[Deze keer een samenvatting van een 'ouwe gouwe': Schumachers 'Small is beautiful' speelde een grote rol in de groei van de milieubeweging vanaf de 1970er jaren. Hij kijkt als econoom heel onorthodox naar de uitgangspunten van de economie en zet het denken daar op zijn kop: hij is tegen het dogma van de groei omdat een eindige aarde dat niet kan hebben, pleit tegen grootschaligheid, heeft heel originele gedachten over welke vormen ontwikkelingssamnewerking moet hebben, en zo verder. Ik ben het in heel veel met hem eens. Het is een inspirerend boek voor iedereen die fundamentele kritiek heeft op de huidige samenleving. De oude uitgave heb ik digitaal gelezen. Ik heb er het meer recente boek naast gehad. De hoofdstuknummering en paginering hieronder zijn voor Schumachers tekst gebaseerd op die recente uitgave.]
Over de overtrokken status van de economie als wetenschap. Schumacher biedt een heel ander boek over economie dan die van wiskundige formules en statistieken doortrokken standaard economieboeken. En hij is bepaald niet de minste onder de economen.
"Today there is no government in any industrial society which does not have its counterpart of the American Council of Economic Advisors, where economic policy can supposedly be formulated with all the professional precision attending the discussion of purely technical or scientific questions. Under the tutelage of their economic counselors, political leaders manipulate discount rates and the money supply with all the confidence of space scientists at Cape Kennedy pushing the buttons and throwing the switches which guide rocket ships to the moon and home."(2)
"As all this should make clear, Schumacher's work belongs to that subterranean tradition of organic and decentralist economics whose major spokesmen include Prince Kropotkin, Gustav Landauer, Tolstoy, William Morris, Gandhi, Lewis Mumford, and, most recently, Alex Comfort, Paul Goodman, and Murray Bookchin. It is the tradition we might call anarchism, if we mean by that much abused word a libertarian political economy that distinguishes itself from orthodox socialism and capitalism by insisting that the scale of organization must be treated as an independent and primary problem. The tradition, while closely affiliated with socialist values, nonetheless prefers mixed to 'pure' economic systems. It is therefore hospitable to many forms of free enterprise and private ownership, provided always that the size of private enterprise is not so large as to divorce ownership from personal involvement, which is, of course, now the rule in most of the world's administered capitalisms."(3-4)
"Hence, Schumacher's title, Small Is Beautiful. He might just as well have said 'small is free, efficient, creative, enjoyable, enduring' - for such is the anarchist faith."(4)
"It is typical of Schumacher that he should take Gandhi's economic principles seriously, as much in dealing with the advanced industrial countries as in discussing the third world. In doing so, he endorses much that his profession has written off with unexamined self-assurance. But then, economists, for all their purported objectivity, are the most narrowly ethnocentric of people. Since they are universally urban intellectuals who understand little of rural ways, they easily come to regard the land, and all that lives and grows upon it, as nothing more than another factor of production. Hence, it seems to them no loss, but indeed a gain, to tum all the world's farming into high yield agri-industry, to depopulate the rural areas, and to crowd the cities to the point of chronic breakdown and crisis. Since they inherit their conception of work from the darkest days of early industrialization, they find it impossible to believe that labor might ever be a freely-chosen, nonexploitive, and creative value in its own right. Hence, it seems to them self-evident that work must be eliminated in favor of machines or cybernated systems. Worst of all, since their world view is a cultural by-product of industrialism, they automatically endorse the ecological stupidity of industrial man and his love affair with the terrible simplicities of quantification. They thus overlook or distort the incommensurable qualities of life, especially Schumacher's holy trinity of 'health, beauty, and permanence'."(6-7)
"As for the developed countries from which this corrupting ethos of progress goes out: more and more their 'growthmania' distorts their environments and robs the world of its nonrenewable resources for no better end than to increase the output of ballistic missiles, electric hairdryers, and eight-track stereophonic tape recorders. But in the statistics of the economic index such mad waste measures out as 'productivity', and all looks rosy."(8)
"And what sort of science is it that must, for the sake of its predictive success, hope and pray that people will never be their better selves, but always be greedy social idiots with nothing finer to do than getting and spending, getting and spending?"(9)
De nieuwe uitgave is verschenen toen Schumachers boek zijn twintigste verjaardag vierde. Porritt constateert dat het boek nog steeds veel mensen inspireert, maar juist niet de economen die het zou moeten inspireren. In die zin is er na al die tijd niets veranderd: economen denken nog steeds hetzelfde over werk (als je werkkracht verkopen voor geld), over de natuur (als waar), over volledige werkgelegenheid (zelfs bij de huidige totale automatisering), en over de vrije markt (die natuurlijk helemaal niet vrij is).
"Re-reading Small is Beautiful, one has a very strong sense of the rich tradition from which Schumacher himself gained so much. He is the natural inheritor of the insights of William Morris on the crucial significance of giving people access to good work, of Lady Eve Balfour and Henry Doubleday on organic farming and the importance of maintaining soil fertility, of Lewis Mumford on technology and the Industrial Revolution, of Gandhi, Kropotkin, Tawney and Galbraith. All these and many more were stirred into Schumacher's pot to produce a work of wonderful vitality and originality."(vii-viii)
Schumacher ontleent ook bepaalde ideeën aan het gedachtengoed van de Katholieke Kerk / het Christendom.
Volgens velen is het productieprobleem opgelost. Dat heeft met de Westerse houding, tegenwoordig een globale houding, tegenover de natuur te maken waarbij mensen zich niet als een deel van de natuur ervaren maar de natuur ervaren als iets wat veroverd en gedomineerd moet en kan worden.
"The illusion of unlimited powers, nourished by astonishing scientific and technological achievements, has produced the concurrent illusion of having solved the problem of production. The latter illusion is based on the failure to distinguish between income and capital where this distinction matters most.(...)
A businessman would not consider a firm to have solved its problems of production and to have achieved viability if he saw that it was rapidly consuming its capital. How, then, could we overlook this vital fact when it comes to that very big firm, the economy of Spaceship Earth and, in particular, the economies of its rich passengers?
One reason for overlooking this vital fact is that we are estranged from reality and inclined to treat as valueless everything that we have not made ourselves. Even the great Dr. Marx fell into this devastating error when he formulated the so-called 'labour theory of value'.(...)
Far larger is the capital provided by nature and not by man - and we do not even recognise it as such. This larger part is now being used up at an alarming rate, and that is why it is an absurd and suicidal error to believe, and act on the belief, that the problem of production has been solved."(3)
Fossiele brandstoffen worden bijvoorbeeld behandeld als inkomen in plaats van als kapitaal. Daarom doen we niet aan behoud, maar maximaliseren we het gebruik ervan. We zijn ook niet geïnteresseerd in alternatieven voor de productie of voor onze manier van leven. Sterker nog: er wordt gewoon nog intensiever gezocht naar andere manieren om de aarde uit te putten. Maar: fossiele brandstoffen zijn niet door mensen gemaakt en wanneer ze opraken zijn ze voor altijd verdwenen.
"However that may be, the point I am making is a very simple one: the proposition to replace thousands of millions of tons of fossil fuels, every year, by nuclear energy means to 'solve' the fuel problem by creating an environmental and ecological problem of such a monstrous magnitude that Dr. David will not be the only one to have 'a queasy feeling'. It means solving one problem by shifting it to another sphere - there to create an infinitely bigger problem."(7)
"And what is my case? Simply that our most important task is to get off our present collision course. And who is there to tackle such a task? I think every one of us, whether old or young, powerful or powerless, rich or poor, influential or uninfiuential. To talk about the future is useful only if it leads to action now. And what can we do now, while we are still in the position of "never having had it so good"? To say the least - which is already very much - we must thoroughly understand the problem and begin to see the possibility of evolving a new life-style, with new methods of production and new patterns of consumption: a life-style designed for permanence."(9)
"We often hear it said that we are entering the era of 'the Learning Society'. Let us hope this is true. 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."(9)
[Dat is zo'n voorbeeld van Schumachers religieuze geloof. Dat voegt niets toe, helaas.]
"The dominant modern belief is that the soundest foundation of peace would be universal prosperity. (...)
We have science and technology to help us along the road to peace and plenty, and all that is needed is that we should not behave stupidly, irrationally, cutting into our own flesh. The message to the poor and discontented is that they must not impatiently upset or kill the goose that will assuredly, in due course, lay golden eggs also for them. And the message to the rich is that they must be intelligent enough from time to time to help the poor, because this is the way by which they will become richer still.(...)
Why ask for virtues, which man may never acquire, when scientific rationality and technical competence are all that is needed?"(11-12)
"I shall now consider this proposition. It can be divided into three parts:
First, that universal prosperity is possible;
Second, that its attainment is possible on the basis of the materialist philosophy of 'enrich yourselves';
Third, that this is the road to peace."(12)
Is er genoeg voor universele welvaart? Maar wat is 'genoeg'? En voor wie? De rijke landen gebruiken nu bijvoorbeeld 14 keer zo veel brandstoffen als de arme landen en dat dreigt alleen maar meer te worden.
