Dylan's Reviews > Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered

Small Is Beautiful by Ernst F. Schumacher
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's review
Oct 17, 2007

really liked it

This 1973 take on industrial and global economics is as applicable now as it was back then. Schumacher, perhaps the first to develop the notion of natural capital, argues for both the virtues and necessity of a sustainable economy, and he examines insightfully (if broadly) the requirements for such an economy. The book is an overflowing blend of realism and idealism, and this explains part of its attraction.

It also sheds a somewhat disconcerting light on the present environmental movement, a movement of decent size and strength which does good but operates within a non-viable economic framework. Schumacher tears apart the inhumanity and unsustainability of 1973 global capitalism. Little has changed since then in terms of the economic power structure. We are more aware of environmental impact, and many nations are making more concerted efforts at alleviating or reversing damage. But until the economic injustices are examined and righted, it seems little to no lasting progress can be made.

If Gross National Product still makes financial headlines, if cities continue to fatten as attrition abandons the country to agro-business, if social parity and human rights are not integrated into governmental environmental policy, well...Schumacher says it better.
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