Lectures and Publications


The Schumacher Center's online collection of lectures and publications
represent some of the foremost voices on a new economics. Included are the Annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures, launched in 1981 with Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson as speakers and continuing annually since then.

Those first lectures emphasized the importance of vibrant regional economies at a time when the focus of the nation was on an expanding global economy. Much has happened since then. The promise of the global economy has faded in face of ever greater wealth disparity and environmental degradation. There is growing interest in building a new economy that is just and recognizes planetary limits. Schumacher Center speakers have been at the forefront, envisioning and applying these concepts worldwide.

Past lectures have been transcribed and edited by Hildegarde Hannum. They are available as pamphlets and e-books. Order individually or as a collection for your community center, your local library, or other educational institutions. Each pamphlet is 5 Berkshares or 5 dollars. Order pamphlets here.

Or, if you prefer to read online, all lectures are available free of cost. Use the list below to jump to a specific speaker's lecture(s), or scroll down to view summaries of all lectures listed alphabetically by speaker.






John Abrams




2008 | The Company We Keep

Abrams addresses the Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires annual meeting with a lecture on employee ownership. Through his experience as co-founder of the employee owned South Mountain Company and author of the book, The Company We Keep: Reinventing Small Business for People, Community, and Place, he speaks of the benefits of distributed power and ecological design in creating a more sustainable community.





Gar Alperovitz





1994 | Distributing Our Technological Inheritance

Arguing that our current sophisticated technology builds on a history of scientific achievements which are rightly our shared cultural inheritance, Alperovitz then constructs a philosophical argument for broad distribution of the profits earned from the capitalization of this technology. In the process he examines some of the practical ways that such distribution can be achieved.



2010 | The Possibility of Profound Change in America

Alperovitz believes that we are at a turning point in American history, in which systemic economic and environmental issues will be at the forefront of public interest. According to Alperovitz, people are sensing that, in the face of political and economic stagnation, change cannot come from just electing the right person, but from a concerted effort to reconfigure institutions on a systemic and local level. He is optimistic that the change will be for the better because much of "quiet work" for systemic change – such as worker-owned companies, community land trusts – has already been laid out. He ends his talk with an overview of the co-ops developing in Cleveland with the help of Democracy Coalition, emphasizing the concrete local actions that can lead to profound change.



2011 | If You Don't Like Capitalism or State Socialism, What Do You Want?

In this lecture, Alperovitz starts to formulate a response to the simple yet unnerving question: "what do you want?" He argues that the decay of the labor movement in the United States calls for new forms of progressive politics and systemic change. He offers an overview of the myriad, underreported projects and ownership structures in the United States from macro-level planning to small, worker-owned co-ops. He asserts that the amalgamation of such diverse institutions can lead to viable decentralized, democratic alternatives – what he calls a "Pluralist Commonwealth."



2013 | The Next America: The Emerging New Direction as the OId Order Decays

As a culture, we are beginning to recognize that our grand economic experiment to-date, of which we were so proud, has failed to serve people and planet.  But, characteristically undaunted, we have begun to readjust and re-experiment. Citizens across the nation, organized in neighborhoods, cities, and small towns, are working together to create new economic forms that support an emerging new economy. Alperovitz discusses how America's culture and its economy are renewing themselves, with new purpose and vigor, through the development of practical, policy-focused, and systematic paths towards ecologically sustainable, community-oriented change and the democratization of wealth. 




Donald L. Anderson



1996 | The Assembly: A Tool for Transforming Communities

Anderson highlights the necessity in the fight against poverty to first and foremost organize communities and let them decide their courses of action for themselves rather than designing and imposing programs from outside of the community. He puts forth the Assembly as an organizational concept suited to this purpose. The Assembly is rooted in Thomas Jefferson's vision of wards acting as small, engaged republics.



