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on 3 December 2017
I'm not sure I can add anything to the many other reviews of this book from the 1970s except this. In an era where the issue of climate change rightly dominates debate on what we need to do it is interesting to look at a work that predates our knowledge of climate change but takes a critical look at how we organise our societies - in particular the effects of globalisation. Small, local and involving is the very broad thrust of this book (a gross oversimplification in fact) but is our globalised world dominated by huge corporations and disfigured by gross inequalities an ideal world in any shape or form?
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.
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on 8 June 2014
One of the first impressions I got when starting on this book was that it is quite dated. First published in 1973, we are getting on for 50 years. The author talks of the emergence of nuclear power - which the proportion of total energy supply nationally as of 1970 was - UK 2.7% EU 0.6% and USA 0.3%. However, the subject matter of this book is of immense importance in the contemporary world. Questions of sustainability and the ECO movement in general have risen to new heights. So this book is of great relevance and could be dubbed `essential reading`. The fact that much of the subject matter refers to conditions around the 1970s creates a perspective and a comparison with today which is interesting.
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.
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on 3 September 2015
This book is required reading. I first read it when I was a much younger man, back in the late seventies. It had a profound effect on me at the time so I wanted to go back to it and see if it was still relevant. For a book that is now more than 40 years old it is stunning in it's perceptions and forecasts. If I didn't know the book, and someone had told me it had been recently written, I would have believed it. The only giveaways to it's age are the changes in technology. Schumacher couldn't have foreseen the rise of PCs, mobile phones, smart phones and various renewable energy sources now being developed, but the central messages of the book are as relevant as ever. The depressing part is how little we have learned in the last 40 years given that many of the problems he describes are still with us and getting worse. The subtitle "A Study of economics as if people mattered" is eerily prophetic given our modern world of big government, big business (mega sized corporations answerable to no one), big unions, unrestrained globalization. Schumacher was right - Small IS beautiful. It's a pity no one is taking any notice.
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on 17 September 2011
A friend recommended this book to me way back in the 70s sadly I never read it then but had I done so I would most certainly kept on the path that I was following at that time. This book is a must for those that know something is wrong in the world today and want to be awakened to positive alternatives. It's also for those that think everything's fine and dandy, it's this group that really needs a resounding wake-up call. It should be required reading at the very least, preferably an intrinsic element of the education curriculum. Where there's life there's hope and where there'e ideas there's the potential for change.

Give this book as a birthday or a Christmas present to your family and friends.
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on 29 December 2016
Written decades ago but very relevant today. Schumacher knew back then about the limits to growth on planet Earth and the nonsense of our extravagant use of fossil fuels. Good to read and compare with John Micheal Greer's recent book A study of Economics as if Nature mattered
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on 10 April 2014
A very interesting book for the time in which it was written. It invariably talks of the ills we have in this world, and makes a valid and thought provoking attempt at suggesting what could be changed about our existing ideas, (of economic structures, property rights, metaphysics, poverty and governing structures) might be changed or modified to create a world that is more in balance with nature and our own psychological needs. Whether ALL the ideas elaborated are still pertinent to today's world (a world much changed from when the book was originally written) is another question; but I do believe a lot of the ideas still are and what is certain is that the moral edifice on which the book is based is still very much of importance in these times.
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on 23 October 2012
Fritz Schumacher was an economist who did his job on the basis of 'people matter'. This is economics for a caring society, read and learn; It was first published in the 1970s and it is as relevent now as it was then if not more so!

For the book see: Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered
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on 4 February 2018
Arrived on time and as expected
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on 6 November 2011
My book's arrival was very timely. I'd just seen yet another travesty of European economics at its best on BBC news. Schumacher has a clear point to make and this book should be globally required reading for all school children. It promotes a world where we care for one another and everyone has enough to eat. Essential reading so we can continue to live on this planet together.
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on 18 February 2015
reading this book makes you realize how much changes but also how little changes as some of the topics this book raises are still being talked about but as if they are new problems facing the world.
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