Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I have been listening via BBCiplayer this morning to Jonathon Porritt on Schumacher, only to learn that Schumacher vaguely   influenced our prime minister Cameron in his 'Big Society' idea.  Well knock me down with a feather, can a green guru influence Cameron, doubt it given the big world of The City and banks he has to keep happy, but still a nice thought, even Thatcher had read him.
Satish Kumar was on as well, in fact in the latest Resurgence celebrates the 100th anniversary since the day of Schumacher's birth  the magazine had also  printed Schumacher's 'Buddhist Economics' from 1968.

While the materialist is mainly interested in goods, the Buddhist is mainly interested in liberation. But Buddhism is "The Middle Way" and therefore in no way antagonistic to physical well-being. It is not wealth that stands in the way of liberation but the attachment to wealth; not the enjoyment of pleasurable things but the craving for them. The keynote of Buddhist economics, therefore, is simplicity and non-violence. From an economist’s point of view, the marvel of the Buddhist way of life is the utter rationality of its pattern—amazingly small means leading to extraordinarily satisfactory results.

Even so, I have read all those 'green' books over the years, my sustainable credentials stem from such philosophies so it was like meeting old friends again.  I was spinning at the time, yesterday dyeing and finishing a cushion cover I'd made, all rather simple things... Has the world taken the path of Right Livelihood, a very debatable question and the answer I would give is no, but if there is a coming economic storm when everything goes belly-up again, it would be wise to remember that 'Small is beautiful'.
They also touched on the Findhorn Community, this shows some of the eco-buildings on the original caravan site  , and I notice they have spiritual retreats on the Isles of Iona and Erris, not sure I would want to go on a retreat where I had to share a bedroom with someone else - too much chattering.
But it did bring to mind the Retreat house at St.Non  near St.David , which is set in a beautiful peaceful setting overlooking St.Bride's Bay, a small ruined chapel sits inside a presumed stone circle.


  1. I think 'Small is beautiful' is a lovely, elegant philosophy. My boss at work obviously listened to the same clip because he mentioned Schumacher during a meeting yesterday. What you read about the 'bloated' public sector simply isn't true, 'Small is beautiful' has even made an impact in Local Government!

  2. 'Small is beautiful' has even made an impact in Local Government!

    Well I'm glad to hear that, everything is in a slight turmoil at the moment as we view 'austerity' and the attack on pensions and jobs. Could it be that Schumacher's philosopy will make a comeback from the past, it's not quite what people think it is, but I read the book a long time ago and can't remember what he wrote to be honest but he did work for the coal board (which is not very 'green' ;)....