|Part of a series on|
|Part of a series on|
Buddhist economics is a spiritual and philosophical approach to the study of economics.It examines the psychology of the human mind and the emotions that direct economic activity, in particular concepts such as anxiety, aspirations and self-actualization principles. In the view of its proponents, Buddhist economics aims to clear the confusion about what is harmful and what is beneficial in the range of human activities involving the production and consumption of goods and services, ultimately trying to make human beings ethically mature. The ideology's stated purpose is to "find a middle way between a purely mundane society and an immobile, conventional society."
The most fundamental feature of Buddhist economics is seeing "people interdependent with one another and with Nature."
Sri Lankan economist Neville Karunatilake wrote that: "A Buddhist economic system has its foundations in the development of a co-operative and harmonious effort in group living. Selfishness and acquisitive pursuits have to be eliminated by developing man himself."Karunatilake sees Buddhist economic principles as exemplified in the rule of the Buddhist king Ashoka.
Bhutan's King Jigme Singye Wangchuck and its government have promoted the concept of "gross national happiness" (GNH) since 1972, based on Buddhist spiritual values, as a counter to gauging a nation's development by gross domestic product (GDP). This represents a commitment to building an economy that would serve Bhutan's culture based on Buddhist spiritual values instead of material development, such as being gauged by only GDP.
U.S. economics professor Clair Brown sets up a Buddhist economics framework that integrates Amartya Sen's capability approach with shared prosperity and sustainability. In her Buddhist economics model, valuation of economic performance is based on how well the economy delivers a high quality of life to everyone while it protects the environment.In addition to domestic output (or consumption), measuring economic performance includes equity, sustainability, and activities that create a meaningful life. A person's well-being depends on cultivation of inner (spiritual) wealth even more than outer (material) wealth.
Buddhist economics holds that truly rational decisions can only be made when we understand what creates irrationality. When people understand what constitutes desire, they realize that all the wealth in the world cannot satisfy it. When people understand the universality of fear, they become more compassionate to all beings. Thus, this spiritual approach to economics doesn't rely on theories and models, but on the essential forces of acumen, empathy, and restraint.From the perspective of a Buddhist, economics and other streams of knowledge cannot be separated. Economics is a single component of a combined effort to fix the problems of humanity and Buddhist economics works with it to reach a common goal of societal, individual, and environmental sufficiency.
Buddhist ethics was first applied to the running of a state's economy during the rule of the Indian Buddhist emperor Ashoka (c. 268 to 232 BCE). The reign of Ashoka is famous for an extensive philanthropic and public works program, which built hospitals, hostels, parks, and nature preserves.
The term "Buddhist economics" was coined by E. F. Schumacher in 1955, when he travelled to Burma as an economic consultant for Prime Minister U Nu.The term was used in his essay named "Buddhist Economics", which was first published in 1966 in Asia: A Handbook, and republished in his influential collection Small Is Beautiful (1973). The term is currently used by followers of Schumacher and by Theravada Buddhist writers, such as Prayudh Payutto, Padmasiri De Silva, and Luang Por Dattajivo.
The 1st Conference of the Buddhist Economics Research Platform was held in Budapest, Hungary from 23–24 August 2007.The second conference was held at Ubon Ratchathani University, Thailand from 9–11 April 2009.
Unlike traditional economics, Buddhist economics considers stages after the consumption of a product, investigating how trends affect the three intertwined aspects of human existence: the individual, society, and the environment. For example, if there were an increase in the consumption of cigarettes, Buddhist economists try to decipher how this increase affects the pollution levels in the environment, its impact on passive smokers and active smokers, and the various health hazards that come along with smoking, thus taking into consideration the ethical side of economics. The ethical aspect of it is partly judged by the outcomes it brings and partly by the qualities that lead to it.
The Buddhist point of view ascribes to work three functions: to give man a chance to utilize and develop his aptitude; to enable him to overcome his self-aggrandizement by engaging with other people in common tasks; and to bring forward the goods and services needed for a better existence.
There are a number of differences between traditional economics and Buddhist economics.
Buddhist economists believe that as long as work is considered a disutility for laborers and laborers a necessary evil for employers, the true potential of the laborers and employers cannot be achieved. In such a situation, employees will always prefer income without employment and employers will always prefer output without employees.
According to them, people are unable to feel liberated not because of wealth but because of their attachment to wealth. In the same way, they say that it is the craving for pleasurable baubles and not the enjoyment from them that holds humans back.
