Kautilya’s Approach

Machiavelli’s Approach

People-centric: (a) “In the happiness of his subjects lies his happiness; in their welfare his welfare. He shall not consider as good only that which pleases him but treat as beneficial to him whatever pleases his subjects (1.19).”

(b) He (p 128) wrote, “Whenever danger threatens, the king shall protect all those afflicted like a father [protects his children] (4.3).”2

(c) He (p 180) added, “He shall, however, treat leniently, like a father [would treat his son], those whose exemptions have ceased to be effective (2.1).”

(d) Kautilya (p 182) suggested, “King shall maintain, at state expense, children, the old, the destitute, those suffering from adversity, childless women and the children of the destitute women (2.1).”

(e) Kautilya (p 128) believed, “It is the duty of the king to protect the people from all calamities (4.3).”

King-centric: Page 31: “Do all the harm you must at one and the same time, that way the full extent of it will not be noticed, and it will give least offense, one should do good, on the other hand, little by little, so people can fully appreciate it.”

Page 49: “Above all, do not be upset if you are supposed to have those vices a ruler needs if he is going to stay securely in power, for, if you think about it, you will realize there are some ways of behaving that are supposed to be virtuous [che parra vjtu], but would lead to your downfall, and others that are supposed to be wicked, but still lead to your welfare and peace of mind.”

Ethical: He (p 180) wrote, “For, when adharma overwhelms dharma, the King himself will be destroyed (3.16.42).” He (p 639) stated, “Wealth is like a tree; its roots are dharma and the fruit is pleasure. Achieving that kind of wealth which further promotes dharma, produces more wealth and gives more pleasure is the achievement of all gains (sarvarthasiddhi) (9.7.81).”

Unethical: page 55: “A ruler, and particularly a ruler who is new to power, cannot conform to all those rules that men who are thought good are expected to respect, for he is often obliged, in order to hold on to power, to break his word, to be uncharitable, inhumane, and irreligious. So he must be mentally prepared to act as circumstances and changes in fortune require. As I said, he should do what is right if he can; but he must be prepared to do wrong if necessary.”

Proactive: He (p 116) wrote, “In the interests of the prosperity of the country, a king should be diligent in foreseeing the possibility of calamities, try to avert them before they arise, overcome those which happen, remove all obstructions to economic activity and prevent loss of revenue to the state (8.4).”

Proactive: Page 11: “It is necessary not only to pay attention to immediate crises, but to foresee those that will come, and to make every effort to prevent them.”

Page 35: “They all have appropriate moats and ramparts, and more than enough artillery. They always keep in the public stores enough food and drink, and firewood, to be able to hold out for a year.”

Pragmatic: (p 541): “An enemy’s destruction shall be brought about even at the cost of great losses in men, material and wealth (7.13).”

Pragmatic: Page 55: “So if a ruler wins wars and holds on to power, the means he has employed will always be judged honorable, and everyone will praise them.”