This book is available for free download at: pellwillfigalus.gq .. In his essay on Buddhist economics Mr. Schumacher looks to the. Economics as If People Mattered. E. F. SCHUMACHER Four Buddhist Economics. Twelve Social and Economic Problems Calling for the Development of. 1. “BUDDHIST ECONOMICS” by E. F. Schumacher from Small is Beautiful, "Right Livelihood" is one of the requirements of the Buddha's Noble Eightfold.
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Schumacher's conception of Buddhist economics became popular especially among the members of the alternative and environmental movements. Buddhist Economics as a ﬁeld of study begins with British economist E.F. Schumacher's famous essay “Buddhist Economics,” published in his. The essay “Buddhist Economics” was first published in Asia: A Handbook, Published by Adam Publishers, Jerusalem | NOW OUT OF PRINT VIEW PDF.
It is clear, therefore, that there must be such a thing as Buddhist economics. From this stems our chronic desire to avoid work and the difficulty of finding truly fulfilling work that aligns with our sense of purpose. Schumacher paints the backdrop for the modern malady of overwork: There is universal agreement that a fundamental source of wealth is human labor.
From the point of view of the employer, it is in any case simply an item of cost, to be reduced to a minimum if it cannot be eliminated altogether, say, by automation.
Hence the ideal from the point of view of the employer is to have output without employees, and the ideal from the point of view of the employee is to have income without employment.
The consequences of these attitudes both in theory and in practice are, of course, extremely far-reaching. Schumacher contrasts this with the Buddhist perspective: The Buddhist point of view takes the function of work to be at least threefold: to give a man a chance to utilize and develop his faculties; to enable him to overcome his ego-centeredness by joining with other people in a common task; and to bring forth the goods and services needed for a becoming existence.
Prebish, — London and New York: Routledge. De Silva, Padmasiri. Environmental Philosophy and Ethics in Buddhism. New York: St. Clayton, Vic. Gellner, David N. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Guruge, Ananda W.
Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse. Harvey, Peter. Heirman, Ann, and Stephan Peter Bumbacher. The Spread of Buddhism. Leiden and Boston: Brill. The Times Literary Supplement, October. New Delhi: Ngawang Gelek Demo. Karunatilake, H. Economic Development in Ceylon. New York: Praeger. Kumarappa, Joseph Cornelius. The Economy of Permanence.
Lopez, Donald S. McMahan, David L. The Making of Buddhist Modernism. New York: Oxford University Press. New York: Fordham University Press. Obadia, Lionel. Buddhism and the Market Economy in a Globalized World. Pardue, Peter A. Payutto, Prayudh Aryankura. Translated by Dahmmavijaya and Bruce Evans. Bangkok: Buddhadhamma Foundation. Rocha, Cristina. Pratap Kumar, — Leiden: Brill.
Schopen, Gregory. Schumacher, E.
Shes rab bstan dar. Tambiah, Stanley Jeyaraja. Magic, Science, Religion, and the Scope of Rationality. Weber, Max. Glencoe, IL: Free Press. Dordrecht and New York: Springer. Zsolnai, Laszlo. Handbook of Business Ethics in the New Economy.
New York: Peter Lang. Cham: Springer. Oxford and New York: Peter Lang. Further Reading Chakravarti, Uma. The Social Dimensions of Early Buddhism. Delhi: Oxford University Press. Gernet, Jacques. Sizemore, Russell F. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press.
Spiro, Melford E. Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 14 July Buddhist Economics: Scales of Value in Global Exchange Notes: 1 More immediate cooperating factors in Buddhist success outside India included a command over coveted administrative skills like writing , medicine, and later, the ritual reproduction of political authority based on a sacralized model of feudal kingship from post-Gupta India Davidson In a particularly popular scheme, Right Livelihood is combined with Right Speech and Right Conduct to make up training in higher morality for a general definition, see Buswell and Lopez , Western academic disciplines and conceptual structures have reached a point which many feel to be a dead end, or if not, at least a turning point demanding new paradigms of thought and methodology.
