Thursday, May 14, 2009

Economics According to the Vedic Way

By Stephen Knapp
Courtesy of his website

Economics According To The Vedic Way by Stephen Knapp (Sri Nandanandana Das)

This is a simple explanation of how we should view economics according
to the principles of Vedic Dharma. First of all, the higher vision of
Vedic understanding is that we see everything as the energy of the
Supreme Being. If we can see the Divine in all of life, meaning in all
beings, we must understand that there is a way of conducting business
between each other that upholds and advances our perception of this.
Conducting business or managing economics in a way that deliberately
cheats or exploits others will harden our hearts and our sensitivity
so that we become unable to perceive the Divine in all living beings
and even in ourselves.

The point is that there must be integrity in all transactions and
business relations. If we use the above mentioned principle, then by
seeing the Divine in all living beings, we must realize we are not
merely doing business with another person, but we are also doing
business with the Divine within that person. This means that the
Supreme is also observing our every act, not only from within us but
from within the person with whom we are dealing. If the relationship
has integrity, then that is fine. We will continue in our spiritual
development even while doing our business.

But if there is dishonesty and cheating in our involvement, then the
quick profits we make will only pave our way downward. This will not
be helpful. So we must conduct ourselves, even in business, with the
foundation of the Dharmic principles.

We have easily seen that companies with power may produce various
foods, drugs, beverages or devices that are said to be of great
benefit or are healthy for us, or help us solve our problems with no
side effects or unexpected problems. Yet time and time again we learn
that different kinds of products have indeed been pushed on the public
and have caused harmful side effects, much to the dismay, suffering
and frustration of the people. In fact, However, the company or even
government may deny any such possibility of injury. However, you must
always bear in mind that a story presented as factual from an entity
or company whose purpose is power, control or profits is often a story
not to be trusted.

For example, in today’s world, the use of paper currency, which only
represents a value rather than being a tangible item like gold or
silver coins, may be convenient to the user. But those in positions to
set the value on such currency can also more easily manipulate it.
This creates abstractions in the link between the paper representation
and the actual gold it is supposed to be representing. At other times
the combined confidence that people and governments place in a
currency may fluctuate greatly, making it especially vulnerable to
times of political upheaval or war. Such currency can then become
completely worthless.

The fluctuating character of this type of currency also helps separate
society from nature. Nature requires balance in the environment to
operate properly, while currency that only represents what is supposed
to be tangible values is more easily manipulated. It is the
adjustments in currency and interest values which often create
stressful fluctuations for the ordinary consumers and for the general
mass of people. People who are most implicated in these fluctuations
are less likely to advance economically, as are those who are in
positions to claim profits from the same adjustments or manipulations
in the markets and economy. This is the difference between those
involved in the global monopoly game, which is artificially propped
up, and those that depend on real value, such as the gold standard or
genuine real estate values.

In this way, the gold-standard currency is based on falsehood because
the currency does not accurately represent the reserved gold. Because
the money value is inflated, prices on commodities rise. The only way
to reduce inflation and have an honest currency is to use that which
has intrinsic value, such as when trading something of equal value as
in bartering or using real currency like gold and silver coins. That
is an honest system.

Real prosperity flourishes on the natural gifts of nature, or God’s
gifts to us. Villages and towns and their local economy will flourish
when there is plenty of grains, vegetables, herbs, trees full of
fruits, rivers flowing with fresh and clean water, and hills full of
minerals. When this is the situation, there will be plenty for
everyone. If society has sufficient natural resources in this way,
then why should it endeavor for huge industrial complexes that require
the labor of numerous men by sending them into dark factories where
they spend their lives in exchange for inflated dollars, and then have
to pay a sizable portion of their earnings for government taxes?

Industry produces so many items that are in demand only because of the
advertising they show use to convince people that they need to
purchase the item in order to be happy. Essentially, the more society
depends on artificial necessities, the more vulnerable it becomes to
artificial crises. Thus, civilization suffers and the economy slows
whenever there is not enough oil, gas, electricity, or when the prices
of such modern commodities become too high. When there is a loss of
oil, gas, and other such necessities, or when there is an electrical
blackout, so many activities are forced to stop. So many machines and
appliances are but recent inventions, but now we have become so
dependent on them that without them we think we can no longer
function. Thus, people become trapped ever more deeply in the struggle
to earn more money to buy more things that they are convinced they
require to live happily and comfortably. In this way, they are tied
and enslaved to a system whose goal is profits rather than really
benefitting to society. In such a system, humanity loses its
sensitivity for their finer intellectual development and has neither
no time nor and no taste for any spiritual pursuits, except possibly
for the most elementary levels of moral standards.

