globalize barriers are coming down and societies are being given a bird's eye view of the inner workings of other cultures. One of the most important aspects of any given culture or society is the economic aspect. The economic policy and practices of any culture or group sets the tone and stage for the success or failure of that group of people. The economic policies of a particular group or society is often founded in the overall beliefs and traditions of that culture. If the society it predominately single minded in the concerns that the individuals have, and those individuals believe in the good of the one more than the good of the whole then the society may use a capitalist system of economic policy by which to exist. Conversely the alternative economic standards include the Buddhist Economics which overall is a different structure, would not survive in a capitalist society such as the United States. This paper will explore both systems of economic policy and practice and then apply it to the question of whether the Buddhist system would succeed in the United States.
The globalization process is bringing the world together in ways that have never happened before. Today, cultures and societies are examining each other's methods and adopting those that they believe will improve their own. The economic systems and structures of any system provide the backbone of that culture or society by providing bargaining power and negotiating clout. This holds true not only on a national level but also as a collective group of individuals.
Recently there have been heated debates regarding the current and future most effective system On the one hand the world witnesses the success of capitalist ideas and practices. Some of the wealthiest humans on earth live and work in the United States with its capitalist economic system. However, when one examines the current state of affairs in the United States economically one will be able to discover several serious downward spirals which point to a possible problem with it. Another system that has been coined the "Buddhist economic" system has been suggested as a replacement for Capitalism in the United States and around the world. The Buddhist economics system incorporates an expectation of success while not focusing on the narrow concerns or profits of a single person in every instance. The Buddhist economic system has been receiving attention in recent years as it gains popularity for the purpose of discussion in economic circles. There are experts who believe the Buddhist economic system is the best solution for curing the ills of the current United States economic slump. While it is true that the U.S. has suffered several major set back recently including the downfall of Enron, the answer is not to replace the system with Buddhist Economics. "Buddhist economics, along with the ideals behind it, would not work in a capitalist society such as the United States." We have built ourselves around a material mentality that would prevent the adoption of Buddhist economic/general, values and principles. It simply would not work on a widespread U.S. scale.
In "Building a Win-Win World: Life Beyond Global Economic Warfare," by Hazel Henderson the author explains the value system. "Values are the dominant variables driving not only technological but economic systems."
She also discusses the good of the whole vs. The good of the individual that seem to separate the capitalist system from the Buddhist system.
The very value system that all economic systems are dependant on create the underlying reason that the Buddhist system would not work in the United States. Each system determines its own value system and what is important to that system. The Capitalist and the Buddhist system have several values that seem to be different enough to prevent a dovetailing of the systems.
Before one can begin to explain why the Buddhist economics system would not work in a capitalist society such as the United States it is important for one to understand each system and their workings.
The capitalist system is the system by which the United States has existed and built itself on for more than two hundred years. The system of capitalism is over viewed as the most successful economic model on earth. It is characterized by several key elements. The elements that drive the capitalist system include private property ownership, the individual competition for the purpose of economic gain, and something called free market forces.
The free market forces is the system by which the merchants and society determine the price of services and goods that they wish to offer the consumer.
The system of capitalism is built on the belief that state and business activities should be separate. It further believes that a system should be strong enough on individual effort, profit and merit to survive and grow without the interference by government agencies and offices. It is referred to as private business or private enterprise. While there are situations in which private businesses provide contractual work or services for government need the government does not choose the business to provide those services except through a bidding process.
The capitalist system is based on the belief that the government's only role should be to regulate and make sure that the protection of the laws of the land are enforced.
The basic aspects of capitalism are: liberty, competition, rule of supply and demand, invisible hand of market as the only regulator. The incomes are diversified, however this diversity is strongly connected with work, efforts, knowledge and creativity of each individual."
The capitalism has been developing during several centuries. The 19th century was the period of its biggest triumph, especially in the United States, where the free market was fully operating. It led to incredible, greatest in human history, development and increase of the standard of life of the average people. 20th century brought the processes of destruction of real capitalism by the various forms of socialism."
While the system was extremely successful and creative and served an important purpose for the foundational needs of this nation it is important to understand that recent years have seen a problem with what used to be only measured success. The system has begun to erode because of the very largeness that it allowed to grow and develop.
The free market is essential for the development and wealth, and its lack leads to poverty, crisis and economic stagnation. Nowadays, despite the fact that most of the countries still has socialist or etatist economies, many factors indicates that it is possible to turn to the capitalist way, as the socialism and etatist are to expensive and absolutely inefficient. The example of this positive changes is the limitation of tariffs on the fast several years with the possibility to total abolition of tariffs soon. "
The underlying theme to Buddhist economics is about liberation from confines of need and greed that are often the backbone of a capitalist system. The capitalist system is built completely on the quest and acquisition of material goods through barter or cash or credit. The Buddhist economic system is based in liberation and freedom from such confines. Simplicity is stressed within the idea of Buddhist economics and this simplicity means not only with material and physical things but with the attitude about the need for having material things.
The ownership and the consumption of goods is a means to an end, and Buddhist economics is the systematic study of how to attain given ends with the minimum means. Modern economics, on the other hand, considers consumption to be the sole end and purpose of all economic activity, taking the factors of production -- land, labor, and capital -- as the means. The former, in short, tries to maximize human satisfaction by the optimal pattern of consumption, while the latter tries to maximize consumption by the optimal pattern of productive effort. Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered, by E.F. Schumacher."
The principles of Buddhist economics revolve around the belief that there are things more important than material gain. The need to utilize and develop his faculties is important as well as overcoming ego centeredness. In addition bringing forth the services and the goods that are needed for existence is included in the three elements that the Buddhist economics are built on.
The Buddhist economic system provides a foundational belief that there are elements other than material gain that are important. If one wanted to liken it to something in art one could discuss the process vs. The product. Many times, in art arenas the artists have said that they enjoy the process of art more than the actual product. Buddhist economics can provide the same type of picture. The process of working attaining, goal setting and actions can be as rewarding as the actual material goal that will be derived from these things.
Again, the consequences that flow from this view are endless. To organize work in such a…