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  • Author or Editor: James Hoopes x
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The prevailing view of capacity building is summed up in the adage: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” In other words, simple compassion is counterproductive; utilitarian measures of effectiveness are the best standard for evaluating a social innovation. This paper will explore the alternative possibility that practicing simple compassion as the highest virtue, as did the Buddha, can be so productive that the aphorism should be: “Give a woman a fish, and she may help you build a fish farm.” This argument is illustrated by an exploratory case study of a Thai firm, Siam Hands. The company exemplifies a Buddhist economics approach to social innovation and capacity building, as opposed to mainstream Western utilitarianism.

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