"It is clear that the 'rich' are in the process of stripping the world of its once-for-all endowment of relatively cheap and simple fuels. It is their continuing economic growth which produces ever more exorbitant demands, with the result that the world's cheap and simple fuels could easily become dear and scarce long before the poor countries had acquired the wealth, education, industrial sophistication, and power of capital accumulation needed for the application of alternative fuels on any significant scale."(15)
"Whatever the fuel, increases in fuel consumption by a factor of four and then five and then six ... there is no plausible answer to the problem of pollution."(16)
"An attitude to life which seeks fulfilment 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. Already, the environment is trying to tell us that certain stresses are becoming excessive. As one problem is being 'solved', ten new problems arise as a result of the first 'solution'. As Professor Barry Commoner emphasises, the new problems are not the consequences of incidental failure but of technological success.(...)
The further this process is allowed to go, the more difficult it will be to reverse it, if indeed the point of no return has not been passed already.
We find, therefore, that the idea of unlimited economic growth, more and more until everybody is saturated with wealth, needs to be seriously questioned on at least two counts: the availability of basic resources and, alternatively or additionally, the capacity of the environment to cope with the degree of interference implied. So much about the physical-material aspect of the matter. Let us now turn to certain non-material aspects."(17-18)
"If human vices such as greed and envy are systematically cultivated, the inevitable result is nothing less than a collapse of intelligence."(18)
"I suggest that the foundations of peace cannot be laid by universal prosperity, in the modern sense, because such prosperity, if attainable at all, is attainable only by cultivating such drives of human nature as greed and envy, which destroy intelligence, happiness, serenity, and thereby the peacefulness of man. It could well be that rich people treasure peace more highly than poor people, but only if they feel utterly secure - and this is a contradiction in terms. Their wealth depends on making inordinately large demands on limited world resources and thus puts them on an unavoidable collision course - not primarily with the poor (who are weak and defenceless) but with other rich people."(19)
"The exclusion of wisdom from economics, science, and technology was something which we could perhaps get away with for a little while, as long as we were relatively unsuccessful; but now that we have become very successful, the problem of spiritual and moral truth moves into the central position.
From an economic point of view, the central concept of wisdom is permanence. We must study the economics of permanence. Nothing makes economic sense unless its continuance for a long time can be projected without running into absurdities. There can be 'growth' towards a limited objective, but there cannot be unlimited, generalised growth.(...)
The cultivation and expansion of needs is the antithesis of wisdom. It is also the antithesis of freedom and peace. Every increase of needs tends to increase one's dependence on outside forces over which one cannot have control, and therefore increases existential fear. Only by a reduction of needs can one promote a genuine reduction in those tensions which are the ultimate causes of strife and war."(20)
"What is it that we really require from the scientists and technologists? I should answer: We need methods and equipment which are
--cheap enough so that they are accessible to virtually everyone;
--suitable for small-scale application; and
--compatible with man's need for creativity.
Out of these three characteristics is born non-violence and a relationship of man to nature which guarantees permanence. If only one of these three is neglected, things are bound to go wrong."(21)
"It is the sin of greed that has delivered us over into the power of the machine. If greed were not the master of modern man - ably assisted by envy - how could it be that the frenzy of economism does not abate as higher 'standards of living' are attained, and that it is precisely the richest societies which pursue their economic advantage with the greatest ruthlessness? How could we explain the almost universal refusal on the part of the rulers of the rich societies - whether organised along private enterprise or collectivist enterprise lines - to work towards the humanisation of work?"(23-24)
"How could we even begin to disarm greed and envy? Perhaps by being much less greedy and envious ourselves; perhaps by resisting the temptation of letting our luxuries become needs; and perhaps by even scrutinising our needs to see if they cannot be simplified and reduced. If we do not have the strength to do any of this, could we perhaps stop applauding the type of economic 'progress' which palpably lacks the basis of permanence and give what modest support we can to those who, unafraid of being denounced as cranks, work for non-violence: as conservationists, ecologists, protectors of wildlife, promoters of organic agriculture, distributists, cottage producers, and so forth? An ounce of practice is generally worth more than a ton of theory."(25)
"How does economics relate to the problems discussed in the previous chapters? When the economist delivers a verdict that this or that activity is 'economically sound' or 'uneconomic', two important and closely related questions arise: First, what does this verdict mean? And, second, is the verdict conclusive in the sense that practical action can reasonably be based on it?"(26)
Vroeger werd er over economie als wetenschap nog met bescheidenheid gepraat. Tegenwoordig wordt economie in alles centraal gesteld en oordelen door economen tellen zwaar mee in politieke besluitvorming.
"If an activity has been branded as uneconomic, its right to existence is not merely questioned but energetically denied. Anything that is found to be an impediment to economic growth is a shameful thing, and if people cling to it, they are thought of as either saboteurs or fools. Call a thing immoral or ugly, soul-destroying or a degradation of 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."(27)
Maar wat betekent 'oneconomisch' eigenlijk?
"And the answer to this question cannot be in doubt: something is uneconomic when it fails to earn an adequate profit in terms of money. (...) whether a thing yields a money profit to those who undertake it or not."(28)
Het gaat dus niet om winst voor de samenleving als geheel, het gaat om winst voor de ondernemers. En er wordt stiekem van uitgegaan dat wat goed is voor de ondernemers goed is voor de samenleving. Het economische denken is een fragmentarisch, korte-termijn denken: tot de kosten behoren niet de vrije goederen (de natuur en zo), privé-eigendom is heilig, de markt is alles, alleen dat telt wat een prijs heeft.
"This means that an activity can be economic although it plays hell with the environment, and that a competing activity, if at some cost it protects and conserves the environment, will be uneconomic."(29)
"The market therefore represents only the surface of society and its significance relates to the momentary situation as it exists there and then. There is no probing into the depths of things, into the natural or social facts that lie behind them. In a sense, the market is the institutionalisation of individualism and non-responsibility. Neither buyer nor seller is responsible for anything but himself. It would be 'uneconomic' for a wealthy seller to reduce his prices to poor customers merely because they are in need, or for a wealthy buyer to pay an extra price merely because the supplier is poor. Equally, it would be 'uneconomic' for a buyer to give preference to home-produced goods if imported goods are cheaper. He does not, and is not expected to, accept responsibility for the country's balance of payments."(29-30)
"... what is worse, and destructive of civilisation, is the pretence that everything has a price or, in other words, that money is the highest of all values."(31)
Economie is gebaseerd op meta-economische uitgangspunten over mens en natuur. Over het eerste gaat het volgende hoofdstuk, hier gaat het verder over het tweede. Economen zien niet hoe afhankelijk mensen zijn van de natuur. Het denken in kwantiteiten in de economie maakt het vrijwel onmogelijk om kwalitatieve verschillen in de werkelijkheid te begrijpen.
"For example, having established by his purely quantitative methods that the Gross National Product of a country has risen by, say, five per cent, the economist-turned-econometrician is unwilling, and generally unable, to face the question of whether this is to be taken as a good thing or a bad thing. He would lose all his certainties if he even entertained such a question: growth of GNP must be a good thing, irrespective of what has grown and who, if anyone, has benefited. The idea that there could be pathological growth, unhealthy growth, disruptive or destructive growth, is to him a perverse idea which must not be allowed to surface."(33)
De markt kent alleen maar goederen en maakt bijvoorbeeld geen onderscheid tussen herwinbare en niet-herwinbare goederen, producten en diensten.
"It has remained unnoticed, for instance - or if not unnoticed, it has never been taken seriously in the formulation of economic theory - that the concept of 'cost' is essentially different as between renewable and non-renewable goods, as also between manufactures and services. In fact, without going into any further details, it can be said that economics, as currently constituted, fully applies only to manufactures (category 3), but it is being applied without discrimination to all goods and services, because an appreciation of the essential, qualitative differences between the four categories is entirely lacking."(35)
"The trouble about valuing means above ends - which, as confirmed by Keynes, is the attitude of modern economics - is that it destroys man's freedom and power to choose the ends he really favours; the development of means, as it were, dictates the choice of ends. Obvious examples are the pursuit of supersonic transport speeds and the immense efforts made to land men on the moon. The conception of these aims was not the result of any insight into real human needs and aspirations, which technology is meant to serve, but solely of the fact that the necessary technical means appeared to be available."(36)
"In the following chapter, we shall explore what economic laws and what definitions of the concepts 'economic' and 'uneconomic' result when the meta-economic basis of Western materialism is abandoned and the teaching of Buddhism is put in its place. The choice of Buddhism for this purpose is purely incidental; the teachings of Christianity, Islam, or Judaism could have been used just as well as those of any other of the great Eastern traditions."(36-37)
"Economists themselves, like most specialists, normally suffer from a kind of metaphysical blindness, assuming that theirs is a science of absolute and invariable truths, without any presuppositions. Some go as far as to claim that economic laws are as free from 'metaphysics' or 'values' as the law of gravitation. We need not, however, get involved in arguments of methodology. Instead, let us take some fundamentals and see what they look like when viewed by a modern economist and a Buddhist economist."(38-39)
Werk door mensen is de bron van welvaart. Daarover is iedereen het eens. Maar voor een moderne econoom is werk een noodzakelijk kwaad dat geld kost en zo veel mogelijk opheven moet worden (bijvoorbeeld door automatisering) of - vanuit het perspectief van de werker - een opoffering waarvoor hij gecompenseerd wil worden met inkomen en die hij zo veel mogelijk wil opheffen (inkomen hebben zonder te werken). Werk wordt dus gezien als iets waar je van af moet en alles wat in die richting werkt is goed (zoals de arbeidsdeling en de lopende band en het winnen van de Staatsloterij).
