Buddhist Economics

Discuss the application of the Dharma to situations of social, political, environmental and economic suffering and injustice.
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Queequeg
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Buddhist Economics

Post by Queequeg » Mon Jan 28, 2019 10:56 pm

Came across this article on Buddhistdoor.

Buddhist Economics: The Beginnings of a Promising Approach

Its more or less a blurb with references for further inquiry, but interested to hear what the DW crowd has to say about it.

Thoughts? Opinions?

:popcorn:
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Buddhist Economics

Post by Kim O'Hara » Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:25 pm

My first thought was that this is a natural topic for DWE. :smile:

If you don't want to join us for a discussion over there, I will cross-post it.

:namaste:
Kim

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Queequeg
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Re: Buddhist Economics

Post by Queequeg » Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:32 pm

Is it?
I don't think I've been over there in a while... please go ahead and cross post. I'll check it out an lurk for now.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

well wisher
Posts: 190
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Location: Canada

Re: Buddhist Economics

Post by well wisher » Wed Apr 10, 2019 5:36 pm

Money seems to be a "necessary evil" in our modern society, very entrenched.
But I suppose Mahayana adaptions are needed for the institutions to survive for the benefits of future generations.
I know some temples have separate gift shops, similar to those in museums.
But Buddhist arts & crafts are definitely more beneficial than say celebrity porno, for example, in the path of the 4 noble truths.

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Brunelleschi
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Re: Buddhist Economics

Post by Brunelleschi » Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:22 pm

Interesting. It is good to broaden the impact of Buddhism. Why couldn't it influence economics - see interdependence etcetera. I will follow this topic.

boda
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Re: Buddhist Economics

Post by boda » Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:14 pm

From the linked article:
Gross National Happiness (GNH) rather than the Gross National Product (GNP)
I would say that this is key, but it would entail shifting embedded cultural values. That would be difficult and take time, if a method for achieving it were even possible to develop.
We know how to move to a Buddhist economy. What we need is the political will coupled with the skillful means to create meaningful lives based on caring for one another and for the environment. Neuroscientists have shown that helping others makes us happy and has validated that buying more “stuff” does not lead to long-term happiness. Let’s turn off our devices and screens, stop being influenced by celebrities and advertisers, and enjoy our relationships and the world around us.
I can’t speak for Easterners but it seems that Westerners don’t really set out to achieve happiness in their lives. We set out to acquire wealth, status, pleasure, distraction, etc. All very materialistic and lacking in meaning. It’s no surprise that the average life expectancy is decreasing, despite our material wealth. Epidemic obesity and substance addiction, including the new opioid crisis, are symptomatic of unhappy lives, I believe.

It’s quite a boast to say, btw, that “We know how to move a Buddhist economy.” It’s notoriously difficult to move an economy without the profit motive. The major critiques of socialist or communist economies is their tendency to lack efficiency and innovation. That may not be a problem if they don’t compete with capitalist economies, I guess.
Thesis 1: Buddhist economics must take progressive and radical theory seriously, including understanding the contemporary tendency to separate the spheres of politics and economics from “religion” (they must be understood as they are very much overlapping); and understanding the significance of work or labor in all of its forms on the Buddhist path.

Thesis 2: Historical and philosophical materialism—in the work of Marx and anarchists, as well as that found in earlier thinkers in the West and Asia—should be explored by Buddhists in their ethical reflections on labor, production of commodities, and community and relationships.

Thesis 3: E. F. Schumacher’s thesis on the significance of “scale,” of societies becoming ungovernable at too large a size, is crucial to Buddhist economics. Similarly, anarchist critiques of hierarchies and power structures can be coupled with Buddhist organizational ideals.
It’s surprising that someone like Marx underappreciated the role that religion plays in society. Did he have bad experiences as a child? Anyway, the problem with theocracy, which is basically what we’re talking about here, is that it’s necessarily hierarchical in nature and inherently undemocratic. A wise and benevolent autocracy could be ideal, but as we know, power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Thesis 5: The traditional Asian virtue of “propriety” (Li in Chinese), along with other contemporary ideas about our place as individuals in society and in the world, can help us bring together our critique of the current systems as we build new communities and systems based on emerging Buddhist economic ideas.
As long as things like this are based on the principle of pursuing happiness (not the materialistic American Dream) and not some governmental mandate or law that, for instance, prevents critique of the theocratic powers that be.



For a general summation, I do not believe anything like this could work in its combining politics, economics, and religion. If there were some way to build a meaningful system around the principle of achieving happiness and some kind of secular or universal spirituality perhaps. Religion binds groups with common values and goals, and that can be good, but the problem is that in the religious framework there is ALWAYS the ‘other’. The group is always limited and cannot encompass all.

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