Environmental Law Program

ELP Colloquiuim: Bruce Rich on a Global Economy Requires a Global Ethic

On February 22, 2011, Bruce Rich, international environmental attorney and renowned author, spoke about his work on a global ethic founded in the philosophies of ancient India. (Pictured L to R: Brent Kakesako ’12, Bruce Rich, Chris Odoca ’12, and Ha’aheo Kaho’ohalahala ’11)

In his book To Uphold the World: A Call for a New Global Ethic from Ancient India, Bruce searches for a new global order based on a common global ethic and global justice based on the lives of two influential figures of ancient India, Ashoka and Kautilya. Ashoka ruled the largest, richest, and most powerful multi-ethnic state and tried to create a secular state ethic of non-violence and reverence for life. Kautilya wrote the world’s first treatise on political economy. Both addressed questions of political realism and idealism, the role of force and violence in international relations, and tensions between economics and ethics. Through retelling mythical and historical accounts, Bruce distilled the message of Ashoka and Kautilya to help us uphold our world in the 21st century. Bruce spoke to the open minds and willingness for both rulers to sacrifice their personal power for the sake of their state.