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Small İs Beautiful:Economics As İf People Mattered
MAKALE #5957 © Yazan Psk.Nazlı TUTAN | Yayın Kasım 2010 | 3,235 Okuyucu
A Hero of Environmental Movement

The advocate of the idea of “smallness within bigness”,which is a specific form of decentralization is E.F.Schumacher who was a economic thinker worked with J.M.Keynes and J.K.Galbraith. He opposed to Neo-classical economics by declaring that single-minded concentration on output and technology was dehumanizing. Schumacher held that one's workplace should be dignified first, efficient second, and that nature (the world's natural resources) is pricesless. Especially, Schumacher's focus on the ecology and environmentalism is in accordance with the focus of the The Green Critique of IPE. His opposition to neo-liberalism underlines the importance of criticsm that Green Perspective which asserts that: “States put the national interest on natural interest”. He is best known for his critique of Western economies and his proposals for human-scale, decentralized and appropriate technologies. Schumacher who was borned in August 16,1911 in Germany and died at the age of 66 is graduated from Oxford and Colombia University and regarded as the hero of the environmental movement.

The Modern World_Resources_The Third World_Organization and Ownership

In the modern era, the biggest mistake is to believe that the production problem is resolved. People think like that because by the means of rapid technological and scientific improvements and successes, a large amount of capital is concentrated. But people do not consider the most important think: The capital which nature provide us is the biggest capital but we exhaust it mercilessly! Most important and difficult point is to believe that it is possible to come to an agreement with nature and individual human beings who are the part of that nature while improving economic standarts and maintaining welfare. Unfortunately, most of the societies lack the Schumacher's philosphy of “enoughness”which appreciates both human needs,limitations and appropriate use of technology. First of all, we must try to reduce the greediness and jealousy. Because happiness can not be purchased like a commodity. According to modern economics, the criterion is whether an economic activity is benefitical or not. That is,modern economics consider consumption to be the sole and purpose of all economic activity. Modern Western materialism must be replaced with the doctrine of Buddhist economics. Buddhist economics support the idea of “maximum well-being with the minimum consumption”. Buddhist economics do not oppose to welfare. The handicap in front of freedom is passion of wealth, not wealth itself. We tend to think that a country ,a industry ,a firm has to be large to be wealthy. But bigger maschines and bigger economic concentrations bring about a violance against the environment. People can find their real identites in smaller, comprehensive groups.This view support the notion of Green Critique which says that the most important human relationships are distinctly local in nature which grow naturally from human needs and interactions. So,science and technology must be used towards “the organic,the gentle,the non-violent,the elegant and beautiful”. In the whole history of mankind, a lot of civilization is established and dissapeared. The main source of historical development is wisdom(brain) of individual human beings. Education nourishes this source. People want education, because they want opinions which help them to make their lives and world more meaningful. A person who suffers from alianation to him/herself interests with humanistic sciences. "Education can help us only if it produces “whole men”. The truly educated man is not a man who knows a bit of everything, not even the man who knows all the details of all subjects (if such a thing were possible): the “whole man” in fact, may have little detailed knowledge of facts and theories, he may treasure the Encyclopædia Britannica because “she knows and he needn’t”, but he will be truly in touch with the centre." The biggest material source is land. So land and animals, plants on it, must not be consumed roughly. The basic principle of agriculture is its interets with life,t hat is, its interest with living things. On the other hand, basic principle of modern industry is its interest in processes which are created by individual human effort. For a civilized human life, the two principles must be balanced.The most apparent feauture of modern industry is to want more, but to create less. We must ask the question that if the world resources are enough for these infinite wishes. The part of the world population ( approximately 6%) that lives in the USA, consumes the 40% of world resources. This example is crucial to tell us that energy resources must be used up carefully. Another part of the book is the part which make criticisms on nuclear energy come close to the ideas of Green Perspective which asserts that global structures of production, finance, security and technology threaten local-human-scale environments everywhere, that is,they are hard on environment. Nuclear reactors creat high amounts of radioactive casts which are hard on environment. Nothing can justify the accumulation of a poisonous material which is the biggest danger against human beings. Another global power of IPE, technology mustn't be under the hegemony of rich and developed nations. Because it creates an inequal development between nations. Technological development must be reduced to real size of people. Since an individual human being is small, small is beautiful.”Man is small, and, therefore, small is beautiful” Unemployment of masses and immigration from villages to big cities create a global anxiety. People who suffer from unemployment immigrate to metrapols from villages but there is not enough work or residence for them in the cities. The aim must to create millions of new job opportunities in the small towns and villages. People must establish small workplaces which requires capital. Production methods must be ordinary and done via local materials and equipments. The improvement problems of Third World Countries can not be solved by focusing on work opportunities in villlages instead of towns. The most powerful assistance is the intellectual support, I mean donation of advantageous information.I mprovement doesn't start with commodities, it start with an individual, his education, organization and discipline. To realize the development progress of a society, there must be desire to develeop, know-how, some amount of capital and markets for the goods. The problems of 500 million people in India, likewise problem of Third World Countries, can not be solved if educated citizens of a society don't see themselves as the servants of their country. The most important decision for that kind of societies is the choice of technology. By the means of small investments, many work opportunities must be created. If people have broad and reliable knowledge about history, it is easier to guess the future partially and plans may be done depending on these predictions. Real planning becomes widespread with the government. Life is still valuable to live because it hasn't become totally guessible which makes it unattractive to live, in spite of the computers and all of the mechanical instruments! Everyday firms are incorparating, and ownership is concentrating in fewer and fewer hands. The vital thing is to reach the “smallness within the bigness”. Today's capitalists don't want to confess that the ultimate goal of their all activities are to gain benefits. On the other hand, socialists reveal that all economic activities of capitalists is based on their individual profit-making greed. Socialists must demand a more democratic and respected industrial system which is created by the means of the operation of a public sector, instead of the aim of being more capitalist than capitalists. The underlying causes of selfish nature of individuals, their greedness or their agressiveness can not be dissepeared by a system or mechanism replacement. The thing must be done is to establish a social order for the citizens on the principles which exalt them instead of insulting them. The essence of free enterprise is: Production and distribution instruments belong to private ownership. There is a natural and advantegeous side of a employer's business in his private ownership whereas the private ownership of a passive, like-a-parasite owner has a disadvantegeous nature far away from naturality. The solution is nationalism. Differing from private ownership system, public sectors don't have a particular income for themselves. They try to obtain this by collecting taxes from its citizens. When these taxes are spent for infrastructure investments, whole society benefit from it (either poor or rich).

