The practice of Buddhist economics?: Another view
                                                 by Simon Zadek
                              American Journal of Economics & Sociology
                                           Vol. 52 No. 4 Oct.1993
                        Copyright by American Journal of Economics & Sociology
     ABSTRACT. The guidance provided by Buddhism about forms of economy is
     examined, focusing on individual and social aspects of Buddhist
     practice, rather than a literal readings of the canonical texts. The
     case of the village-level development organization in Sri Lanka,
     Sarvodaya Shramadana, illustrates issues concerning Buddhist
     approaches to organization at the micro level. The impact of the
     Buddhist institution of the laity supporting monks on economic growth
     is considered, and the role of material welfare in a Buddhist
     conception of development. This examination of Buddhism suggests that
     its practice reveals insights into approaches to economy.
                                The Question
OVER RECENT YEARS there has been an increased interest in the relationship
between religion and that most down to earth subject, economics. The reason
for this developing debate is in itself of considerable interest, and is
certainly relevant here. It concerns the central question of whether we can
believe any longer that the secular trajectory of economic development
typical of industrialized countries is sustainable over the long, or
possibly over the not so long, term. one mirror image of this question is
whether role of "religion" or faith, in some shape or form, offers a basis
for evolving more effective mechanisms for survival, let alone reasonable
levels of well-being, for the majority.
This paper is part of this evolving debate. Its starting point is the able
contributions made by Frederic Pryor in this journal about the relationship
between economics and Buddhism (1990; 1991). The possibility is explored of
taking the debate beyond his focus on the canonical texts into the
heartland of Buddhism, into "practice" itself. Indeed, the broad
proposition here is that Buddhism offers considerable insight into our
economic conditions and practices, but that an appreciation of these
insights requires that one takes one's starting point as the "practice,,
rather than the purely theoretical or ethical aspects of Buddhism.[1]
                     The Practice of Buddhist Economics
PRYOR STATES at the beginning of his first paper ("A Buddhist Economic
System-- in Principle") that his "discussion of ideas in the formal
Buddhist canonical sources does not tell us anything very specific about
how Buddhism is actually practised today" (1990:340). Pryor maintains this
focus in his second paper ("A Buddhist Economic System--in Practice"),
despite its declared interest in "practice" rather than "principle"
(1991:17). Pryor's work is an important contribution to the field, since it
is necessary to explore the literal meaning of original texts with respect
to matters of ethics and their possible implications for economic
practice.[2] However, this approach also has its limitations. Texts (even
"original" ones) are produced in a particular social, political and
economic context. Their interpretation therefore needs to take account of
both our understanding of that context, and the context in which we find
ourselves today. The comments in this paper are therefore an attempt to
edge sideways towards such an approach as a contribution to building
bridges between the relationship of the texts to economics (as done by
Pryor), and some of the day-to-day "realities" of economic and spiritual
life. That is, since Buddhism is fundamentally concerned with a set of
values realizable only through "practice," let us turn towards the puzzling
question of what might be the practice of Buddhist Economics.
                              On Organization
MOST TRADITIONS OF SOCIAL ANALYSIS argue that the well-being of individuals
and groups is intimately related to the ethics and rationale of social
organization. The Buddha, on the other hand, is often viewed as seeing
increased well-being as arising from only individual practice, rather than
through the development of particular forms of social organization. Indeed,
the Buddha, argues Pryor, "had little concern for society as such and
little conviction of its possible improvability" (1991, 20). The
implication of this apparent approach has been that the meaning of the
"small-scale" philosophy implicit in Buddhist economics (Schumacher, 1973)
has remained largely divorced from analysis of larger-scale, modern
This divorce is not, however, either necessary or desirable. one route to
establishing some relationship between the two is to consider the link
between Buddhism and the organization of "community."[3] Chakravarti, for
example, argues that the Buddha modelled the Sangha (the orders of the
monks) on the ganasangha (Chakravarti, 1992). The ganasangha were one sort
of political, territorial "clan" that existed in what is now northern India
around the time of the Buddha, about 6th century BC. Two key features of
these clans were that its members exercised a collective power,[4] and held
all assets as common property. The organization of decision--making in the
Sangha broadly follow the same lines; "no social divisions are
recognized-there is the metaphor of people who come, and like the four
streams, merge together. Decision is through consensus. You try to
accommodate all points of view, but if that fails, then the majority
opinion counts" (Chakravarti, 1992:16). This world of the monks is to be
contrasted, argued Chakravarti, to the janapadas, the world of the laity.
