This is Part 2 of Buddhist Economics: Economics As If People Mattered.
The Buddhist approach is that consumption is merely a means to human well-being. The aim should be to attain a maximum of well-being with a minimum of consumption. It would also be considered salutary to produce much of what is needed for human well-being by one’s own hands rather than being a total participant in the cash economy. This is anathema to capitalist economists and bankers who thrive on interest from bank loans in order that consumers can purchase more stuff on borrowed money and go into more debt.
Without debt based economics, Wall Street would be out of business and GDP would be lowered because GDP only measures cash transactions not self-subsistent production. Consumption represents 70% of US GDP. Western economics considers consumption to be the end all of economic activity. Buddhist economics considers economic activity to be that which is necessary for liberation of the spirit and for the provision of the right amount of goods and services without gorging on them. [Read more…]