Happiness and Economics: A Buddhist Perspective
AbstractEconomics and particularly economic policy often seems to focus almost exclusively on the growth of income and creation of wealth. However economists have always viewed Gross National Product (GNP) as an imperfect measure of human welfare. Recent research on subjective well-being (happiness) consistently confirms that there are diminishing marginal returns to income. Once basic material needs are satisfied, happiness responds more to interpersonal relationships than to income. One’s personal values and philosophy of life also matter, as do strategies and techniques for mood control and raising each individual’s baseline or set-point level of happiness. This paper briefly summarises the research findings which have led to this gradual and ongoing shift of focus. Then we take a Buddhist perspective on happiness and economics. Many of the recent research findings are consistent with Buddhist analysis, particularly its analysis of the conditioning process leading to unhappiness. Furthermore, Buddhist practices provide skilful means for the mind to control the mood. The paper ends, however, on a cautionary note: in what sense, if any, is the “greatest happiness” the Buddhist goal?
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Henley Business School, Reading University in its series Economics & Management Discussion Papers with number em-dp2008-59.
Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: 11 Nov 2008
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: PO Box 218, Whiteknights, Reading, Berks, RG6 6AA
Phone: +44 (0) 118 378 8226
Fax: +44 (0) 118 975 0236
Web page: http://www.henley.reading.ac.uk/
More information through EDIRC
income; happiness; Buddhism;
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2009-01-17 (All new papers)
- NEP-HAP-2009-01-17 (Economics of Happiness)
- NEP-HPE-2009-01-17 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
You can help add them by filling out this form.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ed Quick).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.