Essay on Religious / Philosophical Traditions

In the era of ancient civilizations such components as trade, migrations, wars, the spread of world religions and the formation of world empires, which forcibly united vast territories (which were extremely heterogeneous in terms of economic development, ethnic composition and cultural traditions) into one political whole, played the important role in the process of integration. Moreover, ethnic mix have actively proceeded in the frames of the empires’ development; cultural contacts and economic relations have been also intensified because governments generally encouraged domestic and international trade, and possessed the means to build roads, ships and ports for the purpose to secure the own merchants. Thus, we are going to explore the ways how knowing the important traditions from India and China can help researchers to understand the actions of these countries today.

At the beginning, it is important to say that China and India with their advanced craft manufacture and active trading activities were the world’s economic leaders many centuries ago. These countries had the highest positive balance in world trade, and European (or rather, American) silver and gold accumulated there in exchange for not only the spice and incense, but also for the fabric, porcelain and metal products. Thus, having the previous success in the own development India and China continue the world’s expansion even today.

Thinking about China, we see that the use of ”˜soft power’ in Chinese foreign policy is not a new phenomenon. A closer look at the ancient Chinese traditions and treatises on the art of war, including 36 Chinese stratagems, allows to make a conclusion that the concept of ”˜soft power’ was in their base. Analyzing ancient traditions, we can note that military power was not denied, but the main thing was the ability to take advantage over the enemy’s weaknesses at the rate in the victory. In such a way, exactly these slogans of ”˜peace and development’ became the main part of the fundamental strategy of China’s external ”˜peaceful development’ in relations with global community in our times.

To continue, China has made the greatest success in using ”˜soft power’ in foreign policy. New political initiatives such as ”˜smiling diplomacy’, ”˜public diplomacy’ and ”˜good-neighborly diplomacy’ played an important role in Peking’s efforts not only to join the integration processes, but also to become an informal regional leader. For instance, to increase the effectiveness of propaganda and to ensure the own foreign policy (especially in relations with the Asia-Pacific and Southeast Asia), Peking has mobilized the value of traditional Confucian thought, where the respect for ”˜harmony’ was inherent from the ancient times.

Observing the ways of India’s development, basing on its philosophical and religious traditions, it becomes obvious that medieval development has had a very ”˜scientific’ character in India, and this feature was conditioned by the presence of a large reservoir of highly preceding slave culture. India has developed a peculiar socio-economic system that relied on a strict division of society into castes, and this division even now helped Indian government to maintain a certain order in the country.

Basing on the fact that India is a very religious country, we can mention that religious practices are reflected not only in culture but also in politics, economics, social life, etc. Nowadays, India is agro-industrial country. It inherited a considerable economic backwardness and poverty of the vast masses of the population, who lived in terrifying conditions, from the colonial period. But the socio-economic transformation, which was made in the frames of the Nehru strategy, pulled the country out of stagnation of the colonial period, and resulted in a steady economic expansion. In contemporary reality, the large absolute size of the Indian economy provides enough large domestic market, despite the low level of income per capita. India has a much lesser extent than the majority of developing countries, experiencing the shock of structural and cyclical crises of the capitalist world economy and has a smaller external debt.

The Indian respect to the own past religious and philosophical experience helped the country to possess new knowledge in various economic and political areas. For instance, Indian population strongly believe that the government is trying to make their life better and this faith gives the country an opportunity to achieve success in further development because more than a half of personal savings of citizens are invested in physical assets such as land, buildings, cattle, and gold. According to Winters and Yusuf, the share of public sector banks account is more than 75% of the total banking assets in the country, and the share of private and foreign banks is something about 18.2% and 6.5% respectively (Winters and Yusuf, 2007). The government has made significant banking reforms during the period of economic liberalization, and these changes allows people to gain a profit from their faith in the own country. To add, many people treat the own cultural heritage with respect in modern India, and persistence of ancient traditions is not surprising for this country because many achievements of the ancient Indian civilization came into general cultural foundation all over the world.

In conclusion, we have observed the ways how India and China achieved its contemporary success on the base of the own past religious and philosophical traditions, and demonstrated how the knowledge of these tradition may help to understand the development of both countries better.

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