E. F. Schumacher
Photograph of Schumacher from the cover of Small Is Beautiful , 1973
Ernst Friedrich Schumacher
16 August 1911
|Died||4 September 1977 66) (aged|
|Education|| University of Oxford |
Ernst Friedrich Schumacher (16 August 1911 – 4 September 1977) was a German-British statistician and economist who is best known for his proposals for human-scale, decentralised and appropriate technologies.He served as Chief Economic Advisor to the British National Coal Board from 1950 to 1970, and founded the Intermediate Technology Development Group (now known as Practical Action) in 1966.
In 1995, his 1973 book Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered was ranked by The Times Literary Supplement as one of the 100 most influential books published since World War II.In 1977 he published A Guide for the Perplexed as a critique of materialistic scientism and as an exploration of the nature and organisation of knowledge.
Schumacher was born in Bonn, Germany in 1911. His father was a professor of political economy. The younger Schumacher studied in Bonn and Berlin, then from 1930 in England as a Rhodes Scholar at New College, Oxford,and later at Columbia University in New York City, earning a diploma in economics. He then worked in business, farming and journalism. His sister, Elizabeth, was the wife of the physicist Werner Heisenberg.
Schumacher moved back to England before World War II, as he had no intention of living under Nazism. For a period during the war, he was interned on an isolated English farm as an "enemy alien". In these years, Schumacher captured the attention of John Maynard Keynes with a paper entitled "Multilateral Clearing"that he had written between sessions working in the fields of the internment camp. Keynes recognised the young German's understanding and abilities, and he was able to have Schumacher released from internment. Schumacher helped the British government mobilise economically and financially during World War II, and Keynes found a position for him at Oxford University.
According to Leopold Kohr's obituary for Schumacher, when "Multilateral Clearing" "was published in the spring of 1943 in Economica, it caused some embarrassment to Keynes who, instead of arranging for its separate publication, had incorporated the text almost verbatim in his famous "Plan for an International Clearing Union", which the British government issued as a White Paper a few weeks later."
After the War, Schumacher worked as an economic advisor to, and later Chief Statistician for, the British Control Commission, which was charged with rebuilding the German economy.From 1950 to 1970 he was Chief Economic Adviser to the National Coal Board, one of the world's largest organisations, with 800,000 employees. In this position, he argued that coal, not petroleum, should be used to supply the energy needs of the world's population. He saw oil as a finite resource, fearing its depletion and eventually prohibitive price, and viewed with alarm the reality that "the richest and cheapest reserves are located in some of the world's most unstable countries".
His position on the Coal Board was often mentioned later by those introducing Schumacher or his ideas. It is generally thought that his farsighted planning contributed to Britain's post-war economic recovery. Schumacher predicted the rise of OPEC and many of the problems of nuclear power.
In 1955 Schumacher travelled to Burma as an economic consultant. While there, he developed the set of principles he called "Buddhist economics", based on the belief that individuals need good work for proper human development. He also proclaimed that "production from local resources for local needs is the most rational way of economic life." He travelled throughout many Third World countries, encouraging local governments to create self-reliant economies. Schumacher's experience led him to become a pioneer of what is now called appropriate technology: user-friendly and ecologically suitable technology applicable to the scale of the community; a concept very close to Ivan Illich's conviviality. He founded the Intermediate Technology Development Group (now Practical Action) in 1966. His theories of development have been summed up for many in catch phrases such as "intermediate size", and "intermediate technology". He was a trustee of Scott Bader Commonwealthand in 1970 the president of the Soil Association.
E. F. Schumacher was greatly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi and J. C. Kumarappa and Gandhi's concepts of "economy of permanence" and appropriate technology. While delivering the Gandhi Memorial Lecture at the Gandhian Institute of Studies at Varanasi (India) in 1973, Schumacher described Gandhi as the greatest "people's economist" whose economic thinking was compatible with spirituality as opposed to materialism.
Schumacher was influenced by Richard Henry Tawney, Mahatma Gandhi, Leopold Kohr, Gautama Buddha, Karl Marx, John Ruskin and the Catholic Church throughout his life. [ citation needed ]He and his solutions to the great economic problems influence the E. F. Schumacher Society, The Arche, George McRobie, William Schweke, and many others.
