By Robert Aitken, Roshi
ENVISIONING THE FUTURE
A Paper Prepared for the Conference, Dhammic Society: Towards an INEB
Vision, Wongsanit Ashram, Thailand, February 20-24, l995.
“Small is beautiful,” E.F. Schumacher said, but it was not merely size
that concerned him: “Buddhist economics must be very different from
the economics of modern materialism,” he said. “The Buddhist sees the
essence of civilisation not in a multiplication of wants but in the
purification of human character.” (1)
Schumacher evokes the etymology of “civilisation” as the process of
civilising, of becoming and making civil. Many neglect this ancient
wisdom of words in their pursuit of acquisition and consumption, and
those with some civility of mind find themselves caught in the
dominant order by requirements of time and energy to feed their
families. As the acquisitive system burgeons, its collapse is
foreshadowed by epidemics, famine, war and the despoliation of the
Earth and its forests, waters and air.
I envision a growing crisis across the world as managers and their
multinational systems continue to deplete finite human and natural
resources. Great corporations, underwritten by equally great
financial institutions, flush away the human habitat and the habitat
of thousands of other species far more ruthlessly and on a far greater
scale than the gold miners who once hosed down mountains in
California. International consortiums rule sovereign over all other
political authority. Presidents and parliaments and the United
Nations itself are delegated decision-making powers that simply carry
out previously established agreements.
Citizens of goodwill everywhere despair of the political process. The
old enthusiasm to turn out on election day has drastically waned. In
the United States, commonly fewer than fifty percent of those eligible
cast a ballot. It has become clear that political parties are
ineffectual – whether Republican or Democrat, Conservative or Liberal
– and that practical alternatives must be found.
We can begin our task of developing such alternatives by meeting in
informal groups within our larger Sanghas to examine politics and
economics from a Buddhist perspective. It will be apparent that
traditional teachings of interdependence bring into direct question
the rationale of accumulating wealth and of governing by hierarchal
authority. What then is to be done?
Something, certainly. Our practice of the Brahma Viharas –
kindliness, compassion, goodwill and equanimity would be meaningless
if it excluded people, animals and plants outside our formal Sangha.
Nothing in the teachings justifies us as a cult that ignores the
world. We are not survivalists. On the contrary, it is clear that
we’re in it together with all beings.
The time has surely come when we must speak out as Buddhists, with
firm views of harmony as the Tao. I suggest that it is also time for
us to take ourselves in hand. We ourselves can establish and engage
in the very policies and programmes of social and ecological
protection and respect that we have heretofore so futilely demanded
from authorities. This would be engaged Buddhism, where the Sangha is
not merely parallel to the forms of conventional society, and not
merely metaphysical in its universality.
This greater Sangha is, moreover, not merely Buddhist. It is possible
to identify an eclectic religious evolution that is already under way,
one to which we can lend our energies. It can be traced to the
beginning of this century, when Tolstoy, Rushkin, Thoreau and the New
Testament fertilised the Bhagavad Gita and other Indian texts in the
mind and life of M.K. Gandhi. The Southern Buddhist leaders AT.
Ariyaratne and Sulak Sivaraksa and their followers in Sri Lanka and
Thailand have adapted Gandhi’s “Independence for the Masses” to their
own national needs and established programs of self-help and community
self-reliance that are regenerative cells of fulfilling life within
their materialist societies. (2)
Mahayana has lagged behind these developments in South and Southeast
Asia. Whereas in the past, a few Far Eastern monks like Gyogi Bosatsu
devoted themselves to good works, another few like Hakuin Zenji raised
their voices to the lords of their provinces about the poverty of the
common people, and still others in Korea and China organised peasant
rebellions, we do not today see widespread movements in traditional
Mahayana countries akin to the village self-help programs of
Ariyaratne in Sri Lanka, or similar empowerment networks established
by Sivaraksa in Thailand.
“Self-help” is an inadequate translation of swaraj, the term Gandhi
used to designate his program of personal and village independence.
