Why China will lead the world and why the West will become socialist

Konstantin Yuon

Konstantin Yuon, ‘A New Planet,’ 1921. Tempera on cardboard, The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

The West:

‘…it is not difficult to see that ours is a birth-time and a period of transition to a new era. Spirit has broken with the world it has hitherto inhabited and imagined, and is of a mind to submerge it in the past, and in the labour of its own transformation. Spirit is indeed never at rest but always engaged in moving forward. But just as the first breath drawn by a child after its long, quiet nourishment breaks the gradualness of merely quantitative growth – there is a qualitative leap, and the child is born – so likewise the Spirit in its formation matures slowly and quietly into its new shape, dissolving bit by bit the structure of its previous world, whose tottering state is only hinted at by isolated symptoms. The frivolity and boredom which unsettle the established order, the vague foreboding of something unknown, these are the heralds of approaching change. The gradual crumbling that left unaltered the face of the whole is cut short by a sunburst which, in one flash, illuminates the features of the new world.’

G.W.F.Hegel, Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, Trans., A.V.Miller, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1977, 6-7


Shanghai maglev train


‘What, particularly, makes old capitalism so far prevail over young socialism? It is not because of the riches it possesses, nor the gold it keeps in cellars, nor the volume of accumulated and stolen wealth. Past accumulations of wealth may have their importance, but they are not the determining factors. A living society cannot exist on old accumulations; it feeds on the products of living labour. Despite all her riches, ancient Rome could not withstand the onslaught of the ‘barbarians’, when they developed a higher productive capacity than that of her decaying regime of slavery. The bourgeois society of France, roused by the Great Revolution, simply looted the wealth accumulated from the Middle Ages by the aristocratic town communities of France. Were output in America to fall below the European standard, the nine milliards of gold kept in the cellars of her banks, would not help her. The economic superiority of bourgeois states lies in the fact that so far capitalism produces cheaper goods than socialism and of a better quality. In other words, the output, so far, is still much higher in countries living by the inertia of old capitalist civilisation than in a country which has only just begun to adopt socialist methods under inherited uncivilised conditions.

We know the fundamental law of history – in the end that regime will conquer which ensures human society a higher economic standard. …

A State which possesses nationalised industries, a monopoly of foreign trade, the monopoly of attracting foreign capital to one or other branch of its economy, has at its disposal a vast arsenal of resources by means of which it can speed up the rate of economic development.’

Leon Trotsky, Towards Socialism or Capitalism, 1925, New Park Publications, London, 1976, 29, 47

The result:

‘The war in China has given the death-blow to the old China. Isolation has become impossible; the introduction of railways, steam-engines, electricity, and modern large-scale industry has become a necessity, if only for reasons of military defence. But with it the old economic system of small peasant agriculture, where the family also made its industrial products itself, falls to pieces too, and with it the whole old social system which made relatively dense population possible. Millions will be turned out and forced to emigrate; and these millions will find their way even to Europe, and en masse. But as soon as Chinese competition sets in on a mass scale, it will rapidly bring things to a head in your country and over here, and thus the conquest of China by capitalism will at the same time furnish the impulse for the overthrow of capitalism in Europe and America…’

Engels to Friedrich Adolf Sorge in Hoboken; London, November 10, 1894, Marx Engels, Selected Correspondence, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1982, 450-451

Engels was wrong when he wrote that China would become capitalist, but he was correct in recognising that the more developed China became (particularly given Trotsky’s words above), the greater the pressure on the West in competing with it, such that the West would have to become socialist.

The Chinese have learnt from their own history and from the failures of the Soviet Union, particularly the importance of individual initiative and financial reward for that initiative in a developing economy. The result of the Chinese Communist Party’s employment of this lesson has enabled it to rapidly lift millions into that stratum of wealth being hollowed out in the West. These millions are consumers of an increasing range of goods of high quality being made in their own country. The Party has shown a willingness to take the reforms of Deng Xiaoping further. Their current crackdown on corruption is also very significant. The dynamic between Party and people will continue to evolve.


Top image: Art of the October Revolution, Compiler, Mikhail Guerman, Trans., W.Freeman, D.Saunders, C.Binns, Aurora Art Publishers, Leningrad, 1986

Bottom image

A fundamental difference between China and Australia: vision and the lack of it


‘Light rail construction in the CBD. Secret document warns vision for Sydney’s light rail ignored realities.’





Images: 1st/2nd/3rd ‘China Watch’/China Daily, The Sydney Morning Herald, 26.10.18/4th


A capitalist journalist on China


‘Why the Chinese are cheerful about the future’, Peter Hartcher, The Sydney Morning Herald, 26.02.18

In survey after survey, China’s people are full of bounce. In comparisons with the people of other countries, the Chinese show an optimism and a confidence that puts them among the most positive on the planet.

Chinese consumers are brimful of confidence, outdone by only those in India, Indonesia and Iceland. China’s people are the most optimistic in the world that they will have better living conditions in the future.

And among the world’s young people, it’s the Chinese and the Indians who feel most positive that the world is becoming a better place. One reason is that their economies are booming, But they also have great faith in the power of technology to do good.

And, surprisingly perhaps in a dictatorship, Chinese have confidence in their government. This is not just a piece of Communist Party propaganda. It’s a consistent result from surveys by credible international organisations.

A survey of people in 34 countries by the Washington-based Pew Research Centre five years ago found that 66 per cent of Chinese citizens expressed “confidence” in their government. That was the fifth highest in the world, almost double the level in America and equal to that in Norway. Interestingly, Indonesia also had a very high rating on this measure.

And in the annual Edelman Trust Barometer published last month measuring sentiment internationally, a whopping 84 per cent of respondents in China said that they had “trust” in government. That was an increase of 8 percentage points over the course of a year. And it was the highest among the 28 countries surveyed.

Should we be suspicious of polls conducted in a one-party state where criticism of the national leaders is rigorously censored and where dissidents are arrested? Yes, we should be.

And yet there are clues that it’s probably broadly true that the Chinese have high trust in government. One reason is that, again, India and Indonesia, democracies both, show similarly high levels. There seems to be a correlation of broad confidence among the three big, thrusting, emerging countries, all headed by leaders with a sense of purpose and a rockstar aura.

And another is the consistency of findings across different areas of Chinese life, measured by different outfits. The country is on the rise, its ordinary people are better off than they’ve been in centuries, and their government is waging a vigorous campaign against the problem that Chinese have long nominated as their biggest concern – corruption.

