The Challenge of Global Capitalism: The Perspective of Eastern Religions

David R. Loy

in Making Globalization Good

Published in print April 2003 | ISBN: 9780199257010
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596223 | DOI:
 The Challenge of Global Capitalism: The Perspective of Eastern Religions

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The moral ecology of global capitalism is examined from an Eastern religious––and particularly a Buddhist––perspective. David Loy first points out that Buddhism does not depend on a theistic revelation of values and behavioural norms in the way that Abrahamic religions do; rather, it should be thought of as a philosophy revealing the path each of us must walk in order to obtain a wisdom that realizes the true nature of the world, including the true nature of oneself. Such a credo is translated into a pragmatic and undogmatic attitude towards wealth creation, property, and social justice, and to global capitalism as an economic system––Buddhists judge the ’religion of the market’ (as Loy puts it) by the individual and social values it promotes; in this respect, it is found wanting, as all too often it endorses, and even encourages, self aggrandisement, merit‐seeking, and materialism, all of which are unwholesome traits according to Buddhist teaching. To achieve a more morally acceptable economic system, Loy recommends that greater emphasis should be placed on the value of such virtues as social responsibility, compassion, generosity, and wisdom, each of which, far from undermining the benefits of global capitalism, would help ensure a better quality of life for people and a healthier society. To achieve some of these goals, Loy accepts the necessity for top‐down regulatory measures and incentive systems by governments, but believes that, in the long run, only a wider acceptance and spontaneous upgrading by individuals and institutions of the values that Buddhists hold dear will help raise the moral profile of global capitalism.

Keywords: Buddhism; capitalism; compassion; generosity; global capitalism; government; moral ecology; morality; responsibility; social responsibility; values; virtues; wisdom

Chapter.  9670 words. 

Subjects: International Economics

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