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.