Benjamin R. Barber



2009 | Climate Change and the Politics of Interdependence

Barber’s explanation as to why political process combating climate change has stalled is based on the idea that “in a market economy the logic of consumers trumps the logic of citizens.” By consistently favoring privatization and market-based decisions over public discourse and conscious decision-making based on the public good, we have created a system in which votes made with the dollar speak louder than votes at the poll. Today’s capitalism, Barber argues, makes little distinction between wants and needs. Half a century ago, the model capitalist was one who figured out how to produce something that people truly needed and made a profit selling it. Now that our needs are met (for many, but certainly not all, in the US and  the rest of the world) a version of “paper capitalism” has emerged, in which making a profit is more important than making a product. Barber points out that there are dire crises—global warming being the most pressing—for which solutions need to be invented to combat them. His argument is that this cannot be done in a system where individuals think of themselves first as consumers and only secondarily as citizens. To solve today’s most pressing issues we must reclaim our citizenship and strengthen the voices speaking out for the common good.




Dan Barber



2008 | Natural Foie Gras and the Future of Food

“Who’s the farmer here, and who’s the chef?” This is the question Barber asks himself after witnessing the production of natural foie gras. Normally the epitome of unnatural food, most foie gras is made by force-feeding geese copious amounts of grain in a process called gavage and slaughtering them while their livers are enlarged, fatty, and particularly delicious. But when Barber pays a visit to a unique Spanish farmer, he learns that by allowing geese to eat as they please from a landscape of natural and local grains without any force-feeding, the result is a foie gras so flavorful that it doesn’t even need to be seasoned. The farmer and the chef are one and the same. Equally amazing is the way the flock is perpetuated: the geese are so happy and well-fed that they signal wild geese flying overhead to join them. The future of food, Barber suggests, could consist of working in concert with natural patterns and animal behaviors rather than against them.



Peter Barnes



2003 | Capitalism, the Commons, and Divine Right

Barnes defines the commons as "the sum of all we inherit together and must pass on, undiminished and more or less equally, to our heirs." The commons includes watersheds, air, DNA, playgrounds, Main Street, radio waves, political systems, and numerous other natural resources and social innovations. Barnes suggests that the commons should be held in trust for the benefit of current and future generations as a way of countering the power of the market and its search for short-term private profits.



2014 | Economics for the Anthropocene

Barnes avers that we are no longer in the Holocene epoch, but in the Anthropocene epoch, an era in which humans are "a, if not the, dominant geological force on our planet," and thus we cannot continue with business as usual. Barnes argues that the best means to achieve the goal of an economic system that provides an adequate income for all and functions in harmony with nature is "to 'propertize' some common wealth and share the income from that wealth equally." Through the institutionalization of a common wealth trusts – legal entities that would represent nature, future generations, and society – economic externalities, such as pollution, would effectively be internalized and reflected in the price of the good. The compensation that these trusts would derive from the monetization of externalities could then be used to mitigate income inequality.




Thomas Berry


1991| The Ecozoic Era

We presently face a radical transition in Earth's history. "[W]e have already terminated the Cenozoic period of the geo-biological systems of the planet . . . . A renewal of life in some creative context requires that a new biological period come into being, a period when humans would dwell upon the Earth in a mutually enhancing manner." Berry outlines the conditions required for the emergence of an Ecozoic Era, a time for healing the damage done to Earth and learning to live in harmony with it again. Drawing on the experience of Native Americans, he urges renewed understanding of the Great Story: the combined stories of community, Earth, and universe. Berry calls on Elders of the Tribe to inspire future generations with this vision, since only with a new myth to replace the current entrancement with a destructive technology will they "be able to endure the pains of transformation" sure to come.



2003 | Every Being Has Rights

Berry reminded us that we are a part of a common universe in which every being has the right to fulfill its destiny and the right to joy. Berry presents a worldview in which what will save us is beauty, not measurement, a worldview in which care for the earth and its people is the chief aim. His thought is based in the principle that "rights come with existence. That which confers existence confers rights."




