Governance is the exercise of economic, political, and administrative authority to manage a country’s affairs at all levels. It comprises mechanisms, processes, and institutions through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations, and mediate their differences.
The challenge for all societies is to create a system of governance that promotes supports and sustains human development – especially for the poorest and most marginal. But the search for a clearly articulated concept of governance has just begun. Good governance is, among other things, participatory, transparent and accountable. It is also effective and equitable. And it promotes the rule of law.
Good governance ensures that political, social and economic priorities are based on broad consensus in society and that the voices of the poorest and the most vulnerable are heard in decision-making over the allocation of development resources. Governance has three legs: economic, political and administrative. Economic governance includes decision-making processes that affect a country's economic activities and its relationships with other economies. It clearly has major implications for equity, poverty and quality of life. Political governance is the process of decision-making to formulate policy. Administrative governance is the system of policy implementation.
Early on, humans living in jungles needed to herd together (like many vulnerable animals do even today) to protect against predatory animals. But within a herd, some humans meted violent oppression of others. Violence among humans threatened survival of all humans because even the strongest among them needed the support of the rest to survive the onslaught of the predatory animals. The intelligent humans then developed language for communication and scripted ‘commonly acceptable beliefs for coexistence (CABE).’ Those who scripted such CABE were treated as ‘god’ or ‘reincarnation of god’ or ‘son of god’ or ‘prophet.’ The CABEs became religious scripts like Gita, Bible, Koran, etc. The transgressors of CABE were called sinners for punishment by ‘god.’ The CABE authors created administrators (kings with gendarmes) to mete punishment to the sinners.
Humans eventually reformed the CABE as modern rules of law. When some of the mighty administrators committed sins, while a warrior-philosopher like Krishna of the epic Mahabharat era did not exist to array the then warriors like Arjuna to punish and eliminate the sinners, humans made the most judicious among them the ‘Lords’ (like in Britain) to refine the CBAE into modern rules of law. The Lords interpreted the law to ensure conformity of human behavior with law and to prescribe due punishment to the transgressors. The idea of modern governance thus originated.
Subsequently, however, the mighty administrators transgressed the law, surreptitiously and discriminatingly, which even the Lords could not detect. For example, when Britain printed sterling pound in London to acquire sweat-filled merchandise and service from the American colonists and the British Lords did not do anything about it, the former united to revolt against usurpation and subjugation by the latter. After winning the war for their independence, the American founding fathers scripted the first modern constitution. Constitutional governance thus originated.
But even constitutional governments worldwide have adopted laws and procedures which are economically inefficient and unconstitutional. Furthermore, humans have bumped into intellectual conflicts between religion and science and about separation of religion from governance. The purpose of this paper is to offer a unified philosophy of governance which obviates such conflicts. This philosophy lays the foundation for moral hazard free first-best efficient governance.
The goal of the unifying philosophy is to awaken humans to think of the unifying philosophy in governance in order to attain their common longing for prosperity amid stability. We argue that the unifying philosophy of governance is the most potent nonviolent weapon against terrorism and financial moral hazard that hobble attainment of the common human longing. The unifying philosophy of governance should be urgently publicized to thwart terrorism and financial moral hazard nonviolently and to beget prosperity amid stability.
To safeguard against the threat from violent animals, humans organized themselves in societies. But living together required rules for coexistence. Formulation and administration of rules needed leadership. When the societies grew large, leaders and their cronies schemed to exploit the society to beget for themselves free service and produce. Such scheming resulted in groups or societies based on religion, color, culture, caste, etc. The society served the leaders out of necessity. This created moral hazard because the leaders were empowered to formulate rules for coexistence. Over time, leaders formulated more and more sophisticated rules to usurp wealth and servitude from society as long as people could tolerate. To keep their society under control and to divert attention of people from exploitation via sophisticated rules, leaders often concocted enmity with neighboring societies and beyond. They painted superiority of their society over the rivals. The painted hubris united people within a society (nation) to war against other societies. Leaders justified wars by the usurpation of wealth and servitude of the vanquished. Then a sense of injustice brewed within societies or groups which could not win wars and faced threats for their survival. This led to insurrection and terrorism against the victors. To avert terrorism, it is necessary for humans to recognize the common threat to their survival as parochial leadership based on, for example, religion, nationalism, color, caste and even academic ordains.
Evolution of the Philosophy of Governance
Krishna composed Gita to communicate a philosophy of governance of human behavior needed to restore justice and peace, even through war. Christ offered codes for human behavior scripted in the form of Bible. Swamy Vivekananda had once longed to have a common religion that could be acceptable to all humans. Our unifying philosophy of Universal Religion with the corresponding rendition of Universal God may fulfill that longing.
Two fundamental tenets of Prophet Mohammad that attracted Islam to one-fifth of humanity are:
- equality of all humans with no one like Christ as "Son of God" or Krishna as reincarnation of God and
- riba-free economy in which no money lender charges a positive interest rate. Saint Vashistha was the first to speak against usurious interest rates.
Philosophers like Aristotle and Plato have spoken against usurious interest rates. A rich merchant like Mohammad became famous when he lent his money without interest and enunciated equality of all humans. Mohammad was very confident of his message. His following was so strong that he could not visualize the importance of amendments to his Islamic philosophy of governance scripted in Koran, Sunnah and Sariat in 700 AD. Islam views deviations from these scripts as blasphemy and metes severe punishments to those who deviate from or speak on irrationality of its rigid scripts. Some Koranic verses, unfortunately, advocate violence towards those (infidels) who do not accept Islam. The Islamic philosophy of governance advocates extinguishing relics and culture of all older religions.
The constitutional rules of governance have thus evolved through wisdom cultivated since the ancient times. Contrast the two fundamental Islamic tenets with
- the first written constitution (that of USA) of the world which admits equality and
- the American monetary system that follows a zero real interest rate policy.
Americans do not prescribe decrees and fatwa. But they have rationally adopted the most important virtues of the Islamic philosophy through individual liberty, freedom, equality of opportunities and competition. America may thus be the most Islamic nation on earth. Most "Islamic" nations – ruled by dictators, monarchs and mullahs who treat themselves as superior to all other Muslims they lord over – are un-Islamic. Autocratic Muslim rulers are desecrating the principal tenet of Islam by treating themselves as superior to fellow Muslims. They are most un-Islamic. By accepting dictatorial rulers, most Muslims have disrespected their own Prophet's message. This is the most sacrilegious act of most Muslims against their own Prophet. Most Islamic nations are truly un-Islamic, despite the rhetoric of selfserving, aggrandizing, entrenching mullahs, dictators, and monarchs.
The democratic system of governance too evolved through human perseverance. The constitutional system of democratic governance is thus a principal tenet of the unifying philosophy of Universal Religion. This subsumes the human wisdom of philosophers, prophets, scientists and other religious preceptors. The other principal tenet of Universal Religion is to amend the constitutional system of governance over time. The guiding tenet of Universal Religion is to ensure that the constitution reflects the latest human knowledge and wisdom for governance of society. This is an almost universal agreement among all humans irrespective of their current creed, religion and national origin. Such universal agreement is very profound. This universality in agreement makes Universal Religion universal. Universal Religion is necessary to enhance prosperity and stability of humanity.