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Responsible Economics

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

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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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HENDRIK OPDEBEECK Introduction: A Utopian Economic Paradigm?

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HENDRIK OPDEBEECK University of Antwerp 1 Introduction: A Utopian Economic Paradigm? The centenary of E.F. Schumacher’s birth (1911–77) of fers an interesting opportunity to revisit his work and life. From the perspective of the crisis at the beginning of this twenty-first century, reconsidering Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful paradigm makes clear that advances in responsible eco- nomics more than ever are becoming a priority. This book contains the proceedings of the international conference on Responsibility in Economics: the legacy of E.F. Schumacher. This seventh annual European SPES Forum conference was organized in September 2011 by the Center for Ethics of the University of Antwerp in collaboration with the Business Ethics Center of Budapest, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of E.F. Schumacher’s birth and to confront Schumacher’s vision with the need for responsibility in current economics and business. The first part of this book reconsiders economics from the perspective of E.F. Schumacher’s Economics as if People Mattered. In the next chapter Walter Moss gives a survey of Schumacher’s wisdom-centered life and work with a view to summarizing the essence of his philosophy and eco- nomics. In the third chapter Laszlo Zsolnai confronts the assumptions of mainstream economics with what is called alternative meta-economics like Schumacher’s frugality- and responsibility-based theories. For Gábor Kovács in chapter 4 the history of Buddhist Economics reveals how Schumacher’s work contributes to rediscovering Buddhist economics as a field of scholarship. Chapter 5 by Roy Varghese interprets Schumacher from both a Gandhian and an Aristotelian perspective....

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