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...
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.
There are very few people who are going to look into the mirror and say, “That person I see is a savage monster”; instead, they make up some construction that justifies what they do. If you ask the ceo of some major corporation what he does, he will say, in all honesty, that he is slaving twenty hours a day to provide his customers with the best goods or services he can and creating the best possible working conditions for his employees. But then you take a look at what the corporation does, the effect of its legal structure, the vast inequalities in pay and conditions, and you see the reality is something far different.