Guiding Light: The primary function of a government

It is interesting to see the dance of democracy happening in the country right now. Socialistic parties want to turn the country into a welfare state giving sops and freebies to the people. But this is not healthy for the creation of the wealth of the country in the long run. Certain countries of course like Norway, Finland, Sweden have managed to do it, but this was only after some amount of progress had been achieved through capitalism.

The capitalist parties are predominantly democratic and want to maximize profits with the help of the government. The communist parties would like to take over everything from the companies and compromise them. Communism can prosper only if the people are poor and the state has to run everything. Wherever it has been tried, it has not worked.

In India, we tried and lost a good amount of years of growth, in the process of the state trying to run everything. It has worked up to a point in China because the communist-socialist system was backed by the political system. So, they could force the workers to work on marginal, not minimal wages. What then is a good system?

If we look at ancient principles the government was not supposed to do any of these things. The primary function of a government was to uphold the rule of laws that are based on dharma, universal ethics and principles. This was based on what was good for the larger community. We had laws framed by a constitutional process and the government‘s function was to ensure that the rule of law was upheld, in every nook and corner of the country.

Those who had religious goals or capitalistic goals could follow their goals. There was freedom for people to achieve what they want. People are intelligent and talented enough if only the government could ensure the rule of law. This was not only based on what the majority decides but what was universally, ethically right. All progress – material or spiritual is based on the rule of law which is based on Dharma.

(The writer is the founder of Aarsha Vidya Foundation. You can write to him

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