I am not a fan of economics, or most economists.
But when it comes to heroes, E.F. Schumacher, a world renowned economist in his time, is a very real hero to me. He had the courage and wisdom to refute the very economic practices he was often a facilitator of; and he did so with profound impact in his seminal work:
Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered
In the words of others, this book is…
“Embracing what Schumacher stood for–above all the idea of sensible scale–is the task for our time. Small is Beautiful could not be more relevant. It was first published in 1973, but it was written for our time.” (Bill McKibben, from the Foreword)
“An eco-bible” (Time magazine)
“Small Is Beautiful changed the way many people think about bigness and its human costs.” (New York Times)
“Nothing less than a full-scale assault on conventional economic wisdom. . . . Schumacher believes economists need a new set of values, to obtain maximum well-being with minimum consumption.” (Newsweek)
From the Back Cover:
Small Is Beautiful is Oxford-trained economist E. F. Schumacher’s classic call for the end of excessive consumption. Schumacher inspired such movements as “Buy Locally” and “Fair Trade,” while voicing strong opposition to “casino capitalism” and wasteful corporate behemoths. Named one of the Times Literary Supplement’s 100 Most Influential Books Since World War II, Small Is Beautiful presents eminently logical arguments for building our economies around the needs of communities, not corporations.
There are many more great reviews of this classic work, and I wish everyone would read it.
There is a second book – Small is STILL Beautiful, by Joseph Pearce – and that book is much easier to read. It is a followup written twenty five years later by another author, and it sort of like reading a case study that confirms everything Schumacher said. You could actually read that book first, as it is not a sequel or expansion. It should be noted that this second book was written with approval by E. F. Schumacher’s daughter.
Small is Beautiful: Economic as if People Mattered by E.F. Schumacher. Small is Still Beautiful by Joseph Pearce. Find them. Read them. You will be glad you did.