Religion as a Tool of Economic Development: Exploring the Idea of Social Justice Through a Comparative Analysis of Religions in India

7 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2015 Last revised: 5 May 2015

Date Written: January 16, 2015

Abstract

The scope of this paper is to widen the conversation on critical, moral and ethical implications of economic deprivation in India. The paper analyses how religion can unify the spiritual with the social and material fulfilment of a human being by advocating social justice through ethical economics. In India, coarse poverty co-exists with the cross currents of various ancient philosophies and cultures. This contradiction betrays the idea of social justice that rests on the liberty of the individual and his right to a fulfilled life through physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual development. Despite fabulous economic growth, 300 million people in India remain poor and half of our children are undernourished. Those who are well off are indifferent to the plight of these hungry and deprived millions. This is borne out of the fact that only 1.7% of the household income in India goes to philanthropy as against 35% for religious donations. The role and relevance of religion in today’s world lie in assuming the values of social capital like trust, honesty, fairness and concern for the less fortunate through concrete social programmes.

Keywords: Religion, Economic development, Social Justice, Poverty, India.

JEL Classification: A13, D63, Z12

Suggested Citation

Kuriakose, Francis, Religion as a Tool of Economic Development: Exploring the Idea of Social Justice Through a Comparative Analysis of Religions in India (January 16, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2549414 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2549414

Francis Kuriakose (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062
Netherlands

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