He was a great social thinker who identified profound human
imperatives and natural social potentials. He discerned how
significant changes arise from people themselves, rather than from
efforts on the part of governments to fine-tune the system.
South Africa and Eastern Europe are two modern examples of change from
the bottom up. Perceptions shift, the old notions cannot hold – and
down comes the state and its ideology. Similar changes are brewing
despite repressions in Central America. In the United States, the
economy appears to be holding up by force of habit and inertia in the
face of unimaginable debt, while city governments break down and
thousands of families sleep in makeshift shelters.
Not without protest. In the United States, the tireless voices of
Ralph Nader, Noam Chomsky, Jerry Brown and other cogent dissidents
remind us and our legislators and judges that our so-called
civilisation is using up the world. Such spokespeople for
conservation, social justice and peace help to organise opposition to
benighted powers and their policies, and thus divert the most
outrageous programs to less flagrant alternatives.
Like Ariyaratne and Sivaraksa in their social contexts, we as Western
Buddhists would also modify the activist role in our own contexts to
reflect our culture as well as our spiritual heritage. But surely the
Dhammic fundamentals would remain. Right Action is part of the
Eightfold Path that begins and ends with Right Meditation. Formal
practice would also involve study, reciting the ancient texts
together, Dhamma discussion, religious festivals, and sharing for
mutual support. (3)
In our workaday lives, practice would be less formal, and could
include farming and protecting forests. In the United States, some of
our leading intellectuals cultivate the ground. The distinguished
poet W.S. Merwin has through his own labour created an aboretum of
native Hawaiian plants at his home on Maui. He is thus restoring an
important aspect of Hawaiian culture, in gentle opposition to the
monocultures of pineapple, sugar and macadamia nut trees around him.
Another progressive intellectual, Wendell Berry, author of some thirty
books of poetry, essays and fiction, is also a small farmer. Still
another reformative intellectual and prominent essayist, Wes Jackson,
conducts a successful institute for small farmers. Networking is an
important future of Jackson’s teaching. He follows the Amish adage
that at least seven co-operating families must live near each other in
order for their small individual farms to succeed. (4)
All such enterprise takes hard work and character practice. The two go
together. Character, Schumacher says, “is formed primarily by a man’s
work. And work, properly conducted in conditions of human dignity and
freedom, blesses ourselves and equally our products.” (5) With
dignity and freedom we can collaborate, labour together, on small
farms and in co-operatives of all kinds – savings and loan societies,
social agencies, clinics, galleries, theatres, markets and schools –
forming networks of decent and dignified modes of life alongside and
even within the frames of conventional power. I visualise our humane
network having more and more appeal as the power structure continues
to fall apart.
This collaboration in networks of mutual aid would follow from our
experience of paticca-samuppada, depend origination or co-dependent
arising. All beings arise in systems of biological affinity, whether
or not they are even alive in a narrow sense. We are born in a world
in which all things nurture us. As we mature in our understanding of
the Dhamma, we take responsibility for paticca-samuppada and
continually divert our infantile expectations of not being nurtured to
an adult responsibility for nurturing others.
Buddhadassa Bhikku says: The entire cosmos is a cooperative. The
sun, the moon, and the stars live together as a cooperative. The same
is true for humans and animals, trees and soil. Our bodily parts
function as a cooperative. When we realise that the world is a mutual
interdependent, cooperative enterprise, that human beings are all
mutual friends in the process of birth, old age, suffering and death,
then we can build a noble, even heavenly environment. If our lives are
not based in this truth, then we shall all perish. (6)
Returning to this original track is the path of individuation that
transforms childish self-centredness to mature views and conduct.
With careful, constant discipline on the Eight-Fold Noble Path of the
Dhamma, greed becomes dana, exploitation becomes networking. The
root-brain of the newborn becomes the compassionate, religious mind of
the elder. Outwardly the elder does not differ from other members;
her or his needs for food, clothing, shelter, medicine, sleep and
affection are the same as for anyone else. But the smile is
It is a smile that rises from the Buddha’s own experience.
