Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions


The Antiquity of Jainism
Jain Heroes
Jaina Order and Literature
Fundamental Beliefs
  The Human Predicament
  The Doctrine of Karma
  The Doctrine of Man
  The Denial of God
  Jaina Ethics and Morality
  Three Spiritual Paths
  Response to Contemporary Issue
  Social Issues
  The Economic Order
  The Idea of Ahimsa and Vegetarianism

The Economic Order



A global problem that threatens the welfare of all people is the conflict between Communism and Capitalism.  Though totally different, they have these things in common - an insatiable appetite for material consumption and a corresponding disregard for moral principles.  The result is mass exploitation on both sides.  The only way this materialistic tide can turn is by the introduction of moral consideration into global economics that can bring both peace and prosperity to all; it must have a moral base.

Jaina ethics enjoins upon the householder certain vows which are economically oriented:  Truth, Nonstealing, Nonpossession, to mention only some.  The vow of truthfulness requires a man to abstain from duplicity in his business and to conduct its affairs on the lines of honesty.  Nonstealing permits no occasions for falsehood, All deceptions (maya) are prohibited, including dishonest gain through smuggling, bribery, and any sort of disreputable financial practice (adattadana).  In this way truthfulness and honesty are prerequisites for the practice of the vow of Aparigraha (nonattachment).

The essence of the economic virtue of Aparigraha is that one should set a limit to one�s own needs and whatever surplus one may accumulate beyond these needs should be disposed of through charities.  By limiting one�s property, the vow keeps in check the concentration of wealth and paves the way for its wide and more even distribution.  Aparigraha is the only means whereby the growing gulf between the rich and the poor can be peacefully bridged.  Its message is that we live in a society from which we profit and that, for the economic health of that society, the fair distribution of wealth is essential.  Therefore, business dealings must be conducted in the nonacquisitive spirit of aparigraha.