[FutureBuddha (51)] BUDDHANOMICS (PART I)

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39237

    [FutureBuddha (51)] BUDDHANOMICS (PART I)



    dltprof1.jpg dltprof2.jpg dltprof3.jpg tsuku.jpg

    [The World Honored One said:] "These qualities ... lead to a householder’s well-being and happiness in life: … To be accomplished in persistent effort. This is where a householder, by whatever occupation he does earn his living — be it farming or trading or cattle rearing, be it by archery or service under the monarch, or by any other calling — is skillful and diligent, and is discerning as to its proper accomplishment, its implementation and allocation of duties. … To be watchful and vigilant. This is where a householder is possessed of wealth righteously earned, derived from his efforts, from his striving, from his hard work and sweat, which wealth he protects through watchfulness and vigilance. … To keep one's livelihood in balance. This is where a householder, knowing his income and his expenses, maintains his finances in balance, neither too extravagant nor too stingy, aware should his income exceed his expenditures, careful that his expenditures shall not exceed his income.' … " [Dighajanu Sutta]

    "In these five ways should workers and servants below be respected by their employer, namely, by giving them work according to their aptitude, by providing them with wages and with food, by tending them when they are sick, by sharing special treats, and by granting them time off work. In turn, workers and servants thus respected should return their compassion in five ways, namely, by being willing to
    start work early and to finish late when needed, by not stealing what is not given,
    by doing their work well, and by upholding good reputation." [Sigalovada Sutta]

    I ❤ capitalism, the system that unleashed human innovation and brought material wealth and modern technology to billions.

    However, I also harbor deep reservations about capitalism, for capitalism feeds excess, unhealthy choices, gross materialism and unfair disparities, leaving environmental destruction in its wake.

    My own ancestors were shtetl Jews in the ‘old country’ before coming to America, seeking a better life. In the new world, they found opportunities long denied them, freedom from class and religious restrictions, relief from the ignorance and oppression of the past. They also found new kinds of discrimination and oppression, sweat shops and slums, as immigrants to a new land. Immigrants today face much the same.

    Dickens’ immortal words well apply to our current age:

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,
    it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness …
    it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness,
    it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

    Our current social and economic structures based on capitalism and consumerism have delivered more material benefits to more people than ever in human history: more food, more clothing, more medical care (despite the often bankrupting cost and inequalities in medical care access), more entertainment, and more opportunity. Life expectancies are breaking records (not everywhere or for every group, but for most.) Literacy is nearly universal in the industrialized countries and, theoretically at least, the daughter of a pauper and son of a rich man have equal doorways to becoming a scholar, business tycoon or prime minister. With regard to human rights and economic opportunity in the western democracies, today’s conditions, however imperfect, must be compared to the subjugation, slavery, class-based walls and tribalism of the past. We are to be commended for how far we have come, at least when compared to all prior centuries, even if still far from where we should be.

    Despite these advances, many of us struggle to appreciate how far the human race has come, and the material riches we have today. So many people in the western democracies seem to feel endless dissatisfaction, no matter their relative well-being, due to the economic/psychological syndrome of “rising expectations” and consumerism’s constant push to buy the next thing. We have come very far … yet the more things advance, the more we seem to take it all for granted and complain, forgetting conditions of the past and demanding endlessly more.

    The vast majority of people in the so-called “first world” live like kings and princes when compared to actual kings and princes in old centuries. If one ever has a chance to visit the ‘Palace of Versailles’ or China’s ‘Imperial City’ (perhaps using that modern miracle called “international air travel,” so easily available even to commoners today), one will notice the absence of electricity, lightbulbs, refrigerators, microwave ovens, sufficient heating and modern air conditioning, telephones, televisions, computers, as well as music at the push of a button. One might also notice the absence of toilets (the servants dispatched the chamber pots), instant hot showers or any running and reliably clean water, washing machines, automobiles, comfortable tennis shoes, or modern medical clinics. And please don't ask how the servants lived in their hovels! Nonetheless, many of us today are bored and miserable in our cars and convenient kitchens, rarely satisfied although materially living better than Louis XIV and the Emperor of China!

    However, while the best of times in many ways, these are also the worst and most dangerous of times in other ways. We still have so much work to do to fix the many terrible social problems, injustices, denials of opportunity and cases of exploitation that remain.

    Modern, western society faces serious problems and excesses that we must temper or change as we move into the future (if we wish to have a future), including pollution and climate degradation, overuse of resources, extreme economic inequalities, continuing discrimination, the continued wars and disease tied to these conditions, unequal access to education and health-care, neglect of infrastructure, runaway consumption, poor diets even in the wealthy nations, and endless bad and unhealthy choices in the marketplace, to name a few. There can be better balances, better directions.

    Billions of people around the world, and many within even the economically developed nations, still lack access to steady food supplies and clean water, sufficient shelter and clothing, personal safety (many reside in high crime areas, if not war zones), lack social stability including freedom from persecution or social discrimination, financial security (whether to the point of starvation or simply by not knowing how to make it to the next pay check), sufficient access to resources such as educational opportunities and decent, affordable (or any) health care. It is criminal that many people in some of the economically wealthiest countries of the world, including millions of children, lack a nutritious meal, a warm place to sleep and safe neighborhoods.

