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Buddhadharma : Spring 2011
39 spring 2 01 1 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly the suffering the Buddha indentified long ago as the result of attempting the impossible. what is impermanent, contingent, cannot be lasting. as economist e.f. schumacher phrased it: “infinite growth of material consumption in a finite world is an impossibility.” here, basic dharmic principles and the insights of environ- mentalist economics coincide: we cannot find true happiness by limitless expansion of material consumption. Cultivating contentment is the way. Based on his experiences in Burma, schumacher pub- lished a pioneering essay called “Buddhist economics,” later reprinted in his widely influential Small Is Beautiful: Eco- nomics As If People Mattered. schumacher questioned the use of the Gross Domestic Product as the measure of our collective well-being: “since consumption is merely a means to human well-being, the aim ought to be to obtain the maxi- mum amount of well-being with the minimum amount of consumption.” The Bhutanese government has for years been christinealicino BILLBOARDS, NY. Times Square #2, 2003 photo wouTer deruyTTer