Paticca-samuppada is not just a theory, but the profound realisation
that I arise with all beings, and all beings arise with me. I suffer
with all beings; all beings suffer with me. The path to this
fulfilment is long, sometimes hard and involves restraint and
disengagement from ordinary concerns. It is a path that advances over
plateaus on its way, and it is important not to camp too long on any
one plateau. It is not yet your true home.
Dhammic society begins and prevails with individuals walking this path
of compassionate understanding, discerning the noble option at each
moment and allowing the other options to drop away. It is a society
that looks familiar, with cash registers and merchandise, firefighters
and police, theatres and festivals, but the inner flavour is
completely different. Like a Chinese restaurant in Madras, the decor
is familiar but the curry is surprising.
In the United States of America, the notion of compassion as the
touchstone of conduct and livelihood is discouraged by the culture.
Yet here and there one can find Catholic Workers feeding the poor,
religious builders creating housing for the homeless, traditional
people returning to their old ways of agriculture.
Small is the watchword. Huge is ugly, as James Hillman has pointed
out. (7) Huge welfare goes awry, huge housing projects become slums
worse than the ones they replace, huge environmental organisations
compromise with their own principles in order to survive, huge
sovereignty movements fall apart with internal dissension. The point
is that huge anything collapses, including governments, banks,
multi-national corporations and the global economy itself – because
all things collapse. Small can be fluid, ready to change.
The problem is that the huge might not collapse until it brings
everything else down with it. Time may not be on the side of the
small. Our awareness of this unprecedented danger impels us to take
stock and do what we can with our vision of a Dhammic society.
The traditional Sangha serves as a model for enterprise in this
vision. A like-minded group of five can be a Sangha. It can grow to
a modest size, split into autonomous groups and then network. As
autonomous lay Buddhist associations, these little communities will
not be Sanghas in the classical sense, but will be inheritors of the
name and of many of the original intentions. They will also be
inheritors of the Base Community movements in Latin America and the
Philippines – Catholic networks that are inspired by traditional
religion and also by l9th century anarchism. (8) Catholic Base
Communities serve primarily as worship groups, study groups, moral
support societies, and nuclei for social action. They can also form
the staff and support structure of small enterprises. The Catholic
Base Community is grounded in Bible study and discussions. In these
meetings, one realises for oneself that God is an ally of those who
would liberate the poor and oppressed. This is Liberation Theology of
the heart and gut. It is an internal transformation that releases
one’s power to labor intimately with others to do God’s work (9)
The Buddhist counterpart of Bible study would be the contemplation and
realisation of paticca-samuppada, of the unity of such intellectual
opposites as the one and the many found in Zen practice, and the
interdependence presented in the sacred texts, such as the Hua-yen
ching (10). Without a literal God as an ally, one is thrown back on
one’s own resources to find the original track, and there one finds
the ever shifting universe with its recurrent metaphors of interbeing
to be the constant ally.
There are other lessons from Liberation Theology. We learn that we
need not quit our jobs to form autonomous lay Sanghas. Most Base
Communities in Latin America and the Philippines are simply groups
that have weekly meetings. In Buddhist countries, co-workers in the
same institution can come together for mutual aid and religious
practice. In the largest American corporations, such as IBM, there
will surely be a number of Buddhists who could form similar groups.
Or we can organise co-housing arrangements that provide the sharing of
home maintenance, child-care and transportation that can free up
individuals for their turns at meditation, study and social action.
Buddhist Peace Fellowship chapters might consider how the Base
Community design and ideal could help to define and enhance their
purposes and programmes.
