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Über dieses Buch

Living in a market-driven economy where short-term profit and economic growth appear to be the ultimate goal, this book explores how Buddhist teachings could bridge the divide between our spiritual and material needs and reconcile the tension between doing good for social interest and doing well for financial success. This book serves as a pioneering effort to systematically introduce Buddhist Economics as an interdisciplinary subject to audience with limited background in either Buddhism or economics. It elaborates some core concepts in Buddhist teachings, their relevance to economics, and means of achieving sustainability for individuals, society and the environment with the cultivation of ethical living and well-being. Through scholarly research from relevant fields including Buddhist studies, economics, behavioral finance, cognitive science, and psychology, this book illustrates the relevance of Buddhist values in the contemporary economy and society, as well as the efficacy of Buddhist perspectives on decision-making in daily life.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

The Subject and Framework

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. What Is Buddhist Economics?

Abstract
This chapter introduces Buddhism and market economy for readers with limited prior knowledge of the fields. Buddhist Economics as an evolving and interdisciplinary subject looks into the intersection of spiritual and material well-being. It also explores from the Buddhist perspective how we could change Market Economics to better serve humans. Both Buddhism and market economy comprise a wide range of theories and cannot be generically explained by a single school of thought. The core motivation for Buddhist Economics is not to fulfil the missions of the market economy by applying Buddhist principles. It is however an insightful exploration on how Buddhist values could drive sustainable decisions and address some of the challenges the market economy encounters in the twenty-first century.
Ernest C. H. Ng

Chapter 2. The Four Noble Truths: A Decision-Making and Problem-Solving Framework

Abstract
The Four Noble Truths of Buddhist teachings are explained in this chapter as a decision-making and problem-solving framework applicable to our world of conditioned existence. Some unique characteristics and contributions of this framework, comprising (1) suffering, (2) cause, (3) cessation, and (4) path, are thoroughly reviewed. This framework could be applied to facilitate a deeper understanding of the realities of the market economy by (1) identifying the problems with market economy; (2) exploring some of the drivers behind these challenges and dissatisfactions; (3) offering potential solutions through Buddhist Economics; and (4) discussing possible operating models of practicing Buddhist Economics.
Ernest C. H. Ng

The Suffering

Frontmatter

Chapter 3. What Is the Problem with the Market Economy?

Abstract
This chapter looks into the nature of economics as a subject and introduces the concepts behind the notion of the market economy. It identifies and analyzes some important challenges and shortcomings with market economy, particularly when the market economy operations have encroached into human spirituality and values. These values drive human behaviors and economic decisions. The standard economic model failed to explain past economic crises, let alone making reliable predictions about human behaviors in the future. Many negative effects of market behaviors are not fully considered in economic transactions, causing substantial damages to individuals, society, and the environment.
Ernest C. H. Ng

The Cause

Frontmatter

Chapter 4. Drivers Behind the Shortcomings of the Market Economy

Abstract
This chapter looks into the drivers behind some of the challenges and shortcomings of the market economy. In particular, it discusses how an economy driven and motivated by the principle of profit and the principle of rationality could affect our life decision-making and sense of well-being. It also addresses how some of the controversies arisen when principles of the market economy become the prime reasoning and objective behind our daily decisions. The problems of the prevalence of market influence in every domain of human activities are analyzed. In addition to reviewing the need for certain moral limits of markets, this chapter also reflects on the relevance of market in human well-being and happiness.
Ernest C. H. Ng

The Cessation

Frontmatter

Chapter 5. Buddhist Economics Theory

Abstract
This chapter evaluates how Buddhist doctrines address some of the challenges and shortcomings of the market economy and presents approaches developed by Buddhist Economics. While both the market economy and Buddhist Economics may share the same objective of pursuing happiness, they differ in the definition of happiness and the means to pursue happiness. The chapter first expounds on some of the defining features of Buddhist Economics, then compares these features with that of the market economy. In this comparison, it illustrates the significant contribution of Buddhist Economics as a strategy and a way of life in any economic setting at any time.
Ernest C. H. Ng

