A CONFERENCE OF Buddhists and Christians in Thailand has issued a “common word on international economic practices” challenging “structural greed”.
Representatives of the two faith traditions met in late August at Payap University, Chiang Mai. The theme of their consultation was “Engaging Structural Greed”, Ekklesia reports.
The consultation was co-sponsored by the World Council of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation.
Participants included Theravada and Mahayana Buddhists as well as Lutheran, Anglican, Baptist, Catholic and Reformed Christians.
The final statement recognises that personal and systemic greed is at the core of today’s global financial crisis, and it expresses the hope that an “ongoing inter-religious engagement and cooperation can be a powerful contribution to overcoming greed and realising a world of greater compassion, wisdom and justice”.
Participants stated that one of the main reasons for the current global economic crisis was the drive for the maximisation of profits by capital owners, and they lamented the de-regulation of the financial markets. The present situation, they said, was a moral and spiritual issue.
“The dismantling of these regulations a few decades ago resulted in an environment for the explosion of personal and structural greed, leading to a debt and mortgage crisis, to unparalleled disparities between the super-rich and those who go hungry every day and to the accelerated degradation of the environment,” says the ‘Buddhist-Christian Common Word on Structural Greed.’