Of course, the collapse if any is not going to happen tomorrow. We
must not underestimate the staying power of capitalism. Moreover, the
complex, dynamic process of networking cannot abruptly be put into
place. In studying Mondragon, the prototype of large, dynamic
cooperative enterprise in the three Basque counties of northern Spain,
William and Kathleen Whyte countered more than a hundred worker
co-operatives and supporting organisations with l9,500 workers in
l988. These are small, even tiny enterprises, linked by very little
more than simple goodwill and a profound sense of the common good.
Together they form a vast complex of banking, industry and education
which evolved slowly, if steadily from a single class for technical
training set up in l943. (11) We must begin with our own training
classes. Mondragon is worth our study, as are the worker-owned
industries closer to home – for example, the plywood companies in the
Pacific Northwest. In l972, Carl Bellas studied 21 such companies
whose inner structures consisted of motivated committees devoted to
the many aspects of production, and whose managers were responsible to
a general assembly. (12)
In the course of our training classes, it is also essential that we
examine the mechanism of the dominant economy. Usury and its engines
have built our civilisation. The word “usury” has an old meaning and
a modern one. In the spirit of the old meaning of usury – lending
money at interest – the banks of the world, large and small, have
provided a way for masses of people for many generations across the
world to own homes and to operate farms and businesses. In the spirit
of the modern meaning of usury, however – the lending of money at
excessive interest – a number of these banks have become gigantic,
ultimately enabling corporations almost as huge to squeeze small
farmers from their lands, small shopkeepers from their stores and to
burden homeowners with car and appliance payments and lifetimes
For over 1800 years, the Catholic Church had a clear and consistent
doctrine on the sin of usury in the old sense of simply lending money
at interest. Nearly 30 official church documents were published over
the centuries to condemn it. Out of the other side of the Vatican,
however, came an unspoken tolerance for usury so long as it was
practised by Jews. The Church blossomed as the Medici family of
bankers underwrote the Renaissance, but at the same time, pogroms were
all but sanctioned. The moral integrity of the Church was
compromised. Finally, early in the l9th century, this kind of
hypocrisy was abandoned – too late in some ways, for the seeds of the
Holocaust were planted. Today the Pope apologises to the Jews, and
even the Vatican has its bank. (13) Usury in both old and modern
implications is standard operating procedure in contemporary world
Like the Medicis, however, modern bankers can be philanthropic. In
almost every city in the United States, bankers and their institutions
are active in support of museums, symphony orchestras, clinics and
schools. Banks have almost the same social function as traditional
Asian temples: looking after the poor and promoting cultural
activities. This is genuine beneficence, and it is also very good
In the subdivisions of some American cities, such as the Westwood
suburb of Los Angeles, the banks even look like temples. They are
indeed the temples of our socio-economic system. The banker’s manner
is friendly yet his interest in us is, on the bottom line, limited to
the interest he extracts from us.
One of the banks on Hawai’i has the motto, “We say ‘Yes’ to you”,
meaning “We are eager for your money”. Their motto is sung
interminably on the radio and TV, and when it appears in newspapers
and magazines we find ourselves humming the tune. Similar
light-weight yet insidious persuasions are used with third-world
governments for the construction of freeways and hydro-electric dams
and administrative skyscrapers.
Governments and developers in the Third World are, in fact, the dupes
of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund:
It is important to note that IMF programmes are not designed
to increase the welfare of the population. They are designed
to bring the external payments account not balance…The IMF is
the ultimate guardian of the interests of capitalists and bankers
doing international business. (14)
These are observations of the economist Kari Polyani Levitt, quoted as
the epigraph of a study entitled Banking on Poverty. The editor of
this work concludes that policies of the IMF and the World Bank “make
severe intrusions upon the sovereign responsibilities of many
governments of the Third World. These policies not only often entail
major additional cuts in the living standards of the poorest sectors
of Third World societies, but are also unlikely to produce the
economic results claimed on their behalf.” (15)
Grand apartment buildings along the Bay of Bombay show that the First
World with its wealth and leisure is alive and well among the
prosperous classes of the old Third World. The Third World with its
poverty and disease flares up in cities and farms of the old First
World. In The Prosperous Few and the Restless Many, Noam Chomsky
In l971, Nixon dismantled the Bretton Woods system,
thereby deregulating currencies. (16) That, and a number of
other changes, tremendously expanded the amount of unregulated
capital in the world and accelerated what’s called the globalization
of the economy. That’s a fancy way of saying that you can export jobs
to high-repression, low-wage areas. (17)
Factories in South Central Los Angeles moved to Eastern Europe, Mexico
and Indonesia, attracting workers from farms. Meantime, victims in
South Central Los Angeles and other depressed areas of the United
States, including desolate rural towns, turn in large numbers to crime
and drugs to relieve their seemingly hopeless poverty. One million
American citizens are currently in prison, with another two million or
so on parole or probation. More than half of these have been
convicted of drug-related offences. (18) It’s going to get worse.
