Somewhere between John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman sits the Buddha. Here’s how Stefan Padfield, assistant law professor at the University of Akron, puts it over at Akron Law Cafe:

[W]hat I’m really interested in is this idea that one can in fact neatly separate centralized government and the private sector.  And this is where the Buddha comes in. Buddhism, as I understand it, includes a belief that “all existences are not discrete and separate but are interdependent.”

And if we had paid closer attention to the Buddha’s teaching, Padfield reasons, we might have spared our financial institutions collapse:

Arguably, our failure to recognize the interconnectedness of the various players in our markets was part of the problem.  Conversely, a greater appreciation of the interconnectedness of all things might lead us to adopt regulation limiting the ability of entities to get “too big to fail” or for keeping better track of the various financial derivative dominoes.

In another post Padfield dredges up the old question about whether greed is good. No mention of the Buddha here, and Padfield acknowledges he doesn’t have the answer to this one. I do know something about greed, though (who doesn’t?), and it’s what’s more likely to get me to favor regulation. As for dependent origination, I’m still working on it, but if I did understand it, I don’t know that I’d be keeping track of “financial derivative dominoes.” But you never know.

Temple
Dharma to your inbox

Sign up for Tricycle’s newsletters

Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available.