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Book reviews for "Schumacher,_Ernst_Friedrich" sorted by average review score:

Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered.
Published in Paperback by HarperCollins (paper) (1975)
Author: Ernst Friedrich Schumacher
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Classic Appropriate Technology Vision
This is one book that adds the perspective of the wider World (not just the technologically elite), when making decisions on engineering/business solutions (as well as other resource allocation decisions). When striving towards best solutions, some engineers & consultants may favour technology complexity and quality, when simplicity and fit-for-purpose are optimal. This book provides some inspiration and building blocks, to be coupled with the usual simulation toolkit including systems analysis, enabling development and implementation of appropriate solutions. Similarly, the book appeals to a much wider audience that can embrace such values in day to day life.

The inspirational well-written contents cover:

*Part I- The modern world- problem of production, peace and permanence, role of economics, Buddhist economics, and a question of size.

*Part II- resources- education, proper use of land, resources for industry, nuclear energy, and technology with a human face.

*Part III_ the third world- development, social and economic problems requiring intermediate technology, two million villages, and the problem of unemployment in India.

*Part IV- organisation and ownership- a machine to foretell the future, towards a theory of large-scale organisation, socialism, ownership and new patterns of ownership.

Improvements could include up-to-date case studies (perhaps including material from VSO) showing the benefits of the approach; and an update on where intermediate technology is today. Note- the book 'Flexible Specialisation' by Pedersen et al (ISBN 1853392170 publ.1994) provides some such case studies for Africa, Asia and Mexico.

Personally, this reviewer was inspired by the book to lead an undergraduate team project with Intermediate Technology (the company) and Sri Lankan men designing and implementing a self-build fretsaw for educational toys in 1991. Overall a stimulating, worthwhile addition to any library.

Economics to save the planet
Challenging accepted economic theory, E. F. Schumacher calls on world leaders to take a fresh, new approach to economic policy by considering the cost to humanity. In his book, "Small is Beautiful - Economics as if Humans Mattered", he outlines a series of proposals intended to save the planet from economic and environmental collapse. He validates his propositions through quotations from a collage of political, economic, and religious gurus ranging from Mao Tse-tung to Mohandas Gandhi, Karl Marx to Milton Keynes, Buddha to Jesus. Schumacher makes a compelling case - though admittedly oversimplified -- for what he calls "Buddhist economics." He heralds an Aquarian Age of peace and human creativity through nationalization of strategic industries, environment-friendly policies, use of intermediate technology, decentralized worker cooperation, and full, satisfying employment. He successfully creates an economic mission statement for the future.

The "Great Heresy of Economics" And a Must Read
When I was a student at Brigham Young University in the early 80's, I was introduced by my macroeconomics professor to what many economists of the time considered to be the "great heresy of economic theory." - a copy of Small is Beautiful. He warned me that quoting it in research papers would be most unwise, as the BYU economics department was, and continues to be, a strong proponent of the current economic orthodoxy of infinite economic growth and prosperity that dominates economics even today. He finished by saying that "Schumacher was a radical, no doubt about it. However, he will also turn out to be right in the end."

Truer words were never spoken. There are those who will point out detail errors in Schumacher's work. The book was, after all, written over 25 years ago, and Schumacher would never have considered himself a prophet. Yet the central theme of his work, that infinite economic growth is impossible within a finite system, and the inevitable consequences of ignoring this simple truth have been fully vindicated. Even the most orthodox economists are beginning to see the disasterous environmental and social consequences of their economic policies over the last 50+ years, which Schumacher describes in detail, and warn policy makers that major changes must be made. Schumacher also proposed a highly effective and practical method, Intermediate Technology, to help impoverished and developing nations make the best possible use of modern scientific and technological advances, without the vast (and for countless millions in the world impossible) financial investments and ecological/social consequences. In 1965 Schumacher and a few friends started the Intermediate Technology Development Group ...which continues to develop practical applications of his ideas in the developing world. Small is Beautiful - a Study of Economics as if People Mattered, along with his other two key books Good Work, which explores the question of the effects of modern economics on the individual and the very purpose of work itself, and A Guide for the Perplexed, which outlines the philosophical and spiritual underpinnings of Schumacher's work, provide a powerful and compelling alternative view of economics and our world - a view every bit as applicable today as it was in his lifetime.

An earlier reviewer who seemed to have no grasp of economics or recent history (Gen Ne Win is no more a Buddhist than Hitler was a Jew - he in fact deliberately set out to destroy the cultural and economic system of Burma - including Buddhism itself. To use this example to "invalidate" the chapter "Buddhist Economics" totally destroys this reviewer's credibility) stated that "a wise world has ignored his bad advice & prospered." Far from it. In the end, a wiser world will be forced to look back on Schumacher's book and conclude that he was, in fact, right.

Alias Papa: A Life of Fritz Schumacher
Published in Paperback by Oxford University Press (1985)
Author: Barbara Wood
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Good Work
Published in Hardcover by HarperCollins (1979)
Author: Ernst Friedrich Schumacher
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