Decision-making in this lay world was dominated by the kings and the
ganapathis (the owners of property who never work for anyone else). Here,
decision-making structures were strictly hierarchical, and included little
or no process of consultation with the wider populous.
It is wrong to conclude, therefore, that the practice of Buddhism does not
offer insights into the matter of social organization, even if Pryor is
right in arguing that the canonical texts do not suggest that the Buddha
advocated one or other form. In particular, the form of social organization
of the Sangha described by Chakravarti suggests that communal,
non-hierarchical forms of decision-making were seen as offering an aid in
discarding the pressures of desires rooted in the Self (ego), and thus an
aid to achieving nibbana (nirvana). Thus, while the Buddha saw the process
of production (and reproduction) as key elements in the generation of greed
and the loss of compassion (Chakravarti, 1992 16), he also saw that the
actual structure of decision-making could support or impede a transcendence
of these existential shackles. Pryor certainly recognizes this. So,
although he insists that the Buddha understood that social conditions could
never be fundamentally bettered, he agrees that they "might help or hinder
humans in their search for nibbana" (1991 :20).[5] However, Pryor's
decision to focus on the texts rather than practice draws him away from
exploring this in more detail.
                              Buddhist Action
THE HISTORICAL ROOTS of the notion of Sangha reflect that Buddhism concerns
first and foremost the "practice of being" rather than any "philosophy of
becoming." It is, therefore, critically necessary to consider the
implications of the Buddhist signposts in today's society. The real
achievements of people attempting to act in the imperfect world according
to the tenets of Buddhism offer the only meaningful understanding into what
Buddhism does or does not contribute to our manner of living. The
difficulty of this approach, of course, is that the records are so diverse.
The experiences of communities influenced by Buddhism range from the
inspirational direction taken by the community of exiled Tibetans through
to the role of Buddhist nationalism in the current civil war raging in Sri
Lanka (Chapela, 1992). The limits of this paper, and of the author, does
not allow for any comprehensive assault on this daunting subject. However,
it is possible to offer a simple illustration of how Buddhist principles
are applied in pursuit of social transformation.
The illustration draws from the experience of the Sarvodaya Shramadana
Movement ("Sarvodaya") in Sri Lanka. Sarvodaya is a community organization
working to improve the situation of people in rural areas throughout Sri
Lanka (Zadek and Szabo, 1993). Important here is that the philosophy and
imagery through which Sarvodaya's aims and approach are articulated are
drawn from a combination of Gandhian and Buddhist principles (Ariyaratne,
1985; Macy, 1984). Underpinning Sarvodaya's work is the view that social
action and change must seek to achieve spiritual transformations, and so
bring forward both compassion and wisdom in people's social relationships,
and also in their relationships to themselves and nature (Batchelor and
Brown, 1992).
The critical feature of Sarvodaya's method is embodied in its approach to
village-level consultation and mobilization. Sarvodaya has evolved a
process of decision-making at village level which would in secular
"development vocabulary" be called participative decision-making (Chambers,
1992; Max-Neef, 1991). This includes, for example, meetings of the entire
village in family gatherings, and the formation of groups within the
village (women, youth, elders, etc), who are then encouraged to articulate
their own needs and the path by which those needs might be achieved
(usually with some technical, organizational or material help from
Sarvodaya). That is, the way to break the vicious circle of poverty, loss
of dignity, passivity, and ultimately selfish attitudes towards others, has
everything to do with the process of decision-making within the community.
