Buddhism and Socio-Economic Development
From the earliest days of history, when human beings began to organize themselves into society, there has been an inter-play of two powerful agents of control, namely, State and Capital. The State is the focus of politics and political organisations; and Capital in the focus of business or economics, and economic manipulation. In the pre-Christian era of the sub-continent, in the days of the Buddha, these factors exerted a great control over society. Prince Siddhartha himself was part of the group linked to the first-named factor, the State, hailing from the princely house of the Sakya. Similarly, the money factor, Capital, exerted an immense influence over the thinking of the masses, and brought about, that initially stirred the thinking of Gautama, and then led him on to discover of the Arya Satya, the Four Noble Truths.
However, as the Venerable Santikaro Bhikkhu of Thailand points out, there is always a third powerful player in the dynamics of cities and states, namely, religion, the reference is the organised religion, which has been playing a balancing role between the competing interests of state and capital. True, Buddhism is not a 'religion,' as per the generally accepted notion of religion: God, sacrifice and intermediaries such as priests. Yet, in common parlance, Buddhism serves the role played by religion, especially in countries where the Buddhist population is dominant. Examples are Thailand, Burma [Myanmar], or even Sri Lanka or Tibet. (...)http://www.rakhapura.com/articles/buddh ... opment.aspPerhaps also relevant to the topic.