Did Chanakya have Economics figured-out ages ago? Book Review of Kautilyanomics.
Author: Sriram Balasubramanian
Published by Bloomsbury India
Even if we consider that we have advanced, there always will be your past that tells you
what it is and why it matters. Certainly, the book Kautilyanomics is one of them. Usually
ignored and fair enough to say missed out is such contents of this book. The book takes you
on a journey, makes you look at the past, and realizes what an actual understanding of
economics/ Arthashastra is! Sriram Balasubramanian, the author of this book has precisely
researched Kautilya, to be specific Chanakya!
We often see people discussing how Arthashastra (Also the book of Chanakya on which this book is based ) of any country used to work in the past/ ancient times and how it has changed now, also adding the relevance of the past with the present modern times. But for sure that thought through the mind is shattered by this book. A lot of times falling prey to the attraction of the western world in terms of advancement in the economy or rather everything we forget what our country has actually offered us, and what relevance it holds in its analysis. India has always been a home to great thinkers, polymaths and economists, well this book proves it! An example of such works is Mr. Subramanian's Kautilyanomics! Kautilya ( mentioning it with the purpose of flow with the book) is one of the known, praised but less researched or intensely mentioned personalities from the past times! His teachings and works are known to many but are usually not read by the common public, but references to them, adjusted with purpose are! But here in Kautliyanomics, we see the presence for sure. His thoughts, understanding, and relevance to modern times do fit in perfectly. The book comprises 8 chapters that have subsections/ subtitles to it, explaining and correlating the past to the present. The contents of this book range from understanding the ancient terms to summarising everything discussed and explained.
What excites me about this book is how the Vedic terms used, are still relative to what the advanced economics and administration of finance refers to on a large scale. It is truly amazing to find out that these terms existed earlier than thought, and had applications and current trends find a root to these ones! Moving along the book contains a lot and actually enough statistical data in form of charts, figures, tables etc. to tell the figures and facts very well. The book covers topics ranging from macro level to micro, giving us an idea of how theories related to finance and precisely economics work! It discusses topics like wealth creation, sustainable growth, throws light on wealth creation and much more. Among
these my favourite parts of this book were from the write ups of GDP, Labour contracts,
trade. The book explains every aspect of the economy from the birds eye view to a ground
analysis. The cover page looks simple, but I would like to say! Don’t Judge a book by its
cover. What looks from the outside is completely different, the book is filled with lots and lots
of knowledge and facts to talk upon. For a reader who has just started, even for him it would
be an easy read. It is worth applause on how the author has worked hard and well, the result
is in front of you! To summarise the book in three words I would say it is - simple, insightful
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