Pave The Planet Or Wear Shoes

1064 words - 4 pages

Throughout the article “Pave the Planet or Wear Shoes” the author discusses the issue of the relationship between the current capitalist economy and the values that it promotes on society. While discussing that relationship the author incorporates certain Buddhist principles that relate to the overall problems that result from the current economic system. The main problem that arises with the current capitalist economy is that it brings a “staggering ecological impact” and an “unequal distribution of new wealth” (88). The values of greed and delusion that this economic system promotes does not fully support the entire global economy, and this is why the author uses the metaphor “Pave the Planet or Wear Shoes” as a solution to the problem. The metaphor is broken up into two parts giving two scenarios or solutions that the global economy will take in order to fix the economic problems of unequal distribution of wealth and the ecological impact.

The first part of the metaphor “Pave the Planet” is a solution that resorts to the globalization movement of using the world’s technological advancements. With this method a capitalist society believes that in order to gain more wealth and success it is necessary for the society to keep using the world’s resources, producing products, and consuming these products. This belief of consistent greed and competition to gain more and more wealth is derived from “the fact that humans are fundamentally self-centered” (79). Although these beliefs and values seem immoral and corrupt, this method has proven quite a success for the global economy in the past. For example, “more goods and services were consumed in the forty years between 1950 and 1990 than by all the previous human generations” (80). This increase in the production of goods and services has allowed for the creation of more wealth and opportunities that people have never seen before. Although this solution has proven to be effective, it has created two current problems and ultimately one potential problem. The two current problems, which were stated previously, are the unequal distribution of wealth and the harmful effects on the ecological system. The third problem, dealing with the topic of “self-limitation”, is that in a capitalist society consumers will never be satisfied even when all the earth’s resources are gone. The capitalist values of greed and ill will constantly keep consumers striving for more and more ultimately leading them to a world of disappointment when all the earth’s resources are depleted.

The second part of the metaphor “Wear Shoes” moves in a different direction of using Buddhist principles and teachings to construct a more global friendly economic system. The meaning of the phrase “Wear Shoes” is to allow our minds as not just consumers but also as people to collectively understand our means with regards to the world’s resources and to use them wisely to provide a better biosphere. In order for the path of “Wearing Shoes”...

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