Schumacher, E.F. Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered. Hartley & Marks Inc, Vancouver, 1999. Original copyright, 1973.
- This book was published in 1973. Its importance then comes from the fact that it was ahead of its time by perhaps a generation, and so is a foundational work for present day ecological thought. It was required reading for students of the Campus Center for Appropriate Technology at Humboldt State, a school ahead of its time in this field. Due to this older generation perspective, you will find Schumacher using the outdated term “man” to refer to humankind. We will assume that if he could have written this work in the present day, he would have omitted this blunder and used more appropriate terminology.
Introduction (Paul Hawken)
(xiv) There is an optimal human scale, size, or relationship inherent in economic activity, a geometry of life that is independent of economic theory…Schumacher was not suggesting a return to another age as he was sometimes accused. Rather, in both his monastic retreats and in the rhythm of Burmese village life, he made an observation that was both heretical and edifying: There are inherent thresholds in the scale of human activity that, when surpassed, produce second and third order effects that subtract if not destroy the quality of all life.
(xvii) I once had a Buddhist teacher who did not think much about spending one’s life reading books. When asked which books I should read, he replied, “read the books that save you from reading others.”
Ch 1. The Problem of Production
(4) A businessman would not consider a firm to have solved its problems of production and to have achieved viability if he saw that it was rapidly consuming its capital. How, then, could we overlook this vital fact when it comes to that very big firm, the economy of Spaceship Earth and, in particular, the economies of its rich passengers?
(5) “Today we understand natural capital as the sum total of renewable and non-renewable resources, including the ecological systems and services that support life. It is different from conventionally defined capital in that natural capital cannot be produced by human activity. What was unimaginable 25 years ago was the speed with which the loss of natural capital would affect humankind,” (Paul Hawken).
(7) The next four or five years are likely to see more industrial production, taking the world as a whole, than all of mankind accomplished up to 1945. In other words, quite recently - so recently that most of us have hardly yet become conscious of it - there has been a unique quantitative jump in industrial production.
(9) Statistics never prove anything.
(9) One of the most fateful errors of our age is the belief that the problem of production has been solved. This illusion…is mainly due to our inability to recognize that the modern industrial system, with all its intellectual sophistication, consumes the very basis on which it has been erected. To use the language of the economist, it lives on irreplaceable capital which it cheerfully treats as income.
(10) “It is ultimately the capacity of the photosynthetic world and its nutrient flow that determines the quality and the quantity of life on earth,” Paul Hawken.
Ch 2. Peace and Permanence
(16) An attitude to life which seeks fulfillment in the single-minded pursuit of wealth - in short, materialism - does not fit into this world, because it contains within itself no limiting principle, while the environment in which it is placed is strictly limited…As professor Barry Commoner emphasizes, the new problems are not the consequences of incidental failure but of technological success.
(19) The hope that the pursuit of goodness and virtue can be postponed until we have attained universal prosperity and that by the single-minded pursuit of wealth, without bothering our heads about spiritual and moral questions, we could establish peace on earth, is an unrealistic, unscientific, and irrational hope. The exclusion of wisdom from economics, science, and technology was something which we could perhaps get away with for a little while, as long as we were relatively unsuccessful; but now that we have become very successful, the problem of spiritual and moral truth moves into the central position.
(20) What were luxuries for our grandfathers have become necessities for us.
(20) The cultivation and expansion of needs is the antithesis of wisdom. It is also the antithesis of freedom and peace. 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.
(22) People organized in small units will take better care of their bit of land or other natural resources than anonymous companies or megalomaniac governments which pretend to themselves that the whole universe is their legitimate quarry.
(23) “War is a judgement,” said Dorothy L. Sayers, “that overtakes societies when they have been living upon ideas that conflict too violently with the laws governing the universe…Never think that wars are irrational catastrophes: they happen when wrong ways of thinking and living bring about intolerable situations.”