Just as the citizens of Germany elected Hitler Chancellor in l932,
opening the door to fascism quite voluntarily, so the citizens of the
United States have elected a Congress that seems bent on creating a
permanent underclass, with prison expansion to provide much of its
Is there no hope? If big banks, multi-national corporations and
co-operating governments maintain their strategy to keep the few
prosperous and the many in poverty, then where can small farmers and
shopkeepers and managers of clinics and social agencies turn to for
the money they need to start up their enterprises and to meet
emergencies? In the United States, government aid to small businesses
and farms, like grants to clinics and social agencies, is being cut
back. Such aid is meagre or non-existent in other parts of the world,
with notable exceptions in northern Europe.
Revolving credit associations called hui in China, kye in Korea and
tanamoshi in Japan have for generations down to the present provided
start-up money for farmers and small businessmen, as well as
short-term loans for weddings, funerals and tuition. In Siam there
are rice banks and buffalo banks designed for sharing resources and
production among the working poor. (19) The Grameen banks of
Bangladesh are established for the poor by the poor. Shares are very
tiny amounts, amounting to the equivalent of just a few dollars, but
in quantity they are adequate for loans at very low interest to
farmers and shopkeepers. (20)
Similar traditional co-operatives exist in most other cultures. Such
associations are made up of like-minded relatives, friends,
neighbours, co-workers or alumnae. Arrangements for borrowing and
repayment among these associations differ, even within the particular
cultures. (21) In the United States, co-operatives have been set up
outside the system, using scrip and labor credits, most notably,
Ithaca Hours, involving 1,200 enterprises. (22) The basic currency in
the latter arrangement is equal to $10.00, considered to be the hourly
wage. It is guaranteed by the promise of work by members of the
We can utilise such models and develop our own projects to fit our
particular requirements and circumstances. We can stand on our own
feet and help one another in systems that are designed to serve the
many, rather than to aggrandise the wealth of the few.
Again, small is beautiful. Whereas large can be beautiful too, if it
is a network of autonomous units, monolithic structures are
problematic even when fuelled by religious idealism. Islamic
economists theorise about a national banking system that functions by
investment rather than by a system of interest. However, they point
out that such a structure can only work in a country where laws forbid
lending at interest, and where administrators follow up violations
with prosecution. (23) So, for those of us who do not dwell in
certain Islamic countries which seek to take the Koran literally, such
as Pakistan and some of the Gulf States, the macrocosmic concept of
interest-free banking is probably not practical.
Of course, revolving credit association have problems, as do all
societies of human beings. There are defaults, but peer pressure among
friends and relatives keep these to a minimum. The discipline of
Dhamma practice would further minimise such problems in a Buddhist
loan society. The meetings could be structured with ritual and Dhamma
talks to remind the members that they are practising the virtues of
the Buddha Dhamma and bringing paticca-samuppada into play in their
workaday lives. They are practising trust, for all beings are the
Buddha, as Hakuin Zenji and countless other teachers remind us. (24)
Surely only serious emergencies would occasion a delinquency, and
contingency planning could allow for such situations.
