How Much Is Enough?: Buddhist and Western Perspectives on Greed, Prosperity, and Happiness
The Not Old Better Show, Smithsonian Associates Interview Series
Welcome to The Not Old Better Show. I’m Paul Vogelzang, and this is the Smithsonian Associates Art of Living author interview series. Our guest today is Dr. Steven Emmanuel.
Dr. Steven Emmanuel is the dean of the Susan S. Goode School of Arts and Humanities at Virginia Wesleyan University. Dr. Emmanuel will be presenting via Zoom on May 25, 2021, and the title of Dr. Emmanuel’s presentation is How Much is Enough? Buddhist and Western Perspectives on Greed, Prosperity, and Happiness.
It has become fashionable in recent decades to assert that greed is good—or more accurately, that greed can be a productive force for good. This is not a new idea: As early as the 18th century, philosophers such as Adam Smith noted that vices such as avarice and vanity contributed to the advancement of society by spurring industry and prosperity.
At the same time, Smith was deeply aware of the social and psychological costs of a competitive market system—not least anxiety, inauthenticity, inequality, and indifference to the misery of the poor. He frequently observed how the relentless pursuit of wealth disrupts the tranquility and contentment necessary to human happiness.
Modern critics of free-market capitalism have long complained that it promotes economic growth at the expense of virtue and happiness. But does the capitalist model for alleviating poverty force us to choose between the useful and the good? Is some measure of unhappiness simply the price we pay for human progress?
Though it may seem an unlikely source, the Buddhist tradition offers us a useful conceptual framework for thinking about this question. Our guest today, Steven M. Emmanuel, dean of the Susan S. Goode School of Arts and Humanities at Virginia Wesleyan University will answer our questions about whether there is value in greed, the dangers of wealth acquisition as it pertains to happiness, and an ennobling form of economic activity that is not only compatible with moral and spiritual growth but promotes the conditions for a peaceful, prosperous, and happy society.
Please join me in welcoming to The Not Old Better Show, Smithsonian Associate Dr. Steven Emmanuel.
My thanks to Dr. Steven Emmanuel, who will be presenting at the Smithsonian Associates program on May 25, 2021, and the title of Dr. Emmanuel’s presentation is How Much is Enough? Buddhist and Western Perspectives on Greed, Prosperity, and Happiness. More details in today’s show notes. Also, my thanks to the Smithsonian Associates team for all they do to support the show. My special thanks to you, my wonderful Not Old Better Show audience. Please be safe, practice smart social distancing, get the vaccine, and Talk About Better. The Not Old Better Show. Thanks, everybody.
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