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P H I L O S O P H Y F O R B U S I N E S S ISSN 2043-0736
Issue number 58
8th April 2010
I. 'Traditional Eco-Friendly Approach towards the Environment: Sacred
Space and Land Ethics' by Tejasha Kalita
II. 'Ethics of Monetary Interest' by John Pullin
III. Call For Papers: Journal of Travel and Tourism Research
What are our ethical obligations to a bee, or a tree, or a mountain?
Are these just resources for human beings to use as we wish? or do
they inhabit a place in the universe which is not of our making and
which does not belong to us, affirming their right to exist which
human beings must respect? The idea that a mountain has 'rights' may
seem far fetched, yet the contemporary approach to ecology based on
utilitarian calculation and cost-benefit analysis has proved sadly
inadequate to protect the environment. Perhaps the time has come, as
Tejasha Kalita argues, to take a less materialistic view of nature,
and learn something from the wisdom of Hindu philosophy.
Following my discussion of the ethics of monetary interest in the
last issue, John Pullin in his second article for Philosophy for
Business offers his take on the rationale for charging interest on
loans. He begins his article with an elementary lesson in economic
theory but goes on to develop the theme that the traditional ethical
virtues of hope, faith and trust are essential ingredients in the
institution of lending and borrowing, the backbone of any successful
Travel and Tourism may at first seem an unlikely subject for
philosophy. On second thoughts, where else would you find a topic
where the nature of society, business and economics, geography,
history and psychology all intersect? What human beings do with their
leisure has been a topic for philosophical inquiry ever since the time
of the Greek Philosophers. I am therefore grateful to Argentine
philosopher Maximiliano Korstanje for posting a Call for Papers from
the Journal of Travel and Tourism Research, based at Adnan Menderes
University in Turkey. Articles from any of the aforementioned
academic disciplines are welcome, but especially those on
I. 'TRADITIONAL ECO-FRIENDLY APPROACH TOWARDS THE ENVIRONMENT: SACRED
SPACE AND LAND ETHICS' BY TEJASHA KALITA
The environment is something on which all of us, whether animal or
human or insect are ever dependent since we all need to survive on
this earth, and in order to survive we need a pollution free, clean,
and life sustainable environment. Environmental sustainability is the
process of making sure current processes of interaction with the
environment are pursued with the idea of keeping the environment as
pristine as naturally possible based on ideal-seeking behaviour, a
behaviour that is characterized by both the desire and the ability to
progress towards an ideal by choosing of a new goal when a previous
one has been met or the effort to meet it has failed.
But in modern times, it is seen that, though people are said to have
become more educated and civilized, still the awareness regarding the
environment is almost negligible. It is our duty to save nature; but
unfortunately nature is valued for its utility and man-centric goals.
Forests are used and destroyed on large scale for monetary benefit and
profit hungry factory owners, as corruption is the order of the day
everywhere. In this paper it will be argued that traditional
eco-friendly systems that once ensured peaceful co-existence of man
and nature can better safeguard the environment. Even some forms of
environmental ethics, including modern land ethics can restore values
that were preserved by traditional and religious methods.
