| Humanistic economics and basic ideas of Hindu thought |
Contrary to popular belief, the Hindu philosophical systems view Reality as graded and accept INEQUALITY as existential reality. Exchange and competition are fundamental ideas that govern the Hindu thinking about building non-exploitative structures of social, political, and economic systems. The distinction they make about needs and wants is crucial to understand contemporary problems of poverty, development and limitations of conventional political and economic ideas based on assumption of non-existing Equality that underlies them.
Humanistic economics advocate a different conception of human being propelled by multiplicity of needs and wants. The process of striving for fulfillment is through "reciprocal exchange" and in "competition" with others. These are in a way echoes of those ancient ideas.
The concept of DHARMA as ensuring equitability in exchange and restricting competition to be between equals is the essence of Hindu thinking. Ensuring DHARMA is the "core function of State" in their scheme of thinking whereas ensuring "free competition" (not necessarily fair) and enforcing "contracts" (even if they are not equitable) is seen as core functions of modern day concept of State.
Pleadings for ensuring "level playing field" so that competition can be not only free but also fair; clamour for more equitable sharing of value among contributors of various factors of production and increasing consumer concern for equitable exchange are contemporary demands against "exploitation". Inequitable sharing arrangements of value, power; unequal competition and inequitable exchange are the sources of "exploitation" and much of the misery in the world. These two sets of two papers each try to explain these in the light of Hindu thought of DHARMA and its contemporary relevance.