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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 4:35 pm 
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I'm considering starting a FB interfaith group on capitalism and how to reform it from an American perspective. Marxism formed a useful critique of capitalism and it's exploitations (although I far prefer Dickens) but the resulting solutions usually brought misery to the world. The sole successful counter to capitalism, social democracy, cannot be adopted in it's European form in the US.

Capitalism has become the central ideology in the US. However the pursuit of profit without recourse to it's moral and social effects is an actual evil. Socialists and labor activists in the US in the 20's-40's did form an effective criticism of capitalism and did have some influence on introducing humanizing reforms to the US labor environment. However socialism as a political force was eliminated and labor itself became corrupted. More recently some religious groups have been present during anti-globalization and esp. anti-war protests but as these have become dominated by starkly materialist organizations like ANSWER most of these religious groups have not made their voices heard on an ongoing basis.

This interfaith group will address these issues and attempt to reform capitalism so that it can become a force for good in society rather than mindless profit.

What should such a group be called? What should it's guiding principles be, etc?

Kirt

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 4:41 pm 
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kirtu wrote:
I'm considering starting a FB interfaith group on capitalism and how to reform it from an American perspective. Marxism formed a useful critique of capitalism and it's exploitations (although I far prefer Dickens) but the resulting solutions usually brought misery to the world. The sole successful counter to capitalism, social democracy, cannot be adopted in it's European form in the US.

Capitalism has become the central ideology in the US. However the pursuit of profit without recourse to it's moral and social effects is an actual evil. Socialists and labor activists in the US in the 20's-40's did form an effective criticism of capitalism and did have some influence on introducing humanizing reforms to the US labor environment. However socialism as a political force was eliminated and labor itself became corrupted. More recently some religious groups have been present during anti-globalization and esp. anti-war protests but as these have become dominated by starkly materialist organizations like ANSWER most of these religious groups have not made their voices heard on an ongoing basis.

This interfaith group will address these issues and attempt to reform capitalism so that it can become a force for good in society rather than mindless profit.

What should such a group be called? What should it's guiding principles be, etc?

Kirt



Capitalism cannot be reformed.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 4:44 pm 
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To answer your specific questions, I would suggest finding someone or some people, either in real life or on the Net who share your goals. Then the group's guiding principles will become self-evident, because it actually will be a group, not an individual.

I wonder about that streak of defeatism in what you wrote:
Quote:
The sole successful counter to capitalism, social democracy, cannot be adopted in it's European form in the US.
Are you perhaps closing off what could be the most promising direction for the group before you even start it?

I wish you luck with your project.

Om mani padme hum
Keith


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 10:59 am 
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We live in samsara...expect life to be crap, Getting what you dont want is standard here. Did Buddha ever attempt to implement a political system for others benifit ?
Or is it that there is no real benifit to be gained from politics if we seek happiness and better standards of living I think its far better to start cherishing others and developing Bodhisattva like qualities.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 2:29 pm 
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Caz wrote:
We live in samsara...expect life to be crap, Getting what you dont want is standard here. Did Buddha ever attempt to implement a political system for others benifit ?
Or is it that there is no real benifit to be gained from politics if we seek happiness and better standards of living I think its far better to start cherishing others and developing Bodhisattva like qualities.



Well you have to remember that Buddha, according to Digha Nikāya, was the first human king of this eon in a past life...so yes, actually.

The problem is this -- Capitalism is a system where one cherishes oneself and develops mara-qualities. Bodhisattvas really ought not support such a system even if there is little they can do about it.

But if they have the chance, then they should try and act like Ashoka (after he figured out he was a mass murderer) Srongtsan Gampo, Trisrong De'utsan, etc.

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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

How can you not practice the highest Dharma
at this time of obtaining a perfect human body?

-- Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 2:54 pm 
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Expect errors from human. So save our ass first. Currently Namo Amitabha is what's working right now at least for me.

Remember Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha or "Awakened/Truth/Purity" and Conduct/Concentration/Wisdom. If you don't follow these, you will not succeed. All Buddha taught are just those.

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must not be afraid of losing your bodies and your lives―


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 3:46 pm 
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Namdrol wrote:
Caz wrote:
We live in samsara...expect life to be crap, Getting what you dont want is standard here. Did Buddha ever attempt to implement a political system for others benifit ?
Or is it that there is no real benifit to be gained from politics if we seek happiness and better standards of living I think its far better to start cherishing others and developing Bodhisattva like qualities.



Well you have to remember that Buddha, according to Digha Nikāya, was the first human king of this eon in a past life...so yes, actually.

