Open Magazine

The Dharmic Economy

The road to sustainable markets

THE IDEA THAT an ancient Indian concept, dharma, might offer insight into the nature of the competitive market is, on the face of it, bizarre. But this is precisely what I intend to show in this essay. Dharma is a difficult word to translate into English. Duty, goodness, justice, law, and religion have something to do with it, but they all fall short. For our purposes, however, think of dharma as doing the right thing, both in private and public life.