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Friday
Aug302013

Brodbeck's Buddhist Perspective on Economics

Today’s capital economy not only structures society to assure a huge divide between have-gots and have-nots, it also structures our human psyches to divide us from our best capacities. Instead of spiritual beings predisposed to finding and expressing the love that unites us with one another and all Creation, the money-interest-property economy urges us to transcend ourselves by seeking more money. In this way it redefines greed from vice to virtue and proposes egoism, not the deeper spiritual Self, will bring us our richest life.

The “spirituality of money” that the above paragraph expresses is being increasingly critiqued by religious leaders and teachers. Ulrich Duchrow, a European friend of Jubilee Economics, writes about how this critique is unfolding in interfaith meetings around the globe (See his latest book, Transcending Greedy Money: Interreligious Solidarity for Just Relations, or read my review elsewhere on this website.)

Karl-Heinz BrodbeckDuchrow enthusiastically cites the work of Karl-Heinz Brodbeck, a Buddhist economist, as one example among many who have come to see that modernity as a whole, and the global capital economy in particular, are belief systems that have been chosen by those in power and designed to their advantage. As Brodbeck speaks out of his Buddhist spirituality, he urges us to detach from the assumptions on which the modern capital belief system proceeds and to connect deeply with the power of spirit that is available to us and most to be trusted for escaping the illusion that “More” will save or satisfy us.

Having applauded Brodbeck, Duchrow summarizes: “If we want to change the system, we have, at the same time, to motivate people to be transformed in their consciousness, transcending the spirituality of money.” 

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