This has led many economists to rethink their isolated, specialized approach. The serious environmental repercussions of rampant consumerism have compelled economists to develop more ecological awareness. Some even propose that all new students of economics incorporate basic ecology into their curriculum.
Schumacher's point that the existence of Right 8 Livelihood as one of the factors of the Noble Eightfold Path necessitates a Buddhist economics has a number of implications.
Firstly, it indicates the importance given to Right Livelihood or economics in Buddhism. Secondly, and conversely, it means that economics is taken to be merely one amongst a number of factors traditionally eight that comprise a right way of life, that is, one capable of solving the problems of life. Specialization can be a great benefit as long as we don't lose sight of our common goal: as a specialized study, economics allows us to analyze with minute detail the causes and factors within economic activities.
But it is a mistake to believe that any one discipline or field of learning can in itself solve all problems.
In concert with other disciplines, however, economics can constitute a complete response to human suffering, and it is only by fully understanding the contributions and limitations of each discipline that we will be able to produce such a coordinated effort.
Unfortunately, as it stands, economics is grossly out of touch with the whole stream of causes and conditions that constitute reality.
Economics, and indeed all the social sciences, are, after all, based on man-made or artificial truths. For example, according to natural laws, the action of digging the earth results in a hole. This is a fixed cause and effect relationship based on natural laws. However, the digging which results in a wage is a conventional truth based on a social agreement. Without the social agreement, the action of digging does not result in a wage. While economists scrutinize one isolated segment of the cause and effect process, the universe manifests itself in an inconceivably vast array of causes and conditions, actions and reactions.
Focused as they are on the linear progression of the economic events that concern them, economists forget that nature unfolds in all directions. In nature, actions and reactions are not confined to isolated spheres. One action gives rise to results, which in turn becomes a cause for further results. Each result conditions further results.
In this way, action and reaction are intertwined to form the vibrant fabric of causes and conditions that we perceive as reality. To understand reality, it is necessary to understand this process.
The Two Meanings of Dhamma For many people, the term "Buddhist economics" may evoke the image of an ideal society where all economic activity - downloading and selling, production and consumption - adheres to strict ethical standards. But such an idealized image, attractive as it may sound, does not convey the full depth of the Buddha's teachings.
In Buddhism the term Dhamma is used to convey different levels of truth, both relative truths and ultimate truth. These are the truths related to matters of good and evil. In this sense, Dhamma is used to describe the entire stream of causes and conditions, the process by which all things exist and function.
In this all-encompassing sense, Dhamma expresses the totality of natural conditions, that which the various branches of science seek to describe.
Thus, the Buddha's teachings give us more than just ethical guidelines for a virtuous life. His teachings offer a grand insight into the nature of reality.
Given the twofold meaning of the term Dhamma, it follows that an economics inspired by the Dhamma would be both attuned to the grand sphere of causes and conditions and, at the same time, guided by the specific ethical teachings based on natural reality. In other words, Buddhist economists would not only consider the ethical values of economic activity, but also strive to understand reality and direct economic activity to be in harmony with "the way things are.
Economics is just one part of a vast interconnected whole, subject to the same natural laws by which all things function. Dhamma describes the workings of this whole, the basic truth of all things, including economics. If economics is ignorant of the Dhamma - of the complex and dynamic process of causes-and-effects that constitutes reality - then it will be hard pressed to solve problems, much less produce the benefits to which it aims.
Yet this is precisely the trouble with modern economic thinking. Lacking any holistic, comprehensive insight and limited by the narrowness of their specialized view, economists single out one isolated portion of the stream of conditions and fail to consider results beyond that point.
An example: there exists a demand for a commodity, such as whiskey. The demand is supplied by production - growing grain and distilling it into liquor.
The whiskey is then put on the market and then downloadd and consumed. When it is consumed, demand is satisfied. Modern economic thinking stops here, at the satisfaction of the demand.
There is no investigation of what happens after the demand is satisfied. By contrast, an economics inspired by Dhamma would be concerned with how economic activities influence the entire process of causes and conditions. While modern economics confines its regard to events within its specialized sphere, Buddhist economics would investigate how a given economic activity affects the three interconnected spheres of human existence: the individual, society, and nature or the environment.