Bio-centrism and land ethics etc. all have reacted against
man-centric anthropomorphism, arguing that nature has a right to
prosper and to actualize its potentialities for its own sake. If we
go back to the traditional Hinduism, it is found that everything,
whether it is material or non-material, including gods, animals,
plants, fire, wind, water, language, feelings, thoughts needs a
sphere of existence (loka) and it is admitted that our earth is not
given only for the utility of the one race among many, the race of
Homo Sapiens, the human race. So far as Hindu religious thought is
concerned humans have their own loka, animals have another and so do
plants or God, stars and spirits and it was accepted that one should
respect the rights of different inhabitants of these different
regions, even the rights of gods, demons, departed souls, besides
others, to exist in a realm of their own. The table below shows how
different cosmological orders were the habitats of different beings:
The Seven Worlds
1. Bhurlok -- Earth with seven continents, seven oceans,
and underworlds, the world of humans, animals, plants
2. Bhuvarloka -- Space between earth and the course of the
sun, air space in between space for gods, demons, spirits,
3. Svarloka (also called Svargaloka) -- Space between the
course of the sun and pole stars (dhruva), the world of the
stars and planets
4. Maharloka -- 1 koti (= 107) yojana ( 1 yojana = ca. 3.6
km), world of the Munis or 'Saints'
5. Tanarloka -- 2 koti yojana high, world of the sons of
6. Tapaloka -- 3 koti yojana high, world of the Vairaja gods
7. Satyaloka -- 48 koti yojana high, world of the gods =
So it is seen that in traditional Hinduism every living creature like
humans, animals and plants, and the non-living beings like the
planets, the sun, the moon, the stars, the space and even time
(kala), along with souls, spirits, departed beings, ghosts, demons,
all had a right over a particular region. All things were regarded as
sacred. Space was also regarded to be sacred, where all the things
have their respective places we have seen from the chart that
Bhurloka is the loka or space, which was equally shared by humans and
plants. Axel Michaels states,
Every life space mentioned in the above table is a force, a
power, a kind of feeling space that is limited not only to
visible space determinates. The words for earth express
multiplicity: Bhu is not only the world for living things,
but also goddess (bhudevi); similarly, prithivi also
indicated the goddess and the religious 'breadth.' The
terms are links inseparably with specific sense of space.
One cannot talk of the earth, which has this or that
aspect. Therefore, there is no word for that because there
is no such idea. 'Sky' and 'Earth' are not two different
spaces, but rather senses of space that can be either in
the sky or on the earth. Similarly, directions are not only
coordinates of a geocentric notion of space, but rather --
in religious terms -- also sense of space (Hinduism Past &
Present, pp. 285-286).
So not only the humans are the ones that have a right on this earth.
But when we look at the present day scenario, it is clear that humans
dominate the entire earth. They use animals and plants according to
their own choice and wish. People cut trees according to their wish
and need. In fact it can be said that people are simply misusing
their power. In traditional systems also people were allowed to use
the natural resources although the dominating attitude to nature was
mutual respect and reverence. So when people used to cut trees, they
always cut them with proper care, so that the basic life form is not
disregarded. While plucking medicinal plants and trees, fruits or
plants of rare value, it was instructed that one should take care to
see that the rare plant is not wiped out of existence. If there was a
case when there was only one leaf in a particular tree, then they
spared that plant or leaf in order to make its roots available for
the future generation. But among the various trees some trees
regarded to be scared, and those were not allowed to cut.
So it can be seen that there was eco-friendly way toward nature in
the traditional Hinduism. All the mountains, plants had been given
the status of God. We can take the example of the great mountain
range, the Himalayas. In the great epic Mahabharata, it was mentioned
that during a natural calamity like heavy and non stop rainfall, flood
etc. it is only the mountain Govardhana which could help mankind, and
Lord Krishna taught mankind that in the time of crisis only nature
can act as man's savior. Lord Krishna could save the land with the
help of the mountain that protected and saved human beings and
animals from the affects of the great flood. This has set an example
that for the survival of human beings both plants and animals are
In contemporary Indian philosophy, the ideas of environmental
consciousness, ecological understanding, environmental conservation,
sustainability and survival are deeply rooted in the philosophy of
Mahatma Gandhi. According to Gandhi 'nature is to be approached with
a sense of reverence.' In his Hind Swaraj it is clearly maintained
that the dangerous race by utilitarian and materialistic civilization
for monetary progress and economic growth as the only goal of
development, at the cost sustainability and the betterment of life,
environment and the earth, is a distorted model of development and
has adverse consequences for the environment. Gandhi believed in
non-violence that is strongly rooted in Jainism and its dictum, 'live
and let live', in Buddhism and its principle of love, compassion and
non-violence, and in Vedic-Upanishadic philosophy that 'let the earth
be a habitat to all'. The Vedic seers compared the earth to a nest
that could give shelter to one and all.
The Gandhian doctrine of non-violence is relevant today for
sustainable development. Gandhian ecology emphasises individual and
collective self-rule (swaraj), based upon truth, non-violence and
self-sacrificial action. Sarmistha Patnaik in her article 'Indian
Environmentalism and Gandhian Value: The relevance of Satyagraha in
Contemporary Environmental movement in India', maintains,
Gandhian ecology insists upon respect and compassion for
all creatures and for nature itself. It encourages economic
self-sufficiency at the local (village, town, or
neighborhood) level. Gandhian ecology addresses the
practical environmental and economic issues of our present
day grounded in ultimate values and the truth-seeking.
