[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Thanks for bringing in Kautilya

I love Chanakya. He will always rank in my mind as the world's best
political strategist, ever. Thanks to Mr. Sastry for sending in this:

"I would refer to stanzas 1.4.3, 1.5.2, 1.12.1, 1.13.7, 1.19.34, 2.1.18,
and 2.1.26 of Kautilya's Arthasastra. It is a fundamental duty of the
ruler (state) to look after the Yogakshema of the subjects. (It is a
more comprehensive term than the English equivalent of welfare). What
benefits the subjects and gives them happiness benefits the ruler, not
what benefits himself. The ruler is particularly obliged to look after
the children, the aged, and the needy. Of course, Arthasastra also
emphasises the reciprocal duty of every subject to pay taxes, 'one-sixth
of the grains (income tax?), one-tenth of the commodities and money
(business tax?) as his share' (1.13.6)."

My comment:

As a result of Ash's intervention, we expanded the Free Citizen piece to
include the world "enabling those would cherish" in the para below.

"I had powers of existence defined unto me the moment I was born, and my
parents through the society had protected this power through a contract,
restraining those who would diminish this power in any way, and enabling
those who would cherish and further it so that I was safe while I grew
into myself."

I think that government is my paid servant to provide security to my
wife and son, and to take care of the very weak and infirm to take care
of whom I do not have a comparative advantage. The ideal would be for
children to take care of their parents, but it looks like everyone wants
to shirk this moral responsibility and to give their old parents to the
state. There are of course some genuinely sick and poor people who need
care from the state.

Those including Kautilya who think that the state is my benevolent
'father' are terribly mistaken. The state exists for me, the citizen and
not the other way round. The disease of imagining that one is the 'king'
of the millions of folk we are paid to serve is one cause of that
offensive arrogance of the civil servants who, with a mere bachelors
degree in English, attempt to plan India's economy. 

The proactive role is merely to set the laws and institutions of the
market which should be based on the best practices discovered so far
anywhere else in the world. Once the rules of the game (cf. North) are
defined, the state should get out of the way and ENFORCE these limited
but stringent rules strictly. 

I hope we agree on this interpretation which REQUIRES me, the citizen,
to pay my servants well, particularly if I expect them to sacrifice
their life for me during war or during contests with petty robbers. In
other words, I want a simple rule: Cut out the commercial activities of
govt. which include stitching shirts and marketing tea and soap, and
with the same tax money, enhance the pay of the public's
representatives, the police and the army, the judges and the executive
branch by about 20 times. Train these people hugely, and fire them if
they do not uphold the law even in a single case. 

But first of all get out of the business of stitching and darning
shirts. I am sure Kautilya would have NEVER NEVER wanted the king to
start stitching shirts and to be paid less than what an average paan
shopkeeper in his kingdom earned. Be liberal with payments to those who
give up their lives for you. I hate it when an honest Police constable
is not only untrained but has a lifestyle approaching that of a beggar. 
Respect your protectors. And DO NOT ask government to stitch your pants.


This is a posting to India_Policy Discussion list:  debate@indiapolicy.org
Rules, Procedures, Archives:            http://www.indiapolicy.org/debate/