Wishes unlimited and the world economy

28 07 2008

By Economicsfairy

 

A very interesting idea concerning economics and spirituality came to my mind when I started to read more about Buddhism. Apparently, one of the Buddhists’ goals is to “eliminate” all sorts of wishes, because they see them as the root cause for all our suffering. Quite on the contrary, modern societies rely heavily on people and their never-ending wishes (and have set up enormous marketing machines to make sure that there will always be new ones). Capitalism is entirely built on people wanting more and more and more …Our daily lists of wishes (at least the ones money can buy) are the oil in the machineries of modern market economies.

 

I really wonder sometimes what would happen if people just stopped wishing and shopping like lunatics? What if one day we all woke up and said to ourselves: Hey, today I’m just going to buy some basic foodstuff, I don’t need these new fancy shoes and I also don’t need the latest computer games. What would happen if that mood continued and spread around the world? Would the world economy break down? And would that be good? Wouldn’t all the suddenly unemployed suffer greatly?

 

Or would we all together be able to “calm down” and live an easier, more shared, more joy- and meaningful life? I don’t know. But I think that at the moment our societies keep big illusions going – growth illusions, wealth illusions, happiness illusions (being under the illusion, that this is helpful).

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3 responses

28 07 2008
teasome

Have you read Small is Beautiful by Schumacher? There is a chapter called ‘Buddhist Economics’ 🙂

29 07 2008
Anonymous

I don’t remember this chapter(Buddhist economics), should examine it again. I feel that elimination of desires is not a simple process; most people need to learn it the hard way.

Experiencing sorrow from what you most desired. The American economy which has taken a big blow after the sub prime crisis is one such example in which the banks tried to make big bucks by turning their loans (which they had lent) into securities. This caused excess liquidity with banks and hence cheaper loans for public and sky rocket went the land prices.
Every one was frolicking with joy with a strong housing market, blinded by greed, the bulls and the banks continued investing in housing securities. As soon as the bubble went burst, the same innovative housing security market became the worst ever sub crime crisis in banking history (Trillions of dollars have vanished).
As a major consequence United states now sees on of the highest interest rates (credit crunch) the era of easy money is suspended, the bankers and customers who have lost money this time round have learn it the hard way, and I am sure this will cause the bulls and banks to meditate before slipping into a similar illusion next time around.

6 08 2008
Katkins

I have just read `Enough: breaking free from the world of more`. It is by journalist John Naish and I think that it would contribute to this debate. The whole thesis is about how we need to start living with ènough`. The chapter headings are: enough money, enough stuff, wenough growth, enough happiness etc etc. Found it interesting although the author comes across as rather self-righteous. He also seems to really want to be religeous – keeps taking about how we all need a sabbath, ie a rest day, to say grace before meals and thank-you before we go to bed, to pray and meditate ….however he is very careful to keep reitterating how much of an athiest he is.

This seems a little unparsimonious.

More blog on this at a later date.

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