Wendell Berry




1981 | People, Land, and Community

Wendell Berry delivered this lecture as one of the three inaugural E. F. Schumacher Lectures in 1981. Farmer, poet, essayist Wendell Berry spoke about what links us to a home place and how that connection results in a "husbandry" that benefits people, land, and community.



2001 | Thoughts in the Presence of Fear

Part of An Economics of Peace - three essays published together in 2001. In the weeks following the tragedies of September 11, the Schumacher Center received numerous requests from around the world for Fritz Schumacher's essay, "Buddhist Economics." This essay was first published in 1973 in the classic Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered. We are happy to offer a reprint of it here along with Wendell Berry's "Thoughts in the Presence of Fear," written in response to September 11. Accompanying these two essays is "A New Peace", comments made at the Global Dialogue for Peace Gathering in Sussex, England, on September 17, 2001 by Susan Witt, Executive Director of the Schumacher Center. Taken together, these three essays sound a clear call for alternative economic systems as a means to a lasting peace the world over.



2016 | A Conversation Between Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson

At the 36th Annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures Mary Berry–Executive Director of The Berry Center–moderated a conversation between Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson, during which they discussed the urgent problems that farmers are facing and the deep cultural divide between the inhabitants of urban and rural places. They called for a different kind of education, one that encourages young people to return to the land, dig in, get to know the place, and develop an understanding and affection for the land and the people living on it. There must be a cultural transformation, or cycle, that encourages an unending conversation between old people and young people, thus assuring the survival of local memory, which is rapidly disappearing in the modern extractive economy. 




Ralph Borsodi


1989 | Inflation and The Coming Keynesian Catastrophe: The Story of the Exeter Experiments with Constants

What would be necessary to bring about a wide-scale monetary reform? What would an entire money and banking system look like which would change, in fact revitalize, an entire economic and social system? These were the questions that Ralph Borsodi set out to answer in this series of essays on money and banking. In the early 1970s, Schumacher Center founder Robert Swann worked with Ralph Borsodi to issue Constants, a commodity-backed currency, in Exeter, New Hampshire. The Exeter experiment began in April 1973 and ran for over a year, circulating almost 100,000 Constants in Exeter, Borsodi's hometown. To his own surprise many people began buying Constants and using them at local stores. Even the Town of Exeter accepted them as payment for parking traffic fines. Very few people ever redeemed them for dollars at the bank. What was the result of the experiment? Borsodi had proved his assumption that people were interested in a currency that did not devalue.




Elise Boulding



1982 | The Family as a Small Society

Boulding argues that the household unit because of its scale, authenticity, and depth of relationships can be an effective tool for social change in the local community. She contrasts "global systems" with "planetary systems". The military, international corporations, and global markets which make up global systems she describes as serving institutional interests. The network of nongovernmental organizations which make up planetary systems and whose members are small-scale household units have roots in and serve actual places. Boulding has faith in the endurance of this "planetary localism."



David Boyle



2004 | The Fantasy of Gold and the Survival of Life

In this essay, Boyle discusses London, the euro, and the Wizard of Oz– a coded diatribe against money based on gold. He argues that the fundamental problem at the heart of the euro, and any single currency based on the idea of objective value like gold, is this: single currencies tend to favor the rich and impoverish the poor. But complementary currencies can reveal to us that, even in the poorest places, there are vast living assets– ideas, skills, time, love– that can turn our ideas of scarcity on their heads.



David Brower



1992 | It's Healing Time on Earth

The first stage of the James Bay hydro-electric development project submerged four thousand square acres of northern Canadian forest. In the past eighty years the global population has tripled and the population of California has gone up by a factor of twelve. We may already have destroyed the botanical ingredients of a cure for AIDS. Brower delivers these and other stories of the ecological destruction taking place in all parts of the Earth, embellishing his narrative with stories of people working for ecological restoration and examples of the "miracles of wildness." He also identifies a strong public wish to assist with ecological restoration and urges us all to participate in restoration projects.



