Showing posts from September, 2023

Small is Beautiful The End

By far the largest part of Schumachers book is in regard to the third world and this section really hasn’t aged well at all. The world is different place 50 years on, but it exposes in one way just how little economic progress some countries have developed and just how much progress countries have made.   Schumachers approach is very much a what we can do for them or really to them, not how can we give a leg up to their own efforts. He gives little agency to the people of developing countries or consideration to what they might want for themselves. Schumacher knows best and they should get what they are given.   I may be writing with the gift of hindsight but maybe the difference in outcomes in the examples Schumacher uses have less to do with the aid given but the system of law and levels of corruption and stability of government in those countries that allow enterprise and prosperity to flourish or stagnate depending.   Schumachers big idea is one of intermediate technolo

Small is Beautiful Part 3

 In the second and third parts of book, Schumacher tackles resources & the third word. The resources Schumacher addresses are education, land, the inputs of industry, nuclear energy and something he describes as “technology with a human face”   The first four of these are the type of arguments you could easily make today and often see writers in the Guardian do if you’re bored enough to read that stuff. You can see all the germinating seeds of todays nonsense. Schumacher problem with education is that it is not instilling in people the correct values, his values. His argument on education comes down to “we need to indoctrinate the kids”. I’m guessing you can see the results now in a generation that believes we are all doomed.   Maybe I’m expecting something different from an economics book. On education there is a failure to acknowledge that the economic argument for education is that educated people are more productive than uneducated. The work they do has a higher value

Small is Beautiful Part 2

This was meant to be the post. Honest. A look at E.F Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful as an explainer of the underlying philosophy of the Campaign for Real Ale. Explaining why the preference for small breweries and independent pubs. Explaining why went on longer than I expected and it’s bloggery so there’s no editor crossing stuff out. Part 1 of Schumachers book addresses what he sees as the modern world. In 1971. From production of consumer products (like beer!) to national issues of peace and war, the role of economics, a diversion into Buddhist economics (yeh really, imagine that) before tying it up with a question of size.   In the first chapter, The Problem of Production, he argues that the modern economy is unsustainable. Natural resources (fossil fuels), are treated as expendable income, when in fact they should be treated as capital, since they are not renewable, and thus subject to eventual depletion. Schumacher's philosophy is one of "enoughness", appreciatin


Don’t worry 70s economics fans, a deep dive into Schumacher is coming but before then a wander around what once was an iconic pub crawl of these parts and what it means to me personally.   The hillgate mile was many years ago an iconic pub crawl in and around Stockport. A strip with a high density of pubs that had come about to service high density housing and factories in the area. Much of that housing had become flats and many factories closed and with it the need for so many pubs. The area and its pubs was in decline when I first encountered it and whilst now there has been a revitalisation of the area with new build nicer looking flats there will never be demand for that number of pubs again. It was noted not only for the number of pubs but the variety of brewers that owned pubs under the tied system. Before a landscape of free houses, with most pubs tied, here were a number of pubs and a variety of beers on offer from most of the local breweries of the time.   As a result

Small is Beautiful Part 1

What? This was meant to be a beer blog. About beers that rarely get a mention but seem to sell and pubs that also rarely get a mention because they don’t quite appeal to the middle-class enthusiast. Not just keg boozers but pubs whilst seem to hold a cultural place in society but are largely ignored by enthusiasts or campaigners.   This is none of that. It’s a short series of blogs about CAMRA and a book I’ve read. E.F Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful.   There are no shortage of beer blogs that seek to criticise the erstwhile CAMRA brigade for something or other. Either for campaigning for something or not campaigning for something or maybe they are just too pale, male and stale? Or maybe they gave a beer gong to a beer or pub you think they shouldn’t have? Abbot Ale? Heh ho. This is not it. It’s not a slagging off. It’s not praise for what they do. It’s an attempt to understand them. I rather like CAMRA. My experience of CAMRA is one of a nice, sincere, well-meaning group of largel