"The Buddhist point of view takes the function of work to be at least threefold: to give a man a chance to utilise and develop his faculties; to enable him to overcome his ego-centredness by joining with other people in a common task; and to bring forth the goods and services needed for a becoming existence."(39)
Werk mag vanuit dat perspectief niet geestdodend zijn, komt ook niet tegenover vrije tijd te staan, mechanisering is het gebruik van gereedschappen maar betekent niet dat werkers overheerst worden door machines.
"It is clear, therefore, that Buddhist economics must be very different from the economics of modern materialism, since the Buddhist sees the essence of civilisation not in a multiplication of wants but in the purification of human character. Character, at the same time, is formed primarily by a man's work. And work, properly conducted in conditions of human dignity and freedom, blesses those who do it and equally their products."(40)
"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 subhuman, a surrender to the forces of evil. The very start of Buddhist economic planning would be a planning for full employment, and the primary purpose of this would in fact be employment for everyone who needs an 'outside' job: it would not be the maximisation of employment nor the maximisation of production. Women, on the whole, do not need an 'outside' job, and the large-scale employment of women in offices or factories would be considered a sign of serious economic failure. In particular, to let mothers of young children work in factories while the children run wild would be as uneconomic in the eyes of a Buddhist economist as the employment of a skilled worker as a soldier in the eyes of a modern economist.(41)"()
[Waaraan we dus kunnen zien dat ook de Boeddhistische econoom zich laat leiden door impliciete waarden en normen. Waarschijnlijk is die econoom een man? Vrouwen horen dus achter het aanrecht en horen de kinderen te verzorgen? Zo zie je maar weer: je hoeft het niet met alle waarden en normen eens te zijn.]
"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. For the modern economist this is very difficult to understand. He is used to measuring the 'standard of living' by the amount of annual consumption, assuming all the time that a man who consumes more is 'better off' than a man who consumes less. A Buddhist economist would consider this approach excessively irrational: since consumption is merely a means to human well-being, the aim should be to obtain the maximum of well-being with the minimum of consumption."(42)
"The ownership and the consumption of goods is a means to an end, and Buddhist economics is the systematic study of how to attain given ends with the minimum means. Modern economics, on the other hand, considers consumption to be the sole end and purpose of all economic activity, taking the factors of production - land, labour, and capital - as the means."(42)
"From the point of view of Buddhist economics, therefore, production from local resources for local needs is the most rational way of economic life, while dependence on imports from afar and the consequent need to produce for export to unknown and distant peoples is highly uneconomic and justifiable only in exceptional cases and on a small scale."(43)
"From a Buddhist point of view, of course, this will not do; the essential difference between non-renewable fuels like coal and oil on the one hand and renewable fuels like wood and water-power on the other cannot be simply overlooked. Non-renewable goods must be used only if they are indispensable, and then only with the greatest care and the most meticulous concern for conservation. To use them heedlessly or extravagantly is an act of violence, and while complete non-violence may not be attainable on this earth, there is nonetheless an ineluctable duty on man to aim at the ideal of non-violence in all he does."(44)
Dingen ontwikkelen zich niet altijd zoals je zou verwachten: schaalvergroting lijkt verdedigbaar, maar in de praktijk zie je dat regio's zich opsplitsen in kleinere eenheden, dat kleine landen bepaald niet minder welvarend hoeven te zijn dan grote, en dat kleine bedrijven ook winstgevend kunnen zijn. Dat geeft te denken over schaal.
"While many theoreticians - who may not be too closely in touch with real life - are still engaging in the idolatry of large size, with practical people in the actual world there is a tremendous longing and striving to profit, if at all possible, from the convenience, humanity, and manageability of smallness. This, also, is a tendency which anyone can easily observe for himself."(48)
Wat hebben mensen nodig? We hebben vrijheid én orde nodig.
"Today, we suffer from an almost universal idolatry of giantism. It is therefore necessary to insist on the virtues of smallness - where this applies. (If there were a prevailing idolatry of smallness, irrespective of subject or purpose, one would have to try and exercise influence in the opposite direction.)"(49)
"What scale is appropriate? It depends on what we are trying to do. The question of scale is extremely crucial today, in political, social and economic affairs just as in almost everything else. What, for instance, is the appropriate size of a city? And also, one might ask, what is the appropriate size of a country? Now these are serious and difficult questions. It is not possible to programme a computer and get the answer. The really serious matters of life cannot be calculated."(50)
Schumacher gaat wat verder in op de grootte van steden: de trek van het platteland naar de stad / urbanisatie is enorm, de stad groeit buiten proportie met alle ellende die daar uit voort komt. En over onderdelen van landen die zich willen afsplitsen: dat maakt economisch nauwelijks iets uit.
"The rich will continue to be rich and the poor will continue to be poor. 'But if, before secession, the rich province had subsidised the poor, what happens then?' Well then, of course, the subsidy might stop. But the rich rarely subsidise the poor; more often they exploit them. They may not do so directly so much as through the terms of trade. They may obscure the situation a little by a certain redistribution of tax revenue or small-scale charity, but the last thing they want to do is secede from the poor."(55)
"A most important problem in the second half of the twentieth century is the geographical distribution of population, the question of 'regionalism'. But regionalism, not in the sense of combining a lot of states into free-trade systems, but in the opposite sense of developing all the regions within each country. This, in fact, is the most important subject on the agenda of all the larger countries today. And a lot of the nationalism of small nations today, and the desire for self-government and so-called independence, is simply a logical and rational response to the need for regional development. In the poor countries in particular there is no hope for the poor unless there is successful regional development, a development effort outside the capital city covering all the rural areas wherever people happen to be.
If this effort is not brought forth, their only choice is either to remain in their miserable condition where they are, or to migrate into the big city where their condition will be even more miserable. It is a strange phenomenon indeed that the conventional wisdom of present-day economics can do nothing to help the poor."(56)
"The economic calculus, as applied by present-day economics, forces the industrialist to eliminate the human factor because machines do not make mistakes, which people do. Hence the enormous effort at automation and the drive for ever-larger units. This means that those who have nothing to sell but their labour remain in the weakest possible bargaining position. The conventional wisdom of what is now taught as economics by-passes the poor, the very people for whom development is really needed. The economics of giantism and automation is a left-over of nineteenth-century conditions and nineteenth century thinking and it is totally incapable of solving any of the real problems of today. An entirely new system of thought is needed, a system based on attention to people, and not primarily attention to goods - (the goods will look after themselves!). It could be summed up in the phrase, 'production by the masses, rather than mass production'. What was impossible, however, in the nineteenth century, is possible now. And what was in fact - if not necessarily at least understandably - neglected in the nineteenth century is unbelievably urgent now. That is, the conscious utilisation of our enormous technological and scientific potential for the fight against misery and human degradation - a fight in intimate contact with actual people, with individuals, families, small groups, rather than states and other anonymous abstractions. And this presupposes a political and organisational structure that can provide this intimacy.
What is the meaning of democracy, freedom, human dignity, standard of living, self-realisation, fulfilment? Is it a matter of goods, or of people? Of course it is a matter of people. But people can be themselves only in small comprehensible groups. Therefore we must learn to think in terms of an articulated structure that can cope with a multiplicity of small-scale units. If economic thinking can not grasp this it is useless. If it cannot get beyond its vast abstractions, the national income, the rate of growth, capital / output ratio, input-output analysis, labour mobility, capital accumulation; if it cannot get beyond all this and make contact with the human realities of poverty, frustration, alienation, despair, breakdown, crime, escapism, stress, congestion, ugliness, and spiritual death, then let us scrap economics and start afresh. (57-58)"()
De belangrijkste bron voor economische ontwikkeling is de mens zelf, niet de natuur: durf, initiatief, uitvindingen, constructies maken de economie, maar natuurlijk speelt overdracht van kennis en vaardigheden hier een grote rol in.
"In a very real sense, therefore, we can say that education is the most vital of all resources.
If Western civilisation is in a state of permanent crisis, it is not far-fetched to suggest that there may be something wrong with its education."(60)
Vandaar dat er zo vaak - ook juist door wetenschappers en ingenieurs - gepleit wordt voor beter onderwijs: de gewone mensen moeten leren begrijpen wat er op het terrein van wetenschap en technologie gaande is. Maar er zit daar wel een addertje onder het gras: het mag niet alleen maar gaan om de overdracht van kennis en vaardigheden.
"To do so, the task of education would be, first and fore most, the transmission of ideas of value, of what to do with our lives. There is no doubt also the need to transmit know-how but this must take second place, for it is obviously somewhat foolhardy to put great powers into the hands of people without making sure that they have a reasonable idea of what to do with them. 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 it produces more wisdom.