Where it was possible to create more open and equal dialogue between the
members of the community, and sometimes outsiders, this supports a process
of growing self-awareness of needs and capacities, a recovering of
self-dignity, and ultimately, spiritual development.
The important place of "economic development" in Sarvodaya's work arose
from the very real needs of its constituencies in the rural areas of Sri
Lanka (Ariyaratne, 1988; van Loon, 1990). The explosion of violence in Sri
Lanka from the early 1980s, in particular, further accentuated an already
declining economic situation throughout the country, which struck most
deeply at the weakest members of the community (Athukorala and Jayasuriya,
1991). At the same time as recognizing this need, Sarvodaya continued to
view improvements in material standards of living as instrumental to
achieving a broader sense of well-being. However, this perspective, while
consistent with the movement's Buddhist beliefs, proved difficult to act
out in practice. As the material lacking of village communities became more
extreme, Sarvodaya came increasingly under pressure to act in practice more
like a service-delivery agency, offering credit, business development
advice, etc., rather than attempting to maintain the links between economic
and broader spiritual development (Perera et al, 1992; Zadek and Szabo,
Whether Sarvodaya has been successful in its economic and broader
activities is a matter of considerable debate. Some point to the lack of
definitive material advancement of its village partners as a sign of
failure; others argue that the disruptions caused by the civil war makes
such observations of little worth, and that material advancement is in an
case not the key indicator of success. This paper, since it is not intended
as an evaluation of the organization's work, does not attempt to adjudicate
in this debate. However, the paper does illustrate the types of actions and
forms of organization that might arise from people rooted in Buddhist
perspectives, and the kind of tensions that can built up around such
                         The Practice of Sarvodaya
IT IS FUNDAMENTAL to Buddhism that "practice" does not only concern
external "actions," however laudable, such as those described above.
Practice in Buddhism concerns the matter of one's own level of development,
which is then reflected in one's actions, rather than vice versa. It is
therefore useful to consider briefly the matter of Sarvodaya's practice as
reflected by its own processes of organization and decision-making.
In this context, Chakravarti's description of the traditional
organizational forms of the Sangha and the laity is useful. Sarvodaya
embodies a curious mixture of both forms. The Sarvodaya model clearly
attempts to replicate in some ways the design intended for the Sangha,
particularly those aspects that stress the communal basis of
decision-making. However, this model was, as we have said, designed with
the community of monks in mind, not the laity. Thus, the model was
considered in the context of the separation of monks from the processes of
production and reproduction, which is of course precisely not the situation
of the village communities with which Sarvodaya is engaged. That is, the
Sarvodaya model of village-level decision-making draws its inspiration from
the Buddhist texts, but applies it "out of context" in terms of a literal
reading of those texts. This should not be taken as a criticism. Rather, it
highlights the need to consider the "practice" rather than only the texts
of Buddhism when attempting to understand what is its relationship with the
very practical world of economics.
What becomes apparent in looking at the decision-making processes in the
core of Sarvodaya itself (rather than what happens in the villages with
Sarvodaya facilitation), is a lack of what would conventionally be
understood as participation or formal consultation. So, for example,
although there is a form of family gathering that occurs at the
headquarters of Sarvodaya, the deference of the mass of Sarvodaya workers
towards its President, Dr Ariyaratne, and senior managers limits the
possibility of serious grievances or policy issues being fully aired. More
generally, the organization has a hierarchic decision-making structure that
enforces the rights of managers at the center to make decisions, without
ensuring formalized feedback processes, let alone any constituted rights of
Sarvodaya workers to participate in the process of formulating these
Great care must be taken in analyzing these broad observations to avoid a
denigrating caricature, or equally a rose-tinted ideal, to supplant a
meaningful analysis of the relationship between the practice of Buddhism
and social organization. Two particular approaches have constituted the
historical pattern of analysis of Sarvodaya. The first, which is broadly
the argument of those within the organization, is that it is the pressures
from the international donor community to professionalize and become a
"delivery mechanism" for aid that has resulted in this top-down form of
decision-making. In this sense, the organization form is seen as a Western
transplant that has little or nothing to do with Sri Lanka or Buddhism.