As the BBC’s Beijing correspondent Stephen McDonell commented a year and a half ago: “Elsewhere there is fear and uncertainty. Here optimism trumps all.”

And if the people’s trust is earned, above all else, by sheer results, then the Chinese people’s trust in government is no surprise. A new World Bank report, which went online without fanfare a few days ago, sets out some remarkable results. Here are just three.

The world has a rough grasp of the fact that China has made great inroads on its poverty problem. But the World Bank report makes an extraordinary finding. Using the international poverty line adopted in 2011 of income of $US1.90 ($2.40) a person a day, adjusted for a country’s cost of living, it says: “The share of the population living in poverty fell from 88.3 per cent in 1981 to 66.6 per cent in 1990 and 1.9 per cent in 2013.”

The number of people lifted out of poverty in that span? A total of 850 million. That’s two-and-a-half times the population of the US.

It’s the equivalent of the entire number of humans on the planet until the 19th century. The World Bank observes that of all the people in the world who managed to escape poverty in the last four decades, seven of every 10 were Chinese. It describes the scale and speed of this achievement as “unprecedented in scope and scale”. Undeniably.

China has about 25 million citizens still living under the poverty line, and the bank predicts that it will make further progress.

China’s breakneck economic growth made this transformation possible, but while it was necessary it was not sufficient. Many countries in history have managed bursts of rapid growth; very few have lifted such a broad swath of its people out of poverty. Because it’s not just how much money a country makes but how it’s used to the benefit of its people that’s crucial.

And this is point two. China has leapfrogged other wealthier countries in offering a social safety net to its people. “Since the 1990s, China has introduced an array of social protection programs at a speed that is unprecedented internationally,” the World Bank remarks.

Among its reforms are pension and health insurance programs, unemployment benefits, sickness and workplace injury assistance, and maternity insurance for women working in formal job sectors in the cities.

Weaving such a broad safety net so quickly “is a feat that took decades to achieve in OECD countries, and one that many middle-income countries have not realised” the bank observes. Health and education services have been much improved.

China still has shocking inequality and rural areas suffer most. But while it was worsening for decades and became as severe as US experience, the inequality gap has started gradually to close since 2008, according to the World Bank.

Point three helps explain how China managed to deliver so much growth with such broad benefit so quickly. The World Bank assesses China’s institutions as well-functioning. Interestingly, it finds that Communist Party political loyalties among officialdom has not corroded the effectiveness of its institutions.

It says that the party has shaped the “core of a high-performing bureaucracy by integrating features of party loyalty with professionalisation of the civil service in a unique way”. It has “provided incentives through promotion and rewards to bureaucrats and local officials in return for their attainment of growth and job creation targets”.

And instead of finding a deadening political oppressiveness in government departments, the World Bank reports that “the cadre management system and the broader political systems in China have facilitated vigorous contest ability of policy ideas, which promoted policy effectiveness”. The success and durability of the one-party state point to China as a standing challenge to democratic countries.

The World Bank report, with the delightfully evocative title Systematic Country Diagnostic, is not, however, a portrait of a socialist Utopia. The bank finds huge problems. Environmental collapse beckons. Pollution is “an all-encompassing challenge” and climate change is wreaking havoc. Similarly, the levels of debt in the economy pose the danger of acute financial crisis. And the ageing of the population, set to accelerate, will pose new problems of national solvency.

But China’s successes and its people’s surging confidence help explain why President Xi Jinping feels that he can now do what no Chinese leader since Mao has done, something even the autocratic Vladimir Putin has not attempted – rewrite the constitution to make himself emperor for life, as Hong Kong University’s Willy Lam has described it.

There is confidence. And then there is hubris.



Comment on ‘The Suicidal Empire’ and the rise of China


Deng Xiaoping in 1979

I disagree with ‘salvaging the principle of empire’ (Dmitry Orlov, ‘The Suicidal Empire’, Desultory Heroics) as a solution to the problems discussed by the author above. To do that would be to remain entrenched in them, under the name of another nation.

Engels predicted in 1894 that the development of capitalism in China would force millions from that country and, given the size of China and the number of Chinese, would force the US and Europe to become socialist – in order to continue competing with China. He wrote ‘thus the conquest of China by capitalism will at the same time furnish the impulse for the overthrow of capitalism in Europe and America…’ (Engels to Friedrich Adolf Sorge in Hoboken; London, November 10, 1894, Marx Engels, Selected Correspondence, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1982, 450-451)

China is not capitalist and it carries the lessons of socialism – learned at immense cost both from its own history and from that of its revolutionary precursor the Soviet Union. Where Lenin, while acutely aware of the problems in developing from an impoverished base, failed with his limited NEP because of his hatred for the bourgeoisie, the Chinese, in also developing from an impoverished base, have learnt a crucial lesson – to relax an obsession with Marxist theory and a hatred for anything bourgeois and to recognise the necessity of incorporating financial reward for individual initiative as a key driver for economic development. The benefits of this have shown clearly since the reforms of Deng Xiaoping.

Those reforms have resulted in hundreds of millions being rapidly lifted into a degree of wealth referred to in the West as ‘the middle class’ – a development still very much underway. The middle class in the West, on the basis of its wealth, education and common values has had and continues to have (despite the present ongoing depletion of that class) a powerful political voice and I expect the Chinese with that same degree of wealth to want that as well. 

And this in a state governed by and with the benefits of a single party (without the wasteful stupidity of obligatory opposition) which shows not only great sensitivity to what is taking place in China and its position of leadership (e.g. their continuing crackdown on corruption) but a flexibility and a willingness to experiment with socialism.

The Chinese Communist Party is doing what the Communist Party in the Soviet Union would not and could not do. The significance of this sensitivity, flexibility and willingness by the Chinese Communist Party can’t be overstated.

In my view, the relationship between the Chinese Communist Party and this rapidly growing number of millions with wealth in China, in particular, will develop such that not only may Engels be proven correct in his prognostication that the development of China will motivate the advance of Europe and the United States (and hence the rest of the West) to socialism, but this process in China will also generate economic, political and social forms of organisation that will be models for the world.



