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Kautilya versus Thiruvalluvar. Inspiration from Indian Ancient Classics for Ethics in Governance and Management

Journal Contribution - Journal Article Conference Contribution

We consider two classical sources from Ancient India as possible sources for tackling the lack of ethics in governance and business in emerging markets today. First, Arthashastra is a treatise on economics and politics written by Kautilya, the advisor to the Mauryan emperor Chandragupta during the fourth century BC. Kautilya provided practical recommendations like providing high and fair compensations to civil servants. It is suggested that the existing wage structure creates feeling of inequity in government employees and is likely to lead to inefficiency and corruption. Second, Thirukkural is a classic of rhyming Tamil couplets, possibly written around the year 31 BC, by Thiruvalluvar, a common weaver born in Mylapore, near present-day Chennai. It is one of the most revered ancient works in the Tamil language, providing a guide for human morals and betterment in life. Like Adam Smith and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Thiruvalluvar stated that ethical values coincide with a good economy and that therefore a free market is necessary. Basically humans are naturally good and contribute positively to the economy. In conclusion, while Kautilya gave pragmatic advice to tackle human’s destructive economic instincts, Thiruvalluvar assumed the natural goodness of men and warned against institutional interference.Keywords Wage structure, Kautilya, Thiruvalluvar, bureaucracy, corruption, work ethics, good governance, India, emerging markets, Hinduism, Buddhism
Journal: Globalization for the Common Good Initiative Journal (GCGI Journal)
ISSN: 2377-2794
Volume: 10
Pages: 1 - 16
Publication year:2014