Twenty-three centuries ago, over five times the span of years since Niccolo Machiavelli wrote The Prince and The Discourses, an Indian Brahmin composed a political treatise on government called theArthasastra. That treatise byKautilya - or Chanakya, as he is sometimes known - synthesized behavioural principles and propositions which have remarkable relevance to development studies. As I searched for a cornerstone on which to base myinaugural lecture here at the ISS, I recalled my ,I excitement thirty years ago on entering a world of ideas and applications beyond the confines of Euro-America, I was then an undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota studying political science, French and history, and I encountered Kautilya's Arthasastra as well as Ibn Khaldun's Muqaddima or "Prolegomenon to History" long before I was even selected to be an exchange-student at Osmania University in Hyderabad, India. This afternoon I am going to share some of those early thoughts, tempered (of course) with a few decades of my experiences on various continents in various capacities. An advantage of this perhaps unorthodox approach is that it allowsme to raise questions and proposals about public policy and administration in their broader, world-wide context through the ages rather than being afflicted - as is so often the case - with what might be called "current-events-itis" and excessive concern with the immediate here and now.

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Erasmus University Rotterdam
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Björkman, J. W. (1991, November 21). Kautilya, Sisyphus and development studies : on policy, administration and well-being. Retrieved from