The problem is this -- Capitalism is a system where one cherishes oneself and develops mara-qualities. Bodhisattvas really ought not support such a system even if there is little they can do about it.

But if they have the chance, then they should try and act like Ashoka (after he figured out he was a mass murderer) Srongtsan Gampo, Trisrong De'utsan, etc.


Perhapes In a past life however generally in his life as Shakyamuni did he attempt to implement a political system or did he show the renunciates way ?
Capitialism is a perfect system for samsara, Of course having said that it doesnt mean it brings happiness...Rather so untill everyone in the world suddenly decides to cherish others and place theyre happiness above their own we shall be keeping it I think.
Would a Bodhisattva out and out reject capitalism ? Well seeing as they would be practising pure conduct and renunciation I dont think they would bother to try and build a better looking sand castle.

On another note did anyone watch the zeitgeist films ? They had some interesting ideas.

:popcorn:

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Liberation in the Palm of your hand~Kyabje Pabongkha Rinpoche.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:50 pm 
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Namdrol wrote:
Capitalism cannot be reformed.


It's a very powerful medicine/poison that can indeed be tempered to provide value to society as a whole. Scandinavia, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, and Austria are all successful examples of this. Of course it's tempered in varying degrees within those countries through social democracy. In many of those countries social democracy came from two different roots: the Catholic church social movements of the mid-1800's and Marx's critique of capitalism and the whole spectrum of socialist thought that that gave birth to.

Since capitalism has been reformed there then it is reformable and can likely be reformed in an American context.

Kirt

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"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:06 pm 
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KeithBC wrote:
To answer your specific questions, I would suggest finding someone or some people, either in real life or on the Net who share your goals. Then the group's guiding principles will become self-evident, because it actually will be a group, not an individual.

I wonder about that streak of defeatism in what you wrote:
Quote:
The sole successful counter to capitalism, social democracy, cannot be adopted in it's European form in the US.
Are you perhaps closing off what could be the most promising direction for the group before you even start it?


Hi Keith -

Native born US citizens tend to be minimally social (social interaction is used primarily for defense and manipulation for many people) and is heavily overladen with an overblown, idealized view of "rugged individualism". Americans also have a totally different view of democracy than even our Neighbors to the North and certainly Western Europeans. Last week in the Washington Post Anne Applebaum wrote in an article about French democracy in terms of liberté, égalité, and fraternité. However US "democracy" doesn't follow that model at all. Liberty is the freedom primarily to own property and not have it arbitrarily removed from one's possession and to not be unreasonably dictated to. Americans have no universally broader notion of egalitarianism and no notion at all of fraternity which in France and all of Western Europe has become the mutual responsibilities of the individual and society to one another.

Therefore European social democracy, mostly realized in large part as a result of the disaster of WWII, will not work south of the 49th Parallel.

And Steven Harper and others are trying to make sure that Canada's unique form follows a more "efficient" US model from what I read.

Kirt Undercoffer

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Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche


Last edited by kirtu on Mon Apr 04, 2011 4:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:17 pm 
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Caz wrote:
I think its far better to start cherishing others and developing Bodhisattva like qualities.


That's correct and that is what the interfaith group will try to promote within it's own religious and moral prisms.

If Christians claim for example to uphold a moral standard that has some relation to the wider world why have so few Christians relatively speaking addressed poverty? And why are the ideals of the Sojourner's controversial (although they are now far less controversial than when they began 30 yrs ago)?

Christians have to motivate their own people in their own terms to tackle economic injustice. So far they haven't done this so well and neither have most other religious and moral groups.

Kirt

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"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:25 pm 
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LastLegend wrote:
So save our ass first.


We save ourselves by saving others. Last week II was asked by a homeless man how things were going. I told him that I'd probably have to buy a tent and go starve in the woods at the end of this month (which is true BTW). He was taken aback (because Americans are not used to direct speech and because he had an image in his mind of me doing well) and said "Don't worry - I will always be able to share my sandwiches with you."

We have to share our sandwiches and better reform the sandwich making and distribution process to take care of everyone and not just the top 25%, 10%, 1% or .1% of people.

Kirt

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"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:30 pm 
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BTW - on a personal level the goal of the reform of capitalism would ideally result in the creation of a Kalachakra like Pure Land on Earth like Shambhalla. This is an attainable goal IMV. So in the physical world everyone would have the resources necessary for a happy and meaningful life. For those not familiar with this tantric teaching, on a strictly Mahayana level the model is that outlined by Nagarjuna in his Garland (I think it's the Garland, Ratnavali, that he addresses to his friend, a king and at least partly covers temporal life).

Kirt

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"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
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