Principles of Good Governance Advocated by Ancient Greek Thinkers

In Mrinal Kanti Basak & Riki Chakroborty (eds.), Good Governance: Some Ethical Issues. Kolkata, West Bengal, India: Progressive Publishers. pp. 66-78 (2018)
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Good governance, first appeared in the nineties within the United Nations, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund refers to describe how public organizations best conduct public affairs and deliver public goods and services. Today, about three decades later good governance seems to be still popular since there are still many challenges ahead for many governments especially in less-developed and developing countries. Hence the notion of good governance was emerged as a normative commencement of the principles, values and ethics to realise the acts of governance. Some thoughts on good governance and related topics advocated by three great ancient philosophers, who appear to be relevant at the present time are considered herein. One of the said philosophers is Kautilya (also known as Chanakya and Vishnugupta), who lived in India around 150AD. The others are the two great Greek philosophers Plato (427- 347BC) and Aristotle (384-322 BC), who stand with Socrates as the shapers of the whole intellectual tradition of the West. The thoughts are extracted from that detailed manual of state-craft and the science of living known as the Arthashastra written by one of classical India’s greatest minds Kautilya, Plato’s great work known as ‘The Republic’ and Aristotle’s treatise titled ‘The Politics”. The objective of this paper is to study the thoughts of ancient Greek philosophers who lived many centuries ago and their ideas are still relevant today.

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Desh Raj Sirswal
Panjab University


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