There is, indeed, considerable evidence to support this analysis as a
partial--but not a complete--explanation (Zadek and Szabo, 1993).
International donors have been particularly influential since the early
eighties, dominating key processes of organizational change up to the
current time.
The second viewpoint, held by many of Sarvodaya's opponents, is that its
autocratic form of organization has evolved from the very social structures
that it aspires to oppose, and the (ego-based) interests that its Buddhist
tenets renounce. There is also some support for this argument. It is clear
that traditional patterns of paternalism are at work within the
organization. This reflects, rather than opposes, some of the least
attractive features of traditional society in Sri Lanka. Certainly this is
the case regarding the acceptance of the principal of hierarchy and the
place of women within that hierarchy.
A third view, and that held by the author, is that whilst the two preceding
views are both valid as partial explanations, a further factor is at play
that, while more difficult to describe, needs to be appreciated for any
thorough analysis of the relationship between Buddhism, economics, and
social organization. This other factor might be referred to as a "state of
receptivity," and could be seen within Buddhism as concerning the matter of
compassion. It is certainly the case, for example, that Dr Ariyaratne takes
many important decisions himself, often without any formal or explicitly
structured process of consensus seeking. At the same time, there is no
doubt as to his concerns for the rights and wellbeing of villagers, and
people at lower levels within Sarvodaya. The question needs to be asked
whether it is necessary to consider the importance of a nonstructural
variable which concerns the extent to which a person or organization has
developed a receptivity towards others, a condition that might be seen to
be an aspect of compassion.
This third view would be largely unacceptable to most Western social
analysts. A compassion not reflected structurally in institutionalized
rights and practices would be seen as paternalistic in the extreme, from
these perspectives, and so worthy only of rejection and replacement. At the
same time, it is precisely whether such formal structures of democracy
really mean that there is real social participation that is increasingly
being questioned, particularly in the "newly democratized countries" of
Eastern Europe and elsewhere. Furthermore--and almost certainly as a part
of this questioning process--there is a steady growth in research geared
towards interpretations of communication patterns that do not rely solely
on formalized, "tangible" structural relationships (Levin, 1989; Varela et
al, 1992). However, although such works are both scholarly and radical
attempts to describe these non-structural relationships, they continue to
be viewed with some skepticism by those that approach the subject without
any engagement in the practice being discussed.
The relationship between Buddhism and social organization cannot be
undertaken effectively without some movement of the analysis towards an
approach that looks at the practice of those concerned, both in action and,
more importantly, within themselves as individuals and as groups. There are
problems in interpreting Buddhist-inspired attempts at social organization,
such as Sarvodaya, because any real initiative reflects many aspects of
society, both good and bad. More important, perhaps, is that the practice
of Buddhist economics requires that one move beyond an analysis that
focuses only on formal aspects of social relationships, one that looks at
the immediate terms of the relationships being considered, which may
include aspects that one might call empathy, or receptivity.
THIS ANALYSIS OF PRACTICE can be taken forward into an analysis of
macroeconomic change. Pryor begins this task through the use of a
straightforward macroeconomic model (1991). The more that the laity give to
monks, he argues, the less will the economy grow. Furthermore, if reaching
nibbana depends on being freed from the conditions of production and
reproduction (i.e. requires one to be a monk), then the best strategic
approach to pursue in maximizing the number of people in a society that can
reach nibbana is to ensure that the economy grows fast. In this way, he
concludes, it will be able to support increasing numbers of nibbana-seeking
(but otherwise unproductive) monks. There is, in short, a trade-off between
some enlightenment now, and more enlightenment in the future.
