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Responsible Economics

E.F. Schumacher and His Legacy for the 21st Century


Edited By Hendrik Opdebeeck

The centenary of E.F. Schumacher’s birth (1911-1977) offered an urgent opportunity to revisit his work and life. Against the background of the crisis at the beginning of this century, reconsidering Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful or frugality paradigm makes clear that advances in responsible economics continue to be a priority. This book contains the proceedings of the 2011 Annual Conference of the European SPES Forum on ‘Responsibility in Economics and Business: The Legacy of E.F. Schumacher’, which was organised in September 2011 by the Centre for Ethics of the University of Antwerp in collaboration with the Business Ethics Center of Budapest. The aims of this conference were to celebrate the 100th anniversary of E.F. Schumacher’s birth and to engage with Schumacher’s vision to help address the present need for responsibility in economics and business. The answers to our current economic crisis presented in this book prove that the legacy of an economist and philosopher like Schumacher are not confined to a utopian economic paradigm. Utopian economic paradigms are concerned with a better economic situation in the future. Schumacher reconsidered today, however, makes it clear that society needs responsible economics invested in the sustainability of the globe, right now.


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Barbara Wood-Schumacher Preface xi Acknowledgements xvii Hendrik Opdebeeck 1 Introduction: A Utopian Economic Paradigm? 1 Part I Economics 5 Walter Moss 2 Schumacher’s Wisdom-Centered Economics 7 Laszlo Zsolnai 3 The Importance of Meta-economics 23 Gábor Kóvacs 4 Buddhist Economics 33 Roy Varghese 5 Authentic Development and Responsibility in Economics 53 viii Zubin Mulla 6 Karma-Yoga and Schumacher’s Theory of Good Work 77 Gerrit De Vylder 7 The East as a Practical and Spiritual Basis for Economics 97 Philip Bruce 8 The Legacy of Schumacher in the Scott Bader Company Today 117 Part II Responsibility 125 Christian Arnsperger 9 Small is Beautiful: But is it Responsible? A Critical Reappraisal of E.F. Schumacher’s Contribution to Ecological Economics and Political Ecology 127 Carlos Hoevel 10 The Call for Responsibility and the Crisis 151 Michał Michalski 11 Economics as if the Family Mattered 167 Ludo Abicht 12 Who Really Needs Frugality? 183 Simon Trace 13 Responsibility in Technology 199 ix Part III Responsibility in Economics 207 Luk Bouckaert 14 Schumacher and the Principle of Responsibility in Economics 209 Paul Jorion 15 Profit as One of the Questions of Schumacher 225 Knut Ims and Ove Jakobsen 16 Initiating an Open Research System Based on Creativity 233 Alexis Versele, Barbara Wauman and Hilde Breesch 17 Achieving Sustainable Housing 249 Joel Thompson 18 Recreating ‘Economics of Permanence’ in Africa 265 Bennie Callebaut and Luigino Bruni 19 The Economy of Communion as a Charismatic Practice 279 Stewart Wallis 20 The Urgent Need to Transform Economics 303...

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