The subtitle of this book, Economics As If People Mattered, is more indicative of its content than is the title, for Schumacher is deeply concerned with the human condition. Modern science, with all the gains that it has brought the world, is often thought to be humanity’s greatest accomplishment. Modern capitalist economies, because of their application of science to the technology of industrial production and their emphasis on motivating economic activity through individual self-interest, are held by specialists to have brought about the greatest material comfort and individual freedom ever. In Schumacher’s view, however, the proponents of these claims have never really looked at what is happening to the people in those societies that have made the most progress. If they did look closely, they would find a different result: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 mutilates man. If only there were more and more wealth, everything else, it is thought, would fall into place. . . . The development of production and the acquisition of wealth have thus become the highest goals of the modern world in relation to which all other goals, no matter how much lip-service may still be paid to them, have come to take second place.
Schumacher is concerned with showing that these goals are unhealthy for both human beings and the...
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