There is an inclination when faced with a model of this kind to dismiss it
for its simplified nature and mechanically-determined conclusions. However,
Pryor has clearly (if somewhat brutally) articulated an argument that,
partly because it has a distinguished lineage, should be taken seriously
(Weber, 1958). There are several ways in which Pryor's proposition can be
viewed. Firstly, the argument is empirically non-trivial in that
significant proportions of total income are known to be transferred to the
temples in Buddhist societies. Suksamran, for example, reports that this
proportion can and has been as high as 55% of the total income of some
communities in Thailand (1977). Indeed, the widest held view of the impact
of Buddhist-infiuenced behavior is, as Ling states, that "surplus material
resources are devoted to economically unprofitable ends" (1980-580). It is,
however, incorrect to assume that resources transferred to the
"monk-sector" should be treated entirely as "consumption." Ebihara, for
example, reports that some resources passing through the "monk-sector" in
Cambodian peasant society are used to provide social services, such as
health care and education, that would likely be made available through
another route in a non-Buddhist society (1966). Indeed, traditional
development theory supports the view that such "social" expenditures are
critical components of long-term investment strategies, a view which could
quite easily be incorporated into a somewhat more complex version of
Pryor's macroeconomic model (World Bank, 1990). Ebihara continues that a
further proportion of such resources flows directly into construction and
other economic activities. Such expenditures should also be interpreted
differently from straightforward consumption, even if it is temples rather
than factories that are being built. Public policy theory acknowledges, for
example, the potential significance of public works expenditure on private
sector investment decisions and training, apart from the direct multiplier
A somewhat different perspective concerns what Pryor refers to as
radiation. Radiation concerns the effect on society of giving resources to
the monks, irrespective of its use. Thus, he states, that "Buddhists hold
that any appropriate dhammic action inevitably leads to an increase of the
material welfare of the community" (1991:18). Pryor offers an interesting
although ambiguous, mixture of interpretations of the meaning or root of
radiation. First, he quotes Reynolds and Clifford's argument that, "as a
result of the monk's pure and selfless actions, the laity flourish"
(Reynolds and Clifford, 1980:62), but does not attempt to explain exactly
what is meant by this. Next, although he notes that the king legitimizes
his position through giving (selflessly) to the monks, he makes no attempt
to examine what might be the relationship between this legitimizing process
and economic success. Most interesting of all is his reference to
Liebenstein's notion of x-efficiency. Liebenstein, it will be recalled by
students of economics, developed the notion of x-efficiency to describe a
reason for changes in productivity that could not be explained by resort to
traditional production functions that treated labor as a determinate input
into production. In particular, Liebenstein argued that there was a
positive effect on productivity if the "atmosphere" was right, which
concerned people's idea of fairness, of being "attended to," and other
factors. Most important of all, however, was that his argument with the
marginalists was not that this required an additional variable to be added
to their production function, but rather that the whole idea of a marginal
analysis based on the premise of labor as being a determinate production
input was flawed.
It would be fair to say that Liebenstein was from the same tradition as
other liberal institutional economists in paving the way towards an opening
of microeconomics to management studies. However, of relevance here is that
these lessons did not translate into methodological innovations in
macroeconomics. Thus, whilst Pryor offers an interesting perspective in
raising the analogy of Buddhist radiation and Liebenstein's x-efficiency,
his rapid switch to a macroeconomic analysis does not allow him to explore
the implications of his insight. To be precise, Liebenstein's point
suggests that the economist who is interested in understanding the dynamics
of wealth production must consider the determinants of labor productivity
not only with respect to changes in the laborcapital ratio (which is
essentially the realm in which Pryor has confined his analysis), but also
i?' respect to labor itself: That is, the relevant variable becomes a
numerator with output per unit of, say, labor time, with a denominator
again being some measurement of labor, only this time one that allows for
qualitative variation. This was the critical point that Liebenstein was
trying to get across, a point consistently misunderstood at the time, and
which appears to have been missed, or at least ignored, by many to the
current day.
