Economic systems and the Buddhist world view: the 21st century nexus
The possibility of a fruitful dialogue between Buddhism and economics has generally been repudiated in Western social science discourse. This situation is now changing in recognition of the key role of both social norms and beliefs, and economic matters, in current global political and military tensions, environmental problems, and efforts to change institutions and economies to bring higher levels of welfare. Even within mainstream economics, there are increasing efforts to incorporate socio-cultural influences into the assumptions and analysis of economic behaviour and activities. These developments provide a new basis for mutually beneficial exchange between studies of the economic dimensions of society, and the offerings of the Buddhist world view, logic and potential problem-solving approach. This paper describes some key features of "Buddhist economics" and builds upon Schumacher's original ideas and other more recent work concerned with the close correspondence between economic (or "livelihood") aspects of human life and the philosophy, world view, and practice of Buddhism. A systematic comparison of the relevant dimensions of Buddhism and neoclassical economics demonstrates that Buddhist philosophy has intrinsic economic implications and highlights the potential relevance and value of integrated socio-economic analyses for application in the contemporary global context.
Journal of Socio-Economics
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