(24) Man’s needs are infinite and infinitude can be achieved only in the spiritual realm, never in the material. Man assuredly needs to rise above this humdrum “world”; wisdom shows him the way to do it; without wisdom, he is driven to build up a monster economy, which destroys the world, and to seek fantastic satisfactions, like landing a man on the moon. Instead of overcoming the “world” by moving towards saintliness, he tries to overcome it by gaining pre-eminence in wealth, power, science, or indeed any imaginable “sport.”
Ch 3. The Role of Economics
(29) Economics deals with goods in accordance with their market value and not in accordance with what they really are. The same rules and criteria are applied to primary goods, which has to win from nature, and secondary goods, which presuppose the existence of primary goods and are manufactured from them. All goods are treated the same, because the point of view is fundamentally that of private profit-making, and this means that it is inherent in the methodology of economics to ignore man’s dependence on the natural world.
(29) In a sense, the market is the institutionalization of individualism and non-responsibility. Neither buy nor seller is responsible for anything but himself. It would be “uneconomic” for a wealthy seller to reduce his prices to poor customers merely because they are in need, or for a wealthy buyer to pay extra price merely because the supplier is poor.
(31) Every science is beneficial within its proper limits, but becomes evil and destructive as soon as it transgresses them.
(33) The great majority of economists are still pursuing the absurd ideal of making their “science” as scientific and precise as physics, as if there were no qualitative difference between mindless atoms and men made in the image of God.
Ch 4. Buddhist Economics
(37) Economists, like most specialists, normally suffer from a kind of metaphysical blindness, assuming that theirs is a science of absolute and invariable truths, without any presuppositions.
Ch 5. A Question of Size
(48) People find it most difficult to keep two seemingly opposite necessities of truth in their minds at the same time. They always tend to glamour for a final solution, as if in actual life there could ever be a final solution other than death. For constructive work, the principal task is always the restoration for some kind of balance. Today, we suffer from an almost universal idolatry of gigantism. It is therefore necessary to insist on the virtues of smallness.
(55) The economic calculus, as applied by present day economics, forces the industrialist to eliminate the human factor because machines do not make mistakes, which people do. Hence the enormous effort at automation and the drive for ever larger units. This means that those who have nothing to sell but their labor remain in the weakest possible bargaining position. The conventional wisdom of what is now taught as economics bypasses the poor, the very people for whom development is really needed. The economics of gigantism and automation is a left over of nineteenth century conditions and nineteenth century thinking and it is totally incapable of solving any of the real problems of today…People can be themselves only in small comprehensible groups. Therefore we must learn to think in terms of an articulated structure that can cope with a multiplicity of small scale units. If economic thinking cannot grasp this, it is useless.
Ch 6. The Greatest Resource - Education
(75) G.N.M. Tyrell has put forward the terms “divergent” and “convergent” to distinguish problems which cannot be solved by logical reasoning from those that can. Life is being kept going by divergent problems which have to be “lived” and are solved only in death. Convergent problems on the other hand are man’s most useful invention; they do not, as such, exist in reality, but are created by a process of abstraction. When they have been solved, the solution can be written down and passed on to others, who can apply it without needing to reproduce the mental effort necessary to find it. If this were the case with human relations - in family life, economics, politics, education, and so forth - well, I am at a loss how to finish the sentence. There would be no more human relations but only mechanical reactions.
- abstract, scientific findings are the myths of modern civilization (convergent), transcendent - out of normal day to day life, certainty based
- story telling involving concrete characters (coyotes, intimately known landscapes, etc) are the myths of nature based peoples (divergent), relived with every telling, imminent (not transcendent) paradox based
- see difference between denote and connote in Stanley Diamond In Search of the Primitive, and immanence vs transcendence in Berman Wandering Gods
- truth in an outside world (of non community) vs truth in an inner world (of community)
(76) “Up the age of thirty, or beyond it [wrote Charles Darwin in his autobiography], poetry of many kinds…gave me great pleasure, and even as a schoolboy I took intense delight in Shakespeare, especially in the historical plays. I have also said that formerly pictures gave me considerable, and music very great, delight. But now for many years I cannot endure to read a line of poetry. I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me. I have also lost almost any taste for pictures or music….My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of fact, but why this would have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive…The loss of these talents is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part our nature.”
