Five College Consortium

Buddhist Economics

Subject Name: 

Critical Social Inquiry

Course Number: 
Hampshire College
What is Buddhist economics? How does it compare to modern, mainstream economic and capitalist thought? Existing economic systems do not seem to be sustainable, for the planet or for the majority of people in the world. Based on the philosophy of utilitarianism, mainstream economics claims to seek the greatest good for the greatest number. In theory, this approach sounds appealing, but in practice it translates to producing and consuming as much stuff as possible, without regard to who does and does not get to participate. Buddhism offers a different philosophy and set of potential economic practices, seemingly more suitable for environmental and social sustainability. In this course, we will critically compare different economic systems and philosophies, exploring interpretations and practices, grounding them in socio-economic and political contexts, and how they deal with issues of socio-political power and social justice. We will use case studies to compare and contrast how value is assigned, and how abstract economic ideas may be put into practice and what obstacles they face. We will explore different forms of development, from the international model and various alternative approaches. Why do most countries in the world subscribe to a Western notion of economics and its set of values? Could a Buddhist economic model provide greater well-being for more people? Is a Buddhist economics possible?

Power, Community and Social Justice Multiple Cultural Perspectives Writing and Research

Instructor Permission: 
Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.
Schedule #: 

Course Sections

Buddhist Economics
Sect # Credits Instructor(s) Instructor Email Meeting Times Location
1 4.0

Susan Darlington;Helen Scharber;

02:00PM-03:20PM T,TH

Franklin Patterson Hall 108