The essence of education, I suggested, is the transmission of values, but values do not help us to pick our way through life unless they have become our own, a part, so to say, of our mental make-up. This means that they are more than mere formulae or dogmatic assertions: that we think and feel with them, that they are the very instruments through which we look at, interpret, and experience the world."(62-63)
[Prachtig. Ik ben het helemaal eens met Schumacher.]
"When people ask for education they normally mean something more than mere training, something more than mere knowledge of facts, and something more than a mere diversion. Maybe they cannot themselves formulate precisely what they are looking for; but I think what they are really looking for is ideas that would make the world, and their own lives, intelligible to them. When a thing is intelligible you have a sense of participation; when a thing is unintelligible you have a sense of estrangement."(64-65)
"Estrangement breeds loneliness and despair, the 'encounter with nothingness', cynicism, empty gestures of defiance, as we can see in the greater part of existentialist philosophy and general literature today. Or it suddenly turns - as I have mentioned before - into the ardent adoption of a fanatical teaching which, by a monstrous simplification of reality, pretends to answer all questions. So, what is the cause of estrangement? Never has science been more triumphant; never has man's power over his environment been more complete nor his progress faster."(66)
Het is niet een gebrek aan kennis en vaardigheden dat die vervreemding en wanhoop veroorzaakt, maar het is een gebrek aan ideeën over wat we zouden moeten doen, een gebrek aan inzicht in waarden dat hier een rol in speelt.
"Science cannot produce ideas by which we could live. Even the greatest ideas of science are nothing more than working hypotheses, useful for purposes of special research but completely inapplicable to the conduct of our lives or the interpretation of the world. If, therefore, a man seeks education because he feels estranged and bewildered, because his life seems to him empty and meaningless, he cannot get what he is seeking by studying any of the natural sciences, i.e. by acquiring 'know-how'. That study has its own value which I am not inclined to belittle; it tells him a great deal about how things work in nature or in engineering: but it tells him nothing about the meaning of life and can in no way cure his estrangement and secret despair.
Where, then, shall he turn? Maybe, in spite of all that he hears about the scientific revolution and ours being an age of science, he turns to the so-called humanities. Here indeed he can find, if he is lucky, great and vital ideas to fill his mind, ideas with which to think and through which to make the world, society, and his own life intelligible. Let us see what are the main ideas he is likely to find today. I cannot attempt to make a complete list; so I shall confine myself to the enumeration of six leading ideas, all stemming from the nineteenth century, which still dominate, as far as I can see, the minds of 'educated' people today."(67-68)
Die zes leidende ideeën zijn: het idee van evolutie, van natuurlijke selectie (Darwin), van bovenbouw en onderbouw (Marx), het Onbewuste (Freud), het algemene idee van relativisme, het algemene idee van positivisme / het idee dat geldige kennis alleen verworven kan worden via de methoden van de natuurwetenschappen.
[Tja, die zes zijn belangrijk, maar ook nogal erg algemeen gehouden. Er zijn vast andere manieren om naar de historische ontwikkelingen te kijken.]
"These ideas could not have lodged themselves as firmly in men's minds, as they have done, if they did not contain important elements of truth. But their essential character is their claim of universality."(69)
"What do these six 'large' ideas have in common, besides their non-empirical, metaphysical nature? They all assert that what had previously been taken to be something of a higher order is really 'nothing but' a more subtle manifestation of the 'lower' - unless, indeed, the very distinction between higher and lower is denied."(69)
"The leading ideas of the nineteenth century, which claimed to do away with metaphysics, are themselves a bad, vicious, life-destroying type of metaphysics. We are suffering from them as from a fatal disease. It is not true that knowledge is sorrow. But poisonous errors bring unlimited sorrow in the third and fourth generation. The errors are not in science but in the philosophy put forward in the name of science."(71)
"It is not even true that metaphysics and ethics would be eliminated. On the contrary, all we got was bad metaphysics and appalling ethics."(71-72)
"Our reason has become beclouded by an extraordinary, blind and unreasonable faith in a set of fantastic and life-destroying ideas inherited from the nineteenth century. It is the foremost task of our reason to recover a truer faith than that.
Education cannot help us as long as it accords no place to metaphysics. Whether the subjects taught are subjects of science or of the humanities, if the teaching does not lead to a clarification of metaphysics, that is to say, of our fundamental convictions, it cannot educate a man and, consequently, cannot be of real value to society."(72)
[Jammer dat Schumacher hier de term 'metafysica' gaat hanteren voor 'nadenken over fundamentele overtuigingen', waarden, en zo verder. Ik ben het met hem eens dat er meer stilgestaan moet worden bij alle mogelijke vooronderstellingen van waaruit bijvoorbeeld zoiets als economische wetenschap bedreven wordt. En omdat het daarbij vaak gaat om waarden, om normatieve vooronderstellingen, is dat een belangrijk terrein. Maar het woord 'metafysica' haalt al gauw een filosofie binnen die volkomen abstract is en ook nog eens vol zit met religieuze elementen.]
"All subjects, no matter how specialised, are connected with a centre; they are like rays emanating from a sun. The centre is constituted by our most basic convictions, by those ideas which really have the power to move us. In other words, the centre consists of metaphysics and ethics, of ideas that - whether we like it or not - transcend the world of facts. Because they transcend the world of facts, they cannot be proved or disproved by ordinary scientific method. But that does not mean that they are purely 'subjective' or 'relative' or mere arbitrary conventions. They must be true to reality, although they transcend the world of facts - an apparent paradox to our positivistic thinkers. If they are not true to reality, the adherence to such a set of ideas must inevitably lead to disaster."(74)
Drie voorbeelden van metafysische ideeën die we volgens Schumacher zouden moeten accepteren en die in tegenspraak zijn met genoemde ideeën uit de 19e eeuw: er is een hiërarchie in het universum ('levels of being') waarbinnen de mens een plaats heeft; denken voltrekt zich in tegenstellingen die binnen logisch denken met elkaar onverenigbaar zouden zijn; in tegenstelling tot de gedachten in cynisme en een gemakkelijk relativisme moeten we er van uitgaan dat goed en kwaad bestaan en dat ethiek dus belangrijk is.
"How can one reconcile the demands of freedom and discipline in education? Countless mothers and teachers, in fact, do it, but no one can write down a solution. They do it by bringing into the situation a force that belongs to a higher level where opposites are transcended - the power of love."(76)
[Vaders houden blijkbaar niet van hun kinderen. Schumacher schrijft vanuit heel traditionele rolopvattingen, vind ik.]
"This improverishment, so movingly described by Darwin, will overwhelm our entire civilisation if we permit the current tendencies to continue which Gilson calls "the extension of positive science to social facts". All divergent problems can be turned into convergent problems by a process of 'reduction'. The result, however, is the loss of all higher forces to ennoble human life, and the degradation not only of the emotional part of our nature, but also, as Darwin sensed, of our intellect and moral character. The signs are everywhere visible today."(77)
"To have to grapple with divergent problems tends to be exhausting, worrying, and wearisome. Hence people try to avoid it and to run away from it. A busy executive who bas been dealing with divergent problems all day long will read a detective story or solve a crossword puzzle on his journey home. He has been using his brain all day; why does he go on using it? The answer is that the detective story and the crossword puzzle present convergent problems, and that is the relaxation. They require a bit of brainwork, even difficult brainwork, but they do not call for this straining and stretching to a higher level which is the specific challenge of a divergent problem, a problem in which irreconcilable opposites have to be reconciled. It is only the latter that are the real stuff of life."(78)
"In ethics, as in so many other fields, we have recklessly and wilfully abandoned our great classical-Christian heritage. We have even degraded the very words without which ethical discourse cannot carry on, words like 'virtue', 'love', 'temperance'. As a result, we are totally ignorant, totally uneducated in the subject that, of all conceivable subjects, is the most important."(79)
[Ik begrijp wel wat hij bedoelt, maar ik heb toch grote bezwaren tegen zo'n simpele positieve waardering van 'ons klassiek-Christelijke erfgoed', alsof daar alleen maar mooie dingen uit zijn voortgekomen. Waarom zouden we daar naar grijpen? Wat moet de rest van de wereld met een andere achtergrond daar trouwens mee?]
"We are suffering from a metaphysical disease, and the cure must therefore be metaphysical. Education which fails to clarify our central convictions is mere training or indulgence. For it is our central convictions that are in disorder, and, as long as the present anti-metaphysical temper persists, the disorder will grow worse."(80)
Land en de vruchtbare bodem daarop vormen zonder twijfel de belangrijkste materiële bron en het gebruik ervan zegt alles over een beschaving.