In 10 the case of the demand for a commodity such as whiskey, we would have to ask ourselves how liquor production affects the ecology and how its consumption affects the individual and society. These are largely ethical considerations and this brings us back to the more specialized meaning of Dhamma, that relating to matters of good and evil.
It is said in the Buddhist scriptures that good actions lead to good results and bad actions lead to bad results. All of the Buddha's teachings on ethical behaviour are based on this principle.
It is important to note here that, unlike the theistic religions, Buddhism does not propose an agent or arbitrating force that rewards or punishes good and evil actions. Rather, good and evil actions are seen as causes and conditions that unfold according to the natural flow of events.
In this regard, Dhamma in the sense of ethical teachings and Dhamma in the sense of natural reality are connected in that the Buddhist ethical teachings are based on natural reality.
Ethical laws follow the natural law of cause and effect: virtuous actions naturally lead to benefit and evil actions naturally lead to harm, because all of these are factors in the stream of causes and conditions. Given its dynamic view of the world, Buddhism does not put forth absolute rules for ethical behaviour. The ethical value of behaviour is judged partly by the results it brings and partly by the qualities which lead to it.
Virtuous actions are good because they lead to benefit; evil actions are evil because they lead to harm. There is a belief that any method used to attain a worthy end is justified by the worthiness of that end. This idea is summed up in the expression "the end justifies the means.
The end ideal society justifies the means hatred and bloodshed. The idea that "the end justifies the means" is a good example of a human belief which simply does not accord with natural truth. This concept is a human invention, an expedient rationalization which contradicts natural law and "the way things are. Throughout the ages, people with extreme political and religious ideologies have committed the most brutal acts under the slogan "the end justifies the means. To learn from history, we must analyze all the causes and conditions that contributed to the unfolding of past events.
This includes the qualities of mind of the participants. A thorough analysis of the history of a violent revolution, for example, must consider not only the economic and social climate of the society, but also 11 the emotional and intellectual makeup of the revolutionaries themselves and question the rational validity of the intellectual ideals and methods used, because all of these factors have a bearing on the outcome.
With this kind of analysis, it becomes obvious that, by the natural laws of cause and effect, it is impossible to create an ideal society out of anything less than ideal means - and certainly not bloodshed and hatred. Thus, the result of slaughter and hatred is further violence and instability. Thus the means bloodshed and aggression condition the end tension and instability.
Yet while ethics are subject to these natural laws, when we have to make personal ethical choices right and wrong are not always so obvious. Indeed, the question of ethics is always a highly subjective matter. Throughout our lives, we continually face - and must answer for ourselves - questions of right and wrong. Our every choice, our every intention, holds some ethical judgement. The Buddhist teachings on matters relating to good and evil serve as guides to help us with these subjective moral choices.
But while they are subjective, we should not forget that our ethical choices inevitably play themselves out in the world according to the objective principle of causes and conditions.
Our ethics - and the behaviour that naturally flows from our ethics contribute to the causes and conditions that determine who we are, the kind of society we live in and the condition of our environment. One of the most profound lessons of the Buddha's teachings is the truth that internal, subjective values are directly linked to the dynamic of external objective reality. This subtle realization is at the heart of all ethical questions.
Unfortunately, most people are only vaguely aware of how their internal values condition external reality. It is easy to observe the laws of cause and effect in the physical world: ripe apples fall from trees and water runs downhill.
But because people tend to think of themselves as individuals separate from the universe, they fail to see how the same laws apply to internal subjective values, such as thoughts and moral attitudes. Since ethics are "subjective," people think they are somehow unconnected to "objective" reality.
According to the Buddhist view, however, ethics forms a bridge between internal and external realties. In accordance with the law of causes and conditions, ethics act as "subjective" causes for "objective" conditions. This should be obvious when we consider that, in essence, ethical questions always ask, "Do my thoughts, 12 words and deeds help or harm myself and those around me? The quality of our thoughts, though internal, constantly conditions the way we speak and act.