In considering the possible effects of Buddhism on the economic performance
of a society, the discussion has concentrated on influences of "Buddhist
behavior" on the process of wealth creation. More specifically, it has been
assumed that wealth or income is the endogenous variable to be maximized
subject to a variety of possible "constraints," particularly the behavioral
outcomes of Buddhism. The discussion above has demonstrated that there is
far greater ambiguity in the influence of Buddhism on the process of wealth
creation even if we assume that this is the sole interest of economics. It
is simple to demonstrate, at least within the context of Pryor's model, how
Buddhism might have a positive long-run effect on wealth creation through
its impact on investment in education, health and other public
infrastructure. So, it is as well to lay one particular ghost to rest;
there is no necessary reason why the Buddhist practice of Sangha that
channels material resources to the monks should slow the process of wealth
creation. Whether it does or does not requires careful research, often in
areas and with interests not subject, like Liebenstein's x-efficiency, to
direct observation let alone quantification. In any case, such work should
consider not only the economic fortunes of the Buddhist communities that
are economically less industrialized, such as Sri Lanka and Cambodia, but
also those which are leaders in the production of material wealth, notably
                       Buddhism and Material Welfare
THE FOREGOING DISCUSSION may tell us something about the historical process
of economic change and its relationship to institutional forms of Buddhism.
However, it tells us little, arguably, about Buddhist economics. The key to
understanding the foundation of Buddhist economics is to understand the
place of well-being derived from material possessions in the "practice" of
Buddhism. Buddhism acknowledges the need for production and consumption,
and accepts that this involves processes of negotiation, trading,
acquisition of capital, and so on. At the same time, Buddhism challenges
the individual (and society as a whole) to contextualize these processes in
Buddhist values, including for example the idea of Right Thought, Action
and Livelihood. Most importantly, economic welfare is seen within Buddhism
as being instrumental in achieving spiritual advancement, as Louis van Loon
points out in his essay entitled "Why the Buddha did not Preach to the
Hungry Man" (1990). Whereas the essence of modernist thinking is to view
all pre-capitalist values as instrumental to either enabling or impeding
economic growth, Buddhist economics turns this equation on its head and
 insists rather that economic development must cohere with Buddhist values.
This Buddhist challenge to modernist thinking has its support from
development theory that argues that economic development, in order to be
sustainable and meaningful, needs to take account of the value system
within which such developments are taking place. Thus, "a non-instrumental
treatment of values draws its development goals from within the value
system to which living communities still adhere" (Goulet, 1980:484-485). In
developing the philosophy and practice of Sarvodaya, Dr Ariyaratne stated
that their aim was to catalyze a process of social and economic change at
the village and national levels that would be in "harmony with moral and
spiritual endi" (1982:48). To achieve this, he continues, it is necessary
to recognize that "the economic component of development is but one aspect
of development, it is a means to an end, therefore the means adopted should
be relevant to the desired ends" (1982 48).
                           Concluding Meditations
PRYOR CONCLUDES that Buddhism is most likely to be a constraint to economic
performance, unless of course the monks agree with Pryor that rapid
economic growth is the most effective route to liberating everyone from
production and so setting them on the path to nibbana. Furthermore,
although Pryor highlights some of the ethical implications of his reading
of Buddhism, he concludes that Buddhism has little insight to offer with
regard to matters of social organization.
This paper offers a somewhat different perspective. Firstly, it suggests
that Buddhism does offer direction on the critical issue of social
organization, as has been illustrated from both the actions and the
"practice" of Sarvodaya. At the core of this direction is the importance of
self-awareness (mindfulness) as individuals working within a group, and
self-awareness of the group itself in terms of its attitude and behavior
towards others. This translates most generally into the characteristics of
compassion and wisdom, but will have particular forms in different
contexts. Secondly, the review of Pryor's macroeconomic analysis suggests
that there is no necessary reason for assuming that giving gifts to the
monks should reduce economic performance, particularly in the long-run.
More importantly, however, is the view that it is a confusion to judge the
"effectiveness" of Buddhism in encouraging economic growth, when the
underlying tenets of Buddhism placed all (non-subsistence) forms of
economic activity as instrumental to other ends.
The relationship between Buddhism and economics is part of a wider debate
concerning the role of spiritual beliefs in the economic sphere. This
debate in turn is understood as being part of an on-going process of
questioning how best to understand and act in this sphere. It can be hoped
that the participants of these linked debates will continue to contribute
within the spirit of the subject under consideration; namely, in a manner
that is sensitized to the guidance offered by Buddhism, or other spiritual
or secular models. This sense, more than anything else, concerns the need
to know the practice rather than the theory of the maps being considered,
and the critical need to contextualize economic activities and ideas
within, rather than outside of, such practice.
