Rhobin Courtright’s instructions to her faithful followers: “Review or recommend a book, a short story, or an online article, or a post on someone’s blog.”
I have very little opportunity to read books other than those sent to me to edit, or to review. The one that stands out in my mind is nonfiction, based on extensive research, and with a message everyone should take in. If applied everywhere, it would change the world.
During my Honours year, I shared a lab with Gayle Avery. She went on to rise high in academia, and is a worldwide expert in sustainable business practices.
One day, a mutual friend shared some gossip with me: Gayle had a new boyfriend, but yuk, he was German, and shorter than her. What could she be thinking of?
I met him, and decided the gossip should have her mouth washed out. I immediately liked Harry. Yes, he was German and so what, and shorter than her, and so what. But he was a brilliant architect, with a mind that delighted in mathematical puzzles. Gayle’s father wasn’t so sure, but my two-year-old daughter, Natalie, helped with that. We were visiting when the little tot took Harry by the hand, took him outside, and pointed up. “Moon!” she said.
Harry’s reaction convinced Mr Avery that Gayle had found a suitable partner. After much adventure, he returned to study, and also reached professorial level, the two of them teaming up academically as well as nuptially.
In 2016, they were given the job of being editors and major contributors in a book about the then Thai King Bhumibol’s “Sufficiency Economy Philosophy.” All the other contributors were Thai, and brilliant at their work, but their English was approximately deficient. So, Gayle hired me to translate their Thai English into something a native English speaker would understand.
I was impressed, inspired and invigorated — not by the editing work, which was painful — but by the content.
I am sure His Majesty was an enlightened soul, another Buddha. As a very young man, in 1949, he developed what he called a “New Theory of Agriculture.” This was to farm organically, adapting practices to local climate, soil and resources, without borrowing but living within the initially impoverished farmer’s means. Wherever it was applied, farmers got out of crippling debt, soil was regenerated, forests regrew, food became healthy.
Then came the SE Asian economic crash, caused basically by greed and short-term thinking. King Bhumibol extended his theory to all economic activity, and the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy was born. It was field tested in many venues, further developed by other theorists, and presented to the world in Gayle and Harry’s book, Sufficiency Thinking: Thailand’s gift to an unsustainable world.
Sadly, the concepts of SEP are mostly paid lip service in Thailand. The book however contains some 20 case studies of its meticulous application in fields as diverse as medicine, cement manufacture and tourism. In each case, the results have been spectacular.
Basically and simply, SEP is Buddhist economics. We would have a future if global economics were run according to its principles.
You can read read my review here. I also have the links to a couple of buying pages at the end of the review.
Please comment, then visit the other people in the Round Robin. They live either in North America or in Britain. Given the COVID19 situation in these locations, they are on my list of sending a safety wish during my nightly meditation.