Buddhism teaching

Three approaches to teaching scarcity

May 8, 2022 12:37 p.m. ET


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Matthew Hennessey’s editorial “An Econ Lesson From a Science Teacher” (April 26), adapted from his new book “Visible Hand”, happily demonstrates how educators can influence our personal sense of economics. In contrast, my 1974 high school science and math teachers banded together to offer a course in “futuristics,” a mixture of alarming Paul Ehrlich-inspired graphs and extrapolations filling our young minds with overpopulation, depleted resources, endless war and so on. .

Meanwhile, as my classmates and I learned that we had no future, Steve Jobs was in India experimenting with Buddhism and LSD.

Kerry Swanson

La Selva Beach, California.

I enjoyed Mr. Hennessey’s article on learning life lessons from unlikely people. His comment, “Scarcity comes with limits, and the world is full of them,” reminds me of a hospital board retreat I attended in the 1990s. The host asked what barriers we would prevent success. “Limited resources,” replied a board member. A new board member was quick to say that limited resources were not an obstacle but a reality. He then studied the board and management on the more subtle aspects of strategic planning. The name of this new member of the board of directors? Carlos Ghosn.

Jim Wood

Jensen Beach, Florida.

In 1962, an elderly Jesuit priest, Father Huttinger, quizzed his freshman Latin class on the best and brightest locals at the University of Detroit high school. He was not impressed. Why, he asked, does the world produce more than enough food to feed everyone, while many go hungry? After a sufficient pause that confirmed how ignorant we were, he said simply, “Politics.” Sixty years later, I’ve forgotten all the Latin I ever really knew, but not this man or the corruptible power he warned of.

Tom Rabette

Sarasota, Florida.

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Appeared in the print edition of May 9, 2022.