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Kautilya’s Arthashastra: A Recognizable Source of the Wealth of Nations

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DOI: 10.4236/tel.2016.61008    5,205 Downloads   6,759 Views


It is almost a unanimously accepted view that The Wealth of Nations does not contain a single original idea establishing the fact that Adam Smith borrowed all key ideas from various sources. He believed that he could claim originality for all the important ideas if he concealed their sources. Ferguson exposed Adam Smith for making a false claim related to the pin-factory example. It is intended to continue the process initiated by Ferguson by identifying paragraphs on sources of economic growth, canons of taxation and undesirability of monopolies, the core of The Wealth of Nations, which are textually quite similar to those in The Arthashastra. It is claimed that Adam Smith lifted those ideas from The Arthashastra. It is indicated in the Appendix that more than two hundred years before Adam Smith, Machiavelli also seems to have access to The Arthashastra. Hopefully this process continues until all of Adam Smith’s sources are identified and duly acknowledged.

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Sihag, B. (2016) Kautilya’s Arthashastra: A Recognizable Source of the Wealth of Nations. Theoretical Economics Letters, 6, 59-67. doi: 10.4236/tel.2016.61008.

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