Though subjective, our ethics determine the kind of impact our life makes on the external, objective world. How Ethics Condition Economics To be sure, the distinction between economics and ethics is easily discernible.
We can look at any economic situation either from an entirely economic perspective, or from an entirely ethical one. For example, you are reading this book. From an ethical perspective, your reading is a good action, you are motivated by a desire for knowledge.
This is an ethical judgement. From the economic perspective, on the other hand, this book may seem to be a waste of resources with no clear benefit. The same situation can be seen in different ways. However, the two perspectives are interconnected and do influence each other. While modern economic thinking rejects any subjective values like ethics, the influence of ethics in economic matters is all too obvious. If a community is unsafe - if there are thieves, the threat of violence, and the roads are unsafe to travel - then it is obvious that businesses will not invest there, tourists will not want to go there, and the economy will suffer.
On the other hand, if the citizens are law-abiding, well-disciplined and conscientiously help to keep their community safe and clean, businesses will have a much better chance of success and the municipal authorities will not have to spend so much on civic maintenance and security.
Unethical business practices have direct economic consequences. If businesses attempt to fatten their profits by using substandard ingredients in foodstuffs, such as by using cloth-dye as a colouring in children's sweets, substituting chemicals for orange juice, or putting boric acid in meatballs all of which have occurred in Thailand in recent years , consumers' health is endangered.
The people made ill by these practices have to pay medical costs and the government has to spend money on police investigations and prosecution of the offenders. Furthermore, the people whose health has suffered work less efficiently, causing a decline in productivity. In international trade, those who pass off shoddy goods as quality merchandise risk losing the trust of their customers and foreign markets - as well as the foreign currency obtained through those markets.
Ethical qualities also influence industrial output. If workers enjoy their work and are industrious, productivity will be high. On the other hand, if they are dishonest, disgruntled or lazy, this will have a negative effect on the quality of production and the amount of productivity.
When it comes to consumption, consumers in a society with vain and fickle values will prefer flashy and 13 ostentatious products to high quality products which are not so flashy.
In a more practically-minded society, where the social values do not tend toward showiness and extravagance, consumers will choose goods on the basis of their reliability. Obviously, the goods consumed in these two different societies will lead to different social and economic results. Advertising stimulates economic activity, but often at an ethically unacceptable price. Advertising is bound up with popular values: advertisers must draw on common aspirations, prejudices and desires in order to produce advertisements that are appealing.
Employing social psychology, advertising manipulates popular values for economic ends, and because of its repercussions on the popular mind, it has considerable ethical significance.
The volume of advertising may cause an increase in materialism, and unskillful images or messages may harm public morality. The vast majority of ads imbue the public with a predilection for selfish indulgence; they condition us into being perfect consumers who have no higher purpose in life that to consume the products of modern industry.
In the process, we are transformed into 'hungry ghosts', striving to feed an everlasting craving, and society becomes a seething mass of conflicting interests.
Sustainable development and Buddhist economics in Thailand
Moreover, advertising adds to the price of the product itself. Thus people tend to download unnecessary things at prices that are unnecessarily expensive.
There is much wastage and extravagance. Things are used for a short while and then replaced, even though they are still in a good condition. Advertising also caters to peoples' tendency to flaunt their possessions as a way of gaining social status.
When snob-appeal is the main criterion, people download unnecessarily expensive products without considering the quality. In extreme cases, people are so driven by the need to appear stylish that they cannot wait to save the money for the latest gadget or fashion - they simply use their credit cards.
Spending in excess of earnings can become a vicious cycle. A newer model or fashion is advertised and people plunge themselves deeper and deeper into debt trying to keep up. In this way, unethical advertising can lead people to financial ruin. It is ironic that, with the vast amount of 'information technology' available, most of it is used to generate 'misinformation' or delusion. On the political plane, decisions have to be made regarding policy on advertising - should there be any control, and if so, of what kind?
How is one to achieve the proper balance between moral and economic concerns?
See a Problem?