Gandhi gives a very simple argument for safeguarding bio-diversity.
He mentions that we human being do not have the power over life, so
we do not have right to destroy it also. It is therefore our duty to
Land ethics gives tremendous importance to the traditional and
religious systems for protecting the land and the environment. Aldo
Leopold first championed Land Ethics in his book A Sand Country
Almanac. He wrote that there was need for a new ethics, an ethics
dealing with man's relation to land, animals and plants. Land ethics
wants to go back to the traditional systems of reverential attitude
to things and beings because land and natural entities are means to
our human-centric ends. The land has an end of its own, the tree for
example, has a right to be a fully developed tree that bears fruits
and also lives a particular length of time and dies. Similarly the
land is sacred, mountain and river have their own man-independent
goals. Thus there can be meaningful dialogue between land ethics and
traditional religious systems that regard nature as sacred or as an
end in itself.
But it is known to everyone that in the modern times we have no other
times we have no other gods to worship but our own stomach and its
needs. We are just consumers in the global market and anything, man
animal, nature, is just seen as goods to be consumed for our selfish
gain. Humans are valued only as 'human resources', nature is reduced
to a 'natural resource' and so on. But before we dig our own
graveyard by fatally damaging nature, steps to protect the
environment must have to be taken. We must have to save our
environment from the present danger.
In this paper, I have explored some possibilities of connecting
traditional religious beliefs, Gandhian philosophy and contemporary
branches of ethics like land ethics in order to make room for
meaningful dialogue between man, nature and sustainable development
of both man and nature.
Michaels A, Hinduism-past & Present translated by Hushav B. published
by Princeton and Oxford
Dossey L, Space, Time and Medicine published by New Science Library
shambhala, Boston & London 1982
Brady E, 'Aesthetic Regards for Nature in Environmental and Land Art'
in Ethics, Place and Environment Vol 1,No # October 2007, 287-300
Patnaik S. 'Environmentalism and Gandhian Values: the relevance of
Satyagraha in Contemporary Environment Movement in India' in Gandhi
Marg, vol 29, number 4, Jan- March 2008
(c) Tejasha Kalita 2010
Dept. of Humanities and Social Sciences
Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati
II. 'ETHICS OF MONETARY INTEREST' BY JOHN PULLIN
The subject of monetary interest must surely start from defining
money despite its different forms as M0, M1, M3, M4, & M5. Basically
M3 is defined as 'Total Money' which includes currency in
circulation, notes, bills and loans. The fundamental point is that it
provides a means of exchange; it is entirely promissory. Even more, it
is encapsulated energy.
You may apply your own physical energy in exchange for food, housing
or some artefact all of which could be vulnerable to decay. If we
were to regress to barter we might find our effort repaid in half a
dozen eggs or, for a major contract, we might agree with the party
hiring our effort to settle for a bull. The eggs are edible and so is
the bull, ultimately, but both are inflexible as a means of exchange.
If you are given currency in the form of coinage or notes they are
lighter to carry and more versatile in the market place. The creation
of currency in the case of Britain started most recently with the Bank
of England when William Paterson organised funding of £1,200,000
capital for William of Orange by royal charter guaranteed by
government's promise to pay as security for a note issue of the same
amount to 'worthy' private borrowers. Imposing premises and the
monarch's head printed on the paper are all part of reassuring the
user that it is worthy. The printing press, involved calligraphy,
watermarks and various encapsulated holograms are the cost of
avoiding duplication by forgers.
If you are prepared to work very hard and accumulate more than you
require for your own needs, then you achieve a surplus which becomes
vulnerable to theft unless you find a place to conserve and secure it
for your future aims. You may take that surplus money and buy some
goods which are in common demand and then sell them on to your fellow
man. Consider a specialist baker who has already made an investment
with his own conserved funds, in a bake-house and ovens and bought
his fuel and flour, applied his skill, knowledge and motivation to
produce a major batch of bread each and every day. Let us say you buy
50 loaves from him at 50 cents/ pence each. Will you sell them at the
same price? If not, then how will you make a living for yourself
except to eat your stock? Don't talk to me about ethics! This is a
means of maintaining one's life. It is 'profiting' on the product. Is
it any more or less ethical than trading the very surplus money you
have saved to carry on your own business of being a bread retailer?