Dhamma practice could also play a role in the small Buddhist farm or
business enterprise. In the l970s, under the influence of Buddhists,
the Honest Business movement arose in San Fransisco. This was a
network of small shops whose proprietors and assistants met from time
to time to encourage one another. Their policy was to serve the
public, and to accept enough in return from their sales to support
themselves, sustain their enterprises and pay the rent. Their account
books were on the sales counters, open to their customers. (25)
The movement itself did not survive, though progressive businesses
here and there continue the practice of opening their account books to
customers. (26) Apparently the Honest Business network was not
well-enough established to endure the change in culture from the New
Age of the l970s to the pervasive greed of the l980s. I suspect there
was not a critical mass in the total number of shops involved, and
many of them might have been on their commercial appeal. Perhaps
religious commitment was not particularly well-rooted. Perhaps also
there was not the urgency for alternatives that might be felt in the
Third World – an urgency that will surely be felt in all worlds as the
dominant system continues to use up natural resources. (27) In any
case, we can probably learn from the Honest Business movement, and
avoid its mistakes. In establishing small enterprises – including
clinics and social agencies and their networks – it is again important
not to be content with a plateau. The ordinary entrepreneur,
motivated by the need to support a family and plan for tuition and
retirement, scrutinises every option and searches out every niche for
possible gain. The manager of an Honest Business must be equally
diligent, albeit motivated by service as well as for the family.
Those organising to lobby for political and economic reforms must also
be diligent in following through. The Base Communities throughout the
archipelago that forms the Philippines brought down the despot
Ferdinand Marcos, but the new society wasn’t ready to fly, and was put
down at once. The plateau was not the peak, and euphoria gave way to
feelings of betrayal. However, you can be sure that many of these
little communities are still intact and in place. Their members have
learnt from their immediate history, and continue to struggle for
A. J. Muste, the great Quaker organiser of the mid-20th century, is
said to have remarked, “There is no way to peace; peace is the way.”
For our purposes, I would reword his pronouncement, “there is no way
to a just society; our just societies are the way”. Moreover, there
is no plateau to rest upon, only the inner rest we feel in our work
and in our formal practice.
This inner rest is so important. In the short history of the United
States, there are many accounts of utopian societies. Almost all of
them are gone – some of them lasted only a few weeks. Looking
closely, I think we can find that many of them fell apart because they
were never firmly established as religious communities. They were
content to organise before they were truly organised.
Families fall apart almost as readily as intentional communities these
days, and Dhamma practice can play a role in the household as well as
in the Sangha. As Sulak Sivaraksa has said, “When even one member of
the household meditates, the entire family benefits.” (28)
Competition is channelled into the development of talents and skills,
greed is channelled into the satisfaction of fulfilment in work. New
things and new technology are used appropriately, and are not allowed
to divert time and energy from the path of individuation and
New things and new technology are very seductive. When I was a little
boy, I lived for a time with my grandparents. These were the days
before refrigerators, and we were too far from the city to obtain ice.
So, under an oak tree outside the kitchen door, we had a cooler – a
kind of cupboard made mostly of screen, covered with burlap, and
watered with a clever drip arrangement from the top. Evaporation from
the burlap cover kept the contents of the cupboard cool, the milk
fresh, and the butter firm. We didn’t need a refrigerator. I can
only assume that the reason my grandparents ultimately purchased one
in later years was because they were persuaded by advertisements and
by their friends.
We too can have coolers just outside the kitchen door, or on the
apartment verandah, and save the money the refrigerator would cost to
help pay for the education of our children. Like our ancestors, we
too can walk, or take public transport. We can come together like the
Amish and build houses for one another. We can join with our friends
and offer rites of passage to sons and daughters in their phase of
experimenting and testing the limits of convention.
Our ancestors planned for their descendants, otherwise we might not be
here. Our small lay Buddhist societies can provide a structure for
Dhamma practice, as well as precedent and flexible structures for our
descendants to practice the Dhamma in turn, for the next ten thousand
In formally sustaining the Dhamma, we can also practice sustainable
agriculture, sustainable tree farming, sustainable enterprise of all
kinds. Our ancestors sustain us, we sustain our descendants. Our
family members and fellow-workers nurture us, and we nurture them –
even as dana was circulated in ancient times.