"Nowhere is this dichotomy more noticeable than in connection with the use of the land. The farmer is considered simply as a producer who must cut his costs and raise his efficiency by every possible device, even if he thereby destroys - for man-as-consumer - the health of the soil and the beauty of the landscape, and even if the endeffect is the depopulation of the land and the overcrowding of cities. There are large-scale farmers, horticulturists, food manufacturers and fruit growers today who would never think of consuming any of their own products."(84-85)
"As modern man thinks so 'humbly' of himself, he thinks even more 'humbly' of the animals which serve his needs: and treats them as if they were machines. Other, less sophisticated - or is it less depraved? - people take a different attitude."(86)
"In our time, the main danger to the soil, and therewith not only to agriculture but to civilisation as a whole, stems from the townsman's determination to apply to agriculture the principles of industry."(87)
"Now, the fundamental 'principle' of agriculture is that it deals with life, that is to say, with living substances. Its products are the results of processes of life and its means of production is the living soil.(...) The ideal of industry is the elimination of living substances. Man-made materials are preferable to natural materials, because we can make them to measure and apply perfect quality control. Man-made machines work more reliably and more predictably than do such living substances as men. The ideal of industry is to eliminate the living factor, even including the human factor, and to turn the productive process over to machines.(...) In other words, there can be no doubt that the fundamental 'principles' of agriculture and of industry, far from being compatible with each other, are in opposition."(88)
"We can say that man's management of the land must be primarily orientated towards three goals - health, beauty, and permanence. The fourth goal - the only one accepted by the experts - productivity, will then be attained almost as a by-product. The crude materialist view sees agriculture as "essentially directed towards foodproduction". A wider view sees agriculture as having to fulfil at least three tasks:
- to keep man in touch with living nature, of which he is and remains a highly vulnerable part;
- to humanise and ennoble man's wider habitat; and
- to bring forth the foodstuffs and other materials which are needed for a becoming life.
I do not believe that a civilisation which recognises only the third of these tasks, and which pursues it with such ruthlessness and violence that the other two tasks are not merely neglected but systematically counteracted, has any chance of long-term survival."(90-91)
"Health, beauty, and permanence are hardly even respectable subjects for discussion, and this is yet another example of the disregard of human values and this means a disregard of man - which inevitably results from the idolatry of economism."(92)
"In the simple question of how we treat the land, next to people our most precious resource, our entire way of life is involved, and before our policies with regard to the land will really be changed, there will have to be a great deal of philosophical, not to say religious, change."(94)
[Dit hoofdstuk begint met een prachtige alinea:]
"The most striking thing 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."(95)
[En dat is bijvoorbeeld ook zo boeiend omdat men in de industriële samenleving de hele tijd de mond vol heeft van 'efficiëntie'. Maar die is er helemaal niet en het gevolg is een enorme verspilling van bronnen, tijd, en zo verder.]
Over de Verenigde Staten als het meest geïndustrialiseerde land ter wereld:
"For the 5.6 per cent of the world population which live in the United States require something of the order of forty per cent of the world's primary resources to keep going. Whenever estimates are produced which relate to the next ten, twenty, or thirty years, the message that emerges is one of ever increasing dependence of the United States economy on raw material and fuel supplies from outside the country.(...)
An industrial system which uses forty per cent of the world's primary resources to supply less than six per cent of the world's population could be called efficient only if it obtained strikingly successful results in terms of human happiness, well-being, culture, peace, and harmony. I do not need to dwell on the fact that the American system fails to do this, or that there are not the slightest prospects that it could do so if only it achieved a higher rate of growth of production, associated, as it must be, with an ever-greater call upon the world's finite resources.(...)
But if the United States' economy cannot conceivably be successful without further rapid growth, and if that growth depends on being able to draw ever increasing resources from the rest of the world, what about the other 94.4 per cent of mankind which are so far 'behind' America?
If a high-growth economy is needed to fight the battle against pollution, which itself appears to be the result of high growth, what hope is there of ever breaking out of this extraordinary circle? In any case, the question needs to be asked whether the earth's resources are likely to be adequate for the further development of an industrial sys tem that consumes so much and accomplishes so little."(96-97)
Kritiek op het Club van Rome / M.I.T. -rapport Limits to growth, omdat het geen rekening houdt met de mogelijkheden om nog allerlei bronnen te ontdekken en omdat het te ingewikkeld doet: het is toch duidelijk dat oneindige groei in een eindige wereld niet mogelijk is op den duur. Dat wordt het meest duidelijk wanneer je naar energie kijkt.
"There is still a tendency, supported by the excessively quantitative orientation of modern economics, to treat the energy supply problem as just one problem alongside countless others - as indeed was done by the M.I.T. team. The quantitative orientation is so bereft of qualitative understanding that even the quality of 'orders of magnitude' ceases to be appreciated. And this, in fact, is one of the main causes of the lack of realism with which the energy supply prospects of modem industrial society are generally discussed."(99-100)
Schumacher presenteert daarna allerlei berekeningen die laten zien dat geïndustrialiseerde landen steeds afhankelijker worden van kolen, olie en gas, terwijl tegelijkertijd het scenario van eindeloze groei dat men volgt die bronnen op een zeker moment zal uitputten. Het is opvallend hoe sterk dat probleem verdrongen wordt, terwijl de mensen die er op wijzen uitgelachen worden.
"With regard to future oil supplies, as with regard to atomic energy, many people manage to assume a position of limitless optimism, quite impervious to reason."(102)
"The danger to humanity created by the so-called peaceful uses of atomic energy may be much greater. There could indeed be no clearer example of the prevailing dictatorship of economics. Whether to build conventional power stations, based on coal or oil, or nuclear stations, is being decided on economic grounds, with perhaps a small element of regard for the 'social consequences' that might arise from an over-speedy curtailment of the coal industry. But that nuclear fission represents an incredible, incomparable, and unique hazard for human life does not enter any calculation and is never mentioned."(110)
Nucleair afval wordt zonder na te denken in zee of in rivieren of ondergronds gestort, er is geen plan voor het wegwerken van kernreactoren die niet meer in gebruik zijn, zoals er ook altijd weeer vanuit gegaan wordt dat er nooit aardbevingen of overstromingen of andere natuurrampen zullen komen die een kernreactor beschadigen ten koste van het milieu.
"Even an economist might well ask: what is the point of economic progress, a so-called higher standard of living, when the earth, the only earth we have, is being contaminated by substances which may cause malformations in our children or grandchildren?"(115)
"To mention these things, no doubt, means laying oneself open to the charge of being against science, technology, and progress. Let me therefore, in conclusion, add a few words about future scientific research. Man cannot live without science and technology any more than he can live against nature. What needs the most careful consideration, however, is the direction of scientific research. We cannot leave this to the scientists alone. As Einstein himself said, "almost all scientists are economically completely dependent" and "the number of scientists who possess a sense of social responsibility is so small" that they cannot· determine the direction of research.(...)
The continuation of scientific advance in the direction of ever-increasing violence, culminating in nuclear fission and moving on to nuclear fusion, is a prospect of terror threatening the abolition of man. Yet it is not written in the stars that this must be the direction. There is also a life-giving and life-enhancing possibility, the conscious exploration and cultivation of all relatively non-violent, harmonious, organic methods of cooperating with that enormous, wonderful, incomprehensible system of God-given nature, of which we are a part and which we certainly have not made ourselves."(116-117)
"No degree of prosperity could justify the accumulation of large amounts of highly toxic substances which nobody knows bow 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 ever perpetrated by man. The idea that a civilisation could sustain itself on the basis of such a transgression is an ethical, spiritual, and metaphysical monstrosity. It means conducting the economic affairs of man as if people really did not matter at all."(119)
"If that which has been shaped by technology, and continues to be so shaped, looks sick, it might be wise to have a look at technology itself. If technology is felt to be becoming more and more inhuman, we might do well to consider whether it is possible to have something better a technology with a human face."(120)
"Nature always, so to speak, knows where and when to stop. Greater even than the mystery of natural growth is the mystery of the natural cessation of growth. There is measure in all natural things - in their size, speed, or violence. As a result, the system of nature, of which man is a part, tends to be self-balancing, self-adjusting, self-cleansing. Not so with technology, or perhaps I should say: not so with man dominated by technology and specialisation. Technology recognises no self-limiting principle - in terms, for instance, of size, speed, or violence. It therefore does not possess the virtues of being self-balancing, self-adjusting, and self-cleansing. In the subtle system of nature, technology, and in particular the super-technology of the modern world, acts like a foreign body, and there are now numerous signs of rejection.
Suddenly, if not altogether surprisingly, the modern world, shaped by modern technology. finds itself involved in three crises simultaneously. First, human nature revolts against inhuman technological, organisational, and political patterns, which it experiences as suffocating and debilitating; second, the living environment which supports human life aches and groans and gives signs of partial breakdown; and, third, it is clear to anyone fully knowledgeable in the subject matter that the inroads being made into the world's non-renewable resources, particularly those of fossil fuels, are such that serious bottlenecks and virtual exhaustion loom ahead in the quite foreseeable future.
Any one of these three crises or illnesses can turn out to be deadly."(120-121)
"The primary task of technology, it would seem, is to lighten the burden of work man has to carry in order to stay alive and develop his potential."(122)
"The question of what technology actually does for us is therefore worthy of investigation. It obviously greatly reduces some kinds of work while it increases other kinds. The type of work which modern technology is most successful in reducing or even eliminating is skilful, productive work of human hands, in touch with real materials of one kind or another."(122)
"Virtually all real production has been turned into an inhuman chore which does not enrich a man but empties him. (...)