This impoverishment, so movingly described by Darwin, will overwhelm our entire civilization if we permit the current tendencies to continue which Gilson call “the extension of positive science to social facts.” All divergent problems can be turned into convergent problems by process of “reduction.”
(78) J.M. Keynes, “For at least another hundred years, we must pretend to ourselves and to everyone that fair is foul, and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still.”
(79) The problems of education are merely reflections of the deepest problems of our age. They cannot be solved by organization, administration, or the expenditure of money, even though the importance of all these is not denied. We are suffering from a metaphysical disease, and cure must therefore be metaphysical. Education which fails to clarify our central convictions that are in disorder, and, as long as the present anti-metaphysical temper persists, the disorder will grow worse. Education , far from ranking as man’s greatest resource, will then be an agent of destruction, in accordance with the principle corruptio optimi pessima [“corruption of the best is the worst”].
Ch 7. The Proper Use of Land
(80) Man, whether civilized or savage, is a child of nature - he is not the master of nature. He must conform his actions to certain natural laws if he is to maintain his dominance over his environment. When he tries to circumvent the laws of nature, he usually destroys the natural environment that sustains him. And when his environment deteriorates rapidly, his civilization declines.
(87) The ideal of industry is the elimination of living substances. Man made materials are preferable to natural materials, because we can make them to measure and apply perfect quality control. Man made machines work more reliably and more predictably than do such living substances as men. The ideal of industry is to eliminate the living factor, even including the human factor, and to turn the productive process over to machines. As Alfred North whitehead defined life as “an offensive directed against the repetitious mechanism of the universe,” so we may define modern industry as “an offensive against the unpredictability, unpunctuality, general waywardness and cussedness of living nature, including man.”
(89) [In modern industry] the metaphysical position [is] of the crudest materialism, for which money costs and money incomes are the ultimate criteria and determinants of human action, and the living world has no significance beyond that of a quarry for exploitation.
(91) The social structure of agriculture, which has been produced by - and is generally held to obtain its justification from - large scale mechanization and heavy chemicalization, makes it impossible to keep man in real touch with living nature; in fact, it supports all the most dangerous modern tendencies of violence, alienation, and environmental destruction. Health, beauty, and permanence are hardly even respectable subjects for discussion, and this is yet another example of the disregard of human values - and this means disregard of mankind - which inevitably results from the idolatry of economism.
(93) I have no doubt that a callous attitude to the land and to the animals thereon is connected with, and symptomatic of, a great many other attitudes, such as those producing a fanaticism of rapid change and a fascination with novelties - technical, organizational, chemical, biological, and so forth - which insists on their application long before their long term consequences are even remotely understood. In the simple question of how we treat the land, net to people our most precious resource, our entire way of life is involved, and before our policies with regard to the land will really be changed, there will have to be a great deal of philosophical, not to say religious, change. It is not a question of what we can afford but of what we choose to spend our money on. If we could return to a generous recognition of meta-economic values, our landscapes would become healthy and beautiful again and our people would regain the dignity of mankind…
Ch 8. Resources for Industry
(94) The most striking thing about modern industry is that it requires so much and accomplishes so little. Modern industry seems to be inefficient to a degree that surpasses one’s ordinary powers of imagination. Its inefficiency therefore remains unnoticed.
(95) An industrial system which uses forty percent of the world’s primary resources to supply less than six percent of the world’s population could be called efficient only it obtained strikingly successful results in terms of human happiness, well-being, culture, peace, and harmony. I do not need to dwell on the fact that the American system fails to do this, or that there are not the slightest prospects that could do so if only it achieved a higher rate of growth of production..
