Moneycontrol
Last Updated : Jul 02, 2018 03:04 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Moneyshastra with Devdutt Pattanaik: Is Chanakya's Arthashastra about economics - Chapter 2

This video series speaks of the economic heritage of India, both at a macroeconomic and micro-economic level. It will connect various mythological themes with modern ideas related to financial literacy

Anusua Banerjee @moneycontrolcom

Chanakya was a teacher, philosopher and an economist who authored the ancient Indian political treatise, Arthashastra. In his book, he wrote extensively on the kingship and the value given to a king at that time. He mentioned, the king has to create an ecosystem where wealth is generated. It was important for the king to secure boundaries, so he had good ministers, an army and allies so that the people in his Janapada are able to do their vocations to their fullest.

The Devas who are entitled and rich had a Guru called Brihaspati who enables wealth generation. And the Asuras who always felt cheated by the Devas had a guru called Shukracharya, who spoke about wealth distribution. So these two concepts are a part of Chanakya’s Arthashastra.

Chanakya’s Arthashastra also talks about how wealth should be generated. The unique thing about Chanakya is that you know unlike Manusmriti, he is not very Brahmanical. He says Brahmins are important especially those who chant the Vedas. But he is more interested in people who generate wealth.

His concept of Shudras is not how people use it today. The distinction between the lower and the upper caste are all concepts that emerged later. And they come from people who do not have enough knowledge, Atma Gyan. They turn the caste system into something hierarchical.

Basically, if you look at it from Chanakya’s point of view, everybody is adding value to society. There is a Brahmin who is giving knowledge, there is a Kshatriya who controls land. There are Vaishyas who exchange products and the Shudras who offer services. Chanakya gives that value, that looks at people from the economic benefit they bring to society. And a king’s job is to support all of them, enable them to do their best so that wealth is generated and wealth is distributed fairly.
First Published on Jul 2, 2018 01:31 pm
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