Ideas of Buddhist economists are foreign to those of western civilization. In a nation where business profit is the number one priority, ethics in Western economics are rarely given the same importance. In Buddha’s Eightfold Path is the principle to Right Livelihood. This means that one must live in such a way that does not bring harm or violence to another being, in all aspects of life, including how one obtains their wealth. This brings about the matters Buddhist feel western economists neglect in their efforts to consume toward happiness. In E.F. Schumacher’s Essay, Buddhist Economics, he contrasts the ideals of Buddhist economists with those of Western economists regarding the issues of the nature of work, the benefits of mechanization, the relation between material wealth and human well-being, as wells as the use of natural resources. To many, Buddhist ideals are too idealistic and not reality. I believe an integration of Buddhist values into those of Western economists would be ideal in making a strong economy that maximizes profits all the while maintaining moral and ethical behavior.
We often hear the advice that in order to truly be happy you must enjoy what you do. Buddhist economists feel this is true, and that one’s work should be something that helps shape character and not just a means of income. Which they feel is in contrast to those of modern economist who find labor as source of wealth. The author describes the relationship of labor from an employer’s point of view as a cost which is constantly trying to be reduced. As much as this may be true, if a company wishes to remain profitable it must find ways to reduce its cost which often include labor. However, an employer should find other ways to reduce costs and remember that how much they are willing to pay employees for their labor will show them how much they are valued which will influence their performance. E.F. Schumacer also argues that the...
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