Education is also involved. Ways may have to be found to teach people to be aware of how advertising works, to reflect on it, and to consider how much of it is to be believed. Good education should seek to make people more intelligent in making decisions about downloading goods.
The question of advertising demonstrates how activities prevalent in society may have to be considered from many perspectives, all of which are interrelated. Taking a wider perspective, it can be seen that the free market system itself is ultimately based on a minimum of 14 ethics.
The freedom of the free market system may be lost through businesses using unscrupulous means of competition; the creation of a monopoly through influence is one common example, the use of thugs to assassinate a competitor a more unorthodox one.
The violent elimination of rivals heralds the end of the free market system, although it is a method scarcely mentioned in the economics textbooks. To be ethically sound, economic activity must take place in a way that is not harmful to the individual, society or the natural environment. In other words, economic activity should not cause problems for oneself, agitation in society or degeneration of the ecosystem, but rather enhance well-being in these three spheres. If ethical values were factored into economic analysis, a cheap but nourishing meal would certainly be accorded more value than a bottle of whiskey.
Thus, an economics inspired by Buddhism would strive to see and accept the truth of all things. It would cast a wider, more comprehensive eye on the question of ethics. Once ethics has been accepted as a legitimate subject for consideration, ethical questions then become factors to be studied within the whole causal process. But if no account is taken of ethical considerations, economics will be incapable of developing any understanding of the whole causal process, of which ethics forms and integral part.
Modern economics has been said to be the most scientific of all the social sciences. Indeed, priding themselves on their scientific methodology, economists take only measurable quantities into consideration. Some even assert that economics is purely a science of numbers, a matter of mathematical equations. In its efforts to be scientific, economics ignores all non-quantifiable, abstract values. But by considering economic activity in isolation from other forms of human activity, modern economists have fallen into the narrow specialization characteristic of the industrial age.
In the manner of specialists, economists try to eliminate all non-economic factors from their considerations of human activity and concentrate on a single perspective, that of their own discipline.
In recent years, critics of economics, even a number of economists themselves, have challenged this "objective" position and asserted that economics is the most value-dependent of all the social sciences. It may be asked how it is possible for economics to be free of values when, in fact, it is rooted in the human mind.
The economic process begins with want, continues with choice, and ends with satisfaction, all of which are functions of mind. Abstract values are thus the beginning, the middle and the end of economics, and so it is impossible for economics to be value-free.
Yet as it stands, many economists avoid any consideration of values, ethics, or mental qualities, despite the fact that these will always have a bearing on economic concerns. Economists' lack of ethical training and their 15 ignorance of the workings of mental values and human desire is a major shortcoming which will prevent them from solving the problems it is their task to solve.
If the world is to be saved from the ravages of overconsumption and overproduction, economists must come to an understanding of the importance of ethics to their field. Just as they might study ecology, they should also study ethics and the nature of human desire, and understand them thoroughly.
Here is one area in which Buddhism can be of great help. Ignorance is lack of knowledge, and it is this lack of knowledge that causes problems in life. That human beings are born with ignorance, and are troubled by it right from birth, is obvious when observing the plight of a newborn baby, who cannot talk, look for food or even feed itself. Ignorance is a real limitation in life; it is a burden, a problem.
Because human beings are born with ignorance, they do not really know how to conduct their lives.In some cases the destruc- tion is acceptable, in others it is not. These all provided different scales of value for measuring a healthy economy and healthy individual economic behavior.
Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered
By only considering the material side of things, the science of economics is out of step with the overall truth of the way things are. To summarize this: 1. Now we must follow the Buddhist economics mandate of providing basic consumption with health care and education to the people in Sub-Sahara Africa, where suffering is widespread and the birth rate averages between 4 and 6 children World Bank Greyston Bakery Inc.
Sen, A. While this kind of research is worthwhile and noble, it has its own limitations. Throughout our lives, we continually face - and must answer for ourselves - questions of right and wrong.
It is ironic that, with the vast amount of 'information technology' available, most of it is used to generate 'misinformation' or delusion.
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