Business and Polity: Dynamics of a Changing Relationship

By Deb, Mahuya | South Asian Journal of Management, October-December 2015 | Go to article overview

Business and Polity: Dynamics of a Changing Relationship


Deb, Mahuya, South Asian Journal of Management


Business and Polity: Dynamics of a Changing Relationship By D N Ghosh Sage Publications India, New Delhi, 2011, Pages: 422, Price: 795 ISBN: 978-81-321-0531-2

The book Business and Polity: Dynamics of a Changing Relationship is authored by D N Ghosh, former Chairman of SBI and associated with several leading companies in the private sector. The book presents a historical overview of the interactions between business and polity as they have evolved via numerous twists and turns at different points of time that spans millenniums rather than centuries and brings out its crucial significance in the rise and fall of civilizations and empires. It provides a comprehensive understanding on the ongoing interaction of business operations and government policies and traces the behavioral pattern of these two interest groups in economy and society at large.

The book opens itself with a discourse on the different political regimes which were constantly preoccupied with war and busy organiz ing resources for the political superstructure wherein the author reveals through the pages of Athenian economy its transition from agriculture towards political reforms, pragmatic trade, monetization and banking. Thereafter he gave reference to the birth of Roman civilization revolving around the dynamics of estate owners and serfs who had bondage of loyalty towards the dominant class. Moving towards India the author speaks at length about the Mauryan Empire and its benevolence towards trade, Chinese land based structure and its parallel with Rome gives it a unique identity. The Arabian culture needed a special mention which created a colossal empire through the rise and fall of different dynasties in a very short span by understanding that the stability and continuity of a political regime cannot be ensured unless business enjoys freedom and autonomy in economic affairs with some obligation to contribute a portion of the wealth for political the affairs. The empire which failed to understand this power equation collapsed. With trade becoming an important source of wealth it provided avenues to a great variety of people, culture and economies.

The second millennium was marked by the spread of maritime commerce with China and the Islamic regions of the Mediterranean holding the two ends. The middle space occupied by Asian sea trade comprising the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the South China Sea were essentially self sufficient because of its strong agricultural base, ability of its industries and to meet nearly all demand, believed in peaceful trade and had no interest in military venture. China the most extensive and technologically advanced region of the medieval world had the most sophisticated agriculture in the world and evolved as dominant power of South China Sea and Indian Ocean by a mature combination of agricultural productivity, commercialization, urbanization and industrialization. However due to domestic concerns it withdrew itself into a cocoon. The Muslim Mediterranean, which was not supported by state sea power was totally unprepared to fill the enormous vacuum of power which in the later stage was fulfilled by the European expansion that continued uninterrupted till the middle of 14th century. The power of the church grew, autonomous city states became pawns of power politics, and an era for political supremacy evolved requiring resources which were supplemented by the mushroom growth of big business houses. This business-polity partnership constructed the platform for European hegemony. Japan and North West Europe stood at the extreme end and unleashed into the development of feudal economies. The isolation of Japanese islands gave the country a bizarrely amalgamated and self contained history, protected from the disruptions caused by foreign invasions. In Japan the central authority was held by the court based aristocracy and central monasteries. The Japanese revolution was spearheaded by the Samurais, members of the elite thus giving rise to military aristocracy. …

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