Buddhist economists do not believe in measuring standard of living by the amount of consumption because according to them, obtaining maximum well being as a result of minimum consumption is more important than obtaining maximum well being from maximum consumption. Thus, they feel that the concept of being "better off" because of greater levels of consumption is not a true measure of happiness.
Buddhist economics also gives importance to natural, renewable, and non-renewable resources. They feel that non-renewable resources should only be used when most needed and then also with utmost care, meticulously planning out its use. They believe that using them extravagantly is violent and not in keeping with the Buddhist belief of nonviolence. According to them, if the entire population relies on non-renewable resources for their existence, they are behaving parasitically, preying on capital goods instead of income. Adding to this, they feel that this uneven distribution and ever increasing exploitation of natural resources will lead to violence between man.
They also believe that satisfaction need not necessarily be felt only when something tangible is got back in return for giving something or something material is gained, as stated in modern economics. They say that the feeling of satisfaction can be achieved even when one parts with something without getting anything tangible in return. An example is when one gives presents to their loved ones simply because they want them to be happy.
Buddhist economists believe that production is a very misleading term. According to them, to produce something new, the old form has to be destroyed. Therefore, production and consumption become complementary to each other. Taking this into consideration, they advocate non-production in certain cases because when one produces less materialistic things, they reduce exploitation of the world's resources and lead the life of a responsible and aware citizen.
Neoclassical economics is an approach to economics in which the production, consumption and valuation (pricing) of goods and services are observed as driven by the supply and demand model. According to this line of thought, the value of a good or service is determined through a hypothetical maximization of utility by income-constrained individuals and of profits by firms facing production costs and employing available information and factors of production. This approach has often been justified by appealing to rational choice theory, a theory that has come under considerable question in recent years.
Productivism or growthism is the belief that measurable productivity and growth are the purpose of human organization, and that "more production is necessarily good". Critiques of productivism center primarily on the limits to growth posed by a finite planet and extend into discussions of human procreation, the work ethic, and even alternative energy production.
Appropriate technology is a movement encompassing technological choice and application that is small-scale, affordable by locals, decentralized, labor-intensive, energy-efficient, environmentally sustainable, and locally autonomous. It was originally articulated as intermediate technology by the economist Ernst Friedrich "Fritz" Schumacher in his work Small Is Beautiful. Both Schumacher and many modern-day proponents of appropriate technology also emphasize the technology as people-centered.
Wealth is the abundance of valuable financial assets or physical possessions which can be converted into a form that can be used for transactions. This includes the core meaning as held in the originating Old English word weal, which is from an Indo-European word stem. The modern concept of wealth is of significance in all areas of economics, and clearly so for growth economics and development economics, yet the meaning of wealth is context-dependent. An individual possessing a substantial net worth is known as wealthy. Net worth is defined as the current value of one's assets less liabilities.
Simple living refers to practices that promote simplicity in one's lifestyle. Common practices of simple living include reducing the number of possessions one owns, depending less on technology and services, and spending less money. Not only is simple living focused on external changes such as minimalism through fewer commitments or possessions but it also connects to the human's mindset and set of beliefs. These practices can be seen throughout history, religion, art, and economics.
The invisible hand is a metaphor used by the Scottish moral philosopher Adam Smith that describes the inducement a merchant has to keep his capital at home, thereby increasing the domestic capital stock and enhancing military power, both of which are in the public interest and neither of which he intended. Some later authors have broadened this to imply the unintended greater social impacts brought about by individuals acting in their own self-interests. Smith originally mentioned the term in his work Theory of Moral Sentiments in 1759, but it has actually become known from his main work The Wealth of Nations, where the phrase is mentioned only once, in connection with import restrictions.
Ernst Friedrich Schumacher was a German-British statistician and economist who is best known for his proposals for human-scale, decentralised and appropriate technologies. He served as Chief Economic Advisor to the British National Coal Board from 1950 to 1970, and founded the Intermediate Technology Development Group in 1966.
The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions (1899), by Thorstein Veblen, is a treatise of economics and sociology, and a critique of conspicuous consumption as a function of social class and of consumerism, which are social activities derived from the social stratification of people and the division of labor; the social institutions of the feudal period that have continued to the modern era.
Consumption is the act of using resources to satisfy current needs and wants. It is seen in contrast to investing, which is spending for acquisition of future income. Consumption is a major concept in economics and is also studied in many other social sciences.
