Earth Provides Man’s Need But Not Man’s Greed

Friday, October 1, 2010, 8:16 PM | Leave Comment

The complete sentence expressing Mr. Gandhi’s teachings is “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.” Raghunath Mashelkar is an accomplished polymer scientist who has held a wide variety of leadership positions at prominent research and scientific institutions in India.

He is trying to revive that inspiration and believes that India has the raw materials – the talent and drive – to overcome its challenges and become a nation of innovators.

Mashelkar calls this concept Gandhian engineering, citing examples such as the Tata Nano, the cheapest car in the world at a cost of about US$2,200; a hepatitis B vaccine that is 1/40th the cost of traditional vaccines but meets UNICEF’s quality requirements; and Aravind Eye Care’s cataract surgeries, performed on 300,000 patients annually, which cost 1/100th the fee charged in other countries but meet global quality standards.

Mashelkar said in an interview with strategy+business: “We are talking about 4 billion people whose income levels are less than $2 a day. To raise their standard of living and quality of life, we have to make goods and services that are ultra-low-cost; not only affordable, but extremely affordable; not “low performance, low price,” but “high performance, low price.”

The three things that he mentioned namely Tata Nano car, hepatitis B vaccine and cataract surgeries cost way below similar products cost in the U.S. and other Western countries.

Can this kind of thing be done in the United States? Is it because of the labor and / or raw-material charges they make things so expensive here?

Or perhaps they are artificially priced high to fill up the treasuries of the pharmaceutical companies?

Granted the companies have spent years in research and development, but does that justify the exuberant prices that we consumers must pay?

In a Nutshell
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