Ernst Friedrich Schumacher (16 August 1911 – 4 September 1977) was a German-British statistician and economist who is best known for his proposals for human-scale, decentralised and appropriate technologies. He served as Chief Economic Advisor to the British National Coal Board from 1950 to 1970, and founded the Intermediate Technology Development Group (now known as Practical Action) in 1966.
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A spirit of violence permeates the whole of our science, technology, economics. . . . It makes us think absurdities such as infinite growth in a finite environment were possible; that we could go on finding and burning as much oil every ten years as in all previous history; that science could cure the sickness of the environment; . . . that man's future was one of little work and endless leisure; that man has moved from the age of scarcity into the age of plenty. Nothing could be further from the truth.
An environmental setting developed over millions of years must be considered to have some merit. Anything so complicated as a planet, inhabited by more than a million and a half species of plants and animals, all of them living together in a more or less balanced equilibrium in which they continually use and reuse the same molecules of the soil and air, cannot be improved by aimless and uninformed tinkering.
The neurochemistry of the brain is astonishingly busy, the circuitry of a machine more wonderful than any devised by humans. But there is no evidence that its functioning is due to anything more than the 1014 neural connections that build an elegant architecture of consciousness.