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Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as…

Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered (1973)

by E. F. Schumacher

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
It must be so frustrating to be ahead of your time: to know that you have an important message only to find that the world is not ready to listen. Schumacher's book is so foresighted that, even now, many people have not awoken to the problems which he foresaw.

When I introduce some of the concepts discussed by Schumacher, you will be forgiven for thinking that this would be a difficult read. You would, however, be wrong in that supposition. He has a remarkable ability to express his vies in plain language, open to all and the text draws you along.

With the election of Jeremy Corbyn to the Labour leadership, I have read many people questioning the need for a Green Party. They should read this book. Even on monetary issues, Schumacher defines the error of both right and traditional left: the right give money to the 'haves' and hope for trickle down to sustain the poor, the left value labour but both consider the material worked upon by the labour to be free. If there is one thing that is blindingly obvious today, it is the potentially fatal error in this belief. Schumacher says that the standard of living is covered by capitalism but we need to look at the quality of life, culture, etc.

Schumacher proves, admittedly with 1970's figures, that Capitalism as we currently pursue it, is unsustainable (USA with 5.6% of the world population consumes 40% of world resources). You will not find these figures improving.

The book, written before Climate Change was an issue, argues for localisation where ever possible. The only uncomfortable view that he expresses is that every race needs its own homeland. This sounds a little racist to 21st century ears, but when you consider that Malcolm X argued a similar view in the '70's, I think that one has to accept that this was not meant in the 'foreigners go home' insularism of present day right wing groups. It was more concerned with people having a base, a homeland.

EF. Schumacher is the Green Philosopher. ( )
  the.ken.petersen | Oct 18, 2015 |
There's a quote of Schumacher's in the book as commentary which really gets to the core of the book's message.
"Economics without Buddhism, i.e. without spiritual, human, and ecological values, is like sex without love."
Economics, especially the advance of capitalism, should be considered in the context of priorities & values. The health of a society cannot be measured solely by it's market health & GDP.
A very worthwhile read.
  drmom62 | Jul 10, 2014 |
Frankly depressing to read this eminently sane, eloquent, well-defended, ethical book 40 years after its original publication and look at how all of the ills it describes are still with us. In the last 40 years our economic system has gone on galloping at breakneck speed in exactly the opposite direction from the one Schumacher endorses, with precisely the consequences he describes. It's like reading a book about the danger of runaway trains from the compartment of a runaway train. ( )
  CSRodgers | Jun 4, 2014 |
(one of 24 books found today at 2nd hand shop...24 for $10!)
  velvetink | Mar 31, 2013 |
Oof, tried to read this but found it dated and preachy. Some of Schumacher's fundamental ideas are wonderful and important, but I can't read books that make blanket statements about the iniquity and moral vacuity of modern society & how things were better before the 19th/20th/21st century.

Also, if you're writing for an audience of non-conformists in the seventies and you're NOT a feminist, shame on you. (Schumacher says that "most" women shouldn't have to work, yet claims that meaningful work is a human right. Um.) ( )
  raschneid | Mar 31, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
It is in the very human experiences of compassion, dignity and creative spirit that Schumacher locates a sustainable human path. For instance, he challenges the blind pursuit of techno­logical “advancement” and computerized systems when human-scale technology would better serve communities and provide opportunities to perform meaningful work.

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
E. F. Schumacherprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Roszak, TheodoreIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Theodore Roszak
For nearly two centuries -- since Adam Smith published his Wealth of Nations in 1776 -- economists have been advertising themselves as the most rigorous and successful of all social scientists. The aspiration has transcended ideological boundaries.
I. The Problem of Production
One of the most fateful errors of our age is the belief that 'the problem of production' has been solved.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060916303, Paperback)

The classic of common-sense economics. "Enormously broad in scope, pithily weaving together threads from Galbraith and Gandhi, capitalism and Buddhism, science and psychology."-- The New Republic

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:07 -0400)

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