Engels on China

Three Gorges Dam, Francis turbine

Three Gorges Dam, Francis turbine

From Comments at The Virtual Politician:

Worth considering: ‘The war in China has given the death-blow to the old China. Isolation has become impossible; the introduction of railways, steam-engines, electricity, and modern large-scale industry has become a necessity, if only for reasons of military defence. But with it the old economic system of small peasant agriculture, where the family also made its industrial products itself, falls to pieces too, and with it the whole old social system which made relatively dense population possible. Millions will be turned out and forced to emigrate; and these millions will find their way even to Europe, and en masse. But as soon as Chinese competition sets in on a mass scale, it will rapidly bring things to a head in your country and over here, and thus the conquest of China by capitalism will at the same time furnish the impulse for the overthrow of capitalism in Europe and America…’

Engels to Friedrich Adolf Sorge in Hoboken; London, November 10, 1894, Marx Engels, Selected Correspondence, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1982, 450-451



I am unfamiliar with Engels and Friedrich Adolf Sorge, let alone their designs upon destroying American and European capitalism. Might you expound a bit on that for us?



Hello zeroBelief,

Thank you for your interest. Essentially I quoted Engels not to argue for destruction but for how the world works – that the only absolute is change and that matter (objective reality) is primary to consciousness (that consciousness is the product of objective reality – what one thinks, whatever that may be, is secondary to and derivate of the world). Accepting these two points orients and focuses one’s thought on all subjects.

The one-party state in China, as you know, is demonised in capitalist ideology. Western ‘democracy’ is held up as the highest form of political organisation, the standard. But if there was a vote for anything that threatened their interests, the capitalist class would destroy it.

Look not only at the damage the Democrat/Republican divide is doing in the United States (a division which reflects the decline of their middle class – a global phenomenon – and exemplifies the increasing exposure of the opposed interests of their ruling and working classes), think of the enormous forces – economic and social, that are being impacted on by these divisions.

In China with its population of 1.3 billion (and as Engels foresaw) is taking place rapid economic development, following on the reforms of Deng Xiaoping. With that development, and dialectically informing it, is the equally rapid rise of millions into the middle class.

In the rise of capitalism, the middle class was the agent of individual representation and I believe that this rising middle class in China will put growing pressure for the recognition of the significance of the individual on their one-party state and that the engagement between these two forces (party and middle class) will result in forms of political, economic and social organisation within socialism that will be models for the world, as those in England were previously under capitalism.

I think that these developments, together with the benefits they bring, underscored by the vast size of the Chinese population will force similar and fundamental economic, political and social change on the Western (capitalist) nations. And this is what Engels foresaw in 1894, in outline.

We are witnessing and experiencing the unceasing, contradictory change of dialectics at work.

Regards, Philip



John Pilger’s film ‘The Coming War on China’


I highly recommend John Pilger’s film ‘The Coming War on China’. The experimentation by the US capitalist class on the Marshall Islanders, initiated by the former’s atomic tests between 1946 and 1958 on Bikini Atoll and the mockery, documented in the film, they made of the Islanders’ suffering, as with the same experimentation the US capitalist class made on the Japanese they bombed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, itself makes the greatest mockery of the unjustified posturing and war crime charges against Bashar al-Assad by their agents and other representatives of Western capital regarding the recent gassing in Syria.

A criticism of Pilger’s documentary: he fails to address (as pointed out by one of his interviewees) the incompatibility and contradiction between the economic and political structures of China and the capitalist West. In particular, the economic (and hence, political) developments within China (of necessity) are and will be the voice of the future while the economic and political structures of the capitalist West, in the violent process of capitalism’s passing, as did feudalism, of the past.



Comment to Late Night Live on the rise of China

President Xi Jinping

President Xi Jinping

Hi Phillip,

I listened to your interview of the professor from Defence Studies at the ANU with regard to China.

I wonder if he referred to the many pigs at the trough (the most responsible, unpunished) when the latest crisis of capitalist dynamics – the ‘GFC’ (which came within an ace of bringing down capitalism and has not gone away) broke out? I strongly doubt it.

The Chinese are way ahead of the West for three reasons:

> they have had their socialist revolution which the Western nations are yet to have – for the fundamental reason not that I wish it or to provoke your guest but as Marx identified (I am not a Marxist) – that of the level of development of the productive forces, the uncontrolled ramifications of which can be seen everywhere in the West

> they have the potential of the one-party state (cf. the obligatory myopic street-theatre of Republican/Democrat, Liberal/Labor etc.) which, since Deng Xiaoping, has shown a crucial capacity to release the engine of reward for individual initiative within a socialist framework – something the Soviet Communist Party was never able to do (Lenin first unsuccessfully attempted this with his NEP in 1921)

> bearing on this is the consequential rapid rise into the middle class of hundreds of millions of Chinese – a class historically associated with ‘democracy’ – i.e. ‘a voice’ and power. There will be an increasing tension between the Chinese one-party state and their rising middle-class and I think that the Chinese will continue to successfully address this and other matters and lead the world with forms of political and economic organisation that will be models for it.

Worth considering are Engels’ words from a letter to America  in 1894:

‘The war in China has given the death-blow to the old China. Isolation has become impossible; the introduction of railways, steam-engines, electricity, and modern large-scale industry has become a necessity, if only for reasons of military defence. But with it the old economic system of small peasant agriculture, where the family also made its industrial products itself, falls to pieces too, and with it the whole old social system which made relatively dense population possible. Millions will be turned out and forced to emigrate; and these millions will find their way even to Europe, and en masse. But as soon as Chinese competition sets in on a mass scale, it will rapidly bring things to a head in your country and over here, and thus the conquest of China by capitalism will at the same time furnish the impulse for the overthrow of capitalism in Europe and America…’

Philip Stanfield



ABC Radio National/Late Night Live 25.08.15/China crash

Will capitalist nations go to war with China?

SHANE MCLEOD: China’s role in Australia’s economy continues to grow – it’s now our biggest trading partner and vies with Japan as our biggest export destination.

But there are some who believe that China’s growing economic power will bring with it rising military power and conflict with the West.

That’s the theory of Professor John Mearsheimer from the University of Chicago.

He says China will want to become the region’s dominant power and it won’t want to have the United States continuing to play a role in military defence in the region in countries like Japan and South Korea.

Professor Mearsheimer is in Australia this week as a guest of the University of Sydney, and in coming days he’ll be giving a lecture about China’s rise.

I caught up with him earlier today and asked him why he thinks that rise won’t be peaceful.

JOHN MEARSHEIMER: Well, I think that as China gets economically more powerful than it is today, it will translate that economic might into military might and it will try to dominate the Asia Pacific region just the way the United States dominates the western hemisphere.

Great powers like to be all powerful in their own neighbourhood. They don’t like neighbours that can threaten them and they don’t like distant great powers coming into their backyard just the way the United States has this Monroe-doctrine which effectively tells the European and Asian great powers to stay out of the western hemisphere.

