I am currently re-reading “Small is Beautiful” by E.F Schumacher which is subtitled “A study of economics as if people mattered”. I am not an economist and in fact I am probably a bit naive when it comes to economics. The first time I read it back in the 1980s it made an impression but I didn’t find much inspiration in it. This time I find that I have to keep making notes of things that strike me. It may seem a little dated to read but what Schumacher says is just as relevant now as when he wrote it, if not more so.
There is the phrase “turned my world upside down” but what I find when I read this book is that the world is already upside down and Schumacher is turning it back the correct way. He tells us that “man is far too clever to be able to survive without wisdom” and that “the central concept of wisdom is permanence” (or sustainability in todays words), that “modern economics… considers consumption to be the sole end and purpose of all economic activity…”.
Our current way of living is unsustainable, our planet and its resources are limited and yet we live as if they will never run out. Schumacher has a knack of removing the blinkers and showing you how stupid we are sometimes in the way in which we live our lives. I would strongly recommend reading this book. And if it doesn’t inspire you or upset you, come back to it again in 30 years time!