Ashoka in Our Time - The Question of Dharma for a Globalized WorldOne of the most powerful emperors in the world, Ashoka is not merely a
historical figure but also a concept. Ashoka converted to Buddhism on the heels
of a bloody war, yet his vast empire rested on a political system that placed
material wealth and realpolitik above moral righteousness. Nevertheless, his
highly networked, prosperous realm enabled its subjects to peaceably hold a
multitude of beliefs, and his edicts preached religious tolerance, conservation,
nonviolence, species protection and human rights.
In this illuminating book, Bruce Rich offers a compelling critique of the new
forces of globalization that, while connecting us in unimaginable ways, have
deprived us of a unifying dharma. Rich looks for answers to contemporary
issues in the paradoxical Ashokan empire, as also in the lesser known ideas of
thinkers from across the ages-from Aristotle and Adam Smith to George Soros.
Reflecting on the timeless questions of morality, duty and statecraft, he urgently
calls for a new global ethic, for justice and to restore a spirit of concord in a
rapidly fractured world.