In the same way you can translate your reserve of cash into a loan
and, cutting to the chase, offer it to a 'customer' -- like the baker
-- to buy a bigger oven or build a bigger bake-house which can take an
even larger continuous oven. He will then need to engage sales staff
or entrepreneurs like yourself to sell his far greater supply of
bread to pay back the loan to you and the 'interest' you require for
lending him the money directly. Even better you may buy shares
(another form of money) in his business to maintain a longer supply
of income for both of you as long as you do not need the money for
your own needs. This strategy incurs risk additional to your price
for patience, because the bakery uses fuel which brings a fire risk,
flour may be invaded by microbes or mice, the reputation of the bread
may at the very least lack flavour and the customers run away. Result
-- no income for the baker and the cost of his loans cannot be paid;
the business fails and your investment is lost. At best the baker
takes all precautions and is thoroughly straight forward, develops a
fantastic reputation and you both laugh all the way to the bank as a
result of economies of scale.
Interest is perfectly ethical and it is a measure of risk. If you
expect to be able to get your money out of a bank with no
deterioration at the drop of your hat on the counter, then you have
no risk and deserve only what interest the banker can make on your
behalf. What the 'high street' banker does is to accumulate small
deposits and larger ones from people who are risk averse to a degree,
and lend them to the more entrepreneurial business people and
governments in whom the banks have faith. 'Faith' you may say?
Indeed, a modern economy runs on faith. A successful economy runs on
faith and trust, the latter being based on the banker's judgement of
the entrepreneur, the government and all the people in this chain of
exchange of energy.
The whole edifice is built on hope that the lessees are also honest
and that their estimates of future income maintain through to the
finish of the project, the end of a mortgage loan, the oil that will
spring from a well or the power that will be delivered from the vast
acres of windmills that some fools believe will be generated from
future winds. It is at this point one has to take account of
statistics. What is the experience we have gained from exposure to
charlatans and the vagaries of climate? We look at the rate of
default through hazard and insolvency, the reputation of the borrower
or company board requiring the loan(s). Amassing our history of
experience we than look at it all and are obliged to include that
risk of failure as a charge on the honesty of others.
Inevitably, the investors, who include all shades of humanity
including hard workers and the greedy lay-abouts, look for a 'good'
return on their savings. It is here that greed begins to dominate.
The 'better' banks are those which pay a better rate of return on
savings. As a result this drives all banks to maximise their profits
to defend against default.
In this recent financial crash, the banks lost faith in tradable
assets (some known as Combined Debt Obligations or CDOs) which
included mortgages offered to people whose incomes were known to be
subject to fluctuation at least, redundancy and failure for a variety
of reasons in the worst cases, due to employers who had made bad
judgements in their expected budgets and employees who did not work
honestly and consistently(!). The statisticians and mathematicians
employed by the investment banks created these hybrid paper assets
without considering the substance of the risk of each component. It
was thought that the best would carry the worst. Faith in the paper
product fell at the last fence and brought down the whole field -- to
use racing terminology. As any salesman knows, if a company cannot
deliver what it promises -- and most bank notes carry a 'Promise to
pay the Bearer' -- so the company takes a long time to rebuild the
trust the customer once had in the company.
The real problem lies ultimately on the differences of pay that
people in every nation across the world now are prepared to take for
the same job. There are three international common measures of worth
across the human race.
One is in calories that it takes to do a task. The 'price' of food,
housing and clothing is unwittingly translated by each community into
the symbol of local currency. Such things as cars, TVs, mobile phones
and transport eventually reveal the 'opportunities' to entrepreneur
and the labourer to be able to exploit the differences in product,
quality and rate of exchange from one currency to another.
Eventually, as the communications and transport improve so
manufacturers gravitate to the labourers who will take less, or work
harder than others, or to the nations who resist wage inflation most.
The second need is knowledge -- how to do, make or trade something.
