E. F. Schumacher quotes

  • The system of nature, of which man is a part, tends to be self-balancing, self-adjusting, self-cleansing. Not so with technology.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Technology #Men #Self

  • Wisdom demands a new orientation of science and technology toward the organic, the gentle, the elegant and beautiful.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Beautiful #Technology #Demand

  • There is incredible generosity in the potentialities of Nature. We only have to discover how to utilize them.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Generosity #Incredibles

  • Any intelligent fool can invent further complications, but it takes a genius to retain, or recapture, simplicity.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Intelligent #Simplicity #Genius

  • Development does not start with goods; it starts with people and their education, organization, and discipline. Without these three, all resources remain latent, untapped, potential.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Organization #Discipline #People

  • Infinite growth of material consumption in a finite world is an impossibility.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Courage #Growth #World

  • If I limit myself to knowledge that I consider true beyond doubt, I minimize the risk of error but I maximize, at the same time, the risk of missing out on what may be the subtlest, most important and most rewarding things in life.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Errors #Missing #Risk

  • Eagles come in all shapes and sizes, but you will recognize them chiefly by their attitudes.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Attitude #Greatness #Eagles

  • A way of life that ever more rapidly depletes the power of the Earth to sustain it and piles up ever more insoluble problems for each succeeding generation can only be called violent.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Generations #Earth #Way

  • Our faith gives us knowledge of something better.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Soulmate #Giving #Something Better

  • Perhaps we cannot raise the winds. But each of us can put up the sail, so that when the wind comes we can catch it.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Wind #Sail #Raises

  • Modern man talks of a battle with nature, forgetting that, if he won the battle, he would find himself on the losing side
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Men #Battle #Sides

  • Many people love in themselves what they hate in others
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Hate #People

  • I'm not at all contemptuous of comforts, but they have their place and it is not first.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Comfort #Firsts #Contemptuous

  • The best aid to give is intellectual aid, a gift of useful knowledge. A gift of knowledge is infinitely preferable to a gift of material things.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Giving #Intellectual #Aids

  • It might be said that it is the ideal of the employer to have production without employees and the ideal of the employee is to have income without work.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Funny Work #Income #Might

  • Our ordinary mind always tries to persuade us that we are nothing but acorns and that our greatest happiness will be to become bigger, fatter, shinier acorns; but that is of interest only to pigs. Our faith gives us knowledge of something better: that we can become oak trees.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Faith #Knowledge #Pigs

  • 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.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Life #Attitude #World

  • Anything that we can destroy but are unable to make is, in a sense sacred, and all our 'explanations' of it do not really explain anything.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Sacred #Explanation

  • To describe an animal as a physico-chemical system of extreme complexityis no doubt perfectly correct, except that it misses out on the animalness of the animal.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Animal #Missing #Doubt

  • I have no doubt that it is possible to give a 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.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Beautiful #Real #Mean

  • By means of trees, wildlife could be conserved, pollution decreased, and the beauty of our landscapes enhanced. This is the way, or at least one of the ways, to spiritual, moral, and cultural regeneration.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Spiritual #Mean #Tree

  • The key words of violent economics are urbanization, industrialization, centralization, efficiency, quantity, speed. . . . The problem of evolving a nonviolent way of economic life [in the West] and that of developing the underdeveloped countries may well turn out to be largely identical.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Life #Country #Keys

  • Man's needs are infinite, and infinitude can be achieved only in the spiritual realm, never in the material.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Spiritual #Peace #Men

  • Why precisely do we want to change land ownership? The answer seems to me to be quite clear: to inhibit land speculation, to inhibit the private exploitation of the scarcity-value of land, to inhibit as we might say the cornering of land.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Land #Scarcity #Answers

  • Never let an inventor run a company. You can never get him to stop tinkering and bring something to market
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Running #Tinkering #Inventor

  • You can either read something many times in order to be assured that you got it all, or else you can define your purpose and use techniques which will assure that you have met it and gotten what you need
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Order #Technique #Needs

  • We still have to learn how to live peacefully, not only with our fellow men but also with nature...
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Nature #Men #Fellow Man

  • Our intentions tend to be much more real to us than our actions, and this can lead to a great deal of misunderstanding with other people, to whom our actions tend to be much more real than our intentions.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Real #People #Our Actions

