1st Edition

Jainism and Ethical Finance A Timeless Business Model

By Atul Shah, Aidan Rankin Copyright 2017
    190 Pages
    by Routledge

    190 Pages
    by Routledge

    The financial crisis of 2008 has led to a re-evaluation of the role of financial institutions and their relationship with the wider economy and society. This process has meant an increased questioning of both the conduct of business itself and the principles behind commercial and financial activities. Yet non-western voices have been notably absent from this debate, as have alternatives to the dominant western-derived economic ideologies. From the ancient spiritual wisdom or Dharma of the Jains, there emerges a practical modern philosophy fully in tune with the re-emergence of India as a global economic power. Jain individuals, businesses and charities have played a powerful role in India’s rise and within the global Indian Diaspora. Jain communities are noted everywhere for their contributions to business, the professions and science. These successes are based on the principles of interdependence and co-operation, with an emphasis on long-term consolidation rather than short-term bursts of growth. Researchers and students interested in the ethics of finance, accounting and economics will find Jainism and Ethical Finance a scholarly and illuminating evaluation of Jain Dharma as a non-western case study. In the light of current concerns about the way global finance and banking systems operate, this book offers a timely alternative perspective.


    Table of Contents

    Chapter 1- Introduction

    Chapter 2- Learning To Think Like A Jain

    Chapter 3- Aparigraha: Understanding the Nature and Limits of Finance

    Chapter 4- Risk and Return: Careful Action and Relationships of Trust

    Chapter 5- Obligation and Interdependency: Towards A Jain Theory of Organic Growth

    Chapter 6- Ethical Investment: Social and Environmental Transformation and Jain Business

    Chapter 7- The Implications of ‘Many-Sidedness’

    Chapter 8- Faith Beyond Finance: Cultivating Detachment and Humility

    Chapter 9- Conclusion: Jainism’s Implications for Finance Research



    Atul K. Shah PhD ACA is an academic, senior lecturer at Suffolk Business School, chartered accountant and social entrepreneur. A Jain community leader in the UK, he is a founder of Jain Spirit magazine and Young Jains. Atul is author of Celebrating Diversity (2007) and contributes to numerous financial journals.

    Aidan Rankin MA (Oxon) MSc (Econ.) PhD is a London-based independent scholar and property consultant. He has written three books on Jain thought: The Jain Path: Ancient Wisdom for the West (2006), Many-Sided Wisdom: A New Politics of the Spirit (2010) and Living Jainism: An Ethical Science (2013).

    A book that we have all been waiting for. It offers fresher insights into the socially dysfunctional world of finance, governance and accountability from the spiritual perspective of Jainism. The book’s central message is that the relentless pursuit of shareholder wealth maximisation and personal wealth promoted by western theories is doing untold ecological and social harm because dominant western theories do not enable us to see things in their totality and thus ignore the consequences for ourselves and others. The book offers an alternative analysis and a guide to Jain economics, philosophy, ethics and forms of thinking. Give this book to your friends and family on their birthdays, Christmas, New Year and other events. In return you may well get new souls who are reflective and want to make the world a happier place for all.

    Prem Sikka, Emeritus Professor of Accounting, University of Essex, UK.

    This work draws deeply upon the powerful wisdom of the Jains and their centuries of financial acumen. Shah and Rankin provide an invaluable resource for business schools, the financial sector, entrepreneurs and anyone interested in exploring new economic paradigms.

    Lynne Sedgmore CBE, PhD, Former CEO, Centre for Excellence in Leadership and 157 Group, UK.

    Mere self interest and short termism has proven to be a catastrophic failure in finance. This book encourages senior management and students aspiring to forge a career in the world of finance to look at a proven alternative that can not only be sustainable  but also hugely rewarding both financially as well as ethically.

    Satish Kanabar, Director, Kanabar Consulting Limited, UK.

    Atul K. Shah and Aidan Rankin have written an excellent book demonstrating the immense benefits of Jainism to the modern world in several areas, including finance, where a paradigm shift is required.

    Anant M. P. Shah, Meghraj Group, Asia.

    This book provides a fascinating and detailed insight into a relatively unknown culture and code of ethics. I am sure it will help inform the corporate governance debate in the West.

    Janette Rutterford, Professor of Financial Management, Open University Business School, UK.

    Jain teachings date back 5000 years to Northern India. Today, these teachings support a non-theistic religion, offer a practical living philosophy, and provide a set of values that inform the lives of some ten million Jains worldwide. Shah and Rankin explain how the Jain values of Anekant (respect for the views of others), Ahimsa (non-violence in action, speech, and thought), and Aparigraha (non-possessiveness) can offer a useful guide to responsible business practices. The authors provide numerous examples drawn from the Jain business community. The examples are offered both as an anecdote to an overly arid and typically incomplete orthodox view of business activity and as a useful supplement to contemporary thought on sustainability and corporate social responsibly. The ideas are interdisciplinary and holistic and should appeal to a wide audience, including sociologists, business ethics scholars, accountants, bankers, economists, and business people generally.

    Daniel T. Ostas, J.D., Ph.D., James G. Harlow, Jr. Chair in Business Ethics, Michael F. Price College of Business, University of Oklahoma, USA.

    Jainism and Ethical Finance represents a groundbreaking divining rod for the 21st century’s most pressing moral imperative: a guide to wise restraint and the simultaneous embrace of compassion in everything that human beings think, intend and do. Atul Shah and Aidan Rankin have written a treatise that clearly elucidates the underpinnings of a moral universe that is at once revolutionary –in the best sense- and crucial to the future of humanity and of all biodiversity on this precious earth.

    Michael Charles Tobias, President, Dancing Star Foundation, USA.

    In the face of widespread public distrust of modern banking and financial services, Shah and Rankin examine the enduring business practices of the Jain community and find hope for the future. Eloquent, timely and packed with wisdom.

    John Christensen, Director, Tax Justice Network.

    The dominance of the western financial worldview has devastated our planet.This timeless alternative from the East can heal the world, remove inequality and animal and environmental disaster. Really excited to see this masterpiece of universal wisdom in print. It is time to learn from it and use the knowledge to bring about sustainable reform in society and world at large.
    Dhiraj Shah, businessman and community leader, President of HSS(UK), national charity.

    I hope it gets a wide audience among sociologists, ethicists, economists, bankers and accountants. When we are in search of a future way of organising our economy it’s important to look at what some already know, especially when it seems to work.

    Richard Murphy, Political Economist and author of 'The Joy of Tax', UK

    Weaving ancient Jain theories on interdependence and co-operation into the complex financial world of modern western economies, this book is an attempt to bring culture and values back into centre of the debate about finance. There are many views with regard to whether or not we are entering a "post capitalism" stage of economic development and this book broadens this debate, offering a fascinating alternative way of thinking about the underlying purpose and social role of financial institutions, money and material possessions.

    Tony Fisher, Partnership Member, FJG, UK.

    This insightful examination into ethical finance from the Jain perspective offers a roadmap for the economic and ecological well-being that we all desire but which has, so far, been denied us by our current western economic ideologies, such as those that led to the catastrophic banking crisis of 2007-2008. The ancient spiritual wisdom of Jainism provides a practical modern philosophy for dealing with the pressing problems of our time.

    Barbara Gardner, Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, USA.

    While the link between finance and a mask-wearing broom-wielding vegetarian sect might be easily scofed at, in this fascinating book the authors explain the relevance and power of an approach that always tries to take the long-term view and considers all the stakeholders, as well as the environment. That they do so using real-life business and finance examples makes it an even more compelling read.

    Gerry Brown, author of The Independent Director and Chairman of Novaquest Capital Management