Volume 26, Issue 2, 2016
Schumacher and the Socialists
From the Labour Party to Guild Socialism, 1950-1979
German-British economist Ernest Friedrich Schumacher began his career as an exceptional but conventional economist, a devoted member of the British Labour Party. After a visit to Burma in 1955, his economic convictions began to change. No longer certain of the Labour Party program of nationalization and large-scale industrialization, Schumacher developed the concept of “intermediate technology,” something between a Western model of economic growth and an agrarian one. Perhaps best described as a small-scale socialist, he advocated “economics as if people mattered,” and criticized all social, economic, and environmental policies that did not prioritize the individual in community. Today, Schumacher is remembered primarily as an environmentalist, but his environmental work grew from his economic and moral understandings of human flourishing.