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Ernst Friedrich Schumacher was born in Germany in 1911. A Rhodes scholar at Oxford in the 1930’s, he fled back to England before the Second World War to avoid living under Nazism. Although Schumacher was interned as an enemy alien during the War, his extraordinary abilities were recognized, and he was able to help the British government with its economic and financial mobilization.
After the War, E. F. Schumacher worked as an economic advisor to the British Control Commission charged with rebuilding the German economy. From 1950 to 1970 he was Chief Economic Advisor to the British Coal Board, one of the world’s largest organizations, with 800,000 employees. Schumacher's farsighted planning (he predicted the rise of OPEC and the problems of nuclear power) aided Britain in its economic recovery.
In 1955 Schumacher traveled to Burma as an economic consultant. While there, he developed the principles of what he called “Buddhist economics,” based on the belief that good work was essential for proper human development and that “production from local resources for local needs is the most rational way of economic life.” Schumacher also gained insights that led him to become a pioneer of what is now called "appropriate technology": earth- and user-friendly technology matched to the scale of community life.
E. F. Schumacher subsequently became a featured writer—along with Leopold Kohr, John Papworth, Danilo Dolci, Paul Goodman, John Seymour, and Satish Kumar in the British Journal Resurgence. His best-selling book Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered (1973, republished by Hartley & Marks in 1999) has influenced many readers to re-examine societal and personal choices regarding the persistent demands of modern life. His two other books are Good Workand A Guide for the Perplexed.
From the E. F. Schumacher book Small is Beautiful World Wisdom has included the "Epilogue" in our collection Science and the Myth of Progress .