And I return…

…to “Small is Beautiful”.

Simplicity and non-violence are obviously closely related. The optimal pattern of consumption, producing a high degree of human satisfaction by means of a relatively low rate of consumption, allows people to live without great pressure and strain and to fulfill the primary injunction of Buddhist teaching: “Cease to do evil; try to do good.” As physical resources are everywhere limited, people satisfying their needs by means of a modest use of resources are obviously less likely to be at each other’s throats than people depending upon a high rate of use. Equally, people who live in highly self-sufficient local communities are less likely to get involved in large-scale violence than people whose existence depends on world-wide systems of trade.

From the point of view of Buddhist economics, therefore, production from local resources for local needs is the most rational way of economic life, while dependence on imports from afar and the consequent need to produce for export to unknown and distant peoples is highly uneconomic and justifiable only in exceptional cases and on a small scale. Just as the modern economist would admit that a high rate of consumption of transport services between a man’s home and his place of work signifies a misfortune and not a high standard of life, so the Buddhist would hold that to satisfy human wants from faraway sources rather than from sources nearby signifies failure rather than success. The former tends to take statistics showing an increase in the number of ton/miles per head of the population carried by a country’s transport system as proof of economic progress, while to the latter—the Buddhist economist—the same statistics would indicate a highly undesirable deterioration in the pattern of consumption.

This is not to make a point against Free Trade. It is to say that Free Trade is a wonderful idea, but in a Buddhist social & economic structure, not in a market centric capitalist one. It is not such an imaginable idea. And no, this is not to make a point for socialism.

“Hobbes, Gandhi says “Simple Living”.

“Hey, look, an iPod.”

“Where, where?”

“Yes, you were saying…”

“Hey, look, it’s the MotoChic”

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Posted on March 3, 2005, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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