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Donald K Swearer: Buddhist Economics and Thailand's Sufficiency Economy


In the aftermath of the 1997 Asian economic crisis the philosophy of Sufficiency Economy has risen to prominence in national discourse in Thailand inspired, in particular, by its association with His Majesty King Bhumbol Adulyadej. Sufficiency Economy has been hailed by its proponents as an antidote to the excesses of global capitalism, while it has been reviled by opponents as unrealistic utopianism. Others interpret Sufficiency Economy as a form of Buddhist Economics, an expression of the values and principles of Thailand's dominant religion, although critics argue that "Buddhist Economics" is a contradiction in terms. This lecture proposes to to examine and problematize both "Buddhist Economics," and "Sufficiency Economy."