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Review of Clair Brown’s Book on Buddhist Economics

Laszlo Zsolnai published a review about UC Berkeley economist Clair Brown’s book “Buddhist Economics – An Enlightened Approach to the Dismal Science” in Journal of Management, Spirituality & Religion (Vol. 16, 2019, No. 2, pp. 231–233).

Zsolnai emphasizes that Clair Brown’s book is a major contribution to the field of Buddhist economics and fits in the new reality “Hothouse Earth” characterized by much higher global average temperature than any interglacial in the past 1.2 million years and sea levels significantly higher than at any time in the Holocene. In such a world, mindful consumption and compassion with all sentient beings (human and non-human alike) is a prime duty of all of us.

Clair Brown is a well-established economics professor at UC Berkeley. What is the real novelty of Clair Brown’s book is that it connects Buddhist economic thought with the latest results of Western economics and presents a coherent and robust vision of a Buddhist economy. The book is endorsed by eminent scholars including Nobel Prize winning economists Amartya Sen and George Akerlof.

In her book Brown developed a set of policies which can help to go forward to a Buddhist economy. These policies include taxes and transfers, supporting green production, and providing living wages. Actions that governments can take are (i) tax and regulate carbon and consumption; (ii) share prosperity at home, (iii) keep fossil fuel reserves in the ground, and (iv) share green technology to create prosperity around the world.