(97) The modern world believes in computers and masses of facts, and it abhors simplicity.
(98) It might be said that energy is for the mechanical world what consciousness is for the human world. If energy fails, everything fails.
Ch 9. Nuclear Energy - Salvation or Damnation?
(109) “The religion of economics promotes an idolatry of rapid change, unaffected by the elementary truism that a change which is not an unquestionable improvement is a doubtful blessing. The burden of proof is placed on those who take the “ecological viewpoint”: unless they can produce evidence of marked injury to man, the change will proceed. Common sense, on the contrary, would suggest that the burden of proof should lie on the man who wants to introduce a change; he has to demonstrate that there cannot be any damaging consequences. But this would take too much time, and would therefore be uneconomic. Ecology, indeed, ought to be a compulsory subject for all economists, whether professionals or laymen, as this might serve to restore at least a modicum of balance. For ecology holds that an environmental setting developed over millions of years must be considered to have some merit. Anything so complicated as a planet, inhabited by ore 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 continuously use and re-use the same molecules of the soil and air, cannot be improved by aimless and uninformed tinkering,” (Basic Ecology, Ralph and Mildred Buchsbaum, 1957).
- but modern civilization is founded more than anything else on the impulse to change, to “progress” from nature based primal conditions in cyclical time to nature dominating industrial conditions in linear time, which is its own kind of primal, in its destruction of nature, and therefore (human) culture…the change is from with nature to against nature. Rapid change is what civilization is, what it must be. It moves by incurring short term comforts that lead to (literally) unseen long term “damaging consequences.”
- “would take too much time” in a world propelled by the impulse to/addiction of progress in linear time.
- this “environmental setting developed over millions” of years does not exist in a nation under God. The Biblical story which the majority of American live by does not, cannot account for it.
(116) What needs the most careful consideration is the direction of scientific research. We cannot leave this to the scientists alone. As Einstein himself said, “almost all scientists are economically completely dependent,” and “the number of scientists who possess a sense of social responsibility is so small” that they cannot determine the direction of research.
(119) No degree of prosperity could justify the accumulation of large amounts of highly toxic substances which nobody knows how to make “safe” and which remain an incalculable danger to the whole of creation for historical or even geological ages. To do such a thing is a transgression against life itself, a transgression infinitely more serious than any crime ever perpetrated by man. The idea that a civilization could sustain itself on the basis of such a transgression is an ethical, spiritual and metaphysical monstrosity. It means conducting the economic affairs of man as if people really did not matter at all.
- “spiritual” because the monotheistic, violent (against people and nature - both being the Other), male dominating God of western traditions is not sustainable.
Ch 10. Technology with a Human Face
(121) Suddenly, if not altogether surprisingly, the modern world, shaped by modern technology, finds itself involved in three crises simultaneously. First, human nature revolts against inhuman technological, organizational, and political patterns, which it experiences as suffocating and debilitating; second, the living environment which supports human life aches and groans and gives signs of partial breakdown; and third, it is clear to anyone fully knowledgeable in the subject matter that the inroads being made into world’s non-renewable resources, particularly those of fossil fuels, are such that serious bottlenecks and virtual exhaustion loom ahead in the quite foreseeable future.
Anyone one of these three crises or illnesses can turn out to be deadly. I do now know which of the three is the most likely to be the direct cause of collapse. What is quite clear is that a way of life that bases itself on materialism, i.e. on permanent, limitless expansionism in a finite environment, cannot last long, and that its life expectation is the shorter the more successfully it pursues its expansionist objectives.
- the more successful technological expansion is, the shorter our evolutionary lives will be.