Circulating the gift, the Buddhist monk traditionally offers the
Dhamma, as we offer him food, clothing, shelter and medicine. But he
is also a bachelor. Most of us cannot be itinerant mendicants. Yet
as one who has left home, the monk challenges us to leave home as well
– without leaving home. There are two meanings of “home” here. One
could be the home of the family; the other may involve the family, but
is also the inner place of peace and rest, where devotion to the
Buddha way of selflessness and affection is paramount. The monks and
their system of dana are, in fact, excellent metaphorical models for
us. The gift is circulated, enhancing character and dignity with each
round. Festivals to celebrate the rounds bring joy to the children
and satisfaction to the elders.
I don’t suggest that the practice of circulating the gift will be all
sweetness and light. The practice would also involve dealing with
mean-spirited imperatives, in oneself and in others. The Buddha and
his elder leaders made entries in their code of vinaya after instances
of conduct that were viewed as inappropriate. Whether the Buddhist
Base Community is simply a gathering of like-minded followers of the
Dhamma that meets for mutual support and study, whether it has
organised to lobby for justice, or whether it conducts a business,
manages a small farm or operates a clinic, the guidelines must be
clear. General agreements about what constitutes generous conduct and
procedure will be valuable as references. Then, as seems appropriate,
compassionate kinds of censure for departing from those standards
could gradually be set into place. Guidelines should be set for
conducting meetings, for carrying out the work and for networking.
There must be teaching, ritual and sharing. All this comes with trial
and error, with precedent as a guide but not a dictator.
Good will and perseverance can prevail. The rounds of circulating the
gift are as long as ten thousand years, as brief as a moment. Each
meeting of the little Sangha can be a renewal of practice; each work
day a renewal of practice, each encounter, each thought-flash. At
each step of the way we remember that people and indeed the many
beings of the world are more important than goods.
1. E. F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People
Mattered, (New York: Harper & Row, l975), p. 55.
2. A.T. Ariyaratne, Collected Works, Vol. One (Dehiwala, Sri Lanka:
Sarvodia Research Institute, n.d.): Sulak Sivaraksa, A Buddhist Vision
for Renewing Society: Collected Articles by a Concerned Thai
Intellectual (Bangkok: Thai Watana Panich, l981).
3. I used “Dhamma”, the Pali orthography, rather than “Dharma”, out
of deference to my Theravada listeners at this Conference.
4. Wes Jackson, Altars of Unhewn Stone: Science and the Earth (San
Fransisco: North Point Press, l987), p. 126.
5. A woman’s work blesses ourselves and equally our products as well!
Schumacher wrote his words before male writers finally learned that
the term “man” is not inclusive. Small is Beautiful, p.55.
6. Donald K. Swearer, “Three Legacies of Bhikku Buddhadassa”, The
Quest fora New Society, edited by Sulak Sivaraksa (Thai
Inter-Religious Commission for Development: Santi Pracha Dhamma
Institute, l994), p. l7 Cited from Buddhadassa Bhikku, Buddasasanik
Kap Kan Anurak Thamachat [Buddhists and the Conservation of Nature]
(Bangkok: Komol Keemthong Foundation, l990), p.34.
7. James Hillman, “And Huge is Ugly”, Tenth Annual E.F. Schumacher
Memorial Lecture, Bristol, England: November, l988.
8. Charles B. Maurer, Call to Revolution: The Mystical Anarchism of
Gustav Landauer (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, l972),
pp.58-66. For Spanish origins and developments of the Grupo de
Affinidad, see The Anarchist Collectives: Workers’ Self-management in
the Spanish Revolution l936-l939, Sam Dolgof, editor, (New York: Free
Life Editions, l974).