[1.] The paper draws its inspiration from Pryor's two articles; from
participating in research on Buddhism and economics sponsored by the New
Economics Foundation and the World Wildlife Fund, as part of a wider
exploration of the relationship between economics and the five major
religions (Batchelor; 1992); and finally from my engagement with the
Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement in Sri Lanka, one of the world's largest
social and economic development organizations informed directly by the
social principles of Buddhism.
[2.] There are, of course, a great number of "original texts" in Buddhism,
not all of which are entirely compatible with each other. Pryor has focused
on texts from the Theravada tradition in Buddhism, as referred to in his
1991 article.
[3.] The critical intermediary between the individual and the wider society
can, of course, be defined in terms of "local community." The very fact
that there is a perceived difference between the concepts of community and
organization is a matter of considerable interest. Sanodaya, for example,
is often criticised in terms of its performance as an organization (e.g.
low productivity) on bases that would be applauded if it was understood as
a community, e.g. supporting the economically unproductive; see the NEF
Working Paper on Sarvodaya for further discussion of this (Szabo and Zadek,
[4.] This collective decision-making arrangement did not extend to the dasa
karmakaras, the servile laborers, who had no access to political power
whatsoever Furthermore, Chakravarti argues that there are serious
shortcomings in the treatment of the women in the Buddha's vision of
organization and social rights, which have largely been carried through to
modern treatments of Buddhism (chakravarti, 1992).
[5.] In a more cynical mood, one might consider the distinction between
"fundamental" and "helping or hindering" in the light of Keynes' famous
saying that "in the long run we are all dead." That is to say, whether or
not particular forms of social organization have a 'fundamental' (long run)
effect is unclear, but if particular forms "help or hinder" (in the short
run), that will do just fine.
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We Cannot Constitutionally Take Private Property Without Just Compensation,
                   But We Give Public Property Without It
SENATOR DALE BUMPERS of Arkansas has addressed this matter.
"The 1872 mining law obviously needs modernizing to conform to current
public land policy. I believe that it is no longer acceptable for the
government to be selling land for $2.50 an acre or for mining companies to
operate on public lands without specific federal reclamation requirements.
"Recently I introduced S. 257, the Mineral Exploration and Development Act
of 1993. This bill would (1) put an end to the sale of federal land under
the mining law, (2) require mining companies to pay a royalty to the
government based on the value of the minerals extracted from the public
lands, and (3) impose reclamation and bonding requirements on mining
operations conducted on federal land.
"The Mineral Exploration and Development Act will be considered by the
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. I hope to hold hearings in
committee on the bill shortly. Following these hearings, I intend to push
for full Senate consideration of the bill so that we may once and for all
comprehensively reform the mining law."
                     Books By Our Contributing Authors
Johns B. WILLIAMSON and Fred C. Pampel, old-Age Security in Comparative
Perspective, (New York and oxford: oxford University Press, 1993). Public
old-age security systems of seven countries, Germany, the United States,
Sweden, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Nigeria and India are examined in this
comparative study of modern social policies. The historical evolution of
the programs in each country is set forth and analyzed. Their findings will
surprise some students of social welfare systems. Quantitative data from SO
countries is subjected to rigorous study.
Mohammed H. I. Dore, The Macrodynamics of Business Cycles: A Comparative
Evaluation, (Cambridge, MA Blackwell Publishers, 1992). This quite
theoretical book, which could be a useful text for college courses, is
fundamental in the sense of attempting to re-orient teaching and thinking
from some of the sterility that has infused policy-making on such important
matters as the control of the level of functioning of the economy in recent
years. But the discussion is formal and not integrated with any
thoroughgoing discussion of policy making. Perhaps, in his next book the
capable author will pick the fruit from the tree he plants in this one.