Christopher Houghton Budd



2005 | The Role of the Individual in Localizing Money Issue and Credit Creation

Explaining how we as individuals relate to the complex worlds of Money and Capital, Houghton Budd shows that an understanding of these aspects of the monetary world as well as an awareness of the importance of accounting give new meaning to the maxim, "Think Globally, Act Locally," both in terms of macro-economic realities and micro-economic decision-making, and outlines how these two are linked. He concludes with profound advice for those who care about investing their money in ways that truly make a difference at the local level. 



Majora Carter



2007 | Sustainable South Bronx: A Model for Environmental Justice

Founder and Executive Director of Sustainable South Bronx, Carter points to environmental justice as the civil-rights issue of the twenty-first century. She advocates economically sustainable projects informed by community needs. Her work to counteract environmental health hazards and high unemployment in her community includes the promotion of green roofs, greenways, clean technology, and a green-collar job-training program and workforce.



Marie Cirillo



2000 | Stories From an Appalachian Community

When asked by Vice President Gore what she would do if elected President, Cirillo said she would introduce a program of land reform. For thirty-three years she has lived and worked in Clairfield, Tennessee, located in a valley hemmed in by two big mountains and made up of a network of twelve unincorporated communities, most of which are former coal camps. Her goal has been to gain some measure of economic self-sufficiency for the Appalachian people whose land and livelihood were wasted as a consequence of the extractive practices of absentee corporate owners. Cirillo's first task was to regain control of the land for human settlement and restoration by establishing the Woodland Community Land Trust. Her struggle for and with the people of the region to achieve that purpose makes her one of the true heroes in the effort to reverse the patterns of globalization.



George D. Davis



1993 | Ecologically Sustainable Economic Development: Not Just Another Pretty Face

Davis devoted his MacArthur fellowship to mapping the watershed of Lake Baikal, the largest fresh-water source on earth. Using zoning methods, conservation easements, and the community land trust model for the productive land, he has undertaken to implement a sustainable economic development plan for the watershed to ensure the protection of this important world resource in the face of the many changes going on in the former Soviet Union. Davis's motto, "Listen to the land, listen to the people," has helped him create cohesiveness among the various interest groups, including emerging regional government authorities, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, academicians, and representatives from foreign countries. His approach is highly effective and his lecture an important addition in a series on environmental issues.




David Ehrenfeld



1990 | The Management Explosion and the Next Environmental Crisis

Ehrenfeld examines the consequences of "the extraordinary proliferation of administration, of bureaucracy, of management, the increasing percentage of people in our society who control events but do not themselves produce anything real." He gives examples of management that has become itself a raison d'etre, grown far beyond a size appropriate to its necessary modern-day role. When management grows so large, "it appropriates and stifles the life of the society." He then gives several suggestions on how to curb managerial excess, with the admonition that "[t]o survive with the many good features of our society intact and with our environment in a liveable condition, we must solve the problem of bureaucracy before it solves itself . . ." because "management, like anything undergoing perpetual growth, will eventually bring itself under control by running out of resources."



2002 | Widening the Context in the Biotechnology Wars

Ehrenfeld considers the way scientific studies are used to muddy the waters during ethical debates about controversial technologies, such as injecting cows with rGHB, producing genetically modified foods, and cloning human beings. To mount a more effective response to such practices he argues that we must learn to widen the scope of our questions about them, far beyond the narrow confines of science.




William Ellis



1998 | Flapping Butterfly Wings: A Retrospect of TRANET's First Twenty Years

Ellis has spent over twenty years searching out the people and organizations with the best applications of appropriate technology. He records and circulates his findings through the TRANET newsletter, thereby helping facilitate the person-to-person exchanges that empower small communities around the world to successfully solve technological problems at the local level.