This can take a long time to acquire through learning in theory, then
practical experience or less by exposure and absorption of the
experience of others. The latter process runs the risk of not
recognising improvements which can be developed by close examination
of the techniques and analysis of market needs and risks. All this is
of little use if the knowledge is not applied rigorously by the third
The third requirement must come from individuals who have a constant
drive to initiate, develop and run a business or community, by an
ability to communicate to every member of the 'organisation' a clear
policy of its aims in which each member can feel they can contribute
towards its success. The larger the organisation, the less the
messages travel back and forth between the ranks of the doers and the
organisers. Short, or 'flat', management trees succeed with a well
educated and integrated organisation. Intermediary management levels
are necessary with less educated work forces. This creates more
communication barriers, less flexibility and eventual collapse.
In a person-to-person world such as existed pre-internet the optimum
size of an organisation, be it school or company, was about 350 to
500 people. Larger organisations had the wisdom to develop companies
with sub-structures of that size, with top company leaders prepared
to circulate frequently to maintain personal contact with the
sub-units and keep promoting the ethos and ethics of their aims. The
internet has a hard task to match that performance.
Thus, on Hope, Faith, Trust, Honesty, Experience and Reputation from
Ethical people does a successful economy run. Since the threat of a
period in debtor's prison has been removed many have seen less need
to be ethical! All those unquantifiable factors offer an open hunting
season for philosophers.
J.K.Galbraith Money -- whence it came, where it went ISBN 0 14
(c) John Pullin 2010
III. CALL FOR PAPERS: JOURNAL OF TRAVEL AND TOURISM RESEARCH
The Journal of Travel and Tourism Research hosted by Adnan Menderes
University in Turkey is pleased to invite scholars to send their
contributions for the next issue of 2010.
The papers should be directed to the attention to DR. ATILA YUKSEL at
Basically, we look works relating the philosophy of Tourism,
Hospitality, Travel and Leisure. Please find below further details of
the journal guidelines. The papers should explore the issues noted
above from a critical, philosophical or historical perspective,
comparing theories or bodies of knowledge from diverse schools.
-- Issued biannually in Spring and Autumn, Journal of Travel and
Tourism Research (JTTR) is published by Adnan Menderes University.
-- Research papers that will be published in JTTR, can be in English
-- Only academic papers are to be published in JTTR. Empirical papers
are especially welcome.
-- Number of papers to be published in each issue is limited to 10.
-- Submitted manuscripts should not have been published elsewhere.
-- The copyright of the published papers in JTTR belongs to the
-- No payment is to be given to the contributors for the papers
published in the journal. Contributors submitted manuscripts to the
journal are considered to have accepted this rule in advance.
-- All responsibilities of the papers belong to the contributors.
-- Academic announcements can also be published in the journal.
-- MS Word 6.0 or upper versions, Times New Roman, font size 12 and
-- Paper size is A4, top, bottom, and right left margins are 3 cm.
-- All parts of the text, except the title page, should be justified.
-- Citations in the text should be appropriate to Harvard System
(Name and Year System) (Aydin, 1990) or (Pizam, 1999; Mansfeld, 1996)
or (Sonmez et al., 1994) or (Santana, 1999: 11) (for quoted material).
-- References should be placed at the end of the manuscript on a
separate page, arranged in alphabetical (citation) order.
FORMAT FOR CITATIONS
Last name(s) and first letter(s) of author(s) (dot); publication year
(in parenthesis and dot); title (all words in small letters excluding
capital letters and dot); name of journal (italic and bold); volume
(Arabic); number (in parenthesis and :); first and last pages.
Ryan, C. (1995). Learning about Tourists from
Conversations: The Over 55s in Majorca. Tourism Management,
3 (6): 207-16.
Last name(s) and first letter(s) of author(s) (dot); publication year
(in parenthesis and dot); name of book (bold, italic and dot); city,
publisher and dot.
Kucharz E.J. (1992). The Collagens: Biochemistry and
Pathphysiology. Berlin: Springer Verlag.
Chapter/ pages in edited book:
The same instructions up to In; Capital letter(s) of name and last
name of author(s) and dot, city, publisher, first and last pages.
Pearce, P. (1993). Fundamentals of Tourist Motivation. In
Tourism Research: Critiques and Challenges. Ed. D.G. Pearce
and R.W. Butler. London: Routledge: 113-34
(c) Maximiliano Korstanje 2010