    On an individual level, even among the wealthy, so many seem to be suffering with issues of fear, obsession, hunger for intimacy, and thirsts for satisfaction that drive them to run after high social status and recognition in an attempt to fill holes of self-doubt within. People try to fill the inner emptiness with more money, impressive job titles and bigger houses than anyone rationally needs, more calories than our bodies can handle, more sex, alcohol, and drugs, while expressing their dissatisfaction through jealousy and physical violence directed against others, road rage, child abuse, and the whole rat race.

    We are doing well, but we can do much better. In fact, we must do much better, for otherwise. the future could become much worse again.

    Most of our remaining, and most threatening societal problems are due to choices made by consumers, businesses executives and our political leaders, and how they each act or fail to act as a result of what they each value and prefer, and their choices based thereon. Accordingly, if we wish to reach the root source of most of society’s problems, we will need to alter peoples’ tastes and preferences so that consumers, businesses executives and leaders select healthier and less harmful options by choice. Capitalism functions through a marketplace where free choice and demand are met by supply. I consider this freedom to choose sacrosanct, so long as one person’s choice does not result in excessive harm to others. The individual’s right to choose should remain paramount but, I believe, what they want to choose can be directed toward better, healthier more sustainable selections.

    The key is our having a means to change the individual’s tastes and, thus, demands, and we will soon have such means for the first time in history. Revolution will come not from wishful thinking, not from inspirational speeches, not by forcibly overthrowing the king or nationalizing the means of production, but from changes effected to the quality and nature of desire within the human genome and mind. Rather than beginning with changes to society or its economic system, which, alas, have historically failed to bring true reform in human nature, changes in human nature will result in necessary changes within our society and its economic system.

    ... more on that next time ...

    Last edited by Jundo; 08-26-2023, 01:02 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • WorkerB
    Member
    • Jan 2023
    • 177

    #2
    Looking forward to you continuing your thoughts.

    Ran across this article about the labor and exploitative practices being used to enable AI solutions. Perhaps you’ve read similar? https://wapo.st/3QTB1Q5


    b.

    St

    Comment

    • Jundo
      Treeleaf Founder and Priest
      • Apr 2006
      • 39237

      #3
      Originally posted by WorkerB
      Looking forward to you continuing your thoughts.

      Ran across this article about the labor and exploitative practices being used to enable AI solutions. Perhaps you’ve read similar? https://wapo.st/3QTB1Q5


      b.

      St
      Thank you. All workers deserve decent, basic working conditions.

      That is just one example of such abuse. Do you know about the kidnapped Asian and other workers held in digital labor camps?

      It was an offer he could not resist: an easy job overseas, a sizeable salary, and even a chance to live in a swanky hotel with his own personal trainer.

      When Yang Weibin saw the ad for a telesales role in Cambodia, he immediately said yes. The 35-year-old Taiwanese wasn't making much as a masseur, and he needed to support his parents after his dad suffered a stroke.

      Weeks later, Weibin hopped on a plane to Phnom Penh. When he reached the Cambodian capital, he was met by several men who drove him to a nondescript building on a deserted road - not quite the luxury hotel shown in pictures sent by the recruitment agent.

      His passport was taken from him - to sort out his paperwork, he was told. He was shown to a small bare room - his new home. And one more thing, the men said: you can't leave the compound, ever.

      The penny dropped. "I knew then I had come to the wrong place, that this was a very dangerous situation," he told the BBC.

      Weibin is among thousands of workers who in recent months have fallen prey to human traffickers running job scams in South East Asia. Governments across a vast swathe of Asia - including Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan - have sounded the alarm.

      Lured by ads promising easy work and extravagant perks, many are tricked into travelling to Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand. Once they arrive, they are held prisoner and forced to work in online scam centres known as "fraud factories".

      https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-62792875
      I suspect that, in one way or another, millions will end up working for AI ... or put out of work by AI, while the AI owners get rich. The only solution is a "guaranteed minimum income" system for all, redistributing a portion of the profits earned by AI so that nobody is truly living in poverty (while still letting the AI entrepreneurs retain enough for themselves as investment and development incentives), coupled with some kind of international treaty system to protect labor in the developing world.

      Gassho, J

      stlah
      ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

      Comment

      • WorkerB
        Member
        • Jan 2023
        • 177

        #4
        Thank you for sharing, i’d not read that particular article. In my profession, establishing proof of a vendor’s ethical supply chain (including technology solutions, outsourced systems testers, coders etc) is part of the procurement process. However, situations are too complex for any due diligence efforts to afford certainty. Metta to all exploited and trafficked workers..

        Gassho,
        b.
        st

        Comment

        • Tokan
          Treeleaf Unsui
          • Oct 2016
          • 1230

          #5


          Gassho, Tokan (satlah)
          平道 島看 Heidou Tokan (Balanced Way Island Nurse)
          I enjoy learning from everyone, I simply hope to be a friend along the way

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