some thoughts on our society by e. f. schumacher

[SSU has been developing an increasing interest in learning about sustainability or resiliency – here is the first of some excerpts from Schumacher’s book, Good Work, which shares some wisdom related to those themes:]

Maybe a type of industrial society could be developed which was organized in much smaller units, with an almost infinite decentralization of authority and responsibility. From the point of view of the Gospels, a hierarchical structure, i.e., authority as such, is not an evil. But it must be of a size compatible, so to say, with the size of the human being. Structures made up of, say, a hundred people can still be fully democratic without falling into disorder. But structures employing many hundreds or even thousands of people cannot possibly preserve order without authoritarianism, no matter how great the wish for democracy might be….

There are four main characteristics of modern industrial society which, in the light of the Gospels, must be accounted four great and grievous evils:

1. Its vastly complicated nature.

2. Its continuous stimulation of, and reliance on, the deadly sins of greed, envy, and avarice.

3. Its destruction of the content and dignity of most forms of work.

4. Its authoritarian character, owing to organization in excessively large units.

– E. F. Schumacher, Good Work (free ecopy available here)

1 thought on “some thoughts on our society by e. f. schumacher”

  1. Though I don’t agree with everything E.F. Schumacher says in his book, Small is Beautiful, I love the idea of working in smaller groups and society reverting to small-scale, decentralized production.

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