Re-Imagining Politics through the Lens of the Commons

In his September article for 21st Century Global Dynamics, Schumacher Center's Director of Reinventing the Commons, David Bollier, makes the case for self-organized, bottom up, responses to current economic/social/cultural conditions -- neither market alone nor government funded/directed.

How Small Became Beautiful

Today is the 106th anniversary of Ernest Friedrich Schumacher's birth. To honor the occasion we have included below excerpts from his classic, and still profoundly relevant, 1966 essay "Buddhist Economics." The full text and its multiple translations may be read at the Schumacher Center's website.

Making Our Own Gumbo Soup

"To Find Alternatives to Capitalism, Think Small"

In her defense of neoliberal policies, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher famously thundered: "There is no alternative!" It is time for a rejoinder: “There are plenty of alternatives!”

Regional Currencies' Growing Influence

The economist E. F. Schumacher argued in Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered that from a truly economic point of view the most rational way to produce is "from local resources, for local needs."

Winona LaDuke & Nwamaka Agbo to speak at 37th Annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures

In the folklore of the Anishinaabe peoples of North America, the Prophecy of the Seventh Fire predicts that there will come a time when we must choose between two paths. One path will be green and lush. The other will be well worn but scorched, and walking it will cut our feet.

In Search of Integrity

From 1980-1983 I held the envious position of director of education at the New Alchemy Institute.  New Alchemy was an amazing “think-do” tank operating on an abandoned 12-acre dairy farm on Cape Cod. Inspired by the likes of Rachel Carson, Wendell Berry, E. F. Schumacher, and Buckminster Fuller, among others, the institute emerged from the protests in the aftermath of the first Earth Day in 1970 as the premier agent of change to a sustainable future.

History of Innovation | Sharing our Common Wealth

All of us are joint owners of a trove of hidden assets.  These assets — natural gifts like air and water, and social creations like science and the Internet — constitute our shared inheritance — the Commons.  They’re vital to our lives and are at the heart of all economic activity.

Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson, Mary Berry in Conversation

The problem of sustainability is simple enough to state. It requires that the fertility cycle of birth, growth, maturity, death, and decay—what Albert Howard called “the Wheel of Life”—must turn continuously in place, so that the law of return is kept and nothing is wasted. For this to happen in the stewardship of humans, there must be a cultural cycle, in harmony with the fertility cycle, also continuously turning in place.

Envision | Apply | Share

The pursuit of a new economics has broad implications.  Our Earth is in crisis; our communities are in crisis.  We are all charged with creating solutions.  These solutions will of necessity be citizen-driven, growing from the rich soil of particular places.

A Little Tin of Cocoa

"If the raw materials for making cocoa are obtained from plantations on the West coast of Africa which use some form of forced native labour, are carried by vessels on sea routes monopolised or controlled by violence, manufactured in England with sweated labor and brought to India under favourable customs duties enforced by political power, then a buyer of a tin of cocoa patronises the forced labour conditions in the West coast of Africa, utilizes the navy and so partakes in violence, gains by the low wages or bad conditions of workers in England

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