December 04, 2009

Can the Buddha save the economy?

Somewhere between John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman sits the Buddha. Here's how Stefan Padfield, assistant law professor at the University of Akron, puts it over at Akron Law Cafe:

[W]hat I’m really interested in is this idea that one can in fact neatly separate centralized government and the private sector.  And this is where the Buddha comes in. Buddhism, as I understand it, includes a belief that “all existences are not discrete and separate but are interdependent.”

And if we had paid closer attention to the Buddha's teaching, Padfield reasons, we might have spared our financial institutions collapse:

Arguably, our failure to recognize the interconnectedness of the various players in our markets was part of the problem.  Conversely, a greater appreciation of the interconnectedness of all things might lead us to adopt regulation limiting the ability of entities to get "too big to fail" or for keeping better track of the various financial derivative dominoes.

In another post Padfield dredges up the old question about whether greed is good. No mention of the Buddha here, and Padfield acknowledges he doesn't have the answer to this one. I do know something about greed, though (who doesn't?), and it's what's more likely to get me to favor regulation. As for dependent origination, I'm still working on it, but if I did understand it, I don't know that I'd be keeping track of "financial derivative dominoes." But you never know.

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Rob Wells's picture

The net result of the "cleverness" at the corporate level is that instead
of the shit rolling downhill, they have now created a turd that rolls uphill.
abundant blessings.
Plastic jungle

Marguerite Manteau-Rao's picture

Truth is Buddha could take care of most of world's ills . . . if only enough of us, would follow his footsteps. Meanwhile, it's going to be suffering as usual.

Deep bow,

marguerite

Stefan's picture

Thanks for linking to my blog. Here's another you might find interesting, entitled "Faith and Corporate Law: What Would Buddha Do?": http://www.ohioverticals.com/blogs/akron_law_cafe/2009/05/faith-and-corp...

Namaste,

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