The Living Economy: A New Economics in the Making

The Living Economy: A New Economics in the Making

The Living Economy: A New Economics in the Making

The Living Economy: A New Economics in the Making

Excerpt

It is appropriate that this seminal book has been dedicated to my late father, Dr E. F. Schumacher. He would have been delighted to have been associated with the array of outstanding thinkers and practitioners whose ideas have been so succinctly presented in this volume, Had he been alive he would have no doubt wished to have been a contributor himself.

The Living Economy covers a variety of topics from agricultural methods and policy to health and world trade reform. Contributors come from a wide diversity of countries and continents including the USA, Europe, Africa, and the Far East. Each section is worth reading in its own right, for itself and, indeed, by itself. It is a book to be browsed through, reflected upon and enjoyed at one’s leisure. Together the contributions form a rich tapestry of insights and inspirations. They are in no way a simple repetition of Schumacher’s thoughts. Rather, they form an authentic part of a wider intellectual tradition of which he was also a part, albeit an early and important one.

Fritz, as he was known to his friends, was the younger son of Hermann Schumacher, who was Professor of Economics at Berlin University. Even as a young boy he was both academically brilliant and politically outspoken, with a strong sense of social responsibility and care for the poor. These attributes led him first to study in Oxford, England, and Columbia University, New York. Subsequently, when Hitler came to power, he emigrated to England where he spent the remainder of his life.

Fritz Schumacher’s contribution to the intellectual heritage of his time was unique. Even while a German refugee in England, working as a farm labourer during the Second World War, and still only thirty years old, he was instrumental in laying down with Lord Beveridge the foundations of the modern welfare state in the United Kingdom. The great economist John Maynard Keynes regarded him as his true intellectual successor and was greatly stimulated by his insights into international currency and world trading reform.

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