In the natural form of economy, which is the Vedic system, the basic
principle of economic development is land and its produce. Whoever
controls land controls food. Whosoever controls food and fuel controls
the world. This is why land should always be in the hands of local
farmers, so that everything is shared and all people everyone can
prosper. Once large industrial or national complexes take it over,
such large tracts of land are no longer in the hands of a local
economy, but are controlled by large companies who have their own
concerns and plans. Then land becomes another element by which to
manipulate profits, resources, people, and even other communities and
global markets. History has also shown that such companies are often
connected with crooked politicians, or their networks that want more
and more power.

By developing the land properly for vegetable and grain production,
society can solve its eating problems. By producing enough cotton,
wood, minerals, and additional resources from the land, humanity can
work out its economic problems without depending on an artificial
economic or political system.

Those who do become wealthy by honest means can more easily
acknowledge his or her opulence as gifts from God. Thus, one’s
business, if done morally, can be a way of invoking the principle of
Dharma. Such gifts or blessings also come in the form of one’s own
intelligence and ingenuity for devising wholesome ideas and needed
products for the benefit of others, and from which one’s business will
expand. Thus, without the blessings of God in every way, we cannot
progress or be happy. All things, from wealth to , health, good birth,
beauty, good education, etc., are all examples of gifts from God.
Therefore, we all must acknowledge our gratefulness, especially those
who have become more successful. When a family or society offers such
acknowledgment, their success and happiness can increase in a balanced
and moral way.

In conclusion to this line of thinking, we must recognize that one of
the greatest forms of pollution in this world is that of competition--
competition for position, power and money. It is natural to work at
devising better ways of doing business and producing more effective
products. Whoever has what is best will more likely succeed.
Competition based on envy, jealousy, and deviousness, or simply for
more money, makes individuals and companies resort to dishonorable
means to get ahead, to get more market share, more customers, and ways
of making products more cheaply. This also adds to social stress
levels by forcing people to increasingly think increasingly in terms
of growing profits and income, while and lowering expenses. This takes
away from the peace in the world, and often adds to the pollution in
the environment by using resources in less eco-friendly ways.

Because we have forgotten our true spiritual nature, we are stressed
and crying over small and unimportant problems that have little to do
with our real identity as spiritual beings. Because such difficulties
are not connected to who we really are, they actually have little
relevancey to our spiritual nature. But because we are so attached to
our temporary and bodily identity, we are greatly affected so much by
these ephemeral and superficial troubles. This is not how we are meant
to proceed through life. We should not get entangled in such a way
manner to this illusion. It wastes our time and distracts us from the
things that matter most.

We may have made so much technological progress and have numerous
facilities added to our comforts of life, yet we can still see so many
people suffering in this world. This is primarily because money, and
people who are greedy for money, rule the world. Not everyone is
cruel, but who cannot see how the misery of many people in this world
is caused by the greediness of others? The perverted politicians and
rulers in various countries have created so much trouble that almost
all of the torment of people who are poor, starving, or even being
slaughtered or enslaved into prostitution to do the wicked bidding of
others, has been due to the unending selfishness and greed for money
and power. Do you think this is the way of a truly progressive world?
We can plainly see that it is increasingly becoming more godless and
thus more hellish. If this trend continues, society will lose its
moral values and respect for life. People will become progressively
more desperate and the world ever more lost.

A new influence must rise to purify this world from the rulership
kingdom of money, dirty politics, and a false and misguided economic
system. We must feel the influence of spiritual knowledge, for only
then can society know what is real peace and happiness, and live
together cooperatively. It is knowledge and awareness of our spiritual
identity and our connection with the Supreme Spirit that will fill our
hearts with the deep inner peace and contentment that we are looking
for. If we can progress in this way, our own happiness and peace can
spread to others. That i’s how we can become the peacemakers and help
fill society with the tranquility of such self-sufficient happiness
and contentment. Then our only concern will be how to relieve the
suffering of others. The more people reach this state of
consciousness, the more beautiful society will become beautiful and
the world will be wonderful. Then Tthe tendency for war and the
manipulation over others because of greed for money and power will
cease, and the world will live in peace. We have to be strong enough
to make such a change.

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