Wednesday, November 16, 2011

suggesting that it is better to be economically poorer and richer spiritually, Schumacher ignores the links between growth and welfare

Small is Beautiful EF Schumacher is widely regarded as a humanist and radical ways. Nothing could be further from the truth. In context, it is profoundly human and profoundly anti-conservative.

The thrust of the text Schumacher is there a natural limit to economic growth. As he says: "Economic growth seen from the viewpoint of economics, physics, chemistry and technology, has no discernible limits must necessarily operate in the critical bottlenecks, given in terms of science the environment. "

Schumacher opposed the organization of the economy on a large scale, precisely because he believed that prosperity rather than harm the environment. He understands that small communities can not produce nearly as much as those operating at regional or global. A modern car, for example, is usually based on components, raw materials and know-how in the world. From the perspective of "Buddhist economics" Schumacher, who is best for people to be poorer in economic terms if it can be spiritually richer.

This argument goes against the enormous weight of evidence that material progress is closely linked to progress in general. Over the last two centuries of modern economic growth has seen great progress in human well-being, with technological innovation and social progress. Perhaps the most striking indicator of this improvement is the increase in life expectancy of about 30 in 1800 to nearly 70 today. Note that this is a global average, including the billions of people living in poor countries, and the minority who live in rich countries.

anti-consumerism reveals more about the narrowness of the ecological vision of what economic growth. Seeing the growing prosperity only in terms of consumer goods is very narrow. Growth provides the resources for even more, including airports, art galleries, hospitals, museums, power plants, railways, roads, schools and universities. People prosperity provides the basis for much of what we value in contemporary society.

other common rebuttal to the benefits of green growth is pointing to the existence of the inequality. Of course, it is true that there are large disparities within countries and between developed and developing countries. The key question, however, is the best way to tackle the problem. From the perspective of Schumacher is desirable to reduce the living standards of all but the poorest of the poor. His is a story of shared sacrifices and lower standard of living for almost everyone. The other point of view, the traditional position on the left, was to advocate for abundance for all.

Finally, the discussion of the environment itself. The most popular variant of the idea of ??a natural limit today is that growth inevitably means runaway climate change. However, there is much evidence to the contrary. There are several forms of energy, including nuclear, which emit no greenhouse gas emissions. There are also ways to adapt to climate change as the construction of higher walls of the sea These measures are expensive resources is required to pay, which means more economic growth rather than less. In any case, the hard green for prosperity slowly may affect our ability to fight against climate change.
Schumacher fundamentally conservative argument chimes well with those who want us to balance austerity. Should those in power of the mass of the population to accept the need to do more with less. In such circumstances, it is not surprising that David Cameron as their international counterparts, is eager to focus on individual satisfaction rather than material prosperity.

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