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date: 18 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Despite the strong historical relationship between the early Indian Buddhist saṅgha and the merchant classes, Western scholars have for only a few decades explored in detail the deep and abiding connections between Buddhist ideas and practices and the broad sphere of human activity called ‘economics’. This chapter investigates the connections between Buddhist ethical teachings and economic ideas and practices, particularly in the context of modernity. After analysing the concept of ‘economics’ as it has been understood and employed in Western and Asian thought, it moves into a discussion of economic ethics for the Saṅgha and laypersons, both in the early tradition and in the East Asian cultural context. Finally, the chapter provides a critical examination of more recent attempts to formulate a ‘Buddhist economics’, focusing in particular on both the problems and possibilities of such in the work of E. F. Schumacher and P. A. Payutto.

Keywords: Buddhist economics, economic ethics, labour, capitalism, Marxism, communism

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