We may say, therefore, that modern technology has deprived man of the kind of work that he enjoys most, creative, useful work with hands and brains, and given him plenty of work of a fragmented kind, most of which be does not enjoy at all."(124)
"As Gandhi said, the poor of the world cannot be helped by mass production, only by production by the masses. The system or mass production, based on sophisticated, highly capital-intensive. high energy-input dependent, and human labour-saving technology, presupposes that you are already rich, for a great deal of capital investment is needed to establish one single workplace. The system of production by the masses mobilises the priceless resources which are possessed by all human beings, their clever brains and skilful hands, and supports them with first-class tools. The technology of mass production is inherently violent, ecologically damaging, self-defeating in terms of non-renewable resources, and stultifying for the human person. The technology of production by the masses, making use of the best of modern knowledge and experience, is conducive to decentralisation, compatible with the laws of ecology, gentle in its use of scarce resources, and designed to serve the human person instead of making him the servant of machines. I have named it intermediate technology to signify that it is vastly superior to the primitive technology of bygone ages but at the same time much simpler, cheaper, and freer than the super technology of the rich. One can also call it self-help technology, or democratic or people's technology - a techology to which everybody can gain admittance and which is not reserved to those already rich and powerful. It will be more fully discussed in later chapters."(126-127)
Van een kant zie je mensen met een houding die de crisis aan wil pakken met de huidige opvattingen van 'meer', 'groter', 'sneller'.
"And what about the other side? This is made up of people who are deeply convinced that technological development has taken a wrong turn and needs to be redirected. The term 'home-comer' [die Schumacher aan die groep mensen geeft - GdG] has, of course, a religious connotation. For it takes a good deal of courage to say 'no' to the fashions and fascinations of the age and to question the presuppositions of a civilisation which appears destined to conquer the whole world; the requisite strength can be derived only from deep convictions.(...)
The genuine 'home-comer' does not have the best tunes, but he has the most exalted text, nothing less than the Gospels."(128-129)
[Wat heeft het hebben van dit soort fundamentele overtuigingen nu te maken met religie? Helemaal niets natuurlijk. Ik vind het maar een ergerlijk aspect aan Schumachers opvattingen dat hij geen afstand kan nemen van zijn eigen christelijke geloof en doet of de bijbel het enige of beste 'heilige' boek in de wereld is. Dit soort zinnen zijn een belediging voor mensen met een andere religieuze achtergrond, daarom is het beter je geloof voor jezelf te houden. Nog beter is het om géén religieuze ideeën of gevoelens te hebben natuurlijk en je simpelweg bezig te houden met mensen.]
"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. To go for giantism is to go for self-destruction. And what is the cost of a reorientation? We might remind ourselves that to calculate the cost of survival is perverse. No doubt, a price has to be paid for anything worth while: to redirect technology so that it serves man instead of destroying him requires primarily an effort of the imagination and an abandonment of fear."(131)
Over ontwikkelingshulp en de problemen daarbij. Het grootste probleem is de duale economie - 15% van de bevolking in de meer moderne economie en in de stad en 85% op het platteland en in kleinere steden. Het ontwikkelingsgeld gaat met name naar die 15%.
"Until recently, the development experts rarely referred to the dual economy and its twin evils of mass unemployment and mass migration into cities. When they did so, they merely deplored them and treated them as transitional. Meanwhile, it has become widely recognised that time alone will not be the healer. On the contrary, the dual economy, unless consciously counteracted, produces what I have called a 'process of mutual poisoning', whereby successful industrial development in the cities destroys the economic structure of the hinterland, and the hinterland takes its revenge by mass migration into the cities, poisoning them and making them utterly unmanageable."(137)
"What needs to be questioned is the implicit assumption that the modern sector can be expanded to absorb virtually the entire population and that this can be done fairly quickly. The ruling philosophy of development over the last twenty years has been: "What is best for the rich must be best for the poor"."(138)
Het centrale punt is armoede / de beperkingen die armoede met zich meebrengt, maar de oorzaken daarvan zijn vooral ook immaterieel: onderwijs, organisatie, discipline, etc. Dus het heeft geen zin om een puur materialistische insteek te kiezen zoals het Westen steeds doet.
Dit hoofdstuk sluit aan bij het vorige en werkt de genoemde thema's concreet uit. Schumacher richt zich hier op het helpen van de mensen in de niet-moderne secoren van de ontwikkelingslanden, de genoemde 85%.
"Rural unemployment produces mass migration into cities, leading to a rate of urban growth which would tax the resources of even the richest societies. Rural unemployment becomes urban unemployment."(142)
"The problem may therefore be stated quite simply thus: what can be done to bring health to economic life outside the big cities, in the small towns and villages which still contain - in most cases - eighty to ninety per cent of the total population? As long as the development effort is concentrated mainly on the big cities, where it is easiest to establish new industries, to staff them with managers and men, and to find finance and markets to keep them going, the competition from these industries will further disrupt and destroy non-agricultural production in the rest of the country, will cause additional unemployment outside, and will further accelerate the migration of destitute people into towns that cannot absorb them. The 'process of mutual poisoning' will not be halted."(142-143)
"In this connection it is necessary to emphasise that the primary need is workplaces, literally millions of workplaces. No one, of course, would suggest that output-per-man is unimportant; but the primary consideration cannot be to maximise output per man; it must be to maximise work opportunities for the unemployed and under-employed."(143)
"That modern industry, as it has arisen in the developed countries, cannot possibly fulfil this task should be perfectly obvious. It has arisen in societies which are rich in capital and short of labour and therefore cannot possibly be appropriate for societies short of capital and rich in labour."(144)
Een regionale benadering is nodig.
"Each 'district', ideally speaking, would have some sort of inner cohesion and identity and possess at least one town to serve as a district centre. There is need for a 'cultural structure' just as there is need for an 'economic structure'; thus, while every village would have a primary school, there would be a few small market towns with secondary schools, and the district centre would be big enough to carry an institution of higher learning. The bigger the country, the greater is the need for internal 'structure' and for a decentralised approach to development. If this need is neglected, there is no hope for the poor."(146-147)
"I believe, therefore, that the best way to make contact with the essential problem is by speaking of technology: economic development in poverty-stricken areas can be fruitful only on the basis of what I have called 'intermediate technology'. In the end, intermediate technology will be 'labour-intensive' and will lend itself to use in small-scale establishments. But neither 'labour-intensity' nor 'small-scale' implies 'intermediate teclmology'."(148)
Schumacher bespreekt hierna bezwaren tegen zijn benadering. Hij wijst ze af omdat ze uitgaan van een statische economische benadering die niet is afgestemd op de behoeften van de armen.
"What the poor need most of all is simple things - building materials, clothing, household goods, agricultural implements - and a better return for their agricultural products. They also most urgently need in many places: trees, water, and crop storage facilities. Most agricultural populations would be helped immensely if they could themselves do the first stages of processing their products. All these are ideal fields for intermediate technology."(154)
"The development of an intermediate technology, therefore, means a genuine forward movement into new territory, where the enormous cost and complication of production methods for the sake of labour saving and job elimination is avoided and technology is made appropriate for labour-surplus societies."(155)
"If we could tum official and popular interest away from the grandiose projects and to the real needs of the poor, the battle could be won."(156)
"If we talk of promoting development, what have we in mind - goods or people? If it is people - which particular people? Who are they? Where are they? Why do they need help? If they cannot get on without help, what, precisely, is the help they need? How do we communicate with them? Concern with people raises countless questions like these. Goods, on the other hand, do not raise so many questions. Particularly when econometricians and statisticians deal with them, goods even cease to be anything identifiable, and become GNP, imports, exports, savings, investment, infrastructure, or what not. Impressive models can be built out of these abstractions, and it is a rarity for them to leave any room for actual people. Of course, 'populations' may figure in them, but as nothing more than a mere quantity to be used as a divisor after the dividend, i.e. the quantity of available goods, has been determined. The model then shows that 'development', that is, the growth of the dividend, is held back and frustrated if the divisor grows as well.