John Fullerton




2008 | The Relevance of E. F. Schumacher in the 21st Century

Fullerton—global financier, impact investor, and founder/president of Capital Institute—invites us to search with an open mind for the wisdom we need to transition our economic system onto a sustainable path, grounded in ecological reality, with a respect for human justice and a deep appreciation for all life. After 18 years at JPMorgan he came to identify global finance as a root cause in fueling our unsustainable economic system. This realization led him to focus on the proper role of finance within a healthy economy. Fullerton argues that the invaluable ideas of E. F. Schumacher are based on the great spiritual and philosophical teachings that eliminate the contradictions of modern economics. Schumacher’s instruction is clear and compelling: to study the economics of permanence.



Chellis Glendinning



1999 | A Map: From the Old Connecticut Path to the Rio Grande Valley and All the Meaning In Between

"I come to you from a place where the earth is pink”—thus  Glendinning begins her warm evocation of place, the place in New Mexico where she lives, the particular spots on the map where other people have learned to set their roots, connect with the land, and live their lives in effective harmony with their surroundings. She contrasts the way in which the Europeans who invaded America (including her ancestors) regarded place as the battleground for empire and exploitation with the way the mostly Chicano people she lives among—the "down-to-earth people"—regard their place. They are trying to resist that empire, fighting against Wal-Marts and the Bureau of Land Management and the developers stealing from their ancient land grants. But however ugly and powerful the forces of what Glendinning terms the "global economic empire” may be, the challenge to them is really based on a deep feeling for place that she calls "a map of love;” in today's world, as she puts it, "loving the earth is a political act.” And this map, she shows, can apply to all of us, no matter where we live.




Neva Goodwin



2010 | What Can We Hope for the World in 2075?

Goodwin expects the next sixty-five years to be a time of rapid change in America and worldwide. Based on the best projections available, the energy sources we rely on today will become increasingly scarce and expensive, and the percentage of the population that is of working age will diminish. The likely result of this, for the U.S. at least, is “a future with less stuff per household.” But while some outcomes are largely out of our control, Goodwin argues that the opportunity still exists, maybe more so than ever before, to make the best of this imminent period of change by finding alternative energy sources, recognizing the importance of the commons, learning to live within our means, spending more time on leisure, and reforming and/or reining in corporations.



Hunter G. Hannum




1993 | Wagner and the Fate of the Earth: A Contemporary Reading of The Ring

In an essay inspired by Thomas Berry’s 1989 Schumacher Lecture, “The Ecozoic Era,” Hannum offers a new interpretation of Richard Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelung based on the work’s relevance to contemporary society, which is suffering an environmental crisis. The Ring, according to Hannum, is a drama that elucidates the "destructive elements of our age" while offering "a vision of healing and wholeness." He critiques the 1898 analysis of The Ring by G.B. Shaw, finding his rejection of the work's tragic aspects and his misreading of the drama's denouement illustrative of the "heroic" phase of the scientific-technical age in which Shaw lived. Instead, Hannum argues that the denouement—Brünnhilde's return of the stolen gold to the Rhinemaidens—is a symbolic pointer toward ecological restoration and a vindication of Nature and the Feminine vis-à-vis the power of the patriarchy, as represented by the work's male characters. He presents composer-poet Wagner as an artist who, in a myopic industrial-commercial age, demonstrated a vision encompassing the fate of planet Earth.




Erick S. Hansch




1971 | Initial Results of WIR Research in Switzerland

In this report, Hansch critically examines the WIR-Cooperative and explains the operations and transactions of the WIR credit system. Founded in 1934, WIR (now the WIR Bank) was a cooperative association of small to medium size, independent Swiss businesses for the purpose of mobilizing their own credit potentialities without using commercial banks as intermediaries. As a self-help measure, Hansch argues that a business circle cooperative is successful in protecting the small, independent businesses and business owners against the constantly increasing pressure from large, financially strong competitors. 




