Wednesday, September 28, 2011

On Economics

I read some sections of this book by Schumacher, Small is Beautiful: Economics as if people mattered (I loved the title by the way ^_^). A friend of mine recommended me this book and I was not sure if I could read it. Due to my painful first encounter with Economics in college when I was taking finance and economics classes (I majored in Business) and my traumatic experience with real life when I was working in finance sector (I worked in a stock exchange company in Turkey for a couple of years before my graduate study in second language studies), I developed an allergy, or intolerance if you will, to economics. But this book is certainly interesting and has a refreshing take on economics. Here are some excerpts that made me think. Hope you like them.

Modern man does not experience himself as a part of nature but as an outside force destined to dominate and conquer it. P. 14
One reason for overlooking this vital fact is that we are estranged from reality and inclined to treat as valueless everything that we have not made ourselves (p. 15)
We find, therefore, that the idea of unlimited economic growth, more and more until everybody is saturated with wealth, needs to be seriously questioned on at least two counts: the availability of basic resources and, alternatively or additionally, the capacity of the environment to cope with the degree of interference implied. P. 31
Every increase of needs tends to increase one’s dependence on outside forces over which one cannot have control, and therefore increases existential fear. Only by a reduction of needs can one promote a genuine reduction in those tensions which are the ultimate causes of strife and war. p. 34
The economics of permanence implies a profound reorientation of science and technology, which have to open their doors to wisdom and, in fact, have to incorporate wisdom into their very structure. Scientific or technological “solutions” which poison the environment or degrade the social structure and man himself are of no benefit, no matter how brilliantly conceived or how great their superficial attraction. (p. 34)
Wisdom demands a new orientation of science and technology towards the organic, the gentle, the non-violent, the elegant and beautiful. P. 35
We need methods and equipment which are
--cheap enough so that they are accessible to virtually everyone;
--suitable for small-scale application; and
--compatible with man’s need for creativity.
Out of these three characteristics is born non-violence and a relationship of man to nature which guarantees permanence. (p. 35)
Above anything else there is need for a proper philosophy of work which understands work not as that which it has indeed become, an inhuman chore as soon as possible to be abolished by automation, but as something ‘decreed by Providence for the good of man’s body and soul.” (p. 38)

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