It is much easier to deal with goods than with people if only because goods have no minds of their own and raise no problems of communication. When the emphasis is on people, communications problems become paramount. Who are the helpers and who are those to be helped? The helpers, by and large, are rich, educated (in a somewhat specialised sense) , and town-based. Those who most need help are poor, uneducated, and rurally based. This means that three tremendous gulfs separate the former from the latter: the gulf between rich and poor; the gulf between educated and uneducated; and the gulf between city-men and country-folk, which includes that between industry and agriculture. The first problem of development aid is how to bridge these three gulfs. A great effort of imagination, study, and compassion is needed to do so. The methods of production, the patterns of consumption, the systems of ideas and of values that suit relatively affluent and educated city people are unlikely to suit poor, semi-illiterate peasants. Poor peasants cannot suddenly acquire the outlook and habits of sophisticated city people. If the people cannot adapt themselves to the methods, then the methods must be adapted to the people. This is the whole crux of the matter."(158-159)
"Unintentional neocolonialism is far more insidious and infinitely more difficult to combat than neocolonialism intentionally pursued. It results from the mere drift of things, supported by the best intentions. Methods of production, standards of consumption, criteria of success or failure, systems of values, and behaviour patterns establish themselves in poor countries which, being (doubtfully) appropriate only to conditions of affluence already achieved, fix the poor countries ever more inescapably in a condition of utter dependence on the rich. The most obvious example and symptom is increasing indebtedness."(160-161)
"Poor countries slip - and are pushed - into the adoption of production methods and consumption standards which destroy the possibilities of self-reliance and self help. The results are unintentional neocolonialism and hopelessness for the poor."(162)
"Money alone does not do the trick. The quantitative aspect is quite secondary to the qualitative aspect. If the policy is wrong, money will not make it right; and if the policy is right, money may not, in fact, present an unduly difficult problem."(162)
"The gift of material goods makes people dependent, but the gift of knowledge makes them free - provided it is the right kind of knowledge, of course. The gift of knowledge also has far more lasting effects and is far more closely relevant to the concept of 'development'. Give a man a fish, as the saying goes, and you are helping him a little bit for a very short while; teach him the art of fishing, and he can help himself all his life."(163)
"I am not saying that no knowledge is currently being supplied: this would be ridiculous. No, there is a plentiful flow of know-how, but it is based on the implicit assumption that what is good for the rich must obviously be good for the poor. As I have argued above, this assumption is wrong, or at least, only very partially right and preponderantly wrong."(165)
"When speaking of unemployment I mean the non-utilisation or gross under-utilisation of available labour."(171)
"These questions lead us to the parting of the ways: is education to be a 'passport to privilege' or is it something which people take upon themselves almost like a monastic vow, a sacred obligation to serve the people?"(172)
"If this ideology does not prevail, if it is taken for granted that education is a passport to privilege, then the content of education will not primarily be something to serve the people, but something to serve ourselves, the educated. The privileged minority will wish to be educated in a manner that sets them apart and will inevitably learn and teach the wrong things, that is to say, things that do set them apart, with a contempt for manual labour, a contempt for primary production, a contempt for rural life, etc., etc. Unless virtually all educated people see themselves as servants of their country - and that means after all as servants of the common people - there cannot possibly be enough leadership and enough communication of know-how to solve this problem of unemployment or unproductive employment in the half million villages of India. It is a matter of 500 million people. For helping people to help themselves you need at least two persons to look after 100 and that means an obligation to raise ten million helpers, that is, the whole educated population of India."(173)
Bespreking van Galbraiths A New Industrial State en zijn voorbeeld over het maken van Ford-auto's in 1903 en 1963 (zes verschillen in het nadeel van 1963: langere productieperiode, meer kapitaal noodzakelijk, minder flexibiliteit van het productieproces, veel meer betrokken specialisten, daarmee een heel andere organisatie, en tot slot de noodzaak van planning op lange termijn).
"Now what is the upshot of all this? The upshot is that the more sophisticated the technology, the greater in general will be the foregoing requirements. When the simple things of life, which is all I am concerned with, are produced by ever more sophisticated processes, then the need to meet these six requirements moves ever more beyond the capacity of any poor society. As far as simple products are concerned - food, clothing, shelter and culture - the greatest danger is that people should automatically assume that only the 1963 model is relevant and not the 1903 model; because the 1963 way of doing things is inaccessible to the poor, as it presupposes great wealth."(176-177)
"The role of the poor is to be gap-fillers in the requirements of the rich. It follows that at this level of technology it is impossible to attain either full employment or independence. The choice of technology is the most important of all choices.
It is a strange fact that some people say that there are no technological choices."(177)
Over de Intermediate Technology Development Group, een groep waar juist over dat punt nagedacht wordt.
"Public works are very desirable and can do a great deal of good; but if they are not backed up by the indigenous production of additional wages goods, the additional purchasing power will flow into imports and the country may experience serious for eign exchange difficulties. Even so, it is misleading to deduce from this truism that exports are specially important for development. After all, for mankind as a whole there are no exports."(181)
"Tempting as it may be to compare the ancient oracles and the modern computer, only a comparison by contrast is possible. The former deal exclusively with qualities; the latter, with quantities. The inscription over the Delphic temple was 'Know Thyself', while the inscription on an electronic computer is more likely to be: 'Know Me', that is, 'Study the Operating Instructions before Plugging ln'. It might be thought that the I Ching and the oracles are metaphysical while the computer model is 'real'; but the fact remains that a machine to foretell the future is based on metaphysical assumptions of a very definite kind. It is based on the implicit assumption that 'the future is already here', that it exists already in a determinate form, so that it requires merely good instruments and good techniques to get it into focus and make it visible."(187)
"To be sure, if everything simply happened, if there were no element of freedom, choice, human creativity and responsibility, everything would be perfectly predictable, subject only to accidental and temporary limitations of knowledge. The absence of freedom would make human affairs suitable for study by the natural sciences or at least by their methods, and reliable results would no doubt quickly follow the systematic observation of facts."(191-192)
"It is the intrusion of human freedom and responsibility that makes economics metaphysically different from physics and makes human affairs largely unpredictable. We obtain predictability, of course, when we or others are acting according to a plan. But this is so precisely because a plan is the result of an exercise in the freedom of choice: the choice has been made; all alternatives have been eliminated. If people stick to their plan, their behaviour is predictable simply because they have chosen to surrender their freedom to act otherwise than prescribed in the plan."(192)
"It is true that social phenomena acquire a certain steadiness and predictability from the non-use of freedom, which means that the great majority of people responds to a given situation in a way that does not alter greatly in time, unless there are really overpowering new causes."(193)
"If I hold a rather negative opinion about the usefulness of 'automation' in matters of economic forecasting and the like, I do not underestimate the value of electronic computers and similar apparatus for other tasks, like solving mathematical problems or programming production runs. These latter tasks belong to the exact sciences or their applications. Their subject matter is non-human, or perhaps I should say, sub-human. Their very exactitude is a sign of the absence of human freedom, the absence of choice, responsibility and dignity. As soon as human freedom enters, we are in an entirely different world where there is great danger in any proliferation of mechanical devices. The tendencies which attempt to obliterate the distinction should be resisted with the utmost determination. Great damage to human dignity has resulted from the misguided attempt of the social sciences to adopt and imitate the methods of the natural sciences. Economics, and even more so, applied economics, is not an exact science; it is in fact, or ought to be, something much greater: a branch of wisdom."(200)
Over de kwestie van schaalvergroting.
"Nobody really likes large-scale organisation; nobody likes to take orders from a superior who takes orders from a superior who takes orders . . . Even if the rules devised by bureaucracy are outstandingly humane, nobody likes to be ruled by rules, that is to say, by people whose answer to every complaint is: 'I did not make the rules: I am merely applying them'.
Yet, it seems, large-scale organisation is here to stay. Therefore it is all the more necessary to think about it and to theorise about it. The stronger the current, the greater the need for skilful navigation.
The fundamental task is to achieve smallness within large organisation.(203)"()
"In any organisation, large or small, there must be a certain clarity and orderliness; if things fall into disorder, nothing can be accomplished. Yet, orderliness, as such, is static and lifeless; so there must also be plenty of elbowroom and scope for breaking through the established order, to do the thing never done before, never anticipated by the guardians of orderliness, the new, unpredicted and unpredictable outcome of a man's creative idea.
Therefore any organisation has to strive continuously for the orderliness of order and the disorderliness of creative freedom. And the specific danger inherent in large-scale organisation is that its natural bias and tendency favour order, at the expense of creative freedom."(204)
"These considerations form the background to an attempt towards a theory of large-scale organisation which I shall now develop in the form of five principles."(204)
"Both theoretical considerations and practical experience have led me to the conclusion that socialism is of interest solely for its non-economic values and the possibility it creates for the overcoming of the religion of economics. A society ruled primarily by the idolatry of enrichissez-vous, which celebrates millionaires as its culture heroes, can gain nothing from socialisation that could not also be gained without it."(214)
Nationalisatie werkt teleurstellend uit, zo is gebleken. De kracht van privé ondernemingen ligt in zijn eenvoud: het draait alleen maar om winst maken, de rest is niet van belang. Het is een reductie van de werkelijkheid die prachtig spoort met de reducties binnen wetenschap en technologie.
"But just as the powerful concentration of nineteenth-century science on the mechanical aspects of reality had to be abandoned because there was too much of reality that simply did not fit, so the powerful concentration of business life on the aspect of 'profits' has had to be modified because it failed to do justice to the real needs of man. It was the historical achievement of socialists to push this development, with the result that the favourite phrase of the enlightened capitalist today is: 'We are all socialists now'. That is to say, the capitalist today wishes to deny that the one final aim of all his activities is profit."(216)
"What concerns us here is this: private enterprise 'old style', let us say, goes simply for profits; it thereby achieves a most powerful simplification of objectives and gains a perfect measuring rod of success or failure. Private enterprise 'new style', on the other hand (let us assume), pursues a great variety of objectives; it tries to consider the whole fulness of life and not merely the money-making aspect; it therefore achieves no powerful simplification of objectives and possesses no reliable measuring rod of success or failure. If this is so, private enterprise 'new style', as organised in large joint stock companies, differs from public enterprise only in one respect; namely that it provides an unearned income to its share holders.