Eric Harris-Braun




2008 | A New Language for Wealth

The current interpretation of wealth includes only those goods that are tradable. Eric Harris-Braun argues for a new system of wealth acknowledgement that accounts for wealth in the realms of measurable and acknowledgeable wealth. He then explores how we can incorporate these two unrecognized forms of wealth with a new writing system of our exchanges, including a new system called Open Money.



Alanna Hartzok



2001 | Democracy, Earth Rights, and the Next Economy

It is only in recent human history that land has been enclosed and the rights of use given to a few people, as opposed to a whole community. Hartzok points out that individual equality, even in a democracy, cannot exist without equal rights to the abundance of the earth. She presents solutions that have been successful in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, including restructuring taxes so that land value, a communal asset, is taxed instead of wages or buildings.



Richard Heinberg




2006 | Fifty Million Farmers

It is high time that the discussion of peak oil includes a solution to the decline in supply. Heinberg conveys to us the urgency of converting our current agricultural system while options for doing so are still available. There is something highly dysfunctional and ultimately destructive about a system of food production that requires ten kilocalories of energy to produce one kilocalorie of food. His solution is a decentralized agriculture system relying on the productive capacity of regions, not long-distance transport of products. Small-scale, organic farming would decrease our current dependence on fossil fuels and prepare us for the inevitable end of cheap oil.



Hazel Henderson




1989 | Development Beyond Economism: Local Paths to Sustainable Development

Henderson evaluates the need for a broader definition of economic development, one which measures progress and prosperity by social as well as by traditional econometric measures. "Guiding societies by today's over-aggregated indices is like trying to fly a Boeing 747 with a single oil pressure gauge! The social indicators debate is about disaggregation, revealing overlooked detail, locally and sectorally, and adding a whole row of additional gauges to . . . societies' 'instrument panels' so as to plug feedback into decision-making with more precision and timeliness." Henderson describes her experiences in developing countries that are trying to act independently of "Eurocentric industrial development theorists" in order to gauge economic progress more accurately and respond to their countries' real needs.



Ivan Illich



1994 | The Wisdom of Leopold Kohr

More than any other thinker of the twentieth century, Illich has challenged institutional bureaucracies and provided a strong voice for small communities. In this lecture, he reflects on Kohr's efforts to lay a foundation for an alternate to economics and traces historic attitudes of proportionality, scale, reasonableness, and economic scarcity.



Dana Lee Jackson



1990 | Women and the Challenge of the Ecological Era

The era of greed and dominance must end. In the Ecological Era, according to Jackson, "we must learn from nature and from women in order to transform our destructive patterns . . . . The first step . . . is to cultivate and elevate in importance some of the qualities and values most generally associated with women that can help us abandon our suicidal patterns." We can then "combine what we have learned in the ecological era and what we have learned in the feminist era to respond to environmental crises."



Wes Jackson


1981 | Call For a Revolution in Agriculture

Jackson points to agriculture—in particular to the methods of till agriculture, which cause soil loss and destroy the soil's water-holding capacity—as our "number one environmental problem, aside from nuclear war"  (and today he would undoubtedly add global warming). As practiced, modern agriculture undercuts the very basis of its own existence and thus jeopardizes the future of the human population. At the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, Jackson and others are working toward a sustainable system of agriculture based on patches (rather than fields) of perennials (rather than annuals), a system "that is at once self-renewing like the prairie or forest and yet capable of supporting the current human population." He urges that we stop using the reductionist language of science and economics in our studies and applications of ecology and instead use language and metaphors that spring directly from nature.



1993 | Becoming Native to this Place

Co-founder of The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, and pioneer in sustainable agriculture, Jackson is here too a pioneer—for sustainable communities. Years of seeing the harm done to his beloved prairies through the implementation of corporate agricultural practices determined his dramatic move to the small, almost abandoned town of Matfield Green in the Flint Hills of Kansas. Instructed by the history and traditions of the people who lived there before him, Jackson has undertaken to renew the town on an ecological and sustainable basis. It is a large undertaking, and it may not be successful; however, he has only one choice and we with him: to try. His lecture is a powerful affirmation of this spirit of renewal.



