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Book review: Small Is Beautiful: A study of Economics as if People Mattered – EF Schumacher (1973)



EF Schumacher’s controversial study, Small Is Beautiful, was first published in 1973 but remains as relevant and thought-provoking today as it was in the 70s. Over the last 40 years, the book is been highly influential in environmental and social justice movements.

The book examines the modern economic system, its use of resources and how it impacts on our lives. It questions whether the system reflects what society cares about. The text tries to understand where we have gone wrong and what has led to some living with obscene wealth why others struggle to get by.

EF Schumacher predicted many of the issues we as a planet are now facing, such as reliance on imports and exports, the energy crisis, issues with oil consumption and dual economies in developing countries.

Small Is Beautiful argues that we need to steer away from the belief that technology can solve all of our problems and questions the dominance of profit-based economics. It advocates a shift in lifestyle to counteract the problems and focus on what really matters.

The text is insightful and intellectual whilst still being to-the-point and easy to read. Rather than suggest particular solutions, this persuasive book offers principles to guide strategies. Whilst some of the figures are now out of date, the message and principles remain as important today as they were when it was written.


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