- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Vintage (16 Sept. 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099225611
- ISBN-13: 978-0099225614
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 77 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered Paperback – 16 Sep 1993
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"A book of heart and hope and downright common sense about the future." (Peter Lewis Daily Mail)
First published in 1973, this controversial study looks at the economic structure of the western world in a revolutionary way. Schumacher maintains that man's current pursuit of profit and progress, which promotes giant organizations and increased specialization, has in fact resulted in gross economic inefficiency, environmental pollution and inhumane working conditions. He challenges the doctrine of economic, technological and scientific specialization, and proposes a system of intermediate technology, based on smaller working units, communal ownership and regional workplaces, utilizing local labour and resources.See all Product description
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In short, even without the imperative of climate change, there are good reasons for looking critically at our society and economy. Schumacher does this but also points a path to a better future.
There is a chapter entitled Buddhist Economics where the psychological attitude of this philosophy towards life style is explored; the concept that it is better to leave non-renewables like coal and oil where they are and further - to base economic choices and decisions on the simplest solution, requiring the least expenditure and effort, so giving people more time for other things. In a chapter called The Greatest Resource - Education Schumacher suggests that we are living in a time of philosophical paucity and that a holistic approach to knowledge is needed in order to attain a healthy world view. This is quite a challenging chapter which is worthy of some study!
I find myself tempted to include here countless quotes from the book as there is so much important material I feel. However, this would only give rise to a perhaps over lengthy review. So I will just say that this book should be read! Personally I am sometimes amazed at the stupidity of mankind in his relentless pursuit of gain and the trail of destruction he leaves in his wake. Are we really going to just self destruct? If so, what a waste! Surely our brains are able to do something intelligent! Part of the title of this book, as if people really mattered, comes to the fore in the section on nuclear power. Schumacher asks whether any of the decision makers really have any idea or indeed if they care at all about the fate of humanity when planning to build nuclear reactors and he repeats that short term gain and `economics` are the religion of modern society and our fate may well be sealed!
Part 4 entitled Organisation and Ownership I found quite demanding reading and I should re-read it. We start to get in to political science here and I heard echoes of Rousseau in places. Concepts like the Social Contract and the theory behind how we organise and manage enterprise.
I have cited this text on every single one of my applicable graduate school essays. E. F. Schumacher is a genius. If you want to become smarter, wiser, and more clever at conversation, business, philosophy, or whatever, I would highly suggest reading this book or buying it for someone else.
Now don't get me wrong, the meat of the book is at the beginning and the book begins to fall off towards the end. Schumacher was a brilliant thinker but his policy suggestions and whatnot are nothing special. Unfortunately, his genius was in the thinking and investigation and argumentation, not his proposals for public policy.
Give this book as a birthday or a Christmas present to your family and friends.
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