Mindful Economics and the Countdown to 2030

Joel Magnuson

In late 2018 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a special report in which scientists call for significant changes in the global economy as necessary steps to mitigate the worst effects of global warming and climate change. The panel also laid out a timeline for such changes to be made by the year 2030 in order to be effective. This is an enormous challenge and obviously time is running out. As people everywhere take up this challenge, we will need to draw on every resource imaginable—technological, social, physical, and spiritual. The central theme of this talk is that Buddhist philosophy and practice overlaps with what I call “mindful economics” in interesting and provocative ways, and can be very helpful in this tremendous effort. This presentation explores some aspects of this convergence such as a holistic view of the inner self in the outer society, a view of economics as a project of social provisioning, and the impermanence of all things. The aim is to inspire people to take a serious and objective look at what needs to be done over the next decade as we strive toward simultaneously doing the hard work of introspection, cultivating compassion and wisdom, as well as working outwardly toward changing how we think and act in our economic societies.