(122) When I first began to travel the world, visiting rich and poor countries alike, I was tempted to formulate the first law of economics as follows: “The amount of real leisure a society enjoys tends to be in inverse proportion to the amount of labor-saving machinery it employs.” It might be a good idea for the professors of economics to put this proposition into their examination papers and ask their pupils to discuss it. However that may be, the evidence is very strong indeed. If you go from easy-going England to, say, Germany or the United States, you find that people live there under much ore strain than here (England). And if you move to a country like Burma, which is very near the bottom of the league table of industrial progress, you find that people have an enormous amount of leisure really to enjoy themselves. Of course, as there is so much less labor-saving machinery to help them, they “accomplish” much less than we do; but that is a different point. The fact remains that the burden of living rests much more lightly on their shoulders than on ours.
- “but that is a different point.” Not really, when helpful machinery and increase in non-leisure time leads to world domination, the dominators will see that as an overall win, even if it results in less leisure time, less happiness.
(122) The question of what technology actually does for us is worthy of investigation. It obviously greatly reduces some kinds of work while it increases other kinds. The type of work which modern technology is most successful in reducing or even eliminating is skillful, productive work of human hands, in touch with real materials of one kind of another. In an advanced industrial society, such work has become exceedingly rare, and to make a decent living by doing such work has become virtually impossible. A great part of the modern neurosis may be do to this very fact; for the human being, defined by Thomas Aquinas as a being with brains and hands, enjoys nothing more than to be creatively, usefully, productively engaged with both his hands and his brains. Today, a person has to be wealthy to be able to enjoy this simple thing, this very great luxury; he has to be able to afford space and good tools; he has to be lucky enough to find a good teacher and plenty of free time to learn and practice. He really has to be rich enough to not need a job.
- technological progress at the expense of social progress is not progress.
- the recent technological craze in humankind is like the short term high of a mind altering drug. It is exciting, ecstatic, but it is not worth the long term side effects, which tend to be only harmful. These long term side effects are today only seen by the critical thinkers, or the “ecological hippies,” and they are not perceived or accepted as real by the business leader technocrats who, fanatically bathing in a confetti of money, are still in the high, and so cannot perceive what’s about to happen.
(123) The prestige carried by people in modern industrial society varies in inverse proportion to their closeness to actual production.
(126) As Gandhi said, the poor of the world cannot be helped by mass production, only by production by the masses. The system of mass production, based on sophisticated, highly capital-intensive, high energy-input dependent, and human labor-saving technology, presupposes that you are already rich, for a great deal of capital investment is needed to establish one single workplace. The system of production by the masses mobilizes the priceless resources which are possessed by all human beings, their clever brains and skillful hands, and supports them with first class tools. The technology of mass production is inherently violent, ecologically damaging, self-defeating in terms of non-renewable resources, and stultifying for the human person. The technology of production by the masses, making the best use of modern knowledge and experience, is conducive to decentralization, compatible with the laws of ecology, gentle in its use of scare resources, and designed to serve the human person instead of making him the servant of machines. I have named it intermediate technology to signify that it is vastly superior to the primitive technology of bygone ages but at the same time much simpler, cheaper, and freer than the super-technology of the rich. One can also call it self-help technology, or democratic of people’s technology - a technology to which everybody can gain admittance and which is not reserved to those already rich and powerful.
(130) In one way or another everybody will have to take sides in this great conflict. To “leave it to the experts” means to side with the people of the forward stampede. It is widely accepted that politics is too important a matter to be left to the experts. Today, the main content of politics is economics, and the main content of economics is technology. If politics cannot be left to the experts, neither can economics and technology.
(131) I have no doubt that it is possible to give new direction to technological development, a direction that shall lead it back to the real needs of man, and that also means: to the actual size of man. Man is small, and, therefore, small is beautiful. To go for gigantism is to go for self-destruction. And what is the cost of a reorientation? We might remind ourselves that to calculate the cost of survival is perverse. No doubt, a price has to paid for anything worthwhile; to redirect technology so that it serves man instead of destroying him requires primarily an effort of the imagination and an abandonment of fear.
