be crop and food planning, reconstruction of agriculture, forestry, soil and river management, development of key, light and agricultural industries, maintenance of cost-price equalisation, rationalisation of money and credit, improvement in the standard of living and population control. Co-ordination between regions, between agriculture and industry and between all the sectors of economic life, is the key to economic planning.
Economic Idea # 6. Population:
In his book “Migrant Asia” he suggested emigration to new countries where the pressure of population was comparatively less. In another book he suggested intensive cultivation, the introduction of dairy farming and an intensive system of mixed farming combined with dairying. He further added industrial planning for providing employment opportunities.
To control over population of the country he suggested a ban on child marriage and polygamy, spread of education, birth control, and the creation of a desire among the masses for a better standard of living. To check the overpopulation in backward and less literate classes, he suggested inter-caste marriage, widow remarriage, spread of education and the abolition of hyper-gamy.
Economic Idea # 7. Ecological Theory of Population:
Mukerjee emphasised that the study of population should depend upon the linking of economic factors to the ecology of different regions and cultures. According to him, the study of population required a many-sided and synthetic approach as the process of population involved several dissimilar elements—physical and ecological factors of land and resources, biological factors of fertility and expectation of life, economic factors of productivity and standard of living, institutional factors of sex, habits, cultural traditions and personal and social attitudes concerning marriage and children.
He suggested certain laws to control these elements viz., the statistical law of probability, the ecological law of conservation of economic resources and regional and occupational balance, the economic laws of equimarginal utilities and returns and the sociological law of the optimum, selection and control of population. Planned population should be harmonized with the world economic policy and world peace could be effectively guaranteed in the future only by an international population policy.
Economic Idea # 8. Industrial Labour:
Dr. Mukerjee said that the rapid development of industries and increase in the number of landless workers who migrated from villages for the sake of employment to towns and cities, did not allow time for either a smooth adjustment of relations between labour and management. Rapid industrialisation aggravated the situation with the result that human requirements of these workers were not adequately satisfied.
Trade unionism, developed as a strong force in industry in other countries, but in India there was disorganization which led to serious hindrances in the way of industrial development. As he was not satisfied with the plan the Government had formulated for the betterment of the economic conditions of Indian workers, Mukerjee suggested that a more comprehensive plan like the Beveridge plan should be adopted here.
Economic Idea # 9. Economic History:
In his book The Economic History of India, he described the changes that had taken place in agriculture, industry, trade, commerce, population etc. He maintained that during the 17th century India’s trade with other countries and shipping had developed, the economic condition of cultivators was not depressed, and cottage industries were flourishing. Indian exports shrunk due to competition from England and the British monopoly of shipping during eighteenth century.
In the middle of the nineteenth century, the export of cotton and silk piece goods entirely ceased, which marked the complete decline of our industries. There was economic and social changes and political upheavals in the two centuries. It represented the golden era of Indian trade and industry and the beginning of her economic downfall which was as sudden as it was complete and unprecedented. At the same time, real wages declined; the burden of agriculturists increased as a result of an increase in prices.