9. Mev Puleo, The Struggle is One: Voices and Visions of Liberation
(Albany: State University of New York, l994), pp.14, 22, 25, 29.
10. Thomas Cleary, Entry into the Inconceivable: An Introduction to
Hua-yen Buddhism (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, l983), p.7.
11. William Foote Whyte and Kathleen King Whyte, Making Mondragon:
The Growth and Dynamics of the Worker Cooperative Complex (ILR Press,
Cornell University: Ithica, NY, l988), pp.3, 30. Other cooperatives
worthy of study include the Transnational Information Exchange, which
brings together trade unionists in the same industry across the world,
the Innovation Centers, designed in Germany to help workers who must
deal with new technologies, and Emilia Rogagna in northern Italy,
networks of independent industries that jointly research and market
products. Jeremy Brecher, “Affairs of State”, The Nation, Vol. 260,
No. 9, March 6, l995, p.321.
12. Carl J. Bellas, Industrial Democracy and the Worker-Owned Firm: A
Study of Twenty-One Plywood Companies in the Pacific Northwest (New
York: Praeger Publishers, l972).
13. Peter Stiehler, “The Greed of Usury Oppresses, The Catholic
Agitator, Los Angeles, Vol. 24, No. 7, Nov. l994, p.5.
14. Jill Torrie, editor, Banking on Poverty: The Global Impact of the
IMF and World Bank (Toronto: Between the Lines, l983).
15. Ibid, p.14. See also Doug Bandow and Ian Vasquez, editors,
Perpetuating Poverty: The World Bank, the IMF, and the Developing
World (Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute, l994), and Kevin Danaher, 50
Years is Enough: The Case Against the World Bank and the IMF (Boston:
South End Press, l994).
16. The Bretton Woods system of international currency regulation was
established at the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference,
representing 45 countries, held at Bretton Woods, N.H., July, l944.
The United States dollar was fixed to the price of gold and became the
standard of value for all currencies.
17. Noam Chomsky, The Prosperous Few and the Restless Many (Berkeley,
Calif.: Odonian Press, l993), p.6.
18. Gore Vidal, “The Union of the State”, The Nation, Vol. 259, No.
22, December 26, l994, p.789.
19. I use “Siam” rather than “Thailand” to honour the position taken
by progressive Buddhists in that country, who point out that the Thais
are only one of their many ethnic peoples, and that the new name was
imposed by a Thai autocrat.
20. Abu N.M.Wahid, The Grameen Bank: Poverty Relief in Bangladesh
(Boulder: Westview Press, l993).
21. See, for example, Ivan Light and Edna Bonacich, Immigrant
Entrepreneurs: Koreans in Los Angeles, l965-l982 (Berkeley, Los
Angeles, London: University of California Press, l988), p.244.
22. Paul Glover, “Creating Economic Democracy with Locally-Owned
Currency”, Terrain, December, l994, pp. 10-11. See also “An
Alternative to Cash: Beyond Banks or Barter”, New York Times, May 31,
23. Nejatullah Siddiqui, Banking Without Interest (Delhi: Markazi
Maktaba Islami, l979), pp.x-xii.
24. Robert Aitken, Encouraging Words: Zen Buddhist Teachings for
Western Students (San Francisco: Pantheon Press, l993), p.179.
25. Michael Phillips and Sallie Rashberry, Honest Business: A
Superior Strategy for Starting and Conducting Your Own Business (New
York: Random House, l981).
26. Real Goods, for example, retailers of merchandise that helps to
sustain the habitat. 966 Mazzoni Street, Ukiah, CA 95482-0214,
Catalogue for March, l995, p.37.
27. One does feel this urgency in the literature of Real Goods. Let
us hope this remarkable company is the forerunner of others. Ibid.
28. Sulak Sivaraksa, A Buddhist Vision for Renewing Society:
Collected Articles by a Concerned Thai Intellectual (Bangkok: Tienwan
Publishing House, l986), p.108.