2014 | Keynote at OUR LAND

In 2014, Our Land: A Symposium on Farmland Access in the 21st Century, was held in Berkeley, CA. Jackson was the keynote speaker, providing an analytical and anecdotal view on the challenges new farmers face in the upcoming century due to deep-rooted historical and cultural issues. Despite all of the obstacles ahead, he noted the increasing interest in farming and encouraged these agrarians to confront the history of humans as agriculturalists in order to overcome such challenges.



2016 | A Conversation Between Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson

At the 36th Annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures Mary Berry–Executive Director of The Berry Center–moderated a conversation between Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson, during which they discussed the urgent problems that farmers are facing and the deep cultural divide between the inhabitants of urban and rural places. They called for a different kind of education, one that encourages young people to return to the land, dig in, get to know the place, and develop an understanding and affection for the land and the people living on it. There must be a cultural transformation, or cycle, that encourages an unending conversation between old people and young people, thus assuring the survival of local memory, which is rapidly disappearing in the modern extractive economy. 




Jane Jacobs



1983 | The Economy of Regions

According to Jacobs the healthiest economic regions are those which have strong and innovative import-replacing cities of their own. The economies of such city-regions are shaped and reshaped by complex, economically enlivening, interrelating forces originating within their own regions. Such regions, she says, become capable of producing amply and diversely for their own people and are not passively manipulated by specialized economic forces from distant cities.



Van Jones



2013 | America Emerging: Culture and Economics

Jones speaks of the numerous initiatives he has been part of, including his role as Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. As founding President of Rebuild the Dream, a think-tank championing innovative ways to alter the U.S. economy and uplift the next generation, he asks the question "What is the future that we’re fighting for?" Throughout his lecture Jones speaks of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Trayvon Martin, robots, and ways to create a just economy for all.



Margrit Kennedy



2004 | Regio Complements Euro: New Paths to Sustainable Prosperity

In this essay, Kennedy explains the rationale for introducing regional currencies as a feasible way of counteracting the negative consequences of economic globalization. A regional currency complements many other assets within an easily defined geographic area that people relate to personally and emotionally: from protection of cultural identity to marketing regionally grown foods, from the ecologically sensible use of the shortest transportation routes to exercising ethical concern when utilizing non-renewable resources. 



Andrew Kimbrell



2000 | Cold Evil: Technology and Modern Ethics

When Kimbrell examines what is causing the greatest social and ecological havoc in today‘s world, he sees that it is not what we traditionally think of as evil—crimes committed in the hot passion of the moment. Instead the problems stem from our misuse of technology, a technology wielded by some very nice people, neighbors we have come to like and trust. Kimbrell blames the scale of technology that creates a double distancing between the user of technology and the consequences of that use. The lecture is a highly original reflection on the current condition of our society.



2003 | Salmon Economics (and other lessons)

What would it look like if our economics were based on the laws of nature, rather than the fabricated laws of supply and demand? To help answer this question Kimbrell turns to Alaskan salmon for insight. In their bi-annual spawning journey, he sees examples of redistribution, reciprocity, and gift-giving—all aspects of pre-capitalist human economies. He makes the case that while most of us have come to see competition among people as natural, it was until fairly recently a luxury that humans could not afford if they wished to survive. But with the rise of free-market capitalism, humanity collectively has traded a life of doing for a life of having and in the process has made commodities out of everything, including land and our own labor. Rather than trying to make our economies fit into ancient natural systems, we are now putting enormous resources into reshaping nature to fit into our economies. Salmon, which are now subject to enclosed farming and genetic modification, are a primary victim. But rather than despair, Kimbrell sees the relentlessness with which the salmon fight their way up river as a sign that we can and must keep working to align human and natural economies.




