"Ascribed to Kautilya (commonly identified as the prime minister of Chandragupta Maurya) and dating back more than 2,000 years, the Arthashastra is the world’s first manual in political economy. It has a pre-eminence in Indian thought that is akin to that of Machiavelli’s The Prince in Europe. Arthashastra (literally, ‘the science of wealth’) is a study of economic enterprise; specifically, Kautilya’s treatise advises the king on the business of creating prosperity. This ancient text provides a fascinating window into the social and economic structures of the time, and into the intricacies of statecraft—for the Arthashastra also addresses the question: what makes a good leader? This book is intended to be an introduction to the economic philosophy of the Arthashastra. Its goal is to analyse the relevance of this classic text in its own time—in a world in which kings were regulators of economic activities of their subjects, but also entrepreneurs themselves—in the conviction that it has much to teach us that has value in our own age. "
Penguin Books India
31 Jan 2012