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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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Appendix PROPOSAL for a Charter of Universal Responsibilities

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presented at the Rio+20 Conference June 2012 Preamble We, Representatives of the Member States of the United Nations, gathered in Rio de Janeiro for the Earth Summit, June 2012 Recognizing 1. that the scope and irreversibility of the interdependences that have been generated among human beings, among societies, and between humankind and the biosphere constitute a radically new situation in the history of humankind, changing it irrevocably into a com- munity of destiny; 2. that indefinite pursuit of current lifestyles and development, together with a trend to limit one’s responsibilities, is incompatible with har- mony amongst societies, with preservation of the integrity of the planet, and with safekeeping the interests of future generations; 3. that the scope of today’s necessary changes is out of range of individu- als and implies that all people and all public or private institutions become involved in them; 4. that the currently existing legal, political and financial procedures designed to steer and monitor public and private institutions, in par- ticular those that have an impact worldwide, do not motivate these latter to assume their full responsibilities, and may even encourage their irresponsibility; 328 Appendix 5. that awareness of our shared responsibilities to the planet is a condi- tion for the survival and progress of humankind; 6. that our shared responsibility, beyond the legitimate interests of our peoples, is to preserve our only, fragile planet by preventing major unbalances from bringing about ecological and social disasters that will af fect all the peoples of the Earth,...

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