Skip to content

Buddhist Economics: An Overview

Clair Brown and Laszlo Zsolnai published a paper on “Buddhist Economics: An Overview” (Society and Economy 40 (2018) 4, pp. 497–513.).

The authors stress that Buddhist economics approach as it has been developed in the last 40–50 years aims to create an alternative worldview that challenges the main underlying assumptions of Western economics.

Clair Brown (UC Berkeley)

The mainstream Western economics model is originally based on the following assumptions: rational, selfish behavior; profit-maximization; competitive markets; and instrumental use of the environment. Buddhist economics is based on a different set of assumptions: dependent origination, where people are interdependent with each other and with Earth; people are aware of enlightened self-interest based on interdependence and thus are altruistic; firms care about the well-being of workers, customers, shareholders, and community; and all activities include caring for the environment. With these assumptions, the Buddhist economic model has shared prosperity in a sustainable world with minimal suffering as its goal.