Buddhism for a long time has been associated with many things. Thecommon association is spirituality. Many people from around havepractice Buddhism in different ways, either by simple yoga exercisesor by traveling around the globe to visit the temples built forBuddhism. The main aim is to attain mental peace and personalwell-being. As for economics is about goods and services and how theyare produced, distributed and consumed. It is also about acquisitionand utilization of resources. is about attainedfinancial well-being using the teachings of Buddha. They emphasize onethical behavior as we carry out our economic activities.
When a good is produced or manufactured by a company, it createsdemand and the good is sold and distributed to consumers andsatisfies the need. The producers are not considered as long as theyare making a profit. Buddhist economics teaches us to take intoconsideration the effect beyond consumption. In the case of alcohol,it depletes financial resources and leads to family break-ups and aremarkable increase in immorality (Payutto, Prayudh, and Bruce 16).It also leads to ill health in habitual drunks as it kills braincells. Taking into a comparison between western economics andBuddhist economics, it gives clear and very different perspectives onfinancial resources.
The western economies are concentrated on self, and it is aboutpersonal gain or profit. The Buddhist teaches people “Anatta”which means without self. Buddhists believes that a self-centeredapproach will always fail and thinking about oneself will ultimatelylead to personal demise. Economics, in general, focus on gainmaximization and Buddhists on reducing pain and losses. Withfinancial gain or loss, desire in a major component and approachesfor both western and Buddhists economics is entirely different.Buddhists focus on simple financial desires, way down to the basicsrequired for life (Schumacher 56).On another hand, the value attachedto wealth, fuel the desire to have more and leads to accumulation.
The Buddhists view of the market is different as compared to thewestern economies that saturate the market. The Buddhists believe ina non-violence view-point “ahimsa,” which means to avoid thesituation that will cause personal suffering or loss to some else.Selflessness taught in Buddhists economics and minding theconsequences from every action taken in the pursuit of financialindependence help a lot in remaining connected (Zadek 28). Thebelieve that being selfless and working selflessly as a group willpromote and accelerate financial gain but at the same time being surenot to cause negative consequences to the people affected by thedecisions made.
Buddhism teaches interdependence so as to work together and beconnected as they share ideas on their creativity on certain issuesand seek contentment with what you have. This creates a suitableplatform for incredible ideas without all the desire to acquire moreand more wealth. When planning a country’s economy, it isappropriate to apply principles of Buddhism to plan to the generalgood and better standards of living.
Human labor should be appropriately managed, as much as financialgain is the aim of both the approaches. Buddhist teaches itsfollowers to treat people working for them with a certain amount ofrespect. This set up a community where the resources areappropriately co-own and equally distributed and mainly focus on thebeauty of any given resource (Zadek 60). Buddhists view that thereshould be meaning and creativity to work being carrying out toprovide for a better and more quality life. That it should just workfor financial gain but also for making life much better for everyoneinvolved and not causing conflicts as we work. Buddhism keeps intofocus the use of renewable sources of energy like the solar and windthat are environmentally friendly and don’t cause much damage forclimatic changes through global warming.
Western economics focuses on any easily and cheap sources of energylike oil and gas every though they pollute the environment and causessignificant climate changes that leads to erratic climate patternsaffecting agriculture (Schumacher 13). It also views machine betterat production, but it does not dismiss human input entirely becauseit requires human input for proper coordination and utility. Thiswill cause unemployment (Payutto, Prayudh, and Bruce 45). Inconclusion, both approaches have their benefits and disadvantages,hence borrowing ideas from either side will help brings changes whereneeded.
In conclusion, this paper presented a reflection on the article onthe Buddhist economics and the way it impacts the way the moderneconomy runs. First published in Asia, thehandbook has been interpreted into over 27 diverse languages and inthe year 1995, the London Times Literary Supplement regarded itas one of the hundred most prominent writings done after World WarII. Buddhists economics are therefore not just religion based withtheir foundation anchored on their beliefs, but also a raft ofchallenges and information that the present modern economy requiresfor change.
Payutto, Prayudh, and Bruce Evans. "Buddhist economics–a middleway for the market place." (1994).
Schumacher, E. F. "Buddhist economics." Gaian Economics(1968): 114.
Zadek, Simon. "The practice of Buddhist economics?."American Journal of Economics and Sociology 52.4 (1993):433-445.