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By Betsy Price

This e-book explores the interrelationship among monetary perform and faith, ethics and social constitution in a couple of old cultures, together with historical East Indian, Hebraic, Greek, Hellenistic, Roman and rising eu cultures.

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Extra info for Ancient Economic Thought (Routledge Studies in the History of Economics)

Sample text

Palm (or Cadjan) leaves which were used for writing had a limited life. If sayings had to be memorized, they must not only have a systematic arrangement but also be brief and pithy. Hence materials were in the form of poetry (based on rigorous rules of composition and metre), or in the form of sutras. These, of course, are the end products of much reasoning, argumentation and discussion. This explains the lavish praise often heaped upon terse statements. The couplets of Thiruvalluvar (circa 50 BC to AD 50), for example, were described by a contemporary poetess Avvaiar as an achievement similar to boring a hole in the atom to make it a receptacle to hold the seven seas.

19 The early Christian works on ethics also prescribed what is correct and what is wrong without any question of ambiguity. In India, during the early period when States had not yet come about, the dissemination of good ideas through preceptors was prevalent. In the later period (circa post 300 BC), systematic law codes were prepared to say what should be and what should not be done. Amidst the thicket of prayers and sacrificial instructions, one does find in the earliest Indian writings references to correct behaviour.

Everything was done from the teacher’s memory. 31 After a few centuries, the sutras remained intact but the explanations and context had been lost. Herein lies the origins of commentaries which, in their turn, often interpreted the sutras in line with the commentators’ biasses. The traditional ends of human life, Dharma (righteous living), Artha (material well-being), Kama (enjoyment of sensual and artistic things), and Moksha, (freedom from the birth-death cycle) all go together, and enjoyment of a full life was thought to be impossible without any one of the above ends.

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