Clearly, the protagonists of capitalism cannot have it both ways. They cannot say 'We are all socialists now' and maintain at the same time that socialism cannot possibly work. If they themselves pursue objectives other than that of profit-making, then they cannot very well argue that it becomes impossible to administer the nation's means of production efficiently as soon as considerations other than those of profit-making are allowed to enter. If they can manage without the crude yardstick of money-making, so can nationalised industry.
On the other hand, if all this is rather a sham and private enterprise works for profit and(practically) nothing else; if its pursuit of other objectives is in fact solely dependent on profit-making and constitutes merely its own choice of what to do with some of the profits, then the sooner this is made clear the better."(217)
"Ownership, whether public or private, is merely an element of framework. It does not by itself settle the kind of objectives to be pursued within the framework. From this point of view it is correct to say that ownership is not the decisive question. But it is also necessary to recognise that private ownership of the means of production is severely limited in its freedom of choice of objectives, because it is compelled to be profit-seeking, and tends to take a narrow and selfish view of things. Public ownership gives complete freedom in the choice of objectives and can therefore be used for any purpose that may be chosen. While private ownership is an instrument that by itself largely determines the ends for which it can be employed, public ownership is an instrument the ends of which are undetermined and need to be consciously chosen.
There is therefore really no strong case for public ownership if the objectives to be pursued by nationalised industry are to be just as narrow, just as limited, as those of capitalist production: profitability and nothing else. Herein lies the real danger to nationalisation in Britain at the present time, not in any imagined inefficiency."(218-219)
"Socialists should insist on using the nationalised industries not simply to out-capitalise the capitalists - an attempt in which they may or may not succeed - but to evolve a more democratic and dignified system of industrial administration, a more humane employment of machinery, and a more intelligent utilisation of the fruits of human ingenuity and effort. If they can do that, they have the future in their hands. If they cannot, they have nothing to offer that is worthy of the sweat of free-born men."(220)
"'It is obvious, indeed, that no change of system or machinery can avert those causes of social malaise which consist in the egotism, greed, or quarrelsomeness of human nature. What it can do is to create an environment in which those are not the qualities which are encouraged. It cannot secure that men live up to their principles. What it can do is to establish their social order upon principles to which, if they please, they can live up and not live down. It cannot control their actions. It can offer them an end on which to fix their minds. And, as their minds are, so in the long run and with exceptions, their practical activity will be.'
These words of R. H. Tawney were written many decades ago. They have lost nothing of their topicality, except that today we are concerned not only with social malaise but also, most urgently, with a malaise of the ecosystem or biosphere which threatens the very survival of the human race."(221)
"The essence of private enterprise is the private ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange. Not surprisingly, therefore, the critics of private enterprise have advocated and in many cases successfully enforced the conversion of private ownership into so-called public or collective ownership. Let us look, first of all, at the meaning of 'ownership' or 'property'."(222)
Privébezit op zich is niet het probleem, maar wel privébezit los van werk, wat al gauw zo is binnen grootschalige ondernemingen.
"It is immediately apparent that in this matter of private ownership the question of scale is decisive. When we move from small-scale to medium-scale, the connection between ownership and work already becomes attenuated; private enterprise tends to become impersonal and also a significant social factor in the locality; it may even assume more than local significance. The very idea of private property becomes increasingly misleading."(223)
"The so-called private ownership of large-scale enterprises is in no way analogous to the simple property of the small landowner, craftsman, or entrepreneur."(224)
"Private enterprise spokesmen never tire of asking for more 'accountability' of nationalised industries. This may be thought to be somewhat ironic since the accountability of these enterprises, which work solely in the public interest, is already very highly developed, while that of private industry, which works avowedly for private profit, is practically non-existent."(226)
Schumacher beschrijft waarmee rekening gehouden moet worden bij nationalisaties, wil dat werken.
In een rijlk land als de VS is er meer publieke ellende dan in landen die minder rijk zijn. Hoe kan dat?
"If economic growth to the present American level has been unable to get rid of public squalor - or, maybe, has even been accompanied by its increase - how could one reasonably expect that further 'growth' would mitigate or remove it? How is it to be explained that, by and large, the countries with the highest growth rates tend to be the most polluted and also to be afflicted by public squalor to an altogether astonishing degree?"(230)
Meer groei betekent: meer geld dat in de zakken verdwijnt van privépersonen.
"The public authorities have hardly any income of their own and are reduced to extracting from the pockets of their citizens monies which the citizens consider to be rightfully their own. Not surprisingly, this leads to an endless battle of wits between tax collectors and citizens, in which the rich, with the help of highly paid tax experts, normally do very much better than the poor."(230)
"It is not merely a question of public squalor, such as the squalor of many mental homes, of prisons, and of countless other publicly maintained services and institutions; this is the negative side of the problem. The positive side arises where large amounts of public funds have been and are being spent on what is generally called the 'infrastructure', and the benefits go largely to private enterprise free of charge. This is well known to anyone who has ever been involved in starting or running an enterprise in a poor society where the 'infrastructure' is insufficiently developed or altogether lacking.(...)
All the educational, medical, and research institutions in any society, whether rich or poor, bestow incalculable benefits upon private enterprise - benefits for which private enterprise does not pay directly as a matter of course, but only indirectly by way of taxes, which, as already mentioned, are resisted, resented, campaigned against, and often skilfully avoided."(231)
"Private enterprise claims that its profits are being earned by its own efforts, and that a substantial part of them is then taxed away by public authorities. This is not a correct reflection of the truth - generally speaking. The truth is that a large part of the costs of private enterprise has been borne by the public authorities - because they pay for the infrastructure - and that the profits of private enterprise therefore greatly overstate its achievement.(231-232)"()
Op een of andere manier zouden die publieke uitgaven die bijdragen aan de winst van privé-ondernemingen vertaald moeten worden naar het eigendom van de productiemiddelen van dat bedrijf. Schumacher beschrijft een bestaand voorbeeld (de Scott Bader Commonwealth) en een theoretisch voorbeeld.
"In other words, the Bader 'system' overcomes the reductionism of the private ownership system and uses industrial organisation as a servant of man, instead of allowing it to use men simply as means to the enrichment of the owners of capital."(235)
"Now, one does not have to be a believer in total equality, whatever that may mean, to be able to see that the existence of inordinately rich people in any society today is a very great evil. Some inequalities of wealth and income are no doubt 'natural' and functionally justifiable, and there are few people who do not spontaneously recognise this. But here again, as in all human affairs, it is a matter of scale. Excessive wealth, like power, tends to corrupt. Even if the rich are not 'idle rich', even when they work harder than anyone else, they work differently, apply different standards, and are set apart from common humanity. They corrupt themselves by practising greed, and they corrupt the rest of society by provoking envy."(236)
"In the excitement over the unfolding of his scientific and technical powers, modem man has built a system of production that ravishes nature and a type of society that mutilates man. If only there were more and more wealth, everything else, it is thought, would fall into place. Money is considered to be all-powerful; if it could not actually buy non-material values, such as justice, harmony, beauty or even health, it could circumvent the need for them or compensate for their loss. The development of production and the acquisition of wealth have thus become the highest goals of the modem world in relation to which all other goals, no matter how much lip-service may still be paid to them, have come to take second place. The highest goals require no justification; all secondary goals have finally to justify themselves in terms of the service their attainment renders to the attainment of the highest."(248)
Dit materialisme wordt een steeds groter probleem.
"Needless to say, wealth, education, research, and many other things are needed for any civilisation, but what is most needed today is a revision of the ends which these means are meant to serve. And this implies, above all else, the development of a life-style which accords to material things their proper, legitimate place, which is secondary and not primary."(249)
"It is of little use trying to suppress terrorism if the production of deadly devices continues to be deemed a legitimate employment of man's creative powers. Nor can the fight against pollution be successful if the patterns of production and consumption continue to be of a scale, a complexity, and a degree of violence which, as is becoming more and more apparent, do not fit into the laws of the universe, to which man is just as much subject as the rest of creation. Equally, the chance of mitigating the rate of resource depletion or of bringing harmony into the relationships between those in possession of wealth and power and those without is non-existent as long as there is no idea anywhere of enough being good and more-than-enough being evil."(249-250)
[Jammer dat op het eind weer het christendom van stal gehaald wordt. Alsof je alleen wijsheid en waarheid kunt vinden in religies. Wat hebben de diverse religies gedaan om de kapitalistische trends te keren? Niets. Hun vertegenwoordigers stonden altijd aan de zijde van de rijken en maanden de armen toch vooral gehoorzaam te zijn aan 'gods wil' en die van de kerk en de kapitalisten. Het zijn altijd uitzonderingen geweest, die sociaal voelende priesters en zo verder die binnen een religie opkwamen voor de armen en ellendigen, en bovendien moesten ze hun weg zoeken tegen de verdrukking van hun eigen kerken in. Laten we het maar eens zonder religies proberen, zou ik zeggen. Ik denk niet dat het een groot verlies zal zijn.]