I believe that as China gets more powerful it will do everything it can to push the United States away from its borders and ultimately out of the Asia Pacific region.

SHANE MCLEOD: Is there not a benefit for China though in the status quo as it currently stands? That the US is a major balancing power, it is a defence ally of countries like Japan, South Korea that could be potential threats to Chinese power in the region. Isn’t there a benefit for China in keeping the US involved?

JOHN MEARSHEIMER: Well, I don’t think that the Chinese is to get more powerful and even now view the United States as quite the benevolent force that you describe them to be. (sic) We have just had a controversy where the United States and the South Koreans decided that they were going to run naval exercises in the Yellow Sea to protest North Korean sinking of a South Korean ship.

This made the Chinese very upset because they view the American navy as threatening just as the United States would view a Chinese navy or a German navy or a Soviet navy on its doorstep as threatening.

So from a Chinese point of view, the best of all possible worlds would to have the Americans far away and for China, not the United States to provide the stabilising factor in the region.

SHANE MCLEOD: But if you take say the United States out of Japan then you have a country that has a constitution imposed by the US after World War II limiting its defence build up, its defence capability. Wouldn’t a country like Japan for example, in a region without the United States there ramp up its own capabilities?

It wouldn’t take much for Japan to become a nuclear power for example.

JOHN MEARSHEIMER: I think that is true but if you look at the balance of power over time between China and Japan, the gap which is now quite large is going to increase significantly, in large part for demographic reasons.

Japan has the most rapidly aging population in the world. It is going to get smaller and weaker over time.

China is going to get more powerful over time. In an ideal situation from China’s point of view is one where the power gap between it and Japan is large and China has the ability to dominate Japan because that is the best way to ensure your security in a dangerous world.

SHANE MCLEOD: Does this happen by force or could China become the regional power through soft power, through coercion by showing itself to be the leader in the region? Would it be such a problem for countries like Japan, Korea, Vietnam, to look to China as the natural power in the region?

JOHN MEARSHEIMER: I think one can make an argument that China, if it continues to grow at the spectacular pace that it has been growing at over the past 30 years for the next 30 years then it will become so big and so powerful that it won’t have to even countenance using force to dominate the region.

It will just be so powerful that countries like South Korea and Japan will have no choice but to in effect dance to China’s tune. But there is a serious possibility along the way of conflict.

If you read the Australian White Paper from last year, it is quite clear from that White Paper that the Australian Government is nervous about the possibility and I want to underline the word possibility of conflict between China and other powers in the region as China continues to rise.

SHANE MCLEOD: How do you see Australia’s role evolving in the region alongside a powerful China and what about the relationship with Australia’s traditional allies, the United States?

JOHN MEARSHEIMER: Well, I think that as China continues to rise that a balancing coalition will form in this region. It will be aimed at containing China much the way we had balancing coalitions in Europe and Asia during the Cold War.

SHANE MCLEOD: They could never say that though could they?

JOHN MEARSHEIMER: No, no it is very hard to say that but I think behind closed doors that is how people are talking and I think that you see all sorts of evidence that the balancing coalition is beginning to form.

If you look at the close relations that now exist between India and the United States, if you look at relations between Vietnam and the United States, Singapore’s approach to dealing with the United States these days.

It is just all sorts of evidence that countries in the region are worried about China as is the United States and this will cause them to eventually come together and form a balancing coalition and I would be shocked if Australia is not part of that balancing coalition as it was part of the balancing coalition against Japan in the 1940s.

SHANE MCLEOD: You made reference to it but the economic ties, will they have a calming effect do you think? If countries in this region like Australia are so strongly tied to China economically, will that offset the potential tensions in the strategic relationship?

JOHN MEARSHEIMER: Well, first of all it is possible that those economic ties could cause trouble. If you had a serious recession or a depression, it could be the case that those ties didn’t work to cause peace – they in fact work to cause conflict between the relevant powers. So economic ties don’t always produce peaceful outcomes.

But let’s assume that they do. The historical record shows very clearly that before World War I, you had economic ties in Europe that should have produced peace yet you had World War I so I don’t think it is impossible that in a world where you have a great deal of economic interdependence and where all the players are doing quite well economically, to still have a conflict between the opposing powers and that is a large part because when push comes to shove, politics dominates economics.

SHANE MCLEOD: That is Professor John Mearsheimer from the University of Chicago and there will be a longer version of that interview available on our website later today.

ABC Radio National/The World Today/02.08.10


What capitalist societies can learn from China’s barefoot doctors

The people who were chosen by their communities to become barefoot doctors studied anatomy, bacteriology, disease diagnosis, acupuncture, family planning, maternal and infant care, and traditional and Western medicines with teams of medical staff. All received a barefoot doctor’s manual - a comprehensive guide to the many health issues they were trained to treat.

The people who were chosen by their communities to become barefoot doctors studied anatomy, bacteriology, disease diagnosis, acupuncture, family planning, maternal and infant care, and traditional and Western medicines with teams of medical staff. All received a barefoot doctor’s manual – a comprehensive guide to the many health issues they were trained to treat.

*   *   *

There is a great deal of potential for health care in a society by reflecting on how China’s barefoot doctors were trained, how they were organised and how they worked:

  • though not fully qualified doctors, they had the possibility of becoming so
  • their funding sources were both broad and local
  • they focused on preventive care
  • their role reduced health care costs
  • qualified doctors were sent from the cities, as part of their social obligation, to work with them – in other words, social obligation was fundamental to Chinese health care.
  • they used both traditional and ‘Western’ medicine
  • they lived and worked as members of a community – they also farmed – thereby earning the trust of their community
  • above all, they were motivated by a social ethic. When I discussed the barefoot doctors with a Chinese friend who was a doctor in Beijing she said ‘they came from a different time, more moral’
An herb grower teaches barefoot doctors about medicinal plants, Mount Huangshan, China, 1977

An herb grower teaches barefoot doctors about medicinal plants, Mount Huangshan, China, 1977

Doctors in Australia have been extremely reluctant both to give up any of their procedures to those less qualified and to accept a perspective on health care other than one consonant with their mantra of ‘evidence-based’ (so often shown to amount to pro-the drug industry and pro-surgery, and often amounting to the rejection of evidence), arguing a concern for patient safety.

