Term Paper: Globalize Barriers Are Coming Down

Pages: 12 (3243 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Economics  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Equally, to strive for leisure as an alternative to work would be considered a complete misunderstanding of one of the basic truths of human existence, namely, that work and leisure are complementary parts of the same living process and cannot be separated without destroying the joy of work and the bliss of leisure."

We may be witnessing the opening battles in a new kind of politics that will raise basic questions about growth -- questions that defy the conventional left-right divide. Where the old politics was largely concerned with the role of government -- with the relation between public and private sectors -- the emerging one will be more concerned with such issues as central vs. local, market culture vs. family and community culture, material accretion vs. quality and values."

Buddhist economics is based in the belief that the current success of the capitalist system is about to crash and burn. The underlying cause of this belief stems from a disapproval of the capitalist method of doing things. The method, including Americans are so focused on becoming material successes that there is little time devoted to pleasure and enjoyment.

A distinguished monk and a foremost buddhist scholar, Payutto has devoted his service to the layman's understanding of the buddhist doctrine, the foundation of which he rigorously combines with other disciplines, including economics. In his remarkable, and very readable, work, "Buddhist Economics: The Middle Way for The Marketplace," Payutto combines his interpretation of Dhamma with the force of economics at work to illustrate a profound way in which economics should be treated, understood and practiced."

From the very beginning of the theory and principle Buddhist economics believes and evokes a stoic-like society. This means that ethical standards come above profit or success. The belief that ethical standards are extremely important is something that is laced throughout the Buddhist economic principle but is only recently being discovered in American businesses. This difference can have the potential to hurt American Asian business relations if not handled well.

Payutto goes so far as to embrace the Buddha's teachings as the foundation of truth, relative truths or ultimate truth, whichare related to good and evil. In this sense, Dhamma is used to describe the conditions or the cause and effects, the process by which all things exist and function. In conventional economics, when there is a demand for, say, whisky, it is supplied by production -- growing grain, distilling it into liquor and distributing it to the consumers.

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," Payutto says."

The Buddhist economic principle doesn't stop there either. It goes on to mandate the reason for production and services. According to its theory and principle goods a services are only supposed to meet need. There is not supposed to be an ego need to fill lives with things and services that are not necessary for survival and living. Those who follow the Buddhist economic methods do not worry about pleasure of flesh and senses according to experts in the field. They consider such desires to be vain, egotistical and otherwise self serving.

It follows that goods and services in the Buddhist society are consumed only to maintain the well-being and not to serve the pleasure of the flesh or the senses, without any specific purposes. Spiritual enlightment is the ultimate purpose of a Buddhist society, whereas in capitalism, ever higher standards of living, material possessions or more wealth is the final tenet."

Buddhist economic principle argues that the creation of things is notning more than a change in things. If one destroys materials to make a product that is necessary for the life or survival of the consumer it is a change of elements, not a destruction of something. Conversely Alan Greenspan argued not long ago that the process of production is actually the destruction of one for the benefit of the other.

On this front, Payutto's approach is quite different from what Alan Greenspan tried to explain in a recent speach at the University of California, Berkeley. Greenspan argued that the accumulation of American wealth is not a work of "new economy" or any miracle, but a continuing process of "creative destruction" whereas the old regimes are destroyed to give way for the new. Greenspan said the American economy, like all advanced capitalist economies, is continually in the process of what Joseph Schumpeter decades ago called "creative destruction."


The question of Buddhist economics being applied in a capitalist society such as America is one that has been debated in many economic discussions. While it is a heart warming thought and idea to apply the non-ego standards to the American system of economics in reality it would not work. The American public is used to a capitalist system and has been for two centuries. To try now at this point in history to move to a Buddhist economic principle would be impossible for many reasons.

There has been a recent interest in the melding of religion and economics in many areas of the world. The Buddhist economic principles measure the economic elements against the religious principles to make sure that the greed is not peeking through. The Buddhist faith is founded in lack of self. They do not believe it is important to fulfill one's egotistical desires but it is more important to fulfill one's spiritual need and path. This carries over into many areas of life and provides a foundation for the theory to refuse greed and product. It instead takes the religious concern with love of life and others and places it in the arena of economics. The process of making a product in the capitalist nations is something that must be done. It is not usually enjoyed, or admired or desired for the sake of desire. It is only done and looked forward to so that the product an be realized and the consumers can garner and own them.

OVER RECENT YEARS there has been an increased interest in the relationship between religion and that most down to earth subject, economics. The reason for this developing debate is in itself of considerable interest, and is certainly relevant here. It concerns the central question of whether we can believe any longer that the secular trajectory of economic development typical of industrialized countries is sustainable over the long, or possibly over the not so long, term. One mirror image of this question is whether role of "religion" or faith, in some shape or form, offers a basis for evolving more effective mechanisms for survival, let alone reasonable levels of well-being, for the majority."

When one discusses are weighs the possibility of a Buddhist economic structure in a capitalist environment such as America one has to take into consideration the very base difference in the two system, along with the fact that the Buddhist system employs the tenets of the faith, while the capitalist system works hard to keep business and religions remain separate and apart.

In considering the possible effects of Buddhism on the economic performance of a society, the discussion has concentrated on influences of "Buddhist behavior" on the process of wealth creation. More specifically, it has been assumed that wealth or income is the endogenous variable to be maximized subject to a variety of possible "constraints," particularly the behavioral outcomes of Buddhism. The discussion above has demonstrated that there is far greater ambiguity in the influence of Buddhism on the process of wealth creation even if we assume that this is the sole interest of economics."

From the Buddhist perspective, work has value in and of itself. It is a source of personal fulfillment, livelihood, and community. There would be no appreciation of leisure without work, of night without day, of good without evil."

People in a capitalist society, including Americans, claim to have this mindset but in reality they don't. The work for a Buddhist is of value and brings pleasure just in the doing where the American wants the result.

The Buddhist economic theories and practices would not work in an American society for another reason. In addition to the problem of why work is performed being different in the two beliefs there is also what the end result should be. In the Buddhist economic system the work and production of product and services is for no other purpose than basic living needs. In America the residents have had two hundred plus years of gaining material wealth and equating their happiness with the number of toys and items that they have managed to acquire. The Americans have… [END OF PREVIEW]

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