If you would like to know what the power of Hinduism on economics can do, just visit this small village called Ralegaon Siddhi in India. It is a place where everyone cares for the other, surplus grains have been put into the grain bank so that the needy can borrow from it. The place has no liquor or tobacco stores and there are 400,000 trees planted by the community. Poverty has almost become extinct and people are rich. Rich in terms of friends, healthy relationships, peace of mind and material objects. This is the essence of a very Hindu economy.
Indian economy (different from Hindu economy) has undergone many changes from early 2800 BC from being small and self-sufficient to getting influenced by the urbanization, the influence of kingdoms and their systems of Government, caste system, joint family system and invasion by the foreigners like the British which led to the modernization of the economy. India has retained bits and pieces of traces of this evolution in the current economy. Post-independence, the Indian economy has adopted a socialist form of Government. Sadly Indians have not advocated the Hindu economy in a long long time and hence have suffered a lot of economic instability.
The philosophy of the Hindu economy
The philosophy of the Hindu economy has emerged since the Rigveda, around 1700 BC. Later in 300 BC, a sharp and eminent economist and politician of the Maurya empire called as Kautilya wrote Arthashastra (The science of economics). It was a genius stroke of the master of economics who wrote a treatise on statecraft and includes extensive advice on taxation, customs duties, trade and intelligent protection of environmental resources such as forests.
It was the golden period of Indian economy when these principles were implemented. A similar treatise was composed by the Tamil Tirukural which spoke of the right and wrong in accumulating wealth. The new “Hindu economics” advocated by a few pioneers in recent times, is based in part on these ancient systems, and in part on a practical application of Hindu philosophy to the modern-day situations.
The capitalist and communist approaches of the economy have always resulted in the unequal distribution of wealth. The Hindu philosophy advocates that education, ecology, economics and ethics-all four must be taken into consideration in a balanced way for any economic activity. And for all economic activities, a person should choose a profession based on what comes naturally to him/her. Nature should be milked not killed for resources. It is not only the technical “know-how” but also the technical “know-what’ (to understand what is good for the society) that should be given consideration. The basic needs should be available to all citizens and living should be based on goodwill and love for each other. Hinduism in economics has the potential to bring a golden age into the world economy.