Gorbachev and the Buddha--A Middle Way for Humanity

By Grant Lawrence

Gorbachev on the worldwide economic meltdown:

Gorbachev seemed to view the global meltdown as partly the result of years of Western hubris and excess. "The American media trumpeted ... about the victory in the Cold War, that socialism is down. This disease of extreme self-confidence led to it -- the [belief] that things would always go on this way. ... I think that now everyone is learning a hard lesson. ... It is necessary to overcome these mistakes of super-consumerism, of super-profits." The answer? A composite system that incorporates "the past experience of all that the capitalist system brings, like competitiveness, and what socialism gives -- especially a social safety net."

Mikhail Gorbachev, 78, the last leader of the Soviet Union, was interviewed recently by Associated Press reporter Dan Perry

Before the fall of the Soviet Union, Michail Gorbachev tried to remake the Soviet System into something humane, resembling the Nordic model of Socialism. Unfortunately, it didn't work and the Soviet Empire crumbled just as it seems our Globalist Empire is about to collapse.

After the Soviet collapse, Russia was left with a wrecked economy in which the Oligarchs made their move to take total control. Eastern Europe was united around the false promise of capitalism and is presently suffering for their delusions.

I think Gorbachev's vision for a workable economy and society presently has much to offer mankind. A society in which there are social safety nets and worker protections but that still allows for some competition and wealth creation. This is a middle way that avoids the extremes of fantastic wealth creation for a very tiny few and the exploitation of billions. It is also a middle way that avoids total state control and suppression of individuals and their human economic activity.

The "Middle Way" is something the Buddha endorsed well over 2000 years ago. He talked about avoiding the extremes of sensuality and austerities when it comes to human development, attaining wisdom, and enlightenment.

Societies as well as individual beings are systems.

It makes perfect sense to apply Gorbachev's economic "Middle Way" philosophy for the benefit and well being of a societal system just as it makes perfect sense to apply the Buddha's "Middle Way" path for the benefit and well being of a system known as an individual person.

A systemic approach to human development and activities offers us greater understanding of the way things actually function and in what way they function for the best. Following the Middle Way path of avoiding extremes doesn't mean that there will never be imbalances in a system, but it does mean that one part of that system will not be allowed to totally exploit and abuse the rest of the system until that system collapses. Instead, a Middle Way Path allows for a system, human or societal, to live in some sort of homeostasis.

Both the Gorbachev and the Buddha have mapped out a Middle Way that can be be applied to human development and human relationships for the benefit of humanity.

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