Is there any evidence to support the idea that Ashoka's aversion to war might have been due to inflationary economics rather than religion or remorse? Such as say the degradation in the value of coins over the period of expansion of the empire?
Ashoka went to great lengths to make sure that his new found ideals were spread to other countries/empires and preserved for posterity. It actually cost him(and his successors) a lot more to embrace peace than to continue warring. Though the debasement of silver coins is true, Ahoka had nothing to gain by giving up his military campaign. Besides, war was profitable for his kingdom even considering the economic factors.
In fact Ashoka gets blamed for spending on charity/proselytism and ignoring the military strength of his kingdom which may have contributed to later demise of the dynasty.
To elaborate more on this topic realted to economic considerations:
Quoting from Romilla Thapar's India-Early History:
The economics debate related to the Mauryan empire is related to the decline of the dynasty over a long period of time and the timeline is not clear enough to indicate that the debasement contributed to Ashoka's decision to discontinue the war efforts, if at all. To quote another part from the book:
The statement is a sweeping generalization and not entirely applicable when you consider that a convincing argument can be made that the cost of maintaining an army and implementing Ashoka's edicts were fungible.
If the economy was strained, it would have made sense to stop the war effort and concentrate on consolidating existing territories. This was not the case either - the core regions became independent states after Ashoka's demise.
Considering all the known evidence, it makes sense to conclude that the economic strain contributed more to the decline of the Mauryan empire after Ahoka became pro-buddhist, not the decision of Ahoka to stop expanding the empire using war itself.
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