The Land Question

February 26, 2005

We abuse the land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect. – Aldo Leopold, “A Sand County Almanac” (1949) If our goal is to create vibrant local economies and the local … Continued

Only Local Solutions

February 23, 2005

We live at the end of the age of oil, an unprecedented era of cheap and abundant fossil energy that has shaped everything from the layout of cities and towns to the military thrust of modern states. Beginning in the 1950s and continuing until his death in 1977, E. F. Schumacher worked to sound the … Continued

Intelligent Idealism

January 17, 2005

MANAS is a journal of independent inquiry, concerned with the study of the principles which move world society on its present course, and with searching for contrasting principles–that may be capable of supporting intelligent idealism under the conditions of the twentieth century. – from the MANAS publication statement When we moved to the Berkshires in … Continued

Buddhist Economics

December 13, 2004

In his now classic essay “Buddhist Economics,” Fritz Schumacher imagines an economic system informed by the teachings of the Buddha. Key to such a system is simplicity and non-violence. . . . the Buddhist economist would insist that a population basing its economic life on non-renewable fuels is living parasitically, on capital instead of income. … Continued

Rebuild Local Economies

October 20, 2004

We have to change our concept about how we measure value in things, and get people to be willing to pay more for something that’s well made, made locally, and that they would have for a long time. . . . This is a new way to operate. It’s about stepping outside your business and … Continued

We Are the Seventh Generation

October 16, 2004

We can’t afford, now, to have these national borders. We can’t afford to have racism. We can’t afford apartheid. We cannot–it’s one of those luxuries that we can’t have anymore as human beings. We’ve got to think now, in real terms, for that seventh generation. And we’ve got to move in concert. We’ve got to … Continued

Towards an Economy of Permanence

June 18, 2004

In April of 1981 the Schumacher Center convened a conference called “Community Survival in the Age of Inflation.” Schumacher Center President, Robert Swann addressed the conference on the theme “The Place of a Local Currency in a World Economy: Toward an Economy of Permanence.” In his talk he laid out the steps for implementing a … Continued

Vibrant Downtowns

May 30, 2004

When they heard of the Schumacher Center’s June 25th conference “Local Currencies in the Twenty-First Century,” the editors of Berkshire Trade and Commerce asked for an essay on the subject for their June issue. The request came simultaneously with the sad news of the loss of a local banker to cancer. Gene Hannon was one … Continued

New Approach to Freedom

April 17, 2004

As a young man in the early 1900s, Edwin C. Riegel was compelled by the vision of a more just world for all human kind. His private research led him to two important insights: 1. The central role of the monetary system in determining the conditions of social and economic life; and 2. A recognition … Continued

Why Local Currencies?

March 27, 2004

But why local currencies? In today’s global economy our national currencies tend to flow where money is concentrated, rather than where money is scarce. As money is centralized, so is the productive economy the part of the economy that produces real wealth. Manufacturing locations are chosen based on access to cheap labor and technology rather … Continued

Simplest Ideas

September 1, 2003

To my ear, discussion of the war in Iraq is generally reactive in nature rather than pro active. By reputation Americans are positive, self-directed, problem-solving people, but in this tragic, muddled conflict we are rendered powerless to influence the course of events. We are reduced to commenting on the comments of one government official or … Continued

A Citizenry Actively Engaged

June 1, 2003

Recently at the Schumacher Center we have found ourselves engaged in conversations asking some variation of the question:  What is the best way to work to achieve an equitable and environmentally sustainable economy given the present political and cultural climate? A popular approach has been to work to change consumption patterns—and certainly this is important … Continued