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Conference 'Economics of Non-violence...' - Acharya Mahaprajna On 'Thirteen Priciples Of A Relative Economic System'

Published: 25.07.2006
Updated: 15.02.2008

Acharya Mahapragya’s message to the opening session of the conference.

The relative economics in the light of the philosophy of non-violence propounded by Mahavira and in recent time by Mahatma Gandhi and Acharya Tulasi. For any person living in the society the principles of ahimsa, nonviolence and aparigraha can be practiced only in a relative sense. Immorality, unethical needs, violent cruelty, exploitation and excessive consumption, lead to negation of our dictates ignoring what is just for the society in terms of ahimsa. Similarly, limiting one’s desires and accumulation is relative aparigraha. Violence and accumulation are inseparable and so is non-violence and non-accumulation. Economics, can therefore be considered as economics of non-violence. Absolute economics encourages violence. On the contrary relative economics discourages violence. According to Lord Mahavira a person cannot listen to the religion and experience pure enlightenment without learning about renouncing the two factors of domestic violence and increasing possessiveness of material means.

These are the thirteen principles of relative economic system, which are as follows:

    1. Violence and parigraha are intimately interconnected. The policy of economic development in modern economics is not ahimsa sapekshak, that is, that is not non-violence oriented. Hence, wealth is becoming instrumental in perpetuating violence. Modern economics is more about violent activities than fulfilling basic human needs.
    2. Economic development is neither non-violence oriented nor ethics-oriented. Hence, dishonest and deceptive practices are on the increase in business and industry.
    3. Economic development is not ahimsa sapeksha, hence greed for wealth and corruption is increasing.
    4. Economic development is not ahimsa sapeksha, hence needs of large industries and businesses are advocated and needs of small scale and cottage industries are often ignored. The widening gap between the rich and the poor is thus imminent.
    5. Economic development is not ahimsa sapeksha, hence rampant mechanization is leading to galloping unemployment and hunger.
    6. Economic development is not ahimsa sapeksha, hence our view of wealth is a perverted one. Wealth is no longer a means to fulfil the needs, but has become an end in itself.
    7. Economic development is not ahimsa sapeksha, hence we have a deluded view of accumulation of wealth. The inevitability, and utility and necessity of material comforts have become the rationale behind accumulation.
    8. Economic development is not ahimsa sapeksha, hence the policy of investment is full of flaws.
    9. Economic development is not ahimsa sapeksha, hence limitless consumption of wealth is causing limitless reactionary violence.
    10. Economic development is not ahimsa sapeksha, hence industrial development is instigating individualism at the expense of society.
    11. Economic development is not ahimsa sapeksha, hence individual selfishness and hedonistic mentality is escalating.
    12. Economic development is not ahimsa sapeksha, hence the stream of compassion is drying up and cruelty and exploitation have raised their ugly head.
    13. Economic development is not ahimsa sapeksha, hence the vital problem of alleviating hunger is relegated in the background.

To develop the relative economic system, five important means have been suggested which are a follow:

    1. Conciliation between human labour and machine. This would address the issue of unemployment and exploitation of human labour. Value of human labour and also the work done by human labour should be increased in proportion to its needs. The appropriate value of human labour plays a dominant role in forming a society bereft of exploitation.
    2. Importance of investing in community-oriented priorities. There should be investment in production of commodities which are necessities and not luxuries.
    3. Conciliation between the present and the future, which is, striking a balance between the available resources to be used by present generation and those to be used by the future generation. This makes the preservation of environment inevitable. Natural resources should not be exploited to such an extent that the generations to follow are confronted with the problems of their scarcity.
    4. Nurturing of a decentralized economy, that is, exercising restraint over human propensity for centralization, exhibitionism and devastation.
    5. In 1931, an eminent economist predicted that "capitalism would be competent enough to fulfil the basic human needs in the span of 100 years. Let us put aside the question of morality and immortality till then". But today 75 years have already elapsed and the main problem of hunger, disparity and unemployment are still rampant. It has thus become imperative that we think of an alternative economic system. Let us hope that the principles of relative economics will act as a stepping stone to fulfil these principles.

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                Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
                1. Acharya
                2. Acharya Mahapragya
                3. Ahimsa
                4. Aparigraha
                5. Economics Of Non-Violence
                6. Environment
                7. Gandhi
                8. Greed
                9. Mahapragya
                10. Mahatma
                11. Mahatma Gandhi
                12. Mahavira
                13. Non-violence
                14. Nonviolence
                15. Parigraha
                16. Relative Economics
                17. Tulasi
                18. Violence
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