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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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We are grateful for the financial support we received from the Leopold Mayer Foundation to publish this book. The main objective of the Leopold Mayer Foundation for Human Progress is to support the emergence of a world community. It aims to engage not only the academic world but every kind of social and occupational group. The Foundation defines itself as a ‘human adventure’ developed over the long term in co-operation with public and private partners on the various continents. Furthermore, on the one hand, it considers itself to be a learning organization within which the management of memory plays an essential role, which it combines with the development of a co-ordinated strategy. The Foundation regards par- ticular initiative as a value in itself, but above all believes that true meaning emerges from the synergies which occur through interlinking with other initiatives. So its broad aim is through donations or loans to finance research projects and initiatives which are involved in ‘a significant and innovative way with the progress of mankind’. For more information on its mission and activities like the promotion of a Charter of Universal Responsibilities, see and the appendix of this publication. We hope that this publication will contribute to the realization of this mission. — Hendrik Opdebeeck

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