Beyond Sustainable Economy: Government’s Initiative in Relation to Aparigraha

Published: 02.09.2017
Updated: 03.09.2017

In the field of human rights, democracy, freedom of belief and speech, expulsion of discrimination, understanding respect and for nature, in the fields of health, education, literacy and abolishment of hunger and many other fields, an astounding amount of successes have been booked in recent centuries, though much remains to be done, and in many fields we have failed for the time being. As we all know some of our biggest problems today are overconsumption and overproduction, the resultant explosive health deterioration and environmental degradation, the change of climate, poverty and overpopulation and the world-wide military build up supported by a powerful weapons industry. Aparigraha has the 'soft' power to reduce or solve many of these problems, and to create a better world for our children.

Aparigraha is an inner attitude as well as an outer political issue. Governments, representing the people at large and including the wisest among them – ideally – are the most suitable bodies to take initiatives above self-interest. Governments should sit together, with global interest in a higher position than national interest. Perhaps each country (as represented in the United Nations) could add a "global ambassador," whose sole task it is to think about values, measures and laws which are above national interests. Individually they should work beyond all self-interests – by vow – either concerning (future) position, finance or praise. They could be philosophers of all cultural backgrounds, and experts able to design rules, and there should be a system to implement and maintain the rules. There could be a court of justice which has decisive power above national ambassadors, even when these are supported by national courts. Rules are now, in the present stage of the world, an absolute necessity, as much as a penal code for environmental transgressors and those who disturb the wellbeing of the global community of living beings. Humanity can permit itself no further environmental degradation, more global warming or destruction of natural resources, nor the creation of more suffering of parts of humanity and the living world at the profit of others. First of all, governments, the presidents and officials of which are or can be in daily contact with each other, should realize that they are 'one responsible family' of leaders, delegated by the people to make the best of the world, together. Differences in political interests nowadays become insignificant compared to global issues, and should and could in most cases be easily overcome by practicing respect, efforts to understand each other and sympathize with each other's problems, making use of the readily available means of communication. Ultimately we are all pilgrims towards transcendental happiness, and a brotherhood of humankind serves that aim much better than emphasizing differences.

Freedom may be our greatest good, including freedom of enterprise, but nobody may be given the freedom to destroy or cause harm to others. Our systems of communication are now sophisticated enough to maintain a global system of discussion and monitoring, ecologically as well as judicial. No longer can we use money to pot it up or for powerful lobbying activity, convincing or bribing governors for self-interest. It is contrary to the idea of aparigraha. There is, in the service of the global community, no reason to keep our assets secret.

Freedom is not the freedom of addiction to matter, but freedom of thought. It is freedom of evolution of what is within the deeper layers of our being. The freedom to reach real happiness, the freedom to gain what never perishes – the True, the Just and the Beautiful, as Plato expressed it.

Governments of countries and of the world can and should create think-tanks of people of high intelligence and genuine (inner) ethics – call them the new nobility – to look at the problems from all sides, and steer the society with law and regulation.

What governments can contemplate and implement now

There should be rules for behavior and laws to implement that behavior.

-          A limit to financial gain

-          A progressive social welfare tax system.

-          Democratic procedures, within predetermined aparigrahic limits, determining the use of such money, for which purpose a body or parliament representing the governments as well as non-governmental organizations is delegated.

-          Companies will be allowed and stimulated to create foundations, funds, or well-fare organizations, and donations which should (at least partly) be tax-deducible. Companies or other benefactors thus have freedom to determine which cause they wish to support. The chosen governments have an advisory role, but if democratically disputed, the final say lies with the laws and regulations according to the nations' political, preferably democratic systems.

-          As a matter of principle no license should ever be given for industries producing environmental, landscape or sound pollution or other forms of pollution or destruction. The world can no longer permit itself experiments. Exceptions could be made only for experimental industries expected to be beneficial in the here discussed sense in the longer run. Industries should always abide by strict rules which have been defined from a heart of genuine respect for the planet, all living beings, and human dignity. Best is if the rules are agreed upon globally, or else as many countries as possible, and leave no room for compromise concerning basic ethics (such as human rights and duties) and environmentalism.

-    Exclusion of poignant poverty for ever world citizen.

-    Every human being should receive the means to live and develop.

-    Every individual should be provided basic needs where and when necessary.

-    Every individual should receive a minimum income independent of their personal circumstances.

-    Every individual should be provided access to modern means of communication and education.

-    A practically applicable penal code should be designed for transgressors.

-    For every project intended by the government or the private sector an independent scientific report must be made relating to the effects for the local environment as well as large scale impact for the earth and all living beings. This already happens in many countries.

-    A global monitoring system as to behavior of producing industries.

-    The global community must have the right to put sanctions, for example by international boycott agreements towards transgressors, and by compulsory complete openness and clarity of behavior regarding rules. International penal taxes can be given according to strict laws on products of the transgressors or the transgressors themselves. But the weapon carried by 'global police men' should be logic rather than a pistol.

-    Governments should initiate a discussion among defense specialists to investigate the possibility to develop systems of better defense, but with less power of offence. If defense is strong enough and based on mutual agreement and understanding among nations concerning the values of non-violence and aparigraha, no nation needs to or even wants to build an offensive power. This is in itself a most important point for discussion in relation to aparigraha. It consumes billions which could be used for other purposes. It is the greediest industry.  Therefore the greediest companies cooperate with it. It is the first causer of violence, because retaliation appears usually to bring more violence and suffering than the attack. Defense and offense are greatly based on fear, distrust and hatred for others. Defense systems which are based on deterrence are  the 'defense' and weapons industry is the foremost responsible body for human suffering. It is also, directly and indirectly, responsible for tremendous local as well as global environmental degradation.

It should not be possible or desirable to sanction entire governments or countries. Saneness should come from within. Even if it takes time, governments will ultimately choose to follow a sane policy in the general interest. Sanctions could lead to suppression and revolt within nations, even war. Nations are ruled by the mind, not by interests, whereas a large part of our present economy is based on interests of which the mind is made servant.

Rules and laws should never become dogma's. Continuously they are discussed, refined, and adjusted, however without ever losing the original object. For this, a universally recognized constitution would be very desirable, expressing the highest yearning of the human heart, but even such a constitution could be continuously discussed and adjusted if a large majority supports the adjustment, and the public is fully informed about the matter at hand and can be part in the public discussion.

End of Book


Title: Beyond Sustainable Economy
Author: Dr. Rudi Jansma, Dr. Sushma Singhvi
Publisher: Prakrit Bharati Academy

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Aparigraha
  2. Body
  3. Environment
  4. Fear
  5. Non-violence
  6. Plato
  7. Violence
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