- Unfortunately man is not small when it is understood that he is “made in the image of God,” when God is a violent, male dominating God. Therefore, new religious principles are needed - non Biblical ones.
Ch 11. Development
(137) We tend to think of development not in terms of evolution, but in terms of creation.
Our scientists incessantly tel us with the utmost assurance that everything around us has evolved by small mutations sieved out through natural selection. Even the Almighty is not credited with having been able to create anything complex. Every complexity, we are told, is the result of evolution. Yet our development planners seem to think that they can do better than the Almighty, that they can create the most complex things at one throw by a process called planning, letting Athene spring, not out of the head of Zeus, but out of nothingness, fully armed, resplendent, and viable.
- At least half of this country does not really believe in evolution - that we are a species among and developed from other species, within specific ecologies.
(139) The primary causes of extreme poverty are immaterial; they lie in certain deficiencies in education, organization, and discipline.
Ch 12. Social and Economic Problems Calling for the Development of Intermediate Technology
(142) It is always easier to help those who can help themselves than to help the helpless.
(142) All successes in the modern sector are likely to be illusory unless there is also a healthy growth - or at least a healthy condition of stability - among the very great homers of people today whose life is characterized not only by dire poverty but also by hopelessness.
Ch 13. Two Million Villages
(166) The beginning of wisdom is the admission of one’s own lack of knowledge. As long as we think we know, when in fact we don not, we shall continue to go to the poor and demonstrate to them all the marvelous things they could do if they were already rich. This has been the main failure of aid to date.
- Western Religion is inherently narcissistic and myopic. It does not include the “more than human world” as deserving of it’s own life. It therefore lacks this wisdom.
Ch 14. The Problem of Unemployment in India
(173) Can we establish an ideology, or whatever you like to call it, which insists that the educated have taken upon themselves an obligation and have not simply acquired a “passport to privilege.”…
If this ideology does not prevail, if it is taken for granted that education is a passport to privilege, then the content of education will not primarily be something to serve the people, but something to serve ourselves, the educated. The privileged minority will wish to be educated in a manner that sets them apart and will inevitably learn and teach the wrong things, that is to say, things that do set them apart, with a contempt for manual labor, a contempt for primary production, a contempt for rural life, etc. Unless virtually all educated people see themselves as servants of their country - and that means after all servants of the common people - there cannot possibly be enough leadership and enough communication of know-how to solve this problem of unemployment or unproductive employment in the half million villages of India. It is a matter of 500 million people…Now you may say this is impossible, but if it is, it is not so because of any laws of the universe, but because of a certain inbred, ingrained selfishness on the part of the people who are quite prepared to receive and not prepared to give. As a matter of fact, there is evidence that the problem is not insoluble; but it can be solved only at the political level.
(182) A hundred years ago electricity, cement, and steel did not even exist in any significant quantity at all. (I should like to remind you that the Taj Mahal was built without electricity, cement, and steel, and that all the cathedrals of Europe were built without them. It is a fixation in the mind, that unless you can have the latest you can’t do anything at all, and this is the thing that has to be overcome.) You may say again, this is not an ecumenic problem, but basically a political problem. It is basically a problem of compassion with the ordinary people of the world. It is basically a problem, not of conscripting the ordinary people, but of getting a kind of voluntary conscription of the educated.
(184) The really helpful things will not be done from the center; they cannot be done by big organizations; but they can be done by the people themselves. If we can recover the sense that is it the most natural thing for every person born into this world to use his hands in a productive way and that it is not beyond the wit of man to make this possible, then I think the problem of unemployment will disappear and we shall soon be asking ourselves how we can get all the work done that needs to be done.
Ch 15. A Machine to Foretell the Future?