Schumacher wrote on economics for London's The Times and became one of the paper's chief editorial writers. At this post he was assigned the task of compiling information for the obituary of John Maynard Keynes. He also wrote for The Economist and Resurgence . He served as adviser to the India Planning Commission, as well as to the governments of Zambia and Burma – an experience that led to his much-read essay "Buddhist Economics".
The 1973 publication of Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered , a collection of essays, finished in the house of his friend Leopold Kohr, brought his ideas to a wider audience. One of his main arguments in Small Is Beautiful is that we cannot consider the problem of technological production solved if it requires that we recklessly erode our finite natural capital and deprive future generations of its benefits. Schumacher's work coincided with the growth of ecological concerns and with the birth of environmentalism, and he became a hero to many in the environmental movement and community movement.
In 1976, he was awarded the Prix Européen de l'Essai Charles Veillon for Small Is Beautiful.
His 1977 work A Guide for the Perplexed is both a critique of materialistic scientism and an exploration of the nature and organisation of knowledge.
As a young man, Schumacher was a dedicated atheist, but his later rejection of materialist, capitalist, agnostic modernity was paralleled by a growing fascination with religion.He developed an interest in Buddhism, but beginning in the late-1950s, Catholicism heavily influenced his thinking. He noted the similarities between his own economic views and the teaching of papal encyclicals on socio-economic issues, from Leo XIII's "Rerum novarum" to Pope John XXIII's Mater et magistra , as well as with the distributism supported by the Catholic thinkers G. K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, and Vincent McNabb. Philosophically, he absorbed much of Thomism, which provided an objective system in contrast to what he saw as the self-centered subjectivism and relativism of modern philosophy and society. He also was greatly interested in the tradition of Christian mysticism and read deeply such writers as St. Teresa of Avila and Thomas Merton. These were all interests that he shared with his friend, the Catholic writer Christopher Derrick. In 1971, he converted to Catholicism.
Schumacher gave interviews and published articles for a wide readership in his later years. He also pursued one of the loves of his life: gardening. He died of a heart attack on 4 September 1977, in Switzerland, during a lecture tour.
Schumacher's personal collection of books and archives is held by the Schumacher Center for a New Economics library in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. The center continues the work of E. F. Schumacher by maintaining a research library, organising lectures and seminars, publishing papers, developing model economic programs, and providing technical assistance to groups all for the purpose of linking people, land, and community to build strong, diverse local economies.
The Schumacher Circle is a family of organisations which were founded in E.F. Schumacher's memory or were inspired by his work, and which co-operate to support each other. The circle includes [ citation needed ] in the UK, the Schumacher Center for a New Economics (heir to the legacy programs of the former E. F. Schumacher Society) founded in New England, the Soil Association, the educational Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) North Wales, the Jeevika Trust, and the research organisation the Schumacher Institute in Bristol.the Schumacher College in Totnes, Devon, Resurgence Magazine (now Resurgence & Ecologist ), publishing company Green Books, international non-governmental organisation Practical Action, the New Economics Foundation
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John Maynard Keynes, 1st Baron Keynes, was a British economist, whose ideas fundamentally changed the theory and practice of macroeconomics and the economic policies of governments. Originally trained in mathematics, he built on and greatly refined earlier work on the causes of business cycles, and was one of the most influential economists of the 20th century. Widely considered the founder of modern macroeconomics, his ideas are the basis for the school of thought known as Keynesian economics, and its various offshoots.
Alfred Marshall was one of the most influential economists of his time. His book, Principles of Economics (1890), was the dominant economic textbook in England for many years. It brings the ideas of supply and demand, marginal utility, and costs of production into a coherent whole. He is known as one of the founders of neoclassical economics. Although Marshall took economics to a more mathematically rigorous level, he did not want mathematics to overshadow economics and thus make economics irrelevant to the layman.