The Progressive utilization theory (PROUT) is a socioeconomic and political philosophy created by the Indian philosopher and spiritual leader Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar. He first conceived of PROUT in 1959. Its proponents (Proutists) claim that it exposes and overcomes the limitations of capitalism, communism and mixed economy. Since its genesis, PROUT has had an economically progressive approach, aiming improve social development in the world. It is in line with Sarkar's Neohumanist values which aim to provide "proper care" to every being on the planet, including humans, animals and plants.
Gross National Happiness (GNH), sometimes called Gross Domestic Happiness (GDH), is a philosophy that guides the government of Bhutan. It includes an index which is used to measure the collective happiness and well-being of a population. Gross National Happiness Index is instituted as the goal of the government of Bhutan in the Constitution of Bhutan, enacted on 18 July 2008.
A steady-state economy is an economy made up of a constant stock of physical wealth (capital) and a constant population size. In effect, such an economy does not grow in the course of time. The term usually refers to the national economy of a particular country, but it is also applicable to the economic system of a city, a region, or the entire world. Early in the history of economic thought, classical economist Adam Smith of the 18th century developed the concept of a stationary state of an economy: Smith believed that any national economy in the world would sooner or later settle in a final state of stationarity.
Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered is a collection of essays published in 1973 by German-born British economist E. F. Schumacher. The title "Small Is Beautiful" came from a principle espoused by Schumacher's teacher Leopold Kohr (1909–1994) advancing small, appropriate technologies, policies, and polities as a superior alternative to the mainstream ethos of "bigger is better".
The idea of want can be examined from many perspectives. In secular societies want might be considered similar to the emotion desire, which can be studied scientifically through the disciplines of psychology or sociology. Want might also be examined in economics as a necessary ingredient in sustaining and perpetuating capitalist societies that are organised around principles like consumerism. Alternatively want can be studied in a non-secular, spiritual, moralistic or religious way, particularly by Buddhism but also Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
Tibor de Scitovsky, also known as Tibor Scitovsky, was a Hungarian born, American economist who was best known for his writing on the nature of people's happiness in relation to consumption. He was Associate Professor and Professor of Economics at Stanford University from 1946 through 1958 and Eberle Professor of Economics from 1970 until his retirement in 1976, when he became Professor Emeritus. In honor of his deep contributions to economic analysis, he was elected Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association, Fellow of the Royal Economic Society, member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy.
Buddhist ethics are traditionally based on what Buddhists view as the enlightened perspective of the Buddha. The term for ethics or morality used in Buddhism is Śīla or sīla (Pāli). Śīla in Buddhism is one of three sections of the Noble Eightfold Path, and is a code of conduct that embraces a commitment to harmony and self-restraint with the principal motivation being nonviolence, or freedom from causing harm. It has been variously described as virtue, moral discipline and precept.
The economics of happiness or happiness economics is the theoretical, qualitative and quantitative study of happiness and quality of life, including positive and negative affects, well-being, life satisfaction and related concepts – typically tying economics more closely than usual with other social sciences, like sociology and psychology, as well as physical health. It typically treats subjective happiness-related measures, as well as more objective quality of life indices, rather than wealth, income or profit, as something to be maximized.
Sufficiency economy is the name of a Thai development approach attributed to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej's "sufficiency economy philosophy" (SEP). It has been elaborated upon by Thai academics and agencies, promoted by the Government of Thailand, and applied by over 23,000 villages in Thailand that have SEP-based projects in operation.
Relational goods are non-material goods that can only be produced and consumed within groups, and which are intrinsically linked to relationships and interaction. Popular examples include the enjoyment of a football game in a stadium, where the collective enjoyment of the game adds a relational good in terms of excitement and enjoyment to all in the stadium. This constitutes an experience that cannot be had when watching alone. Other examples include group charity work, friendship or reciprocal love. Relational goods can be necessary for the optimization of an activity like the football game example. On the other hand, like Nussbaum suggest, a relational good may be the relationship in itself, with the good being dependent on the existence of the relationship. Friendships is an example of a relationship in which the value that come from the relationship are tied up in the existence and maintenance of the relationship.
Production for use is a phrase referring to the principle of economic organization and production taken as a defining criterion for a socialist economy. It is held in contrast to production for profit. This criterion is used to distinguish communism from capitalism, and is one of the fundamental defining characteristics of communism.