Chapter 6. Buddhist Ethics and Moral Life

Abstract
Buddhist ethics and its theory of moral life is explained in this chapter as an important component of Buddhist Economics. While there are many ways to define morality, Buddhist theory of moral life is built upon its insights as an ethical way of living, i.e. causing no harm to oneself, other human beings, non-human beings, and the natural environment. The potential contributions of Buddhist ethics to sustainable decision-making and human well-being are further explored here.
Ernest C. H. Ng

Chapter 7. Buddhist Wisdom and Defining Principles

Abstract
Another important component of Buddhist Economics, wisdom, is discussed in-depth in this chapter. In particular, two key Buddhist teachings, namely the doctrines of “dependent arising” and “selflessness” and their significance for Buddhist Economics are examined. These doctrines present the distinctive world-view of Buddhist philosophy with reference to the construction of self, impermanence, suffering. Unlike market economy which focuses on the reality of self, the experience of self, and the external conditions experienced by the self, Buddhist teachings explain that the notion of “self” arises dependent on other conditions. The relationship among selflessness, impermanence, and suffering is further explained here.
Ernest C. H. Ng

Chapter 8. Interconnectedness, Competition, and Collaboration

Abstract
Building on the understanding of the doctrines of dependent arising and selflessness, this chapter further assesses the relationship between the notion of interconnectedness, competition, and collaboration in the context of market economy versus that of the Buddhist Economics. It presents Buddhist perspectives on competition and collaboration in the midst of modern economic developments. True collaboration and social transformation could be achieved by each one of us through individual practice of selflessness and awareness, transcending personal development to the social level.
Ernest C. H. Ng

The Path

Frontmatter

Chapter 9. Envisioning a Different “Growth Model”

Abstract
This chapter expands the discussions from the fundamentals of Buddhist Economics theory to daily life practice. It reflects on the concept of economic growth, costs and benefits of economic growth and how Buddhist Economics can contribute to sustainable economic growth. There are different aspects to look into sustainability, but sustainability of throughput would better account for both positive and negative inputs and outputs in the process. The concepts of frugality, uneconomic growth, and the Buddhist perspective on work and right livelihood are also analyzed herein.
Ernest C. H. Ng

Chapter 10. Alternatives to Profit-Driven Economic Growth Models

Abstract
This chapter evaluates some select sustainable growth models that could serve as alternatives to the profit-driven market economic growth model and showcase Buddhist values and principles. Some innovative and alternative economic and business models such as the United Nations 8 Millennium Development Goals and 17 Sustainable Development Goals, gross national happiness (GNH), and Sufficiency Economy are presented to illustrate the potential of applying principles of Buddhist Economics at the macro, societal, and environmental levels. Buddhist perspectives on the interaction among individual, societal, and environmental levels illustrate the importance of individual efforts and sound top-down plans of development.
Ernest C. H. Ng

Chapter 11. Making Sustainable Decisions in Daily Life

Abstract
Switching from the macro to the micro level, this chapter looks into the empirical aspects of Buddhist Economics and investigates some potential changes it inspires in our daily life. It introduces in further detail the Threefold Training, the Five Precepts, the Bodhisatta vows, and other Buddhist trainings as references for possible guidelines for implementing Buddhist values in daily activities in the market economy. It offers potential models to look into how Buddhist Economics could be adopted and practiced at the individual level.
Ernest C. H. Ng

Chapter 12. Implications for Business, and for Social and Environmental Change

Abstract
In this final chapter, the implications of Buddhist Economics on individuals, society, and the environment are examined. The central question asked is whether there are practical applications of Buddhist teachings in the market economy. With some examples from different sectors, this chapter assesses the potentials and results of applying Buddhist teachings in contemporary economy and society. A sustainable transformation framework toward Buddhist Economics is also proposed. It involves a six “I”s strategy from individual to integral; from independence to interdependence; and from ignorance to insight.
Ernest C. H. Ng

Backmatter

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