(193) In principle, everything which is immune to the intrusion of human freedom, like the movements of the stars, is predictable, and everything subject to this intrusion is unpredictable. Does that mean that all human actions are unpredictable? No, because most people, most of the time, make no use of their freedom and act purely mechanically. Experience shows that when we are dealing with large numbers of people many aspects of their behavior are indeed predictable; for out of a large number, at any one time, only a tiny minority are using their power of freedom, and they often do not significantly affect the total outcome. Yet all really important innovations and changes normally start from tiny minorities of people who do use their creative freedom.
- Fromm, Escape From Freedom
(194) In practice all prediction is simply extrapolation, modified by known “plans.” But how do they extrapolate? Assuming there is a record of growth, what precisely do you extrapolate - the average rate of growth, or the increase in the rate of growth, or the annual increment in absolute terms? As a matter of fact, there are no rules; it is just a matter of “feel” or judgement.
Ch 16. Towards a Theory of Large-Scale Organization
(204) Once a large organization has come into being it normally goes through alternating phases of centralizing and decentralizing, like swings of a pendulum. Whenever one encounters such opposites, each of them with persuasive arguments in its favor, it is worth looking into the depth of the problem for something more than compromise, more than a half and half solution. Maybe what we really need is not either-or, but the-one-and-the-other-at-the-same-time.
- Paradoxically, as in Berman’s Wandering God, and as in all world-integrating mythic tales of nature based peoples
Ch 17. Socialism
(215) The strength of the idea of private enterprise lies in its terrifying simplicity. It suggests that the totality of life can be reduced to one aspect - profits. The businessman, as a private individual, may still be interested in other aspects of life - perhaps even in goodness, truth, and beauty - but as a businessman he concerns himself only with profits. In this respect, the idea of private enterprise fits exactly into the idea of the Market, which in an earlier chapter, I called “the institutionalization of individualism and non-responsibility.” Equally, it fits perfectly into the modern trend towards total quantification at the expense of the appreciation of qualitative differences; for private enterprise is not concerned with what it produces but only with what it gains from production.
(216) The real strength of the theory of private enterprise lies in this ruthless simplification, which fits so admirably also into the mental patterns created by phenomenal successes of science. The strength of science, too, derives from a “reduction” of reality to one or the other of its many aspects, primarily the reduction of quality to quantity. But just as the powerful concentration of nineteenth-century science on the mechanical aspects of reality had to be abandoned because there was too much of reality that simply did not fit, so the powerful concentration of business life on the aspect of “profits” has had to be modified because it failed to do justice to the real needs of man. It was the historical achievement of socialists to push this development..
(217) The whole crux of economic life - and indeed of life in general - is that is constantly requires the living reconciliation of opposites which, in strict logic, are irreconcilable.
(219) What is at stake is not economics but culture; not the standard of living, but the quality of life.
Ch 18. Ownership
(227) It is dangerous to mix business and politics. Such a mixing normally produces inefficient business and corrupt politics.
(248) In the excitement over the unfolding of his scientific and technical powers, modern man has built a system of production that radishes nature and a type of society that mutilates man. If only there were more and more wealth, everything else, it is thought, would fall into place. Money is considered to be all-powerful; if it could not actually buy non-material values, such as justice, harmony, beauty, or even health, it could circumvent the need for them or compensate for their loss. The development of production and the acquisition of wealth have thus become the highest goals of the modern world in relation to which all other goals, no matter how much lip-service may still be paid to them, have come to take second place. The highest goals require no justification; all secondary goals have finally to justify themselves in terms of the service their attainment renders to the attainment of the highest.
(249) It is of little use trying to suppress terrorism if the production of deadly devices continues to be deemed a legitimate employment of man’s creative powers. Nor can the fight against pollution be successful if the patterns of production and consumption continue to be of a scale, a complexity, and a degree of violence which, as is becoming more and more apparent, do not fit into the laws of the universe, to which man is just as much subject as the rest of creation.
(250) It is hardly likely that twentieth-century man is called upon to discover truth that has never been discovered before.