The reluctance, even refusal, still, of Western doctors to have an wholistic approach to health care and medicine (contrary to all the evidence), to appreciate the relationship between how a person thinks and feels and the health of their body would be incomprehensible if one didn’t see the forms for surgery and all the little hand-outs from drug companies on their desks.

An equivalent of the barefoot doctors could form another level in the provision of health care not only in urbanised regions but particularly in sparsely populated areas – such as in Australia. It should not be a matter of either (the fully qualified professional)/or (none at all)

I have no doubt that the traditional methods and ways of thinking (communal and grounded in nature) of Australia’s Aboriginal people would have a great deal to offer in this regard.

Precisely because the ethic of the barefoot doctors represents an approach to health care contradictory to the nature of capitalism (socialist, not exploitative and profit-driven), the lessons they embody will most probably be lost on a capitalist West.

I understand that with the gradual loosening of economic constraints in China (a necessary but complex and delicate development that the Chinese have so far managed very well since a process of reform was initiated by Deng Xiaoping) the Western view of health care is also, most unfortunately, (re)gaining influence.



Wikipedia: Barefoot doctor

The expunged two thousand year history of Indian materialism

The facade of Lomas Rishi cave, Barabar Hills, Bihar

The facade of Lomas Rishi cave, Barabar Hills, Bihar

Nothing could better exemplify pure cant and the results of hatred than that those who themselves have developed intricate religious systems and argue or have argued for the use of intellect and the  focus of philosophic and spiritual concern on self and fellows, should succeed in expunging from the face of this earth, other than in their own polemics against them, every trace of two systems of belief, both existing almost concurrently, that lasted for two thousand years. As the Dvaita Vedantist Madhvacharya (1238-1317 CE) wrote: ‘The efforts of Carvaka are indeed hard to be eradicated’.1

The core of this hatred towards the Ajivikas and the Carvakas or Lokayatas2 was the determinism3 of the former and, particularly, the materialism of the latter. In raising the subject of materialism one is discussing a subject no less emotive now than it was in India in the lengthy period under review. The creative bile of the fifteenth centuryCE Jaina Gunaratna regarding the Carvakas4 is echoed in the much more recent words of Rhys Davids who argued that ‘Lokayata’ and ‘Lokayatika’ were pegs on which certain writers hung views they attributed to their adversaries, giving them an odious name, that such a philosophy hardly existed, like European materialists – although ‘one or two may be discovered by careful search …’5

On the other hand, and about the same Lokayatas, another wrote ‘They exhorted all people to cast off all their shackles which had bound them for ages and to march shoulder to shoulder towards freedom.’ One can almost hear the cry ringing through the villages ‘Lokayatikas of the world unite!’ Yet theirs was the one philosophy that did utterly reject not only ‘another world’ but the ‘buffoons, knaves and demons’6 who made a living advocating it. Clearly, words and views concerning the Ajivikas and Carvakas must be treated with the utmost circumspection. Nevertheless, what comes through in the writing of those who hated them or were opposed to them are somewhat more than bare outlines of two most important philosophies – particularly the Carvakas who were astonishingly bold and different to all the other schools.

My definition of ‘materialism’ is simple – it is a system of belief holding that that which is independent of consciousness and thought – matter – is primary and that consciousness and thought are secondary to and derivative from it. The world comes first and exists independently of us. We as products of it reflect it in our consciousness and thought. Shastri wrote that materialists in India did not attempt to lay down a system of philosophy but only to refute the foolish orthodoxy of other schools.7 The evidence argues clearly against this, both with regard to the materialist Carvakas and the religious Ajivikas, whose philosophy had elements strongly recognising the primacy of the world.

Basham wrote that not only did the Ajivikas have a canon of sacred texts in which their doctrines were codified, they had a fully developed system of belief and their own philosophers and logicians. At the core of their beliefs was niyati – the universality of which controlled all phenomena and actions and which made effort futile.8 The Ajivika universe in which time was infinite had finite contents, was highly complex, ordered and material,9 and within which samsara (like a ball of string unravelling)10 and karma (which for Gosala was effectively replaced by niyati and was without moral force) functioned.11 Chance (sangati), nature (bhava) and causality were illusory modifications of niyati – niyati was manifest through them. The Ajivika nirvana did not entirely transcend the world. Basham wrote that the atomist Pakudha Kaccayana and the amoralist Purana Kassapa were, with Gosala, among the founders of the Ajivikas and that when the King in the Milinda Panha asked Purana ‘Who rules the world?’ he replied ‘The earth rules the world’.12

The Jaina version of the Ajivika canon, given in the Bhagavati Sutra, in addition to two Maggas,13 include an eightfold Mahanimitta14 which clearly shows the importance they placed on the recognition and consideration of the world. This is again clear in the four key elements of the Ajivika faith.15 The four material elements had characteristic properties and tendencies: earth (hard with a downward tendency), water (cold with a similar tendency), fire (burns, moves upwards), air (motion in a horizontal direction). These elements16 and the atom of life17 (different to the material elements) were held together by wind or air, they were united by ‘eternal action’ (most probably a synonym for niyati. These theories, along with a theistic bent, were developed in the Dravidian south, after the decline of the Ajivikas in Magadha, from the end of the Mauryan period.

Although Madhvacharya begins his study of sixteen schools with the Carvakas – that school furthest from his beliefs – ‘the crest gem of the atheists’18 come through wonderfully as cocky, with a belief in themselves, humorous, determined, contemptuous of religious and philosophic fraud, straightforward and materialist. They have been referred to as sceptical, empiricist, positivist and pragmatic. As with the Ajivikas, what has been written about them – both anti- and pro- should be carefully considered. Although I have only found some internet references linking them to atomic theory I consider them materialist, not because of what they rejected (everything otherworldly)19 but because of what they asserted – which in effect amounts to the primacy of matter, and because of their consistency in doing so.

They held that the world and all in it are real, that everything is comprised of the four elements – earth, air, fire and water; that as alcohol is made from mixing certain elements, everything is constituted of those four, as is the body with its intelligence. When the elements separate, the body dies and intelligence ceases with it – our only ‘liberation’ is the dissolution of our bodies after death.20 ‘Soul’ or ‘self’ are only the body.21 Their assertions that consciousness is a material construct and that consciousness, sensation and perception are dependent on the body were both utterly logical and, in understanding the relationship between the body and the world, immensely sophisticated.

The fundamental principle for the Carvaka is nature (svabhava). It comprises the four elements behaving according to their own principle, combining and dissolving.

Fire is hot, water cold,

refreshingly cool is the breeze of morning;

By whom came this variety?

