Arthashastra

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Arthashastra is an ancient Indian treatise on economics and politics written by "king maker" Chanakya (also known as Kautilya) in the 4th century BC during the rule of the Mauryan dynasty. Although the Sanskrit word Arthashastra is best translated literally as Economics, the book devotes much space to investigating the demands of statecraft in an unsettled society. The term is made up of Artha, material prosperity and shastra, knowledge.

Apart from discussing economics ethics, it also describes the duties of an emperor and considers many topics still prevalent in both political philosophy and economics today, such as social choice theory. Although he wrote in a period of absolute rule by emperors, Chanakya argues for a move to the welfare state.

The central theme of Arthashastra is that no kingdom can survive without an efficient and solid economy. It is considered to be a precursor to Machiavelli's "The Prince".

It is doubted whether the present Arthashastra is the actual one written by Chanakya. An opinion is that it was probably written by someone who knew the original well and hence could have most of the original intact, but it might not be certainly original.

A quote from Arthashastra: "In the happiness of his subjects lies the happiness of the king."

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