As the threat of a new global recession hangs over the global economy, the crisis of capitalism has come back to haunt us. With Marxist or Communist economic models already dead in the post-Soviet era, the world economy, driven by capitalist models, has been repeatedly shaken by one or another economic crisis at regular intervals. It implores us to think about an alternative economic model that can go beyond communism and capitalism to ensure sustainable economic growth and development for all countries of the world.
The world can find the answer in ‘Hindu economics’ or what might be called the ‘Third Way’. The term ‘Third Way’ was coined by Dattopant Thengadi, while the most authoritative treatise on ‘Hindu Economics’ has lately been offered by Dr. MG Bokare. Western-educated economists, even within the Indian policy framework, ensured that the work of Thengadi and Bokare did not get the recognition and policy attention it deserved.
Thengadi and Bokare: opposites meet
But first about an interesting story where two ideologues who stood at opposite ends of the spectrum came together to deliver one of the biggest blows to the lobby of Marxist economists.
Thengadi was a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideologue and founder of organizations like Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) and Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM). Bokare, a former vice-chancellor of Nagpur University, was a Marxist economist and a frontline ideologue of left-wing parties in India. Both were friends.
Thengadi motivated Bokare to read the ancient Bharatiya scriptures to check if there were traces of sound economic thinking in them. Bokare read the original Sanskrit texts and the result was his phenomenal work Hindu economy (First edition: 1993).
In the process, this Marxist ideologue moved to the other end of the ideological spectrum and became a nationalist as well as a strong believer in “Hindu economics”. Bokare writes in the preface to the first edition of his book: “During prolonged discussions in this field of study with Shri DB Thengadi, he prompted me to think: What is the economy of the future? I continued to explore a theory of Indian literature. Ultimately, it is discovered in the holy Vedas and Vedic literature. Bokare says that “Hindu economics” should be considered an independent school of economics, just as we consider Marxian and Keynesian economics.
Thengadi, who wrote a detailed introduction for Bokare’s ‘Hindu Economics’, candidly observed: “Dr. Bokare had been a confirmed Marxist for decades. In his enthusiasm for party propaganda, he often turned his classroom into a recruiting ground for the Communist Party. As a scholarly professor of economics, he was an authority on both classical and neo-classical economics…His determination to undertake the deployment of “Hindu economics” as his life’s mission was the culmination, the ripe fruit of his lifelong penances. as a scientific thinker… He (Dr. Bokare) is convinced that Hindu economy consumes all that is noble in Quran, Bible and Gandhian economy. In 1984, he predicted the collapse of communism; in 1992 he declared that “Hindu economy” is the economy of the future.
“Third way”: the framework of “Hindu economy”
Thengadi described the framework of “Hindu economics” in “The Third Way” (Sahitya Sindhu Prakashan) and how it is fundamentally different from the Western framework of economics, “In the materialistic West, it was believed that matter is fundamental and that the mind is only a superstructure on top of it. Therefore, the socio-economic order was fundamental. Once a proper order is established, corresponding psychological changes in the popular mind would automatically follow. That this belief was not correct has now been proven beyond doubt.
In the “Hindu economy” it is the Dharma which plays the central role. Dharma should not be equated with religion here, it is a set of immutable universal laws. Laws are eternal, order is transitory, according to Hindu economics.
Defining the proposed new world order according to Hindu economics, Thengadi says, “The Dharma envisions the autonomy of each human group to seek its social fulfillment through its own unique paradigm, and the psychological integration of all such groups into a framework common harmonious and mutually complementary relationship. interrelationships of one world -Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam- each group enriching common human understanding by making its own characteristic contribution to the collective wisdom of humanity.
Bokare’s “Hindu Economy”
Bokare’s “Hindu Economics” is not an ideological diatribe, it is a book of pure economics and it uses Western tools to test the economic theories given in ancient Bharatiya texts. It busts the myth that there was no distinct economic thinking in our scriptures.
