Michael at Awake in this Life accuses the Dalai Lama of oversimplification based on this statement by HH:

Lack of spirituality and culture is the main cause behind the rampant corruption in the world. People have become selfish and materialistic, which has led to the economic slowdown.

As it happens, economic expert John McCain struck a similar note, blaming the economic meltdown on the “greed of Wall Street.” Is this actually what caused the global economic crisis? (“Slowdown” seems like a cruel euphemism — It may be a slowdown in trading volume to Wall Streeters, and a slowdown in luxury items formerly flying off the shelves, but to most people it is far harsher than that.)

In any case the essence of the Dalai Lama’s statement is absolutely right. What caused the bubble and all the imaginary money was indeed greed and materialism, and if there was ever a time to look materialism and consumerism in their ugly faces, it’s right now. The ones who will suffer, as always, are the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. Instead of thinking of Wall Street and worrying how the banks will survive, let’s think of those who have no extra resources even in the best of times — how will they make it through today, and the next day, and the one after that?

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