Appropriate technology is a movement encompassing technological choice and application that is small-scale, affordable by locals, decentralized, labor-intensive, energy-efficient, environmentally sound, and locally autonomous. It was originally articulated as intermediate technology by the economist Ernst Friedrich "Fritz" Schumacher in his work Small Is Beautiful. Both Schumacher and many modern-day proponents of appropriate technology also emphasize the technology as people-centered.
A Guide for the Perplexed is a short book by E. F. Schumacher, published in 1977. The title is a reference to Maimonides's The Guide for the Perplexed. Schumacher himself considered A Guide for the Perplexed to be his most important achievement, although he was better known for his 1973 environmental economics bestseller Small Is Beautiful, which made him a leading figure within the ecology movement. His daughter wrote that her father handed her the book on his deathbed, five days before he died and he told her "this is what my life has been leading to". As the Chicago Tribune wrote, "A Guide for the Perplexed is really a statement of the philosophical underpinnings that inform Small Is Beautiful".
Practical Action is a development charity registered in the United Kingdom which works directly in four regions of the developing world – Latin America, East Africa, Southern Africa and South Asia, with particular concentration on Peru, Bolivia, Kenya, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Nepal.
Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered is a collection of essays by German-born British economist E. F. Schumacher. The phrase "Small Is Beautiful" came from a principle espoused by Schumacher's teacher Leopold Kohr (1937-1994) The concept is often used to champion small, appropriate technologies or polities that are believed to empower people more, in contrast with phrases such as "bigger is better".
Buddhist economics is a spiritual and philosophical approach to the study of economics. It examines the psychology of the human mind and the emotions that direct economic activity, in particular concepts such as anxiety, aspirations and self-actualization principles. In the view of its proponents, Buddhist economics aims to clear the confusion about what is harmful and what is beneficial in the range of human activities involving the production and consumption of goods and services, ultimately trying to make human beings ethically mature. The ideology's stated purpose is to "find a middle way between a purely mundane society and an immobile, conventional society."
Leopold Kohr was an economist, jurist and political scientist known both for his opposition to the "cult of bigness" in social organization and as one of those who inspired the Small Is Beautiful movement. For almost twenty years, he was Professor of Economics and Public Administration at the University of Puerto Rico. He described himself as a "philosophical anarchist." His most influential work was The Breakdown of Nations. In 1983, he was awarded the Right Livelihood Award for "for his early inspiration of the movement for a human scale."
The bancor was a supranational currency that John Maynard Keynes and E. F. Schumacher conceptualised in the years 1940–1942 and which the United Kingdom proposed to introduce after World War II. The name was inspired by the French banque or. This newly created supranational currency would then be used in international trade as a unit of account within a multilateral clearing system—the International Clearing Union—which would also have to be founded.
James R. Crotty is an American Post-Keynesian macroeconomist whose research in theory and policy attempts to integrate the complementary analytical strengths of the Marxian and Keynesian traditions. He has made contributions to the social structure of accumulation (SSA) theory; the implications of radical uncertainty for macro theory and theories of financial markets.
Humanistic economics is a distinct pattern of economic thought with old historical roots that have been more recently invigorated by E. F. Schumacher's Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered (1973). Proponents argue for "persons-first" economic theories as opposed to mainstream economic theories which are understood as often emphasizing financial gain over human well-being. In particular, the overly abstract human image implicit in mainstream economics is critically analyzed and instead it attempts a rethinking of economic principles, policies and institutions based on a richer and more balanced view of human nature.
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Mansur Hoda: (1930–2001) was born in a middle class Muslim family in an Indian City Chhapra, Bihar. Mansur Hoda as a student, had worked as a research volunteer for the Intermediate Technology Group. After working for Indian Railway for 10 years, he joined Bihar government as Inspector of Factories.
Surur Hoda, also known as M. S. Hoda, was a socialist politician and trade unionist who believed in the ideals promoted by Mahatma Gandhi.
Robert Swann was a community land trust pioneer, Georgist, and peace activist in the United States. He was born in Cleveland Heights, Ohio and died in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. According to his obituary, "Swann dedicated more than a half century of his life to non-violence, desegregation, appropriate technology, affordable housing, land trusts, community credit, worker cooperatives and local currency".
The Schumacher Center for a New Economics is a tax exempt nonprofit organization based in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.
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