E.F. Schumacher. Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered. New York: Harper & Row, 1973.



“Modern man does not experience himself as a part of nature but as an outside force destined to dominate and conquer it.” (14)


“The latter illusion is based on the failure to distinguish between income and capital” (14)


“except where it really matters: namely, the irreplaceable capital which man has not made, but simply found, and without which he can do nothing.” (14)


“Gandhi used to talk disparagingly of ‘dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good.’” (24)


“the foundations of peace cannot be laid by universal prosperity.” (33)


“Gahndi said, that ‘Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.’” (34).


“It is the sin of greed that had delivered us over in to the power of the machine.” (38)


“it is inherent in the methodology of economics to ignore man’s dependence on the natural world.” (46)


“Every science is beneficial within its proper limits, but becomes evil and destructive as soon as it transgresses them.” (49)


“meta-economics” with two components: man and environment (49)


“man is not a producer but only a converter” (52)


“work and leisure are complementary parts of the same living process and cannot be separated without destroying the joy of work and the bliss of leisure.” (58)


Buddhist view-point: work overcomes self-centeredness (58)


“the Buddhist sees the essence of civilization not in a multiplication of wants but in the purification of human character.” (59)


“the aim should be to obtain the maximum of well-being with the minimum of consumption.” (61)


“Today, we suffer from an almost universal idolatry of giantism.” (70)


“While people, with a easy-going kind of logic, believe that fast transport and instantaneous communications open up a new dimension of freedom (which they do in some rather trivial respects), they overlook the fact that these achievements also tend to destroy freedom, by making everything extremely vulnerable and extremely insecure, unless conscious policies are developed and conscious action is taken to mitigate the destructive effects of these technological developments.” (74)


need a new system with attention primarily on people, not just on goods. (79)


“production by the masses rather than mass production.” (79)


education is the most vital resource (84)


“If Western civilization is in a state of permanent crisis, it is not far-fetched to suggest that there may be something wrong with its education.” (84)


“Science and engineering produce ‘know-how’; but ‘know-how’ is nothing by itself.” (86)


More education can help us only if it produces more wisdom.” (86)


education is to pass on world-view by which people chose one thing over another (91)


“Education cannot help us as long as it accords no place to metaphysics. . . that is to say, our fundamental convictions.” (98)


“the presuppositions of science are normally mistaken for its findings.” (99)


education should produce “whole men” (100)


“the heart is often more intelligent that the mind.” (101)


“Real life consists of the tensions produced by the incompatibility of opposites” (117)


ideal: health, beauty, and permanence (119-122)


modern industry “requires so much and accomplishes so little.” (125)


with reference to nuclear energy, “changes should be made on a small scale first so as to provide a test before they are widely applied.” (143)


direction should be always aimed toward non-violence = strike against nuclear energy (151)


“we are consciously and deliberately accumulating a toxic substance on the off-chance that it may be possible to get rid of it at a later date.” (153)


“technology with a human face” (155)


technology is for the purpose of lightening “the burden of world man has to carry in order to stay alive and develop his potential.” However, “The amount of real leisure a society enjoys tend to be in inverse proportion to the amount of labor-saving machinery it employs.” (157)


“the production of too many useful things results in too many useless people.” (160)


sermon on the mount provides basic instructions for “Economics of Survival” (166)


“To ‘leave it to the experts’ means to decide with the people of the forward stampede.” (167)


we must take into account the actual size of man. “Man is small, and, therefore, small is beautiful.” (169)


“Among the causes of poverty, I am sure, the material factors are entirely secondary ... they lie in certain deficiencies in education, organization, and discipline ... development does not start with goods; it starts with people and their education, organization, and discipline.” (178)


“it is always easier to help those who can help themselves than to help the helpless.” (181)


regional approach to development and “intermediate technology” (186)


the poor need simple things (197)


now just going back in history, but simplifying and regionalizing (198-199)


underdeveloped countries slip and are pushed into production methods which actually destroy their independence and self-reliance (207)


“The gift of material goods makes people dependent, but the gift of knowledge makes them free” (209)


“The beginning of wisdom is the admission of one’s own lack of knowledge.” (211)


Regarding human freedom: “Great damage to human dignity has resulted from the misguided attempt of the social sciences to adopt and imitate the methods of the natural sciences” (254)


“The future cannot be forecast, but it can be explored.” (255)


“private enterprise is not concerned with what it produces but only with what it gains from production ... whatever produces profits” (272)


“It is no accident that successful businessmen are often astonishingly primitive.” (273)


“A total rejection of public ownership means a total affirmation of private ownership.  This is just as great a piece of dogmatism as the opposite one of the most fanatical communist.  But while all fanaticism shows intellectual weakness, a fanaticism about the means to be employed for reaching quite uncertain objectives is sheer feeble-mindedness.” (275)


“The modern private enterprise system ingeniously employs the human urges of greed and envy as its motive power.” (280)


The problem is private ownership divorced from work; private enterprise at the small scale is good because it is local, but large scale private enterprise is dangerous (281)


call for a new organization of property, not destroying private property but loosening it (286)


tension between freedom and totalitarianism; planning and collectivism doesn’t have to destroy freedom; that is simple thinking (303)


“In the excitement over the unfolding of his scientific and technical powers, modern man has built a system of production that ravishes nature and a type of society that manipulates man.” (313)


“The development of production and the acquisition of wealth have thus become the highest goals of the modern world” (313)