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E. F. Schumacher

(1911—1977) economist and writer

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German-born economist and conservationist, known mainly for his book Small is Beautiful (1973), a critique of western methods of mass production and specialization.

Schumacher studied economics at New College, Oxford, coming to the UK with a Rhodes scholarship. At the age of twenty-two he taught at Columbia University, New York, before turning to business, farming, and journalism. He was economic adviser to the British Control Commission in Germany (1946–50) and economic adviser to the National Coal Board (1950–70), but his principal interest was in developing the concept of intermediate technology for the developing countries, acting as an adviser on rural development. In 1966 he founded the Intermediate Technology Development Group Ltd. Concerned with the conservation of natural resources, he was president of the Soil Association, which is involved with organic farming methods; he was also a director of the Scott-Bader Company, a successful experiment in common ownership that is at the forefront of polymer chemistry.

Schumacher published Export Policy and Full Employment (1945), Roots of Economic Growth (1962), Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered (1973), and Good Work (1979), a collection of speeches published posthumously.

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