The system of nature, of which man is a part, tends to be self-balancing, self-adjusting, self-cleansing. Not so with technology.

— E. F. Schumacher

The most delightful E. F. Schumacher quotes that are free to learn and impress others

Never let an inventor run a company. You can never get him to stop tinkering and bring something to market

48

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex.

.. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.

43

Wisdom demands a new orientation of science and technology toward the organic, the gentle, the elegant and beautiful.

40

Development does not start with goods;

it starts with people and their education, organization, and discipline. Without these three, all resources remain latent, untapped, potential.

37

The key words of violent economics are urbanization, industrialization, centralization, efficiency, quantity, speed. . . . The problem of evolving a nonviolent way of economic life [in the West] and that of developing the underdeveloped countries may well turn out to be largely identical.

30

Eagles come in all shapes and sizes, but you will recognize them chiefly by their attitudes.

30

An entirely new system of thought is needed, a system based on attention to people, and not primarily attention to goods. . . .

29

Infinite growth of material consumption in a finite world is an impossibility.

26

Our ordinary mind always tries to persuade us that we are nothing but acorns and that our greatest happiness will be to become bigger, fatter, shinier acorns; but that is of interest only to pigs. Our faith gives us knowledge of something better: that we can become oak trees.

25

The real problems of our planet are not economic or technical, they are philosophical. The philosophy of unbridled materialism is being challenged by events.

24

If greed were not the master of modern man, how could it be that the frenzy of economic activity does not abate as higher standards of living are attained, and that it is precisely the richest societies which pursue their economic advantage with the greatest ruthlessness?

23

The richer a society, the more impossible it becomes to do worthwhile things without immediate pay-off.

21

About E. F. Schumacher

Quotes 94 sayings
Nationality English
Profession Economist
Birthday October 16

Modern man talks of a battle with nature, forgetting that, if he won the battle, he would find himself on the losing side

19

There are three things healthy people most need to do - to be creatively productive, to render service, and to act in accordance with their moral impulses. In all three respects modern society frustrates most people most of the time.

16

At present, there can be little doubt that the whole of mankind is in mortal danger, not because we are short of scientific and technological know-how, but because we tend to use it destructively, without wisdom. More education can help us only if produces more wisdom.

16

It is doubly chimerical to build peace on economic foundations which, in turn, rest on the systematic cultivation of greed and envy, the very forces which drive men into conflict.

15

Man's needs are infinite, and infinitude can be achieved only in the spiritual realm, never in the material.

14

We still have to learn how to live peacefully, not only with our fellow men but also with nature.

13

Real life consists of the tensions produced by the incompatibility of opposites, each of which is needed

12

An attitude to life which seeks fulfillment in the single-minded pursuit of wealth - in short, materialism - does not fit into this world, because it contains within itself no limiting principle, while the environment in which it is placed is strictly limited.

12

Many people love in themselves what they hate in others

12

The purpose of work is to give people a chance to utilize and develop their faculties; to enable them to overcome their ego-centeredness by joining others in a common task; and to bring for the goods and services needed for a becoming existence.

11

From the point of view of the employer, it is in any case simply an item of cost, to be reduced to a minimum if it cannot be eliminated altogether, say, by automation. From the point of view of the workman, it is a "disutility"; to work is to make a sacrifice of one's leisure and comfort, and wages are a kind of compensation for the sacrifice.

11

There can be nothing sacred in something that has a price.

11

There are poor societies which have too little;

but where is the rich society that says: 'Halt! We have enough'? There is none.

10

If I limit myself to knowledge that I consider true beyond doubt, I minimize the risk of error but I maximize, at the same time, the risk of missing out on what may be the subtlest, most important and most rewarding things in life.

9

We still have to learn how to live peacefully, not only with our fellow men but also with nature and, above all, with those Higher Powers which have made nature and have made us; for, assuredly, we have not come about by accident and certainly have not made ourselves

9

Our faith gives us knowledge of something better.

8

Without ... the creative imagination rushing in where bureaucratic angels fear to tread - without this, life is a mockery and a disgrace.

7

Even bigger machines, entailing even bigger concentrations of economic power and exerting ever greater violence against the environment, do not represent progress: they are a denial of wisdom. Wisdom demands a new orientation of science and technology towards the organic, the gentle, the nonviolent, the elegant and beautiful.

7

A way of life that ever more rapidly depletes the power of the Earth to sustain it and piles up ever more insoluble problems for each succeeding generation can only be called violent.

6

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.

6

It is amazing how much theory we can do without when work actually begins.

6

The most striking about modern industry is that it requires so much and accomplishes so little. Modern industry seems to be inefficient to a degree that surpasses one's ordinary powers of imagination. Its inefficiency therefore remains unnoticed.

6

The fundamental task is to achieve smallness within large organisation.

5

I have no doubt that it is possible to give a new direction to technological development, a direction that shall lead it back to the real needs of man, and that also means: to the actual size of man. Man is small, and, therefore, small is beautiful.

5

The printing press is either the greatest blessing or the greatest curse of modern times, sometimes one forgets which it is.

5

I'm not at all contemptuous of comforts, but they have their place and it is not first.

5

From a Buddhist point of view, this is standing the truth on its head by considering goods as more important than people and consumption as more important than creative activity. It means shifting the emphasis from the worker to the product of work, that is, from the human to the sub-human, surrender to the forces of evil.

5

To organize work in such a manner that it becomes meaningless, boring, stultifying, or nerve-racking for the worker would be little short of criminal; it would indicate a greater concern with goods than with people, an evil lack of compassion and a soul-destroying degree of attachment to the most primitive side of this worldly existence.

5

An ounce of practice is generally worth more than a ton of theory.

5

It might be said that it is the ideal of the employer to have production without employees and the ideal of the employee is to have income without work.

5

The best aid to give is intellectual aid, a gift of useful knowledge.

A gift of knowledge is infinitely preferable to a gift of material things.

5

Our task - and the task of all education - is to understand the present world, the world in which we live and make our choices.

5

No one is really working for peace unless he is working primarily for the restoration of wisdom.

5

There is no economic problem and, in a sense, there never has been.

4

Call a thing immoral or ugly, soul-destroying or a degradation to man, a peril to the peace of the world or to the well-being of future generations: as long as you have not shown it to be "uneconomic" you have not really questioned its right to exist, grow, and prosper.

4

Scientific and technological "solutions" which poison the environment or degrade the social structure and man himself are of no benefit, no matter how brilliantly conceived or how great their superficial attraction.

4

Economic development is something much wider and deeper than economics, let alone econometrics. Its roots lie outside the economic sphere, in education, organisation, discipline and, beyond that, in political independence and a national consciousness of self-reliance.

4
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