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To Uphold the World: A Call for a New Global Ethic from Ancient India

Talk & Book Signing with Bruce Rich

Wednesday, September 22, 2010
8:00 PM–9:30 PM

Presented in association with Asia Society
Rubin Museum and Asia Society Members receive 10% off ticket purchases
In 1991 Bruce Rich traveled to Orissa, in Southeast India, and gazed upon the rock edicts erected by the Indian emperor Ashoka over 2,200 years ago. Intrigued by the stone inscriptions that declared religious tolerance, conservation, nonviolence, species protection, and human rights, Rich was drawn into Ashoka’s world.
Ashoka was a powerful conqueror who converted to Buddhism on the heels of a bloody war, yet his empire rested on a political system that prioritized material wealth and amoral realpolitik. This system had been perfected by Kautilya, a statesman who wrote the world’s first treatise on economics.
In his book To Uphold the World, with contributions by Nobel Economics Laureate Amartya Sen and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Rich urgently calls for a new global ethic, providing a powerful critique of the current wave of globalization. His talk will emphasize the contemporary relevance of Ashoka and Kautilya to uphold our world in the twenty-first century, distilling their message through the retelling of history and myth while reflecting on thinkers from across the ages–from Aristotle and Adam Smith to George Soros.