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Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered Paperback – August, 1975

4.7 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Paperback, August, 1975
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A book of heart and hope and downright common sense about the future."
—Peter Lewis, Daily Mail
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Before the publication of Small is Beautiful, his bestselling reappraisal of Western economic attitudes, DR. E. F. SCHUMACHER was already well known as an economist, journalist and progressive entrepreneur. Born in Germany, he first came to England in 1930 as a Rhodes Scholar to study economics at New College, Oxford. In later years, his advice on problems of rural development was sought by many overseas governments. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 305 pages
  • Publisher: Perenial Library /Harper & Row, Publishers (August 1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060803525
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060803520
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Ernst Friedrich "Fritz" Schumacher (1911-1977) was an English economist best known for his proposals for decentralized and appropriate technologies. This 1973 book was judged by The Times Literary Supplement as among the 100 most influential books published since World War II. Schumacher also wrote A Guide for the Perplexed.

He begins by saying that it is an "absurd and suicidal error to believe... that the problem of production has been solved." (Pg. 15) Our current methods of production "are already eating into the very substance of industrial man... The substance of man cannot measured by the Gross National Product." (Pg. 20)

He asks the question, What is wisdom? He asserts that "it can be FOUND only inside oneself. To be able to find it, one has first to liberate oneself from such masters as greed and envy," which will produce "insights of wisdom which are obtainable in no other way." (Pg. 38) He criticizes economists for whom the idea that there could be unhealthy, disruptive or destructive growth is "a perverse idea which must not be allowed to surface." (Pg. 48)

He argues that it is man, not nature, who provides the primary resource, and that "the key factor of all economic development comes out of the mind of man." In fact, education is the "most vital of all resources." (Pg. 79) He proposes a change in the DIRECTION of research: "towards nonviolence rather than violence; towards an harmonious cooperation with nature rather than a warfare against nature"; toward the low-energy solutions rather than "brutal, wasteful, and clumsy solutions of our present-day sciences." (Pg.
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Schumacher's book is if anything, more relevant today than it was 40 years ago! The world suffers from "biggness." More explicitly the focus in economics and life upon greed and envy to produce and consume more, and more, and more. As Schumacher points out in much more lurid detail, this leads to a moral emptiness where we focus upon the "things" we have, rather than the "life" we have. The inequality that results is not only unfair, but unsustainable. He suggests a "smaller" focus that aims for the full employment of men and women on the endeavors that give meaning to life. Buddhist economics would value human spirit above human possessions. All of this is achievable through promoting "Think global; act local." More true today than ever. There are parts of the book that have past there due date, or were never as relevant, but readers won't have any trouble finding the essential meaning. "Small is Beautiful," a credo for action!
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I am astounded to find that the only review of this classic work, which has inspired countless numbers of people from all around the world, should only be given 3 stars by its only reviewer, apparently because they found it hard to read. Earth to reviewer: Profound books are hard to read!

In any case, the criticism is unwarranted.
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This book was published in 1973. The author, E.F. Schumacher , was ahead of his time as an environmentalist. The book is a collection of essays divided into four parts. It is not a typical econonics book filled with numbers, charts, graphs, and formulas. "Bigness is the nemesis of anarchism, whether the bigness is that of public or privat bureaucracies, because from bigness comes impersonality , insensitivity, and a lust to concentrate abstract power. Hence, Schumacher's title ' Small is Beautiful.'" He weaves together threads from Galbraith and Gandhi, capitalism and Buddhism, science and psychology.
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Format: Paperback
This book has been around for a long time. Re-reading it now has been enlightening. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a consumer, in other words - everyone.
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A truly amazing book! Even from the seventies keeps updated!
Expose very important ideas that should be spread to every body.
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Arrived just as seller promised. A wonderful, thoughtful read. I would highly recommend this book.
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a stunning reflection and push for the establishment of a new set of world and life saving values.
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