Monday, January 14, 2013
Ernest Friedrich Schumacher’s essay “Buddhist Economics” was first published in 1966 in the book ASIA: A HANDBOOK. In 1973 it was included in Schumacher’s book SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL: ECONOMICS AS IF PEOPLE MATTERED. This 47 year old essay jewel contains much wisdom for how we need to refocus our economy if we want to have a healthy and prosperous world. What follows are some of the core concepts from the essay.
We need to admit that our current economic system based on unlimited exponential growth on a finite planet has reached the end of its useful life, and that it continued use is causing serious problems for our State and our Planet.
We need to revise our view of work to see that its true value comes from the following three functions:
1. allowing people to utilize and develop all their skills and talents;
2. enable them to overcome ego-centeredness by joining together with other people in a common task;
3. and to bring forth the goods and services needed for our communities to thrive.
We need to realize that using local resources to satisfy local needs is to most efficient way to a sustainable future.
We need to adopt an environmental ethic where we no longer view our “natural resources” as simply means to create more goods and services - and instead start to embrace the reality that we are completely dependent on and part of the ecosystems that sustain us.
We need to significantly reduce our energy consumption, phase out the use of non-renewable energy sources and transition to the use of renewable energy sources.
These five ideas will go a long way in guiding us to a sustainable future.