Buddhist Economics

Applying the Dharma to social justice issues – race, religion, sexuality and identity
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Kim O'Hara
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Buddhist Economics

Post by Kim O'Hara » Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:21 am

Posting for a friend - seriously! :smile:
Queequeg posted it on DWM - https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=30443 - asking what people thought of it. I said I thought it was a natural DWE topic, and he was happy to have it posted over here so ...
Queequeg wrote: 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:
:namaste:
Kim

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DNS
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Re: Buddhist Economics

Post by DNS » Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:53 pm

Haven't seen the full work (book, dissertation, or article), but the article in the link doesn't get into the specifics, just a lot of vague, large statements.

Leeuwenhoek
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Re: Buddhist Economics

Post by Leeuwenhoek » Thu Aug 01, 2019 4:36 am

An important introduction to Buddhist Economics available on line is found in the blogs of dharma teacher and professor of economics @ julieanelson.com/category/economics/.

Dr. Nelson says things about Buddhist Economics that reflect my reading of economics and that seem fundamental to a Buddhist understanding.

Prof. Nelson describes herself as: a recently retired Professor of Economics, a writer on gender, ethics, economics, and ecology, a senior dharma teacher at the Greater Boston Zen Center and an avid dancer.
These might seem like wildly different activities, but I’ve found more and more interconnections between them. A major theme on this blog is “mixing it up.” In fact, one of the commonalities I’ve found is how certain habits of rigid, categorical, oppositional thinking tend to mess us up, no matter whether we are talking about spirituality or statistics.

Wikipedia says: Her work focuses on gender and economics, philosophy and methodology of economics, ecological economics, and quantitative methods. Nelson is among the founders and the most highly cited scholars in the field of feminist economics.

A couple of posts to start:

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Buddhist Economics

Post by Kim O'Hara » Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:01 pm

Leeuwenhoek wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 4:36 am
An important introduction to Buddhist Economics available on line is found in the blogs of dharma teacher and professor of economics @ julieanelson.com/category/economics/.
...
A couple of posts to start:
Nelson't points about nuance in our understanding are fair enough but, for me, nuance comes after a basic knowledge or first approximation.
For instance
Crocodiles: dumb but very dangerous. Stay away. They are probably safe if they are in a cage.
Butterflies: harmless and pretty. Their babies eat some plants we like.
Foreigners: mostly good people, just like people from around here. Some of them may not understand everything you say to them.
Nelson doesn't address that first approximation at all. Perhaps she's above such low-level teaching ... or perhaps she is happy enough with BAU.
I'm not.
I would say something like:
Corporations: greedy, amoral, generally won't be good to their workers or their communities except under duress. There are exceptions. Some of them are not too bad.

:coffee:
Kim

Leeuwenhoek
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Re: Buddhist Economics

Post by Leeuwenhoek » Fri Sep 06, 2019 12:09 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:01 pm
I would say something like:
Corporations: greedy, amoral, generally won't be good to their workers or their communities except under duress. There are exceptions. Some of them are not too bad.
Anyone greedy and amoral won't be good. One should be forgiven for thinking that doesn't need to be said in every blog post.

What's more important, I would say, is a more attentive engaged Buddhism that pays more explicit attention to how much greed, attachment, adversion, illusion and unethical actions might be or are present among Buddhists playing political campaigner.

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Buddhist Economics

Post by Kim O'Hara » Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:32 am

Leeuwenhoek wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 12:09 am
Kim O'Hara wrote:
Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:01 pm
I would say something like:
Corporations: greedy, amoral, generally won't be good to their workers or their communities except under duress. There are exceptions. Some of them are not too bad.
Anyone greedy and amoral won't be good. One should be forgiven for thinking that doesn't need to be said in every blog post.
What's more important, I would say, is a more attentive engaged Buddhism that pays more explicit attention to how much greed, attachment, adversion, illusion and unethical actions might be or are present among Buddhists playing political campaigner.
You're misreading me and casting vague slurs in what might be my general direction.

Sigh.

How about responding to the point I actually made?

:coffee:
Kim

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Re: Buddhist Economics

Post by Bundokji » Fri Sep 06, 2019 10:08 am

I think its easy to see why many would link Buddhism to the idea of sustainability, whether it is environmental or economic sustainability. In Buddhist practice, we are encouraged to see the danger of a certain trade-off between short term pleasures/comfort and long term well-being. The choices, as presented to us, seem to make the two mutually exclusive. If we indulge in short term gains (which came to be known as greed), this will negatively affect our long term happiness. Our addiction to our immediate desires has damaging long term consequences on the individual and society as a whole. The individual is not able to see that his/her present actions affects the collective and will eventually come back to haunt him/her in the future.

So, the issue can be presented as the human relationship with time. While immediate pleasure (or selfish actions) is ephemeral in nature and would probably lead to pain in the longer term, this mindset does not arise out of a vacuum. Unsustainable actions seem to alleviate pain in the short term and are more predictable than their longer term consequences. The damaging consequences of this approach are more likely to becomes apparent to humans who spent longer time on this earth (in hindsight). This is why wisdom is often associated with old age (we call it the ways of the elders, or ancient wisdom).

I think acknowledging and appreciating the complexity of the human relationship with time might lead us to be more careful in conceptualizing theories about Buddhist economics or ecology because it does not count for the fact that beings, both at the individual and collective levels, are at different stages of developments. Should indulging in sensuality (such as consumerism) for a young man or woman be considered as foolishness or as a natural stage of their mental and spiritual development is not easy to answer.

Would constructing a theory about Buddhist economics or ecology lead to the same linear way of thinking by overlooking the uniqueness of each case both individually and collectively? Fossil fuel seem to be relatively more sustainable than older ways of producing heat such as burning wood, and nowadays, we are told that renewable energy is more sustainable than fossil fuel. At the time when fossil fuel came to replace burning wood, the longer term consequences of this new (more sustainable) solution were not seen (they are now seen in hindsight). Would that make fossil fuel at the time of introducing it inline with Buddhist economics, and now it is no longer the case? How long its going to take nature to reveal to us the damaging consequences (the shadow) of using renewable energy? and when this eventually happens, should we stop describing it as "Buddhist economics"?
'Too much knowledge leads to scepticism. Early devotees are the likeliest apostates, as early sinners are senile saints.' – Will Durant.

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