They were born of their own nature.22

Svabhavavada denies the existence of over-all purpose in the universe23 but does not contradict purposive activity on the part of humans. As the protagonist in the Samannaphala Sutta sought the fruits of a homeless life, the Carvakas condemned asceticism and argued that the fruits to be found in this life lie in how we live it – with our thought oriented to a material world and to do the best for ourselves and  live life to the fullest.24

I strongly suspect that the repeated attempts by their opponents to argue that the Carvakas rejected inference were another distortion,25 that their objections against inference were to show that not certainty (Truth) but only a practical probability (truth) can be established, that their fundamental objection to inference was that it be used to establish the existence of fate, the soul, another world and God/s, that their objection was not to reason as a tool. Likewise their rejection of testimony was with regard to testimony that relates to the unverifiable, particularly the religious. Still, the replies of their opponents to the arguments they attributed to the Carvakas on inference and testimony are often significant explorations of those concepts.

In his book The Notion of Ditthi in Theravada Buddhism – The point of view, Fuller gives an account of the various views that are stated to be wrong-views in the four primary Buddhist Nikayas. He writes that for Buddhism, our actions produce consequences – the view of ‘nihilism’ (attributed to the Lokayatas/Carvakas) is sometimes used to explain attachment (to sensuality, to view, to precepts and vows and to the theory of the self). ‘To deny that actions have consequences is … in a certain way, an expression of greed, hatred and delusion.’26 He wrote that K.N.Jayatilleke holds that ‘nihilism’ is based on the notion that ‘perception’ alone is the only valid means of knowledge and that since this is so, ‘higher perception’ is denied. Since, according to the ‘nihilist’ view the person is composed of the ‘four great elements’, there is no self and morality has no value. He cites Tucci who holds that the essential part of the view of ‘nihilism’ is the phrase ‘no fruit or result of good and bad actions’, and that this is in fact the central idea of Indian Materialism. The view of ‘nihilism’ denies the possibility of transformation and is a view that produces an unwholesome course of action and it is a wrong-view.27

I have several disagreements with the Buddhist positions, some already discussed. For the Lokayatas/Carvakas there is a self – it is the living body, and only the living body. The Lokayatas/Carvakas did have an ethic – not only to make the best of this one life we have but, by implication from their sharp and mocking criticisms of those who exploit religion, to do so honestly. A comparison could be made with Aristotle’s ethics on this point – although they are ultimately directed towards the perfection of the self of a self-focused man, and to a contemplative life. The central idea of ‘Indian Materialism’ is not the phrase ‘no fruit or result of good and bad actions’, nor the rejection of god/gods, of an afterlife, samsara and karma but the affirmation that matter (represented by svabhavavada and the four elements) is primary and the recognition of the consequences of that. The only possibility of transformation denied by the Lokayatas/Carvakas was that in ‘another’ world. And it is for this (essentially, their materialism) that they earned the hatred of the Buddhists and of those who advocated karma.

The Ajivikas were religious ascetics, the Carvakas/Lokayatas were materialist hedonists, similar to the Greek Epicureans. Both sects (as the Buddhists and Jainas) had arisen at a time of great intellectual ferment. Although the Ajivika doctrine of niyati was developed into a Parmenidean-like notion of ‘unchanging permanence’ by the southern Ajivikas and incorporated with theistic elements that facilitated their eventual absorption into Jainism, niyati was the taking of rta to its conclusion – the recognition of order in the universe. Basham wrote that by so doing, Gosala anticipated by over two thousand years the world view of the nineteenth century physicist.’28 The Ajivika canon and their belief in the four primary elements embodied their recognition of a material universe. Their theorising on the atom in that universe was brilliant, but they still were a religion – a sect for whom earthly forces assumed unearthly forms. The Brhaspatyas/Lokayatas/Carvakas were unique amongst all the schools.

If beings in heaven are gratified by our offering the Sraddha here,

Then why not give the food down below to those who are standing

on the housetop?29

Earth, air, fire and water are the original principles.

From these alone, when transformed into the body, intelligence is produced.

When these are destroyed, intelligence ceases also.30



1. Madhava Acharya, The Sarva-Darsana-Samgraha, Review of the Different Systems of Hindu Philosophy, trans., E.B.Cowell and A.E.Gough, Trubner, London, 1882, p. 2 Basham wrote of the intense odium theologicum felt by the Buddhists and Jainas towards the Ajivikas. A.L.Basham, History and Doctrines of the Ajivikas, A Vanished Indian Religion, Luzac and Co., Ltd., London 1951, p. 38 The mutilation of the inscriptions of Asoka and his grandson Dasaratha on the Barabar and Nagarjuni caves which were given to the Ajivikas by the Mauryan king Asoka, and the omission of his grandson’s name from the king-lists both of the Buddhists and the Jainas suggests that their patronage of the Ajivikas was strongly disapproved of by both other sects. The inscriptions were mutilated in such a way that indicates that the original inhabitants of the caves were evicted in favour of their religious opponents. Basham wrote ‘The selective nature of most of these defacements indicates that they were carried out by the religious rivals of the Ajivikas, who made use of the caves after them, and did not wish to be reminded of the former occupants.’ A.L.Basham op. cit., p. 156. ‘Salting the earth’ – which Carthage was supposed to have experienced at the hands of the Romans, is another example of ‘erasing’ one’s opponents. I am now thinking again about the writing of Democritus who wrote as much and as widely as Aristotle…

2. As with so much to do with these two sects, even who founded them and their names present problems. Of the Ajivikas, Basham, citing the Bhagavati Sutra wrote that there were Ajivikas before Makkhali Gosala, Basham op. cit., p. 27. Again ‘There are arguments to prove that (the Ajivikas) originally had nothing to do with Gosala. Ajivika was the name of a much older sect and Gosala’s father Mankhali also belonged to it.’ Sharma, Brij Narain, Social Life in Northern India AD 600-1000, Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi, 1966, p. 215. Another has argued that even the name, consistent with the supposed humble origins of Gosala, was given to them by their enemies: ‘The name Ajivikas was given to the sect by their opponents. The word ajivika is derived from ajiva, meaning one who observes the mode of living appropriate to his class.’ http://philtar.ucsm.ac.uk/encyclopedia/hindu/ascetic/ajiv.html. Of the Carvakas/Lokayatas my view is that their school originated with Brhaspati who wrote a Bhraspati Sutra and his school then became known as either the Lokayatas (‘worldly ones’) or Carvakas (‘fond of debate’). Other possibilities are that one was a sub-sect of the other or that Carvaka was the follower of Brhaspati. The meaning of the names might be a clue to any possible temporal order. Basham and Fuller use ‘Lokayata’ and ‘Carvaka’ interchangeably, Bronkhorst gives a number of versions as interchangeable.

