Sustainable Accountability: a Dualist Vedic Perspective
This thesis offers a theory of sustainable accountability informed by Vedic philosophy. Although Vedic philosophy is often described as the philosophy of ancient India, this thesis will explain how relative factors, such as time and place, do not exclude one from experiencing the taste of what is described as the ripened fruit of the tree that is the Vedic literatures. The implications the Vedas have for sustainability stem mainly from their alternative notions of the self and its needs. The Vedas hold that upon a correct evaluation of the needs of the self, an individual will be completely satisfied and will therefore not desire to live and consume in a way that is destructive to their surrounding environment and its inhabitants. Within the Vedic paradigm there are two main divisions of thought - the dualist and non-dualist schools of philosophy. Because they differ in their conceptions of the self, these schools differ markedly in their notions of accountability, welfare and theories of sustainability and social change. Within the social accounting literature, a non-dualist theory of sustainable accountability has been given by Saravanamuthu (2006), but a dualist opinion has not yet been presented. This thesis seeks to introduce dualist Vedic philosophy and its theory of sustainability, and describe how a system of accountability could be constructed upon such a philosophy. In the past, academic scholarship has frowned upon sacred forms of knowledge such as the Vedas, and has considered their claims to be unverifiable. Therefore this thesis also asserts, using arguments from the critical realist ontology, that sacred forms of knowledge such as the Vedas should be admissible in academic circles.