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Lions Roar : March 2017
Professor Clair Brown: Free market economics says that everyone can increase their happiness and life satisfaction by buying and consuming more. That’s how humans become more content, happier, and satisfied—by consuming more. In Buddhist economics, happiness is defined by the concept of intercon- nectedness. All people, all beings, are interdependent with each other and with nature. Happiness comes from making sure people lead comfortable, dignified lives and interact with each other and nature in a meaningful, caring way. So one system defines happiness from a material point of view and the other is an economic system that cultivates non-material happiness. That’s right. In the free market system, you chase goods to become happy. As Buddhists, we know that happiness doesn’t come from filling up your closet. So we move from a closet-full economics to a mind-full economics. T he starting point of your new book, Buddhist Economics, is that the goal of any economic system is to create human happiness. How does the free market system define happiness and how is the definition in Buddhist economics different? BUY LESS, LIVE MORE UC Berkeley economist CLAIR BROWN argues for an economic system based on altruism, sustainability, & a meaningful life. Because even economics is about more than money. THE PROMISE OF BUDDHIST ECONOMICS LION’S ROAR | MARCH 2017 45