3. ‘Fatalism’ has a certain relevance here – Basham recounts that Gosala, having experienced ‘repeated failures in all his ventures’ bought two bulls with the remainder of his resources. These were both killed by a camel. He thereupon ‘uttered a long chant on the power of destiny, and the advisability of desirelessness and inactivity.’ He ‘cast off all desires and attained immortality.’ Basham op. cit., p. 38

4. ‘They take spiritous drinks and meat and also copulate with those unfit to be sexually approached (agamya) like the mother, etc. Every year, on a particular day, they assemble and copulate randomly with women. They do not consider dharma to be anything different from kama. Their names are Carvaka, Lokayata, etc.’ From Gunaratna’s Commentary on Haribhadra in Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya Ed., Carvaka/Lokayata, An Anthology of Source Materials and Some Recent Studies, Indian Council of Philosophical Research, New Delhi, 1994, p. 267a. Such charges were made over and again against both the Ajivikas and the Carvakas by their opponents – to extend the metaphor, ‘eat, drink and be merry’ is the standard fare.

5. Rhys Davids, ibid., p. 371

6. The Sarva-Darsana-Samgraha, Review of the Different Systems of Hindu Philosophy, op. cit., p. 10

7. D.R.Shastri, A Short History of Indian Materialism, Sensationalism and Hedonism, (1930) in Carvaka/Lokayata, An Anthology of Source Materials and Some Recent Studies op. cit., p. 399

8. Basham stated that the Ajivikas did recognise free will in ‘everyday’ life. History and Doctrines of the Ajivikas, A Vanished Indian Religion op. cit., p. 230 Bronkhorst provided an expansion on this by stating that the Ajivikas held that bodies act according to their own natures, that although the real self does not act, that ‘activity belongs to the material world, which includes body and mind.’ Johannes Bronkhorst, Greater Magadha, Studies in the Culture of Early India, Brill, Leiden, 2007, p. 47 This could offer a connection between life under niyati and svabhavavada.

9. Basham op. cit., p. 258

10. Samannaphala Sutta in The Long Discourses of the Buddha: a Translation of the Digha Nikaya, Trans., Maurice Walshe, Wisdom Publications, Boston, 1995, p. 95

11. Bronkhorst argues that the Jainas and the Ajivikas ‘interpreted the doctrine of karma in the same way, believing that bodily and mental movements were responsible for rebirth. But whereas the Jainas believed that motionlessness might destroy past karma, the Ajivikas did not accept this.’ Greater Magadha, Studies in the Culture of Early India, op. cit., p. 45

12. Basham succinctly stated the core reason for the loathing of the Ajivikas: ‘The fatalism of Makkhali entails the antinomianism of Purana. Since there is no possibility of modifying one’s destiny by good works, self-control, or asceticism, all such activity is wasted.’ Their opponents then accused them of luxury and licentiousness. This charge can be countered in different ways: Basham repeatedly pointed to the severe asceticism and self-mortification of the Ajivikas, that references to this are in Chinese and Japanese Buddhist literature. Basham op. cit., p. 112 Again, regarding Jaina hypocrisy on their charge of the Ajivikas’ non-celibacy he wrote ‘It is clear that many ancient Indian ascetics, including the proto-Jainas who followed Parsva, took no vows of chastity. … Their own religious literature shows that the Jaina monks themselves were not always as strict in the maintenance of chastity as the founder of their order might have desired, and that occasional lapses were often looked upon as mere peccadilloes.’ Basham op. cit., p. 126 That the Ajivikas survived for so long in the face of such intense hostility is testament to their sincere austerities and moral discipline. ‘Ajivikas generally pursued their religious quest by the traditional Indian paths of pain, fasting, and gentleness.’ Basham ibid. He wrote that their community was drawn from all sections of society, that women were inducted into their sect, they had educated members, they did not encourage caste distinctions, their monks were active in everyday life, that not only had they enjoyed the support of the kings of Magadha and got their greatest support from industrial and mercantile classes, in later centuries the Dravidian Ajivikas were supported by ‘men of substance’ Basham op. cit., p. 134. Because the Carvakas denied another world and denied karma they were hated by all the other sects. Johannes Bronkhorst, op. cit., pp. 364-365

13. Religious song and ritual dance.

14. ‘Of the Divine’, ‘of portents’, ‘of the sky’, ‘of the earth’, ‘of the body’, ‘of sound’, ‘of characteristics’, ‘of indications’

15. The atomic structure of the universe, the Lord, the Elements, their modifications. The divine Markali delivered these scriptures.

16. Later additions to these elemental categories were ‘joy’, ‘sorrow’ (dukkha) and ‘life’ (jiva). Basham wrote ‘These elemental theories seem gradually to have gained in importance at the expense of the doctrine of niyati, which … plays a lesser part in the Tamil than in the Pali and Prakrit texts.’ Basham op. cit., p. 263 The atoms are neither destroyed nor created, cannot penetrate one another and will not split, multiply, nor expand. The atoms in Manimekalai do move and combine, at least on the lower level of truth. They may come together densely or loosely. In Manimekalai and Civanana-cittiyar atoms combine in fixed ratios. Single atoms can only be detected by a divine eye, but large aggregations can be seen when they form objects. The Ajivika atomic theory was most probably derived from Pakudha Kaccayana and was possibly the first in the world (Basham op. cit., p. 3). The Buddhists, Jainas and Vaisesikas also had atomic theories, again most probably derived from Pakudha and therefore from the Ajivikas (Basham, op. cit., p. 269)

17. Basham wrote that throughout their history, the Ajivikas maintained the material nature of the soul. Basham op. cit., p. 269. He attributed the origins of the Ajivika doctrine of the atomic nature of the soul to animism whereby the life of man was viewed as a solid substance. Basham op. cit., p. 284 For the Jainas, the soul is not material but both dharma and karma are atomic.