  • At present, there can be little doubt that the whole of mankind is in mortal danger, not because we are short of scientific and technological know-how, but because we tend to use it destructively, without wisdom. More education can help us only if produces more wisdom.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Doubt #Growth #Use

  • Few can contemplate without a sense of exhilaration the splendid achievements of practical energy and technical skill, which, from the latter part of the seventeenth century, were transforming the face of material civilization, and of which England was the daring, if not too scrupulous, pioneer.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Civilization #Skills #Achievement

  • True art is the intermediary between man's ordinary nature and his higher potentialities.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Art #Men #Ordinary

  • After all, for mankind as a whole there are no exports. We did not start developing by obtaining foreign exchange from Mars or the moon. Mankind is a closed society.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Moon #Society #Mars

  • It is amazing how much theory we can do without when work actually begins.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Theory

  • I think I should not go far wrong if I asserted that the amount of genuine leisure available in a society is generally in inverse proportion to the amount of labor-saving machinery it employs.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Thinking #Technology #Saving

  • There is no economic problem and, in a sense, there never has been.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Problem #Economic

  • Scientific and 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.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Men #Poison #Benefits

  • Study how a society uses its land, and you can come to pretty reliable conclusions as to what its future will be.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Land #Use #Study

  • The disease having been caused by allowing cleverness to displace wisdom, no amount of clever research is likely to produce a cure.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Clever #Research #Disease

  • If, however, economic ambitions are good servants, they are bad masters
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Ambition #Economic #Masters

  • The way in which we experience and interpret the world obviously depends very much indeed on the kind of ideas that fill our minds. If they are mainly small, weak, superficial, and incoherent, life will appear insipid, uninteresting, petty, and chaotic. It is difficult to bear the resultant feeling of emptiness, and the vacuum of our minds may only too easily be filled by some big, fantastic notion - political or otherwise - which suddenly seem to illumine everything and to give meaning and purpose to our existence. It needs no emphasis that herein lies one of the great dangers of our time.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Lying #Ideas #Giving

  • Many have no desire to be in it, because their work does not interest them, providing them with neither challenge nor satisfaction, and has no other merit in their eyes than that it leads to a pay-packet at the end of the week.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Eye #Challenges #Desire

  • An ounce of practice is generally worth more than a ton of theory.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Practice #Theory

  • The heart of the matter, as I see it, is the stark fact that world poverty is primarily a problem of two million villages, and thus a problem of two thousand million villagers.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Heart #Two #World

  • The real problems of our planet are not economic or technical, they are philosophical. The philosophy of unbridled materialism is being challenged by events.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Philosophy #Real #Philosophical

  • An entirely new system of thought is needed, a system based on attention to people, and not primarily attention to goods. . . .
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #People #Attention #Goods

  • Economic development is something much wider and deeper than economics, let alone econometrics. Its roots lie outside the economic sphere, in education, organisation, discipline and, beyond that, in political independence and a national consciousness of self-reliance.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Lying #Self #Roots

  • Economic policies absorb almost the entire attention of government, and at the same time become ever more impotent. The simplest things, which only fifty years ago one could do without difficulty, cannot get done any more. The richer a society, the more impossible it become to do worthwhile things without immediate payoff.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Government #Years #Attention

  • Modern economic thinking...is peculiarly unable to consider the long term and to appreciate man's dependence on the natural world.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Men #Thinking #Long

  • We must do what we conceive to be the right thing, and not bother our heads or burden our souls with whether we are going to be successful. Because if we don't do the right thing, we'll be doing the wrong thing, and we will just be part of the disease, and not a part of the cure.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Integrity #Successful #Soul

  • Even bigger machines, entailing even bigger concentrations of economic power and exerting ever greater violence against the environment, do not represent progress: they are a denial of wisdom. Wisdom demands a new orientation of science and technology towards the organic, the gentle, the nonviolent, the elegant and beautiful.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Beautiful #Technology #Progress

  • Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Inspirational #Motivational #Courage

  • Much of the economic decay of southeast Asia (as of many other parts of the world) is undoubtedly due to a heedless and shameful neglect of trees.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Tree #Decay #World

  • Real life consists of the tensions produced by the incompatibility of opposites, each of which is needed
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Real #Opposites #Incompatibility

  • The modern world tends to be skeptical about everything that makes demands on man's higher faculties. But it is not at all skeptical about skepticism, which demands hardly anything.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Men #World #Demand

