Lecture by Bruce Rich

News item posted on: January 21st, 2011
A Call for a New Global Ethic from Ancient India

A Public Talk by Bruce Rich

The University of Virginia Tibet Center, the Center for South Asian Studies, and the Department of Religious Studies co-host author Bruce Rich for a discussion of his book “To Uphold the World: A Call for a New Global Ethic from Ancient India”.

In 1991, Bruce Rich traveled to Orissa and gazed upon the rock edicts erected by the Indian emperor Ashoka over 2,200 years ago. Intrigued by the stone inscriptions that declared religious tolerance, conservation, nonviolence, species protection, and human rights, Rich was drawn into Ashoka’s world. Ashoka was a conqueror who converted to Buddhism on the heels of a bloody war, yet his empire rested on a political system that prioritized material wealth and amoral realpolitik. This system had been perfected by Kautilya, a statesman who wrote the world’s first treatise on economics. In this powerful critique of the current wave of globalization, Rich urgently calls for a new global ethic, distilling the timely messages of Ashoka and Kautilya while reflecting on thinkers from across the ages—from Aristotle and Adam Smith to George Soros.

About the Speaker: Bruce Rich is a Washington, DC-based attorney who has served as senior counsel on international finance and development issues for major environmental organizations such as the Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Rich has published extensively in environmental and policy journals, as well as in newspapers and magazines such as The Financial Times, The Nation and The Ecologist. He is the author of “Mortgaging the Earth”, a widely acclaimed critique of the World Bank and reflection on the philosophical and historical evolution of the project of economic development in the West. He has been awarded the United Nations Environment Program ‘Global 500 Award,’ the highest environmental prize of the United Nations, in 1988, and also won the World Hunger Media Award in that year for the best periodical piece on development issues.

– UVA Campus: Gibson Hall, Room 211