Featured Image: Stonebridge City Farm established 40 years in Nottingham
Small is Beautiful: Rethinking Economics (As If People Mattered) by EF Schumacher allows you to think about the humanity of economics.
Published in 1973 and available as an audiobook, it wasn’t really that long after the horror of the second world war where so many people died and so many people from across the colonial world fought and then landed here to help rebuild Britain after 1945.
Think of the merchant and passenger ships then inside the complexity of power and war: privileged leisure and then prison ships like the then German owned Empire Windrush, the merchant ships full of aspiring humans from India, Britain, the wider commonwealth, China, West Africa, Scandinavia, Holland, Germany and Japan, seamen and women engaged to crew to ports in those areas.
Travel in a ship, as migrants and environmentalists like Greta Thunberg know gives you place, space and time to think that you may not have elsewhere.
Schumacher, a german refugee from anti semitism and Nazism in 1936, like many enemy alien refugees, didn’t write much about Nazism before he died in 1977 (his brother died supporting the nazis) but in his writing, practice and influence encouraged the cultivation of people sized projects and institutions that could nourish peace, community, innovation and wisdom.
It’s very interesting to think that after the second world war as Germany reconstructed itself, Schumacher’s ideas that interconnected economics, culture, politics and spirit weren’t welcomed there.
Back in Britain though, reconstruction of europe meant that eonomist Maynard Keynes had listened to Schumacher’s idea for a post war International Clearing Union (which became the IMF and World Bank).
The thing to remember about Schumacher is his feeling that teaching, learning and communicating the difference between community wealth and economic capital so that people could have the confidence to create institutions that valued people and freedom.
His broader idea of growth integrates wisdom as a value, so the idea of intrinsic growth as the spirit of democracy come out of his need to develop a theory of democracy as an art, a science and habit of thinking together with others.
Ernst Friedrich Schumacher studied ex-colonial countries like Burma and India to begin to challenge what really is at the heart of an economy to understand how people, work, labour, technologies and products of labour and institutions could be made of the same materials.
Three ideas about Fossil Fuels and Energy Policy 1974: EF Schumacher.
- Fuel policy Oil can’t be replaced Schumacher thought. Cut down is the answer.
- Easiest thing to cut down is on domestic heating which is ideally suited to solar energy (this is 20 percent of energy use).
- Agriculture dependant on fossil fuels royal Agricultural college resources won’t there agric needs to switch from chemical farming to biological farming. Soil Association intensive agriculture takes a lot of energy use.
- Goods transportation absurd. M1 to Glasgow fleet of trucks cookies to London and vice versa. Small scale tech cement works brick works bakeries in all small towns higher level of self sufficiency don’t have to carry things across the countryside. Energy crunch.
- UK Oil Consumption 2018
- Greenpeace on Oil
And you might be interested to look at: Slow Money by Woody Tasch which looks at local production and local value in America: