Dr. E. F. Schumacher: Author of the Book "Small is Beautiful"

A Plowboy Interview with Ernest Friedrich Schumacher, founder of the economical model - the Intermediate Technology Development Group,and author of the book, "Small is Beautiful".

| November/December 1976

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    Ernst Friedrich Schumacher talks about his views on economics.
    PHOTOS: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    A relatively low technology (55- gallon drums welded to sheet metal chutes) makes this loading job much easier.
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    Even a very low-technology device-such as a cart -- could change this man's life dramatically for the better.
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    Contrary to what Schumacher expected, the people of Burma ""were the most joyous you could possibly imagine"".
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    These Indian Villagers live in a state of misery . . . they do not even qualify for Schumacher's definition of poverty.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

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Ernst Friedrich Schumacher—the son of a university economics professor—was born in Bonn, Germany in 1911. He was educated in Bonn and Berlin and, in 1930, became a Rhodes scholar to England's Oxford University. Schumacher also attended Columbia University in the United States.  

In 1937, during Hitler's rise to power in Germany, Schumacher emigrated to England and during the next few years worked at various jobs in the fields of journalism, business, and farming. He became a British citizen in 1946.  

It was also in 1946 that Schumacher began a four year stint as economic advisor to the United Kingdom Control Commission in Germany . . . a group which played a major role in paving the way for the post-World War II German economic recovery.  

Schumacher left the Control Commission in 1950 to become the chief economist for Britain's National Coal Board . . . a nationalized industry and the largest business in the United Kingdom. He would serve on that board for the next 20 years. . . twenty years that would also see him develop his idea of "economics as if people mattered".  



The economic theory for which Schumacher is now becoming increasingly famous started to form in his mind in 1955, when he began a series of visits to Burma, India, and other developing countries. The trips were set up so that Schumacher could consult with the leaders of such nations and assist in determining exactly what kind of help they needed from the industrialized West.  

"It soon became clear," Schumacher says, "that most of the traditional 'aid' programs were really only a means of collecting money fromthe poor people in rich countries to give to the rich people in poor countries." He was also dismayed to learn that most aid programs offered variations of just one quick and easy "solution": Replace your primitive hoes with our tractors, fertilizers, pesticides, and computers.  






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