Small is beautiful

På 1970-talet gav ekonomen E.F. Schumacher ut boken "Small is beautiful" - "Litet är vackert". Det blev en storsäljare, som knöt an till växande insikter om behoven av kretslopp i naturen och decentraliserat, ekologiskt fungerande jordbruk i liten skala.

Ur Wikipedia om Schumacher:

"Ernst Friedrich 'Fritz' Schumacher (16 August 1911 – 4 September 1977) was an internationally influential economic thinker with a professional background as a statistician and economist in Britain. ... His ideas became well-known in much of the English-speaking world during the 1970s. He is best known for his critique of Western economies and his proposals for human-scale, decentralized and appropriate technologies."

Ur Wikipedia om boken:

"The book is divided into four parts: 'The Modern World,' 'Resources,' 'The Third World,' and 'Organization and Ownership.'

In the first chapter, 'The Problem of Production', Schumacher argues that the modern economy is unsustainable. Natural resources (like fossil fuels), are treated as expendable income, when in fact they should be treated as capital, since they are not renewable, and thus subject to eventual depletion. He further argues that nature's resistance to pollution is limited as well. He concludes that government effort must be concentrated on sustainable development, .."

Ur "Small i beautiful":

"The illusion av unlimited powers, nourished by astoninshing scientific och technological achievements, has produced the concurrent illusion of having solved the problem of production. The latter illusion is based on the failure to distingisch between income and capital, where this distinction matters most. Every economist and businessman is familiar with the distinction, and applies it conscientiously and with considerable subtlety to all economic affaris - except where it really matters: namely, the irreplacable capital which man has not made, but simply found,.."

"...we are maximising, instead of minimising, the current rate of use; and, far from being interested in studying the possibilities of alternative methods of production and patterns of living - so as to get off the collision course on which we are moving with ever-increasing speed - we happily talk of unlimited progress along the beaten track, of 'education for leisure' inte the rich countries, and of 'the transfer of tecknology' to poor countries."

"... we are dealing with capital and not with income: fossil fuels are not made by men; they cannot be recycled. Once they are gone they are gone for ever."

".. we must thoroughly undertand the problem and begin to see the possibility of evolving a new life-style, with new methods of production and new patterns of consumption: a life-style designed for permanence."

"Fuel resources ae very unevenly distributed, and any shortage of supplies, no matter how slight, would immediatly divide the world inte 'haves' and 'have-nots', along entirely novel lines."

"From an economic point of view, the central concept of wisdom is permanence. We must study the economics of permanence. Nothing makes economic sense unless its continuance for a long time can be projected without running into absurdities. There can be 'growth' towards a limited objective, but there cannot be unlimited, generalised growth."

"The cultivation and expansion of needs is the antithesis of wisdom. It is also the antithesis of freedom and peace."

"We need methods and equipment which are

- cheap enough so that they are accessible to virtually everyone

- suitable for small-scale application; and

- compatible with mans need for creativity."

"Economically, our wrong living consists primarily in systematically cultivating greed and envy and thus building up a vast array of totally unwarrantable wants."

"Nonrenewable goods must be used only if they are indispensable, and then only with the greatest care and the most meticulous concern for conservation. To use them heedlessly or extravagantly is an act of violence,.."

".. a population basing its eceonomic life on nonrenewable fuels is living parasitically, on capital instead of income."

"As far as the masses concerned, the results appear to be disastrous - a collapse of the rural economy, a rising tide of unemployment in town and country, and the growth of a city proletariat without nourishment for etiher body or soul."

"... it is true that all men are brothers, but it is also true that in our active personal relationships we can, in fact, be brothers to only a few of them, and we are called to show more brotherliness to them that we could possibly show to the whole of mankind."

"For constructive work, the principal task is always the restoration of some kind of balance. Today, we suffer from an almost universal idoltary of gigantism. It is therefore neccessary to insist on the virtues of smallness - where this applies."

"... the upper limit of what is desirable for the size of a city is probably something in the order of half a million inhabitants. It is clear that above such a size there is nothing added to the virtue of the city."

"...instead of searching for means to accelerate the drift out of agriculture, we should be searching for policies to reconstruct rural culture, to open the land for the gainful occupation to larger numbers of people, whether it be on full-time or parti-time basis,.."

"...agriculture cannot fulfil its second task, which is to humanise and enoble mans wider habitat, unless it clings faithfully and assiduously to the truth revealed by natures living processes. One of them is the law of return; another is diversification - as against any kind of monoculture; anther is decentralisation,.."

"An industrial system which uses forty per cent of the worlds primary resources to supply less thant six per cent of the worlds population could be called efficient only if it obtained strikingly successful results in terms of human happiness, well-being, culture, peace and harmony... the Americain system fails to do this..."

"What is clear is that a way of life that bases itself on materialism, i.e. on permanent, limitless expansionism in  finite environment, cannot last long..."

"...people are the primary and ultimate source of wealth whatsoever."

"If the nature of change is such that nothing is left for the fathers to teach their sons, or for the sons to accept from their fathers, family life collapses. The life, work, and happiness of all societies depend on certain 'psychological structures' which are infinitely precious and highly vulnerable. Social cohesion, co-operation, mutual respect, and above all selt-respect, courage in the face of adversity, and the ability to bear hardship - all this and much else disintegrates and disappears when these 'psychological strucutres' are gravely damaged. A man is destroyed by the inner conviction of uselessness. No amount of economic growth can compensate for such losses..."

"To restore a proper balance between city and rural life is perhaps the greatest task in front of modern man. It is not simply a matter of raising agricultural yields as to avoid world hunger. There is no answer to the evils of mass unemployment and mass migration into cities, unless the whole level of rural life can be raised, and this reguires the development of an agro-industrial culture, so that each district, each community, can offer a colourful variety of occupations to its members."

"The greatest deprivation anyone can suffer is to have no chance of looking after himself and making a livlihood."

"As regards to private property, the first and most basic distinction is between (a) property that is an aid to creative work and (b) property that is an alternative to it.

There is something natural and healthy about the former - the private property of the working proprietor; and there is something unnatural and unhealthy about the latter - the private property of the passive owner who lives parasitically on the work of others."

"Excessive wealth, like power, tends to corrupt."

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Matematik, befolkning och energi

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