What E. F. Schumacher saw or heard in Burma (now Myanmar) in 1955 inspired him to explore Buddhist economics as an answer to the new world of 1960s and 1970s, when a generation, disillusioned and disenchanted by prevailing values and norms, was looking for alternatives, among others, to classical or mainstream economics. His slogan "Small is beautiful" attracted worldwide attention as the crux of Buddhist Economics. Despite the events since 1962 in Myanmar, his ideas found and continue to enjoy support among scholars, social activists and Buddhist monks in traditionally Buddhist countries of Asia. The questions taken up for examination in his papaer are -- 1.Do the teachings of the Buddha provide a foundation for Buddhist Economics as interpreted by Schumacher in terms of ideas and positions ascribed by him to a hypothetical Buddhist economist with the slogan "Small is beautiful?" 2.How relevant and applicable to the current global situation and issues ard the interpretations of Buddhist Ecnoomics of Venerable Dhammapitaka(better known internationally as P. A. Payutto), and Phra Bhavanaviriyakhun of Thailand, Professor Jagath W.Wickremasinghe of Sri Lanka, HG Wagner of Germany and Prime Minister Nambaryn Enkhbayar of Mongolia? 3.How valid are supporting statements of Professor John B. Cobb Jr. and criticisms of Professor Mark Skousen -- both of the USA? 4.To what extent can and will the Bhutanese concept of Gross National Happiness and Thailand's Sufficiency Economy -- both being initiatives of ruling monarchs -- be implemented in the spirit of Buddhist Economics? and 5.What impact will they have on globalization and the increasing tendency of nations to adopt the free market capitalist system? What is attempted is to indentify and distinguish between elements, which are too idealistic or far-fetched for broad-based implementation and those which ard more realistic, with a view to promoting the worldwide recognition and appreciation of Buddhist wisdom and values having a direct relationship to sustainable economic development.
1955年修馬克在緬甸的所見所聞促使他研究佛教經濟學，以回應1960年代與1970年代世界的新局勢。這個時代的人對先前的主流價值觀與規範不再抱持幻想，他們想找尋能替代古典經濟學或主流經濟學的學說。修馬克的口號－「小即是美」成為舉世矚目的焦點，並被認為是佛教經濟學的關鍵所在。儘管緬甸在1962年以來發生了種種重大事件，修馬克的觀點仍持續受到學者、社會活動家及亞洲佛教國家僧侶的廣泛支持。本文將探討以下幾個問題： 1.修馬克提出「小即是美」的口號作為其主張之立場，並以此為佛教經濟學之前提。佛陀的教法果然能為佛教經濟學提供基礎嗎？ 2.泰國的法藏法師(國際上稱他為P. A. Payutto)與Phra Bhavanaviriyakhun、斯里蘭卡的維克馬辛教授、德國的華格納教授和蒙古總理恩赫巴亞爾對佛教經濟學所作的闡釋，與當前的全球局勢及全球議題有何關聯?如何應用到全球的局勢之中? 3.對於佛教經濟學，兩位美國教授－柯布與史可生，前者表示贊成，後者予以批判。他們的觀點是否站的住腳? 4.不丹提出國民快樂毛額，泰國提出知足常樂經濟，這些都是由王室發起的政策，以佛教的經濟精神能實施到什麼程度? 5.這對於全球化的趨勢及越來越多國家採行資本主義制度的自由市場機制有何影響? 本文試圖將因過於理想化或過於泛泛而施行困難的元素，與過於現實的元素區分開來，以期佛法中與永續經濟發展有直接關係的智慧與價值觀能廣為人知。