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What Money Can't Buy - Developing a Buddhist challenge to capitalist economic values

by Vaddhaka

'Anyone who believes in indefinite growth of anything physical on a physically finite planet is either mad or is an economist.' - Kenneth Boulding

In this excellent, yet somewhat disturbing talk, Vaddhaka has a close look at the nature of capitalisms economic theory. How are we as buddhists supposed to engage with an economic system that arguably elevates tanha - egoistic craving, one of the root poisons - into the position of a high virtue.

Although there is much that the buddhist tradition has to offer in response to capitalist theory there is reason to think that contemporary buddhists have not yet sufficiently risen to that challenge. The Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Zizek even goes as far as to say 'Although western Buddhism presents itself as the remedy against the stressful tension of capitalist dynamics, allowing us to uncouple and retain inner peace and 'Gelassenheit', it actually functions as its perfect ideological supplement'

Is this true. Do we simply carry on with our own practice, working to transform ourselves, ignore what's happening in the world around us, and hope for the best.

This talk was given during the Central European Order Forum at Vimaladhatu Retreat Centre, Germany in december 2012.

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