Kautilya Arthashastra | Kautilya Arthashastra Summary

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Introduction of Kautilya Arthashastra

Kautilya was the prime minister of Chandragupta Maurya. His original name was Vishu Gupta. He was a well known intellectual of the ancient India. He wrote an important book ‘Arthashastra’ which was regarded an important document and source of Indian History. This book contained systematic ideas on a large number of practical economic problem.

Major thoughts of Kautilya Arthashastra

The major thoughts of Kautilya are mentioned below-

• Economics Thought- Kautilya regarded “Artha” (Wealth) as the root of all disciplines. For the country as whole the structure and organization of the state entirely depends on the economic power and strength of the country. Wealth includes the material resources and human resources of a country.

Wealth included the necessary domestic animals like cow, horses, etc. He included in wealth, money commodities, private property, precious metals and any other goods having a market value. Wealth is accumulated slowly and steadily.

• Population- A large population is regarded as a sign of prosperity of a nation. Population can be utilized for the exploitation of human resources. He recommended that the king should have separate colonies for the immigrated population.

• Land and Agriculture– According to Kautilya agriculture is the prominent occupation of a nation. It provides food for both human and animals. The owner of the land is the king. The land which is gifted by the king was tax free.

The king should employ agriculturist for the development of the agro system of the country. The king should also provide the basic infrastructure for the agriculture.

• Labour and Wage- According to Kautilya the wage of the labour should be determined according to the productivity. He prescribed penalty for the negligence of work for non payment of wage. The woman should help the men by sharing works.

He prescribed penalty for those who refuse to work after receiving the wages. He recommended leave for the workers. He did not recommended slave labour. He laid down a code of conducer for labour. He accepted the dignity of labour.

• Social Security- Kautilya was in favour of granting social securities. According to him, it was the basic duty of the king to provide employment, charitable institutions, houses etc. to the poor people. The salary of the public servants should be based on the three conditions which are given below-

(i) Efficiency and effort

(ii) Status of the employment and

(iii) Loyalty of the employee to the king.

• Pricing and Price control- The concept of price that Kautilya had a mind was the medieval concept of just price. This price is nothing but the cost of production to which some makeup is added. When market price is higher than the just price, the difference should go to the Government treasury. Supernormal profit should be penalised.

He also considered that the transportation and communication disturbed the price structure of the country. When there is an increasing tendency in the price level, the supply of the commodity should be increased. He also supported the price control. The trading of the essential goods should be on the hands so the state.

• Trade- Trade was considered an important occupation during the time of Kautilya. It was the prime duty of the state to provide the basic facilities to the traders. Such as rest, houses, store houses, markets etc.

State imposed several duties on the traders and it was considered as the important sources of state revenue. The traders should follow some rules and regulations as fixed by the state.

• Distribution- Kautilya did not make any difference between interest and profit. But he did not provide any clear idea about the interest. He said that interest should not charge beyond a reasonable limit.

He suggested different rates of interest for different types of loans. At that time profit was regarded as the reward of supervision.

• Public Finance and Taxation- Kautilya provided an elaborate explanation of the public finance and taxation. Every tax involves a burden. The cost of collection of tax must be minimised. Tax should be collected on the basis of the paying capacity of the tax payers. The tax revenue should be invested in the public welfare activities which raise income and productivity of the tax payers.

Tax must not hamper the productive efficiency of the economy. Tax should be progressive in nature and income should be regarded as the appropriate basis of taxation. He attached great significance to importance of public finance in the national economy.

• Economic Function of the State- The state was given a number of important functions. It was the duty of the state to make available the necessary money in the form of coins. The state has to look after the social security and social welfare of the workers. Industrial and agricultural development was important function of the state.


What is the original name of Kautilya?

Kautilya’s original name was Vishu Gupta or Chanakya.

What was the major thoughts of Kautilya?

The major thoughts of Kautilya was economics, population, Land and Agriculture, Labour and Wage, Social Security, Pricing and Price control, trade, distribution, Public Finance and Taxation and Economic Function of the State.


So friends, this was the summary of Kautilya Arthashastra (Economics thought of Kautilya). Hope you get the full details about it and hope you like this article.

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