Round 7 Response: Buddhism in Japan

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Economic needs and concerns have always existed and will continue to exist indefinitely. There is no reason to expect that economics alone is directly linked to environmental degradation or poor treatment of the land.

Technology, on the other hand, is more closely related to current treatment of the land. The issue at hand is not an economic incentive to treat the land in a particular way. There has always been an economic incentive, in the short term, to pillage the land and exploit its resources, leading to an overall degradation of land and environmental quality. Rather, the issue is capacity. With advancements in technology, the capacity to alter the land and the degree to which exploitation is possible has increased dramatically—to previously inconceivable levels. The economic forces that encourage this behavior have not changed over the years, only the technology that makes it possible.

I would argue that religion has played a minor role in this process. In fact, if more people applied their religious beliefs as an environmental ethic, sincerely, I would expect more people to identify as environmentalists. Christian environmentalists are one such example of this.

The final question contains a false premise. It assumes that placing “a lesser focus on economic well-being” is both possible and necessary for allowing people “to tune into what they truly need for their own survival and well-being.” Most importantly, economic well-being is necessary for one’s own survival. The objective should be seeking a synthesis of economic well-being and environmental health or sustainability. Incentivizing progress in environmentally beneficial technologies, focusing on poverty reduction, and phasing out environmentally hazardous technologies are some important steps towards this objective.

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One response »

  1. I agree with the idea that technology is more closely related to treatment of the land than economic well-being. However, i disagree with the belief that the economic forces that have encouraged technological advance have not changed. In the past, the majority of individuals were focused more on feeding their family rather than advancing their wealth. They were not focused on designing more improved technology. This shift arose later. For this reason, it is sometimes argued that people felt a greater connection to the environment in the past, since post of their primary needs (survival needs) derived from it.
    I completely agree with the idea that economic well-being and environmental health or sustainability should be synthesized. The fusion of these two concerns would lead to a lifestyle in which happiness and well-being are not reduced, while environmental issues are also being solved. Focusing less on economic well-being falsely assumes that this can be separated from environmental issues; however, humans cannot go backward in technology or decrease improvements that have already been made in economic well-being.

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