A Buddhist Economic-System—In Practice: The Rules Of State Policy Making Of The Ideal Kings Sought A "Middle Way" Between Right And Left

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American Journal Of Economics And Sociology


Although there is little discussion of distributive justice in the Theravādā canon, the Buddhist State is advised to provide all people with a minimum income. Radiation theory sees the economy prospering through the virtuous actions of individuals following the moral law. Early Buddhist writings generally accept existing political and economic institutions, even while providing a democratic social ethos revolutionary for its time. King Asoka, greatest of all Indian emperors, pursued a highly activist fiscal policy even though he believed only meditation could help people to advance in moral living. But canonical beliefs about economic activity are much more ambiguous than economic literature often indicates. Hence today there are rightist and leftist Buddhists, differing in interpretation.

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