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In the present context of the world, the chain of economics and happiness as I see it is, money is necessary to fulfill one's basic necessities (even if not luxuries), to earn money we need jobs, to make jobs we need to manufacture things, to sell things that have been manufactured, they have to be marketed and people have to be eventually 'desire' to buy these items and feel that they are happy to keep the chain alive.

But because of this chain, for example the automobile industry, we have more cars on road, more pollution, more environmental and health issues and so on.

So I was thinking if there is a better economic model which we can learn and devise from the teachings of the Buddha. Is there some other method we can adopt to reinvent this chain and relation between economics, happiness and consumerism? I do understand that real 'happiness' as taught by the Buddha and the happiness that one obtains by practising meditation is the way ahead to limit our desires and achieve a balance in the world. On these lines, I read something on 'Sufficiency Economics' briefly and felt it was a good topic.

I wish to ask if anyone can provide references to any other topics or books that relate economics, consumerism and Buddhism that offer a practical solution to a really happy world.

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    A related topic: Is modern capitalism inherently opposed to Buddhism?
    – ChrisW
    Feb 21, 2016 at 12:38
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    Are you interested in topics which relate to nations (e.g. "What national economic policies could Bhutan implement?") Or advice for smaller groups of people, e.g. companies and cooperatives? Or advice for individuals (what's a right attitude towards working for a living)?
    – ChrisW
    Feb 21, 2016 at 13:12
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    The right attitude towards working for a living for individuals has already been questioned and answered in this forum elsewhere I guess. My question pertains to ideas for practical implementation of the Buddha's teachings for larger groups, be it organisations or nations. Basically, a sustainable and implementable economic policy in the conventional sense of the world, based on the Buddhas teachings. Feb 21, 2016 at 13:41
  • It's possible that an expert economist is more likely to answer this than an expert Buddhist. You're asking for references to books about economics. Therefore you might get answers if you ask on the Economics.SE site. Also a Google search returns several results (including a Wikipedia article).
    – ChrisW
    Feb 21, 2016 at 18:47

4 Answers 4

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This is not directly related to economics but Buddha's Ten Royal Qualities (Dasa Raja Dharma) is an excellent guidance to handle a country and thereby the economy as well.

Check this link to get an idea: THE CURRENT RELEVANCE OF DASA RAJA DHARMA

Here's a very brief extract/summary from that article:

The promise of dasa raja dharma (ten principles of Buddhist governance) has been a trademark emotional appeal that our rulers have used to win elections.

  1. Dana -- Liberality, generosity, charity.
  2. Sila -- a moral character.
  3. Pariccaga -- sacrificing everything for the good of the people.
  4. Ajjava -- honesty and integrity.
  5. Maddava -- kindness and gentleness.
  6. Tapa -- austerity of habits.
  7. Akkodha -- freedom from envy, ill-will, enmity.
  8. Khanti -- patience, forbearance, tolerance, understanding.
  9. Avihimsa -- non-violence, which means not only that he should harm nobody, but that he should try to promote peace by avoiding and preventing war, and everything which involves violence and destruction of life.
  10. Avirodha (non-opposition; nonconfrontation) as they are related though not the same.
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I believe this market based economist who are highly influenced by the capitalist nature basically they come from a University where these things are taught to them and their brains are programmed in that way and these people are taken as advisors to the government and they provide the solution of higher consumption in the economy higher consumption is the main evil, though for a short period of time higher consumption could lead to higher economic growth but in long run it destroys the basic human nature, consumers become monsters and they want higher consumption at any cost and if consumers are unable to afford it they are provided with credit cards, so borrow more and more to consume and ultimately people loose their peace of mind with such high level of debt and what is the cause of this suffering? Its higher consumption!!

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  • How is this answer related to Buddhism?
    – ruben2020
    Feb 2 at 11:18
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"In the Buddhist view, when consumption enhances true well-being, it is said to be successful. On the other hand, if consumption results merely in feelings of satisfaction, then it fails. At its worst, consumption through tanha destroys its true objective, which is to enhance well-being. Heedlessly indulging in desires with no regard to the repercussions often leads to harmful effects and a loss of true well-being. Moreover, the compulsive consumption rampant in consumer societies breeds inherent dissatisfaction. It is a strange thing that economics, the science of human well-being and satisfaction, accepts, and indeed lauds, the kind of consumption that in effect frustrates the realization of its own objectives.

By contrast, right consumption always contributes to well-being and forms a basis for the further development of human potentialities. This is an important point often overlooked by economists. Consumption guided by chanda does much more than just satisfy one's desire; it contributes to well-being and spiritual development. This is also true on a global scale. If all economic activities were guided by chanda, the result would be much more than just a healthy economy and material progress -- such activities would contribute to the whole of human development and enable humanity to lead a nobler life and enjoy a more mature kind of happiness."

~ Bhikkhu P.A. Payutto "Buddhist Economics: A Middle Way for the Market Place" https://www.urbandharma.org/udharma2/becono3.html

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Buddhas aren't in the business of teaching how to be happy. Sorry.

The real deal is concerned with freedom from circumstances, including the ones you're particularly worried about. As it just so happens, this freedom typically brings a kind of happiness but it's only the perfume of the main game.

Work on yourself. This will help others immeasurably.

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    This was posted as an answer, but it does not attempt to answer the question -- please see Answers vs Advice on Meta.
    – ChrisW
    Feb 22, 2016 at 11:27
  • It answered a more relevant question and brought the focus back towards Buddhism. Answering people's questions all the time is just feeding their craving for power over intellectual knowledge. It does not help them.
    – Cameron
    Feb 23, 2016 at 0:25
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    Did you read the meta-topic I linked to? If someone wants to ask a question about Buddhist art (or culture, or economics, or about a school or practice of Buddhism that you don't agree with) then site policy is to answer that question (or refrain from answering it if you don't want to answer it), but if you can try to avoid posting a non-answer.
    – ChrisW
    Feb 23, 2016 at 16:27
  • How exactly are you meant to help someone if you aren't allowed to tell them they're asking the wrong questions? Or is this place more about feeding the ego's desire for intellectual knowledge rather than helping humanity? Hmm?
    – Cameron
    Feb 24, 2016 at 2:26
  • Well Mr.Cameron, Lord Buddha gave the teaching for one purpose and that is to be free from suffering and reach true happiness. Lord was also kind enough to give us tips to make it in the world while we are at it. If anything Buddhism is about being happy and how to be happy in a temporary manner until a person reach permanent happiness. @Cameron
    – Theravada
    Feb 24, 2016 at 23:47

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