Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Adam Smith and Chaturvarņa

[Jed Graham of Investors Business Daily (HERE) writes: "Inspired by Newton, whose law of gravity explained planetary movement, Smith sought a connecting principle governing economics. Smith perceived man's propensity to barter or exchange skill and labor as central to economic progress. This facilitates a division of labor that, in Smith's example of a pin factory, let 10 workers make 48,000 pins in one day, while a single untrained worker might be hard-pressed to make one.Smith's intellectual labors were driven by a sense of mission. In his analysis, self-interest spurs innovation and is the surest way to spread wealth to all income groups." An Author on the Money
from Adam Smith's Lost Legacy by Gavin Kennedy. Jed notes that the propensity to ‘truck, barter, and exchange’ was the main behavioural trait that gradually spread into human relationships from pre-history, with the division of labour within processes and along the supply chains of commercial society...]

[The caste system actually had a sensible basis
Thursday, February 16, 2006 Hey Baby, What's Your Caste?
posted by Gagdad Bob at
2/16/2006 06:39:00 AM
Let me clarify a comment I made yesterday about people belonging to different castes. I did not mean this in an elitist way, and I certainly didn't mean to imply an endorsement of how the caste system was applied in India. That system actually had a sensible basis. Remember, before the scientific and market revolutions, culture was virtually static. There was no notion of progress; in fact, most cultures thought that the reverse was true--that our ancestors once lived in the mythological "Great Time" of a golden age, but that subsequent generations had somehow deviated from the ideal. The purpose of culture was to try to imitate the ways of the ancestors, otherwise the passage of time would simply lead to more degeneration and chaos. Obviously human beings all over the world still struggle mightily with the allied notions that dynamic chaos is the source of order and that the application of rigid order generates chaos. Where would the socialist left be, for example, without the primordial distrust of free markets and individual liberty? In fact, European conservatives are the same way--by and large, they are nothing like the revolutionary conservatives of contemporary America, in that they tend to be elitists who wish to preserve inherited power and privilege (Margaret Thatcher notwithstanding, who was a modern Hayekian "conservative liberal"). Prior to the conservative intellectual movement founded by William F. Buckley in the mid-1950's, American "paleo-conservatives" were similar to their reactionary European counterparts...
Now the Hindu caste system was originally based on the banal but accurate observation that individual human beings do indeed belong to different castes--that there are different personality types (for example, consider Jung's typological system of 16 main personality types; see book below). This should surprise no one. It is simply a variant of the idea that "it takes all kinds to make a world." Their mistake was in wedding this idea to the primordial fear of disorder, and creating a rigid system in which one's caste was determined by genealogy instead of inclination. In a perfectly functioning market system, the same thing will happen spontaneously, as people discover their particular gift, actualize their innate potential, and find their adaptive "niche." (Yes, troll, let me save you some time and say that I realize the system is not perfect.) Again, the original caste system was based on the idea that a functioning society required very different tasks and skills, and that certain temperaments were better suited than others to discharge those tasks. Warriors, priests, intellectuals, merchants, laborers--all have very different temperaments...
One Cosmos Under God by Robert W. Godwin 9:35 AM]

[Take any society and any time in the history of civilizations, and we cannot fail to recognise that these four aspects have been always present, through all the known ages. There have been Brahmins all over the world and workers and business men and heroic people and warriors. Men of learning, men of adventure and mighty noble action, men of alert commerce and trade, men of professional skills,—where are, or in a dynamic culture, when were they absent? ... The essential qualities behind them, swabhāvas, all are widespread and are the manifestations of these Four Powers in the cosmic working.
The present degradation of Chaturvarņa in India is a totally unacceptable distortion. It has become so because of the heavy tamas and dumbness that has spread over the country during the past several centuries, and there is nothing really Indian in it. It has to go. On the basis of what is called caste, which was never there in its pristine formulation, has reduced, rather fissured, the country into smaller and smaller bits. But this dull-headed criminal division can go away not by choices and preferences, by laws or edicts or ordinance, nor by priority promotions. It has to go by reorganisation of our society in the values of knowledge, strength, harmony, perfection. Each one has to recognise the basic precept, the dharma, the inner working of one’s own soul and act in it. Well, that is how I understand the role of the Four Aspects of the Mother in upholding the order of the society. It is based on inalienable psychological principles and any departure from them will have its disharmonious consequences.
But in the yogic vision and experience of Sri Aurobindo there are also the higher powers of the omnipotent Goddess who have not yet come down into the evolutionary play. These can come down only when the Truth-dynamism of the Transcendent, the creative Supermind descends into it. This has now happened and there shall be hence the multifold order, far beyond the Chaturvarņa System, which shall organise life in the meaning and purpose of the Spirit. Of course that possibility also assumes that the present four cosmic Powers of the Divine Mother are fully operational in their working harmony. The true sense of Chaturvaņa lies in it. Sanatan Dharma: VIII—an Interview apropos of Chaturvarņa
RY Deshpande on Sun 19 Jul 2009 02:57 AM IST Permanent Link Cosmos]

[India’s Independence and the Spiritual Destiny: Part O
RY Deshpande on Thu 06 Aug 2009 04:47 AM IST Permanent Link Cosmos ... the harmful contribution of the Illusionists metaphysics. In them the life-streams of the nation became dry and it could easily succumb to the outside aggressive forces. There also crept in distortions when exclusive classes started appropriating the ideals for themselves, for instance, the Brahmins as the sole possessors of knowledge and that too without spiritual realizations. The life of Jnaneshwar, the Marathi saint of the thirteenth century is quite illustrative of the decadence that had set in at the time. Also Kshatriya or the warrior class, except for instances here and there, generally lost its Kshatriyahood, its spirit of dignity and righteousness defending at all odds human goodness and nobility. Similarly, the man of commerce became the money-grabber, and the worker a slave without the urge for perfection. This is not fault of the system; it is the fault of the individual not having a living contact with his guiding spirit. An immense darkness of inertia and sloth and tamas had wrapped the soul of the nation.]

It is surprising that Adam Smith's ‘truck, barter, and exchange’ is going strong without much sensitivity towards the other three personality types. [TNM]

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