Ashoka in Our Time
The Question of Dharma for a Globalized World
One of the most powerful rulers in the history of humanity, Ashoka continues to be relevant for the political dilemmas of our age. He converted to Buddhism on the heels of a bloody war, and expanded his vast empire based on a system that originally prioritized material wealth and realpolitik. To hold together his diverse, prosperous realm, his edicts promoted religious tolerance, conservation, non-violence, species protection and human rights.
In this illuminating book, Bruce Rich offers a compelling critique of the forces of globalization that, while connecting the world in unprecedented ways, have deprived us of a unifying dharma. Rich looks for answers to contemporary issues in the paradoxes of Ashoka's empire, as well as in the ideas of thinkers from across the ages-from Aristotle and Adam Smith to George Soros. Reflecting on the timeless questions of morality, duty and the conflicting demands of statecraft, he urgently calls for a new global ethic, to restore concord and justice for a fractured world.