Bokare successfully uses Western evidence-based tools to test economic theories of “Hindu economics” and their application to solve the real-world challenges we face today.
Every dilemma facing western economic models has been successfully resolved by Bokare through tools and theories of “Hindu economics” elaborated and explained in our ancient texts. Giving an overview of how this was done, Bokare explains, “The Holy Vedas have clear references to market, supply and demand, price, trade, interest and profit, and taxes. By interpolation, we can deduct lease-rent and wages also for people without property for income. Mercantile laws governing the economy are codified.
“The history of economic thoughts flows from the holy Vedas to the Mahabharata, especially Shanti Parva and Vidura-Niti. Then follow the Smrutis of Yajnavalkya, Gautama, Manu, Shukracharya, Kautilya, etc. Smrutis are codifications of economic activities with some measures of quantification of variables. Production cost, market price, profit percentage, tax percentage, wage rates, interest rates, etc. are indicated in the codified system. Smrutis. Competition and monopoly are clearly identified. Foreign trade has been explained. Coding in Smrutis is the last phase. by Kautilya Arthashastra is the latest book on economics in ancient India.
The Modi government and “Hindu Economics” in action
The Modi government’s emphasis on ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ and particularly self-employment is a positive reflection of ‘Hindu economics’ in action. This will likely help Bharat weather the coming global economic crisis with relatively less damage, while the rest of the countries may suffer as they continue to cling to a flawed capitalist system.
As Bokare explained from the perspective of ‘Hindu economics’, ‘the farce of the capitalist economy lies in total recoil. The classical economists justified the capitalist system. But it was argued that the state should not interfere in its economic development. After 100 years, the capitalist system demands more and more state intervention. Despite these interventions to help the capitalist economy, its destabilization is ordered. The capitalist system will disappear over time. All employees will then be completely transformed. They must join their brothers who had already engaged in self-employment to earn an income.
“All will have to seek their living by earning income in the process of self-employment. This is the conclusion of the theory. Hindu economics has a theory of the inevitability of self-employment after the demise of capitalism. Knowledge of this phenomenology helps the leaders of the Hindu economy to design a program to give shape to self-employment enterprises. The state organized the funds to provide loans to the self-employed.
“So all people become owner-owners and earn income. Society will not find a proletariat in the economy. If there is no proletariat, there cannot be a capitalist system. An economy without proletariat is free from exploitation. He is consuming his ethos of socialism. Thus, the theory and the program engender a decentralized economy. The theory is universally valid. Hindu economy in this sense is for mankind.
It is not that Thengadi or Bokare were the only ones who spoke of “Hindu economics” as an independent school of economics. A number of scholars worked on various aspects of “Hindu economics”, but unfortunately they were deliberately not recognized by economists following Marxism as well as those who could not see beyond the framework western capitalist.
Some of the important texts in this context may be mentioned here for the benefit of readers who wish to delve deeper into the field of ‘Hindu economy: the ancient foundations of economy in India » by KT Shah, Aspects of ancient economic thought by KV Ramaswami Iyengar, Hindu tax system by UN Ghoshal, Indian thought through the ages by KG Gokhale, Hindu civilization by KM Munshi and RR Diwakar and State and government in ancient India by RS Atlékar. The works of AN Bose, SK Maity and SK Maitra also shed considerable light on ‘Hindu economics’.
Intellectual arrogance and the revulsion of institutions, academia and the intelligentsia for anything related to Hindu ethos, culture and ancient Bharatiya scriptures have not allowed the “Hindu economy” to establishing itself as an independent school of thought even within Bharat over the past 200 years. and especially during the post-independence period. But now it’s time. There is no other way but to opt for the “third way” and to follow the principles of “Hindu economics” if we want a stable world order based on sustainable coexistence and not on exploitation. .
The writer, author and columnist, has written several books. He tweets @ArunAnandLive. The opinions expressed are personal.
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