Thoughts on economics and liberty

Hindu capitalism is Adam Smith’s capitalism supercharged

Arthashastra represents a society that focuses on wealth creation and security to ensure the happiness of its citizens. Wealth creation is absolutely paramount.

In addition to exhortations to become rich and be brave and diligent in that goal, Chanakya notes:

  • “The root of wealth is economic activity and lack of it brings material distress. In the absence of fruitful economic activity, both current prosperity and future growth are in danger of destruction." {from 1.19.35,36}  [Rangarajan, L N, ARTHASHASTRA, p.150]
  • “Trade shall be [directed towards markets which are] profitable; losses must be avoided." {2.16.25} (ibid, p. 275).

This reaffirms the fundamental mantra of Hindu capitalism: Shubh Labh.

He clarifies that land is WORTHLESS. It is what we DO with it that is important:

  • “The value of land is what man makes of it." {7.11.9} (ibid, p. 94)

Finally, to ensure wealth a society must remove obstacles to economic activity, profit, and trade:

  • “In the interests of the prosperity of the country, a king should be diligent in foreseeing the possibility of calamities, try to avert them before they arise, overcome those which happen, remove all obstructions to economic activity and prevent loss of revenue to the state." {8.4.50, 8.5.21} (ibid, p.94).

Given these (and many other) BLUNT DIRECTIONS TO BECOME RICH, it is absurd for anyone to even remotely suggest that (a) Hinduism is "other worldly" or that (b) Hinduism promotes socialism.

There is NO Vedic socialism. Or Integral Humanism.

There is Vedic capitalism. There is Hindu capitalism. Period.

All attempts by Hindutva fanatics to promote collectivism, or by half-baked "thinkers" like Anna Hazare or Arvind Kejriwal to promote socialism (by the back door) and oppose FDI and free trade are ANTI-HINDU.

Not that I much care about someone being anti-Hindu (I'm not yet inclined to call myself Hindu, although I claim roots in India's sceptical intellectual tradition). But I much care about the fact that these people have BLOCKED the study of economics and politics in which India was the world's most advanced region over 2000 years ago.

For us to have re-discovered economics through the West is a shame.We should have developed and refined Chanakya's work but probably even forgot it.

It is not too late even now to OVERTHROW the nonsense of socialism.

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Sanjeev Sabhlok

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4 thoughts on “Hindu capitalism is Adam Smith’s capitalism supercharged
  1. Munish Raizada

    Sanjeev: This analysis of this topic is the need of the hour. You have given a very good name to the whole topic as it naturally arouses interest.
    India has its own glorious past in terms of civilization, culture and economy. India was a country which continued to be the richest for centuries, but her current generations exhibit very different traits: dormant, indifferent to its potential and its past! As if finding a job in the foreign land or sending our kids to foreign universities seem to be the goal-posts for us! Of course, the pathetic governance and economic policies of the governments post 1947 have wrecked heavily on us.
    I am sure the posts on Hindu Capitalism and Chanakya will give us new insights.

  2. Emani Venkatesh

    Sir, My own tentative forays into Indian History, and from what I understand about Chanakya’s implicit exhortation regarding Economic Activity of the Masses, is that the Ideal of a Strong State was being eschewed in favour of a Strong Society of Hierarchical Obligations, what we now term as the Self-Correcting Mechanism of Market Forces; of Rights and Obligations; of Competing Mandates, NGOs and the celebration of Democratic Dissent. I am yet to fully imbibe the flavours of your erudite and passionate plea for a Minimalist State, and a Robust Private Sector, but History too persuades me to accept the noble thrust of your exertions as a concerned and committed citizen of India.

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