  • There are poor societies which have too little; but where is the rich society that says: 'Halt! We have enough'? There is none.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Littles #Rich #Enough

  • Work and leisure are complementary parts of the same living process and cannot be separated without destroying the joy of work and the bliss of leisure.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Joy #Leisure #Bliss

  • We still have to learn how to live peacefully, not only with our fellow men but also with nature and, above all, with those Higher Powers which have made nature and have made us; for, assuredly, we have not come about by accident and certainly have not made ourselves
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Men #Fellow Man #Made

  • Without ... the creative imagination rushing in where bureaucratic angels fear to tread - without this, life is a mockery and a disgrace.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Business #Angel #Rushing

  • The art of living is always to make a good thing out of a bad thing.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Life #Art #Inspire

  • The generosity of the Earth allows us to feed all mankind; we know enough about ecology to keep the Earth a healthy place; there is enough room on the Earth, and there are enough materials, so that everybody can have adequate shelter; we are quite competent enough to produce sufficient supplies of necessities so that no one need live in misery.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Generosity #Healthy #Adequate

  • The most striking 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.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Imagination #Ordinary #Degrees

  • Our task - and the task of all education - is to understand the present world, the world in which we live and make our choices.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Choices #Tasks #World

  • Everything can be seen directly except the eye through which we see.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Eye

  • Call a thing immoral or ugly, soul-destroying or a degradation to man, a peril to the peace of the world or to the well-being of future generations: as long as you have not shown it to be "uneconomic" you have not really questioned its right to exist, grow, and prosper.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Men #Long #Soul

  • Every increase of needs tends to increase one's independence on outside forces over which one cannont have control and therefore increases existential fear
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Independence #Needs #Existential

  • The substance of man cannot be measured by Gross National Product.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Men #Substance #Gross

  • The printing press is either the greatest blessing or the greatest curse of modern times, sometimes one forgets which it is.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Funny #Reading #Book

  • Anyone who thinks consumption can expand forever on a finite planet is either insane or an economist.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Thinking #Forever #Insane

  • To organize work in such a manner that it becomes meaningless, boring, stultifying, or nerve-racking for the worker would be little short of criminal; it would indicate a greater concern with goods than with people, an evil lack of compassion and a soul-destroying degree of attachment to the most primitive side of this worldly existence.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Compassion #Attachment #People

  • From the point of view of the employer, it is in any case simply an item of cost, to be reduced to a minimum if it cannot be eliminated altogether, say, by automation. From the point of view of the workman, it is a "disutility"; to work is to make a sacrifice of one's leisure and comfort, and wages are a kind of compensation for the sacrifice.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Sacrifice #Views #Comfort

  • From a Buddhist point of view, this is standing the truth on its head by considering goods as more important than people and consumption as more important than creative activity. It means shifting the emphasis from the worker to the product of work, that is, from the human to the sub-human, surrender to the forces of evil.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Buddhist #Mean #Views

  • It is doubly chimerical to build peace on economic foundations which, in turn, rest on the systematic cultivation of greed and envy, the very forces which drive men into conflict.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Men #Envy #Greed

  • That soul-destroying, meaningless, mechanical, moronic work is an insult to human nature which must necessarily and inevitably produce either escapism or aggression, and that no amount of 'bread and circuses' can compensate for the damage done-these are facts which are neither denied nor acknowledged but are met with an unbreakable conspiracy of silence-because to deny them would be too obviously absurd and to acknowledge them would condemn the central preoccupation of modern society as a crime against humanity.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Silence #Soul #Humanity

  • Many of them had a better time than they ever had in their lives because they were discovering the new freedom - the less you need, the freer you become.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Simple #Needs #Simple Living

  • No one is really working for peace unless he is working primarily for the restoration of wisdom.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Peace #Restoration

  • The purpose of work is to give people a chance to utilize and develop their faculties; to enable them to overcome their ego-centeredness by joining others in a common task; and to bring for the goods and services needed for a becoming existence.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #People #Giving #Ego

  • 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 perpetrated by man. The idea that a civilization could sustain itself on such a transgression is an ethical, spiritual, and metaphysical monstrosity. It means conducting the economical affairs of man as if people did not matter at all.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Spiritual #Mean #Men

  • We think work with the brain is more worthy than work with the hands. Nobody who thinks with his hands could ever fall for this.
    -- E. F. Schumacher

    #Fall #Thinking #Hands