The concepts of sustainable development and human development also have their roots in the Bhagavad Gita. Economic Journal of Development Issues Vol. Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer. Abstract Bhagavad Gita has proposed number of economic principles and values. Downloads Download data is not yet available. How to Cite.
Pandey, Y. Economic Journal of Development Issues , 23 , Current Issue.
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Information For Readers For Authors. Karl Marx was the originator of the idea of the economic interpretation of history. Buckle went no further than working out the effect of physical forces on production. Marx pointed out the fundamental character of economic changes in every phase of social life. Marx had been profoundly influenced by the writings of Hegel, as had many another young German of that time. It is fairly well accepted that society as a whole may be compared to an organism. Its institutions, the superstructures, are determined in their form by the manner in which society produces and distributes its goods.
An analogy between the social organism and that of a plant or animal may be drawn from the field of biology. That the organs of animals are the result of conditions is shown by numerous examples. In countries where wolves are forced to feed mainly upon deer, the long, slim wolf has the best opportunity to survive, and in time the wolves in that locality become long-legged, slender animals. At the same time nature economizes her resources, no material or energy is wasted in the struggle for existence.
Everything is used in the most advantageous manner. In biology this is seen in the decay of certain organs when they grow useless, that are then said to have atrophied as well as in the growth or development of organs and faculties that have become necessary. The wings of the tame duck have atrophied or shriveled under domestication.
Exactly so, social institutions decay when the purpose for which they existed disappears and new institutions arise to meet new needs. The ancestors of the present civilized races did not win their civilization by any such path.
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They built it up through centuries of toil from a foundation of surplus material means, which they won through improvements in the industrial arts and in the economic organization. Industrial life, the way in which men get their living is dominant, and as reasoning beings we must, no matter what ideals we may have cherished, deal with present facts and acknowledge the fundamental character of economic — of physical conditions.
Throughout all the superstructures that have grown upon this foundation — governments, literature, ethics and education — there may be traced the predominating influence of the economic conditions of the time and place in which they were evolving. For an illustration of this, let us turn to the field of ethics.
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It is well known that ethics is usually spoken of as a purely normative science, that is, one that outlines a certain system of laws for the governing of human action according to ideas of right and wrong. Within recent years there has grown up another side to ethical studies — the study of the actual relations of men in society at different periods and in different places and the tracing of the development of the idea of right and wrong.
A large number of the economists have seen the relation that actually existing ethical systems in distinction from ideal systems bear to economic conditions. Marshall makes economic conditions among the most powerful in determining ethical relations. Patten likewise points out the economic foundations of morality.
While Marx shows that as all other spheres of society arise from economics so ethics depend on the same cause. Each great economic change has brought a corresponding change in codes of ethics. Men still in a state of savage warfare viewed certain acts as right.
In the nomadic state virtues suited to the time appeared.
With agricultural pursuits new changes arose, while industrial growth and modern capitalism have yet further modified the moral code. Among warlike tribes any form of aggression was considered as one of the highest of virtues.
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At a certain stage of society, while tribes struggled with each other over their hunting and fishing grounds, the very existence of the tribe depended on the boldness of its members. Fighting power, as Leslie Stephen points out, was the essential power of each race, hence we find a cultivation of the military virtues.
The strong warrior was especially held in esteem by the Norse and ancient Gauls. Aggression in different forms continued throughout the period of savagery and into semi-civilized and civilized society until a new economic condition was introduced. Co-operation of some sort became necessary between men. They were forced together industrially and gradually aggression became a vice. Again in European history we find constant accounts of the robberies committed by the Robber Barons.
As this class grew in strength and social power public opinion began to look unfavorably on the nobles when they fell upon a train of merchandise. The trading class interests had now become powerful enough to dominate public opinion and open robbery finally became a vice. One more example can be found in the old illustration from American history. So long as slavery in the North was profitable it was viewed as right, but when the long winters of the Northern States showed that hired labor was more economical, it became wrong. The industrial interests of the North caused the Civil War.
It was fought for the purpose of making free labor cheaper than slave labor.
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So we find that the economic conditions impress themselves on the literature, the government and the forms of education that exist in any period. The supporter of the economic view of history is sometimes charged with laying his emphasis solely on the present environment. In fact, however, he takes into full consideration the other factors.
At no time does he maintain that each stage of society begins tabula rasa. While he does lay particular stress on environment he fully recognizes the existence of heredity and that there are always the survivals of former stages that exert their influence upon the new conditions and institutions. In other words, we may say that the form and structure of the social organism is in a continual process of change and at any given time any portion of the organism — any institution or system of beliefs — is the product of a series of successive environments acting each in turn upon the product of the preceding environment.
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Of first importance is the method by which social advance has been made. The conflict of the ages has been between man and his environment. The question has been, how to gain control over the forces around him and turn them to his own and to the social good. In the animal world this effort removal of obstacles is mainly subjective.
It transforms the organism, modifies organs, multiplies structures, and creates new varieties, species and classes. In man it does this too, but only to a limited extent. There the principal effects are modification of the environment to adapt it to the organs and faculties that he already possesses. Primitive man faced the problem of providing himself with the barest wants of life — food, clothing, shelter.
His slight knowledge, crude tools and material limited these to the scantiest amount possible and at the same time gave him little leisure from manual toil. Gradually as the rough stone tool gave place to the better bronze axe or the later iron implements, his wants multiplied and were better satisfied and at the same time leisure for some slight intellectual development was afforded.
Each improvement in technique and each new invention thus became the means of solving the problem of man vs. With the advent of civilized society and the breaking up of the old tribal organization, a series of classes appeared, each class that dominated society being brought to the front through some improvement in productive methods, and its existence depended upon the possession of certain things in society that other men, in order to live, were obliged to use — for example, the land was possessed by the nobles in feudal times, the land mines, factories and railroads by the capitalist to-day.
At the same time the accumulated treasures of the intellect, of science, of art, have become to a large extent the possession of the few. All this is owing to the struggle of economic classes, the existence of which Marx was the first to point out. The defender of the economic view of society is frequently charged with stirring up class antagonisms. To point out an existing fact, a truth, is never wrong.
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