18. The Sarva-Darsana-Samgraha, Review of the Different Systems of Hindu Philosophy op. cit., p. 2

19. ‘The Carvakas’ denial of another world is enough for those who hold that ethics must be rooted in it to pronounce that the Carvaka had no ethics.’ Materialism in Indian Thought op. cit., p. 55 ‘Rejecting sacrifices on the basis of their involving bloodshed and obscene rites, the Carvakas are little expected to preach adultery, stealing and the like (crimes) which they are represented to do.’ Ibid., p. 59 The parallels between the charge against the Carvakas by their opponents (including the proponents of caste) that they were (at the least) pleasure seeking egoistic hedonists and that against the atomist Epicureans by their rivals the Stoics and Christians (who shared a belief in ‘Providence’) is noteworthy. The damage done to the philosophy of Epicureanism persists to this day, encapsulated in ‘epicure’. The arguments of Epicurus against a fear of death are also echoed in words attributed to the Carvakas: ‘While life is yours, live joyously/None can escape Death’s searching eye/When once this frame of ours they burn/How shall it e’er again return?’ In The Sarva-Darsana-Samgraha, Review of the Different Systems of Hindu Philosophy op. cit., p. 2 Jaina morality is expressed negatively (non-stealing, non-killing) and the Jainas believe in mortification as a positive element of right conduct. Compare with the Four Noble Truths of the Buddha and the tortured death of Christ which point to salvation through the recognition of suffering as being at the heart of life.

20. ‘Fools and wise, at the breaking-up of the body, are destroyed and perish, they do not exist after death’ attributed to the materialist and possible forerunner of the Carvakas Ajita Kesakambali. In Samannaphala Sutta op. cit. p. 96 ‘The Carvaka view on the soul or consciousness especially that of its discontinuity at death … met with severe criticism from the Buddhists who sought to maintain that there is an eternal flow of momentary conscious states’ The Buddhists argued that ‘the Carvaka cannot assert that the self (soul) dies at the dissolution of the body because in so doing he contradicts his epistemological position that nothing is to be accepted as true that is not given in perception. Nobody can report his own (absolute) death unless we hold belief in some sort of survival.’ Kewal Krishan Mittal, Materialism in Indian Thought, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, New Delhi, 1974, p. 48

21. In his Sariraka-bhasya (commentary on the Brahma-sutra) Sankara wrote ‘Here now, some materialists (Lokayatika), who see the Self in the body only, are of the opinion that a Self separate from the body does not exist; assume that consciousness, although not observed in earth and the other external elements – either single or combined – may yet appear in them when transformed into the shape of a body, so that consciousness springs from them … and that man is only a body qualified by consciousness. … in the same way as we admit the existence of that perceptive consciousness which has the material elements and their products for its objects, we also must admit the separateness of that consciousness from the elements. And, as consciousness constitutes the character of our Self, the Self must be distinct from the body. … consciousness is permanent … the body may be used (by the Self) as a mere auxiliary.’ In Carvaka/Lokayata, An Anthology of Source Materials and Some Recent Studies op. cit., pp. 237-240

22. Sarvadarshansamgraha, quoted at:

23. For the Carvakas svabhavavada was the chance flow of nature, the coming into being and passing away of its formations. Nyaya-Vaisesika thinkers rejected the view of the Carvakas as ‘chance theory.’ Materialism in Indian Thought op. cit., p. 52

24. In his book, Mittal made excellent points regarding the Jainas – that there is very little in common between Carvaka and Jaina thought. He argues that the Jainas are not intentionally materialist. On the contrary, they are opposed to materialism. According to them, matter and the material are responsible for human bondage. The goal of human endeavour is to achieve kaivalya of the jiva from pudgala (matter). Further, one is to mortify the flesh and undergo austerities to achieve this end. Subduing and even destroying the instincts is recommended. Matter binds and degrades the jiva, the real self of humans – it is chaff to be sifted from the grain. Materialism in Indian Thought op. cit., p. 103 The Carvarkas, through Madhvacharya, would reply ‘The kernels of the paddy, rich with finest white grains/What man, seeking his own true interest/would fling them away/because of a covering of husk and dust? Sarvadarshansamgraha, quoted at:
http://www.humanistictexts.org/Carvaka.htm op. cit.  

25. ‘The Carvakas do not admit any pramana (validity) except perception. According to them, that which is not perceived cannot be admitted as existent; its non-apprehension proves its non-existence. … the Carvaka assertion that whatever is not perceived is proved to be non-existent leads to sheer absurdities. One leaving one’s home does not perceive his relations, and therefore should believe in the non-existence of these relations and even of his home itself. There will be no point for such a man to return home.’ Gautama’s Nyayasutra with Vatsyayana’s Commentary/Elucidation in Carvaka/Lokayata, An Anthology of Source Materials and Some Recent Studies, op. cit., pp. 79-80

26. Paul Fuller, The Notion of Ditthi in Theravada Buddhism – The point of view, RoutledgeCurzon, London, 2005, p. 17

27. The Notion of Ditthi in Theravada Buddhism – The point of view, op. cit., pp. 14-18

28. History and Doctrines of the Ajivikas, A Vanished Indian Religion op. cit., p. 285

29. The Sarva-Darsana-Samgraha, Review of the Different Systems of Hindu Philosophy op. cit., p. 10

30. Ibid. p. 2


Basham A.L., History and Doctrines of the Ajivikas, A Vanished Indian Religion, Luzac and Co., Ltd., London 1951

Bronkhorst, Johannes, Greater Magadha, Studies in the Culture of Early India, Brill, Leiden, 2007

Chakraborti, Haripada, Asceticism in Ancient India, S.K. Bhattacharya, Calcutta, 1973

Chakrabarti, Kisor Kumar, Classical Indian Philosophy of Mind, The Nyaya Dualist Tradition, State University of New York Press, 1999

Chattopadhyaya, Debiprasad ed., Carvaka/Lokayata, An Anthology of Source Materials and Some Recent Studies, Indian Council of Philosophical Research, New Delhi, 1994

Fuller, Paul, The Notion of Ditthi in Theravada Buddhism – The point of view, RoutledgeCurzon, London, 2005

Acharya, Madhava The Sarva-Darsana-Samgraha, Review of the Different Systems of Hindu Philosophy, trans., E.B.Cowell and A.E.Gough, Trubner, London, 1882

Mittal, Kewal Krishan, Materialism in Indian Thought, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, New Delhi, 1974

Organ, Troy Wilson, The Hindu Quest for the Perfection of Man, Ohio University, 1970

Sharma, Brij Narain, Social Life in Northern India AD 600-1000, Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi, 1966

Internet resources (accessed 26.10.10)



Encyclopaedia Britannica/Charvaka

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy/Lokayata/Carvaka


Ian Whicher on Yoga and freedom