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Caring Economics

Conversations on Altruism and Compassion, Between Scientists, Economists, and the Dalai Lama

Edited by Tania Singer and Matthieu Ricard; With a Foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama


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ISBN10: 1250064120
ISBN13: 9781250064127


240 Pages



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Can the hyper-ambitious, bottom-line-driven practices of the global economy incorporate compassion into the pursuit of wealth? Or is economics driven solely by materialism and self-interest? In Caring Economics, experts consider these questions alongside the Dalai Lama in a wide-ranging, scientific-based discussion on economics and altruism.

Started in 1987, the Mind and Life Institute arose out of a series of conferences held with the Dalai Lama and a range of scientists that sought to form a connection between the empiricism of contemporary scientific inquiry and the contemplative, compassion-based practices of Buddhism. Caring Economics is based on a conference held by the Mind and Life Institute in Zurich in which experts from all over the world gathered to discuss the possibility of having a global economy focused on compassion and altruism. Each chapter consists of a presentation by an expert in the field, followed by a discussion with the Dalai Lama in which he offers his response and his own unique insights on the subject.

In this provocative book, learn how wealth doesn't need to be selfish, and how empathy and compassion may be the path to a healthier world economy.

Table of Contents:

Part I: Scientific Research on Altruism and Pro-Social Behavior
1. The Egoism-Altruism Debate: A Psychological Perspective by Daniel Batson
2. Empathy and the Introceptive Cortex by Tania Singer
3. The Neural Bases of Compassion by Richard Davidson
4. A Buddhist Perspective on Altruism by Matthieu Ricard
5. Biological Imperatives for Survival: Altruism Reconsidered by Joan Silk

Part II: Economic Research on Altruism and Pro-Social Behavior
6. The Social Dilemma Experiment by Ernst Fehr
7. First Thoughts Toward a Buddhist Economics by John Dunne
8. The Economics of Happiness by Richard Layard
9. Why People Give to Charity by William Harbaugh
10. Altruistic Punishment and the Creation of Public Goods by Ernst Fehr

Part III: Introducing Pro-Sociality into Economic Systems
11. Profit with a Purpose by Antoinette Hunziker-Ebneter
12. What Can Microfinance Do? by Arthur Vayloyan
13. The Barefoot College by Sanjit "Bunker" Roy
14. Compassionate Leadership by William George
Conclusion: Compassion is Not a Luxury; Moderator: Joan Halifax


Praise for Caring Economics

"This work will be appreciated by readers who believe that human beings can and do act beyond their own self-interest—even in the economic sphere."Library Journal

"An intriguing report on unusual objectives pursued through outreach and debate."Kirkus Reviews


Read an Excerpt


The Egoism-Altruism Debate
A Psychological Perspective

Daniel Batson

Dan Batson, an experimental social psychologist, is a professor emeritus at the University of Kansas and the author of Altruism...

About the author

Edited by Tania Singer and Matthieu Ricard; With a Foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

DR. TANIA SINGER is the director of the Department of Social Neuroscience at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany.

MATTHIEU RICARD is a French Buddhist monk who resides at Schechen Tennyi Dargyeling Monastery in Nepal. He is the son of the late Jean-François Revel, a renowned French philosopher. He is the author of many bestselling titles, including The Monk and the Philosopher and The Quantum and the Lotus.

Matthieu Ricard

Official Links

Tania Singer