Sale and Purchase Contracts in the Dharmaśāstras

12 Pages Posted: 27 May 2020

See all articles by P.V. Viswanath

P.V. Viswanath

Pace University - Lubin School of Business

Sushree Sasmita Pati

Gangadhar Meher University

Date Written: April 17, 2020

Abstract

Although the Dharmaśāstras were not written as history texts and although they were not written by historians, they deal with matters pertaining to the ordinary life of people. As such, it is legitimate to ask if we can learn anything about the economic situation of the period when these texts were written by looking at their content. Scholars, such as Olivelle and LaRiviere have opined that, in fact, the laws in these texts were based on current practice. Based on this assessment, in this paper, we specifically look at the rules regarding annulment of sale/purchase transactions, as laid down in the Arthaśāstra and in a variety of other early Dharmaśāstric texts. By making a small number of judicious assumptions regarding the dating of these texts, we also attempt to make inferences regarding the change in the nature of markets over the period around the beginning of the first millennium CE.

Keywords: markets, legal texts, ancient economies

JEL Classification: N25, N35, K12, L10, P42

Suggested Citation

Viswanath, P.V. and Pati, Sushree Sasmita, Sale and Purchase Contracts in the Dharmaśāstras (April 17, 2020). Pace University Research Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3588497 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3588497

P.V. Viswanath (Contact Author)

Pace University - Lubin School of Business ( email )

Lubin School of Business
1, Pace Plaza
New York, NY 10038
United States
212-618-6518 (Phone)
212-618-6540 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://webpage.pace.edu/pviswanath

Sushree Sasmita Pati

Gangadhar Meher University ( email )

Department of Chemistry
Amruta Vihar
Sambalpur, OR 768004
India

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