Politics, Philosophy, and Economics
Dr. Mark Thomas
Dr. Vincent Kling
The connection between Buddhism and fast fashion is not immediately apparent, nor is it a particularly well-researched area. However, the topic of consumption underlies both topics, relating to each in markedly different ways. Buddhist precepts outline practices of mindful and sustainable consumption within limited means; fast fashion fosters consumption on a massive, global scale. The work of Ernst Friedrich Schumacher, a man with a career in economics that was aided by great concern for the survival and success of humankind, offers clarity to the conversation about Buddhism and fast fashion. He pioneered the field of Buddhist economics, which seeks to maximize human satisfactions by finding the optimal pattern of consumption. By exploring E.F. Schumacher’s Buddhist economics, I will highlight the areas in which fast fashion lacks the “right view.” It is my goal, not only in this paper but also in my life and work, to demonstrate the importance of E.F. Schumacher’s core philosophy — that small is beautiful — with hope to guide the fashion industry onto a better, more sustainable path.
McLaughlin, Elizabeth, "Fast Fashion from a Buddhist Perspective" (2021). HON499 projects. 44.
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