The Wall Street Journal now espousing “The Dharma of Capitalism”?

Everyone’s getting so spiritual now, with the economic downturn. Why? Rod Meade Sperry looks into the recent phenomenon.

Rod Meade Sperry
22 April 2009
Photo by Vitaly

And so now even the Wall Street Journal is talking about The Dharma of Capitalism and quoting the Mahabharata:

In [the Mahabharata], the queen asks her husband, Yudhishthira, about unmerited suffering: “When everything was going so well for us, why was our kingdom stolen in a rigged game of dice?” she complains. She exhorts her husband, who gambled away the kingdom, to raise an army and get their possessions back. But he reminds her that he has given his word to his enemies to remain in exile for 13 years as punishment for losing the game.

“What is the point of being good?” she persists. “Isn’t it better to be powerful and rich than to be good in an unfair world where those who steal and cheat sleep on sheets of silk and pillows of down while those who are good have to settle for the hard earth? Why be good?” To this he replies in the only way that he knows: “I act because I must.”

The King’s answer represents the uncompromising, compelling voice of dharma. […] Dharma is needed by everyone to live a happy, flourishing life. […] We must learn to live with imperfection but seek the sort of regulation that not only catches crooks but also rewards dharma-like behavior and nobility of character.

Maybe I’m getting soft — being naive when I should be more skeptical — but it strikes me as a fine, fine thing when ideas like rewarding “dharma-like behavior and nobility of character” are finding their way into the Wall Street Journal.

Rod Meade Sperry. Photo by Megumi Yoshida, 2024

Rod Meade Sperry

Rod Meade Sperry is the editor of Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Guide (published by Lion’s Roar), and the book A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation: Practical Advice and Inspiration from Contemporary Buddhist Teachers. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with his partner and their tiny pup, Sid.