cover image We Are the Economy: The Buddhist Way of Work, Consumption, and Money

We Are the Economy: The Buddhist Way of Work, Consumption, and Money

Kai Romhardt, trans. from the German by Christine Welter and Teresa van Osdol. Parallax, $16.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-946764-58-4

Romhardt (Slow Down Your Life), a business analyst and Zen practitioner, proposes a “mindful economy” in this illuminating Buddhist-inspired vision of economic enterprise and cooperation. Romhardt applies mindful awareness to ideas of work, money, and consumption, critiquing negative habits that reinforce desire (such as focus on efficiency and rivalry) and exploring how to build positive habits to cultivate contentment, sustainability, and abundance through economic cooperation. For Romhardt, mindfulness allows the mind to see the world for what it is, and the practice of it leads to the questioning of habitual beliefs about oneself and the world. He explores how, what, how much, and why one consumes, connecting the dissatisfactions of a consumer-based economy to Buddhist teachings on interconnectivity and compassion. Included throughout are diagrams visualizing his critique of competition-based capitalism. To underscore Romhardt’s belief that spiritual life is not separate from economic life, he focuses on everyday patterns of wholesome and unwholesome behavior and recommends mindful listening, walking meditations, and making smiling the default response to confrontation. Accessible for a wide audience, Romhardt’s intelligent analysis demonstrates the perilous downside of rampant consumerism. [em](July) [/em]