Buddhist Economics – That’s Bull Crap Sir

12/03/2010

Lanka Rising wrote an article titled “Buddhist Economics – Beyond Capitalism” on 10th March 2010. It was a classic example of what sinhala-buddhist, nationalist loons write when they are unable to successfully argue against concepts and theories like comparative advantage, free trade, free market economy etc… Lanka Rising knows that he can’t logically argue and disprove a theory of Comparative Advantage, because since it’s introduction in 1817 by David Ricardo, no one has ever successfully proven that it’s wrong and that it doesn’t work. But he really wants to promote an Autarkic (self-sufficient) Economy. So what does he do? He writes a platitudinous article that has absolutely no real arguements, yet written well enough for him to feel important, and for other loons like him to feel proud… He begins by saying “The capitalist approach of life is to focus more fundamentally on the underlying motivation of buying and consuming so many resources for good quality of life. Though our society often seeks to buy happiness, materialism very frequenty fails to satisfy, and may even increase the level of stress in life”… Then, after writing a lot of nonsense, he proposes Buddhist Economics as an alternative. The nature of this Buddhist Economics is not clear. But he says ” people who live in a highly self-sufficient local communities are less likely to get involved in large-scale violence.” So I take it that that is what he wants: an Autarkic economy… Ah, now we know what he was coming for. He wants an autarkic economy, and knows that he cannot promote that with a theory like comparative advantage hanging around. He can’t disprove it, so he rejects capitalism entirely, claiming that it cannot make a man happy… I believe a man who wants a car and has a car is happier than a man who wants a car and does not have a car, provided that nothing else affects their happiness or unhappiness. Obviously a self-sufficient economy cannot give the second man a car. So the only way this kind of economy can make a that man happy, is by making that man NOT WANT a car. First, how Lanka Rising intends to do that, making a man NOT want a car? Secondly, even if he finds some crazy way (probably extra-terrestrial) make the man NOT want a car, is that what an economy should do? Making people NOT want things? … Finally, makes himself a joker by saying that we should use an index called “Gross National Happiness (GNH)” to measure a country’s development instead of Gross National Product. This should make any sane person laugh. I’m not even going to comment on this. Patali Chamipika Ranawaka developed a similar index some time ago, which made Brazil the best place to live on earth while making Sri Lanka 30 or 31st place. Did that make us any happier? Bull crap sir.

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6 Responses to “Buddhist Economics – That’s Bull Crap Sir”

  1. maf Says:

    there are many different economic models that can work. from my assessment of your blog – you tend to be quite libertarian in your views but funnily enough not to dissenting opinions :)…

    capitalism has failed in the recent past, and Ricardo’s great treatise still stands, however the capitalist ideology may not be for all – and we should accept that.

    as an aside – what are Sri Lanka’s comparative advantages other her geographical position?

  2. lefroy Says:

    I don’t think I’m a libertarian because for me, rights aren’t only negative, they are positive. I think of myself as a social liberal… A liberal tolerates dissenting opinion. So I believe you and Lanka Rising have the right to say whatever you want to say. But that doesn’t mean I should agree with anything you say. That doesn’t mean I couldn’t mock the things you say either. Only thing I couldn’t and shouldn’t do is banning you from saying things… Capitalism hasn’t failed. I don’t think the economic crisis has changed anything. I advocate a social market economy and if anything, I think the economic crisis has shown that it’s better than free market economy. But Social Market Economy doesn’t at all reject capitalism. America is still a capitalist country and it’s still the most powerful nation on earth, and one of the better places to live. Don’t you think so? … Your question “what are Sri Lanka’s comparative advantages other her geographical position” leads me to believe that you have confused comparative advantage to absolute advantage.

  3. maf Says:

    we seem to be getting into a semantic exchange: by libertarian – i meant a classic liberal. Libertarianism is the view that each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others.- from Libertarianism: A Primer by David Boaz

    Incidentally I view myself as a libertarian or a social liberal as you define..:)

    with regards to capitalism failing recently: I was talking about the greed is good culture that triggered the great depression and the great recession and seems emblematic of the worst of capitalist culture. The point i was reaching for rather badly was that capitalism has its downfalls and some level of protection is necessary and that economic systems that include the social element should not be discarded.

    If you look at the emergence of the US vs Europe’s economic systems you see the difference between unabashed capitalism and a more socialist model. the US’ economic principles are based for the most part on individual freedoms and the right to make choices with the govt role as reduced as possible in an individual’s day-to-day existence. the western European model has evolved from feudalism to social democracy and tends to be geared more to the welfare of the state. the current debate in the US about healthcare for all is emblematic of this difference. In the US some 10-15% of the population can be left behind and the top 10-15% see nothing wrong with it. The proportions in Western Europe are much smaller (less than 1% in my opinion).

    The point of all this is that religion based economic systems do provide a social net and we should not loose sight of those at the other end of the economic spectrum when marching forward.

    with regards to Comparative Advantage vs Absolute Advantage – I was actually thinking back to the this article by Krugman and worded it rather badly: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/21/a-globalization-puzzle/

    i am not sure if it is a stylistic thing but it would help in reading if you could your para breaks once in a while 🙂

  4. maf Says:

    i forgot to answer your question with regards to about living in America. I have lived in the US and Europe and must say that I prefer living in Europe. However I much prefer Sri Lanka 😉

  5. lefroy Says:

    @maf. I have no idea what on earth you are talking about. I gather that you are Social Liberal (since you support welfare). So am I. I support welfare. But then what’s that about me being libertarian (liberal?) to dissenting opinion? Could you explain to me what you say and why you say it? … About capitalism. Yes I do believe capitalism has it’s weaknesses and that’s why I’m a social liberal. Otherwise I would’ve been a libertarian (someone who opposes welfare). I advocate a society like that of in Europe. But unlike Marxists, or people like Lanka Rising who doesn’t have a theory, I don’t believe capitalism has failed. European countries are capitalist. Even Lanka Rising thinks they are capitalist… Marxists and Lanka Rising believe capitalism has failed. At least Marxists have an incorrect solution. Lanka Rising have none. That’s the problem I’ve got with his article. It’s not clear what kind of economy he’s proposing. But it seems, whatever he’s proposing, there should be a mechanism to make people not want things. That is just ridiculous. How can you make people not want things? Is he proposing we should make it compulsory for everyone to meditate on the futility of life? … About Krugman’s article. I’m not a big fan of Krugman. But I can’t see what does his article has to do with your question. Can you explain what you mean to accomplish by referring to that article?

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