Economics Of Mahavira ► 10 ► [10.21] Introspection and Clarifications (21)

Posted: 14.06.2006

Question:
In the absence of plans for real economic development, can any moral movement succeed in our country?

Answer:
Even though morality is different from spirituality, it can never be isolated from social conditions and the economic system. It is not as though there is no immorality wherever there is economic development, nevertheless, there is greater scope for immorality to grow in the absence of resources. A poor man can be more immoral. We want to change the basic cause but, at the same time, we cannot relegate the matter of changing motives to a secondary position. Both objectives must go together. As the economic system improves, moral development should also be achieved along with it. It is then alone that better balance would prevail between the two. It is, therefore desirable that there is coordination between the state and the religious systems. In fact, there should be harmony between the two. The state has the capacity to improve the economic system while it does not have the capacity to promote moral behaviour despite the improved economic system. That economic system would not ipso facto be able to develop morality. It is the religious system that has the competence to develop morality. However, it does not have the power to penalize people. It can only change their hearts. It can only develop self-discipline. It then follows that morality is not necessarily acceptable to all. But at the same time, it cannot be maintained that the penal power enforced under compulsion can change hearts. A possible solution of this problem is that co-operation be established between the government, the administration and the religious organizations. All three should experience the need for mutual cooperation. On the one band, the improvement of the economic system should be accomplished and, on the other, the attention of the people should be drawn continuously to the distortions arising from economic development and distortions due the paucity of resources. In brief, if co-ordination is brought about, a solution to the problem could be found, if not the problem will remain unaddressed.

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