Mistaken Picture- People are Suffering from Hypermetrop

As Elif Şafak wrote in July,11,2006 on Zaman newspaper, “Small is beautiful” is the slogan of “68 movement” to create a better world. While eveyone is seeking for macro-solutions, revolutionary changes; making big generalizations and theoretical abstractions, this slogan reminds the importance of daily life policy. Truly, the economical and political solutions which are seeked for the resconstruction of postwar period might be forced to undervalue man. There had been a big effort and resolution to reconstruct collapsed economies and destroyed borders of countries. As soon as the improvement of science and technology had gained momentum, welfare had increased,and the power of money ascended the throne. People thought that when the richness increased, eveything would begin to go well. Of course, material richness is a inevitable wealth source of the world. But it would be less painful if it has been distrubuted equally within and between the notions of the world and among individuals. If only, at least, it could be possible to provide minimum wages to people who suffer from poverty. The most important problem of modern people is the conscience problem(which is a cognitional and psychological problem). People are increasingly get used to be unconscious, so unconsciousness is going to turn to be the normality while being conscientious and humanistic is turning to be regarded as abnormal which people characterize you as too sensitive, too lost in thought or naïve. When you are interested in the details, when you see the small in the big; you are regarded as an exception. Because most of the people are suffering from hypermetrop! They choose to be mistaken the picture which they see from far away, but when they come close to it(if they choose to come close) they faced with the saddening depiction! A little bit differing from what E. F. Schumacher said, I think, “The small is not bad” and it is necessary. Because the biggest improvement is the change which take place in the internal world of individuals and their cognitive progresses. Tendency of an individual to go towards ”prudence, justice, fortitude” may be a “small” step for humanity , but is is a very big step for individual himself. History of humankind is formed by very small events that we revalue, or even don't know. Of course, no one can deny the biggest powers that dominate the world or the importance of improvement of science and technology. In the absence of these world powers, it is impossible to guess the bigness of chaos that may occur. But the crucial point here is, to know that only as an single individual, either poor or rich we mustn't be far away from justice, virtue, kindness and the “reality”. Don't forget: Small is also part of the reality!


Schumacher, E. F.; Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered : Hartley & Marks Publishers Professor David N. Balaam,Proffessor Michael Veseth;

Introduction To International Political Economy: 2001,1996 by Prentice-Hall


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