Small is Beautiful

Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered
E.F. Schumacher

The task of our generation, I have no doubt, is one of metaphysical reconstruction.”


“Systems are never more nor less than incarnations of man’s most basic attitudes.”

This book came out in the 70’s and was among the first advocates of local, democratized industry, and a number of other progressive and environmentally conscious economic contributions. What makes it so interesting is that Schumacher was not a fringe economist. He was a Rhodes scholar, become the chief economic advisor to the UK National Coal Board, and was widely regarded as an elite economist. And still, he wrote an entire chapter on “Buddhist Economics”.

While this is a great read in relation to economics, his later book, A Guide for the Perplexed, is his masterwork. He gave it to his daughter while he lay on his deathbed, telling her, “this is what my life has been leading to.” One of the most enlightening books I’ve ever read, it expounds upon the basic philosophies underlying the ideas put forth in Small is Beautiful.