Leopold Kohr



1989 | Why Small Is Beautiful: The Size Interpretation of History

"The answer to all questions underlying all our problems today is the size factor—not unemployment, not warfare, not juvenile delinquency, not business fluctuation, not Black Mondays, Black Fridays, or Black Tuesdays." According to Kohr we must reduce the huge size of modern nations in order to reduce their negative consequences. Using anecdotes and analogies Kohr shows why small is beautiful. Just as the small size of a harbor will diminish the power of great swells arriving from the open ocean, so can small communities lessen the impact of our global society's ocean-sized operations. This is the "harbor philosophy"; its application, says Kohr, is "the only prospect that will enable human society to survive."



David C. Korten



2000 | Creating a Post-Corporate World

At the end of the 20th century, public attention was focused on a deepening struggle grounded in two sharply divergent world-views and sets of values: that of corporate globalization and that of a newly emerging global movement. Korten describes this period as a time of cultural awakening and places our present struggle in a larger context with an epic story that traces the birth of humanity from the cosmos up to the Scientific Revolution. Blending contemporary scientific knowledge with ancient religious truths, this story offers crucial insights into life’s deep secrets and creative power as well as portraying the unfolding struggle between money and life for the soul of humanity.



Winona LaDuke



1993 | Voices from White Earth: Gaa-waabaabiganikaag 

A member of the Mississippi Band of the Anishinaabe from the White Earth Reservation, LaDuke is a strong and clear voice for the return to traditional land-holding patterns of her people. She explains how, in order to sustain the life of the Anishinaabe, her people have need of different kinds of land: the lakes for harvesting wild rice, the forests for hunting, and the meadows for gathering herbs. The earlier artificial allocation of square plots of the White Earth Reservation to individual tribal members and the inevitable loss of the Anishinaabes' land through sale to outsiders has resulted in a mosaic of land use that separates the community from its traditions. Her own work is devoted to restoring the integrity of the White Earth Reservation by repurchasing sold land and holding it in a community land trust arrangement so that it may be productively used without fear of loss. The story she tells is a moving one and provides a practical approach to healing a wounded people and wounded land.



Anna Lappé




2008 | Eat the Sky: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork

There is a fairly standard list of environmentally friendly actions American consumers are typically encouraged to take: “drive less, buy a hybrid car, buy energy-efficient appliances, change our light bulbs.” But Lappé points out that this list entirely neglects food. Since 31 percent of greenhouse gas emissions can be traced back to food production, this is an extremely important element of climate change for us to consider. The food industry, she argues, does seem to acknowledge (at least to some extent) its role in the climate debate, but food companies seem to be making a concerted effort to portray themselves as part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Lappé calls on us not only to consider changing our own behavior but also to go a step further and question larger systemic issues such as continued government subsidies for agribusinesses.



Frances Moore Lappé




1985 | Towards a Politics of Hope: Lessons for a Hungry World

According to Lappé, economic rules taken as dogma have allowed an increasing concentration of decision-making power over wide-scale food production and distribution: that power has come to reside largely with land-owning minorities, with "governments beholden to self-serving elites," and with the international corporations that dominate world trade. The roots of hunger, she says, are not to be found in the scarcity of resources but in the scarcity of democracy. A "politics of hope" working toward food for all must encourage trust in our deepest moral sensibilities.



2001 | Hope's Edge: An Interview with Frances Moore Lappé

In September of 2001, just before the event that would change America’s image of itself in relation to the rest of the world, Susan Witt interviewed Frances Moore Lappé for a radio program on the environment. Lappé describes her new book Hope’s Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet as a multi-level, mother-and-daughter exploration of the key questions for our planet. With her daughter Anna Lappé, she observed that people are reinventing the market with more humane values, respecting the earth, and respecting community. 




Christopher Lindstrom



2004 | Local Currencies in the 21st Century: An Interview

Rachel Schneider interviewed Executive Director Susan Witt and Conference Coordinator Christopher Lindstrom on their upcoming Local Currencies in the 21st Century Conference at Bard College. Witt and Lindstrom describe the power of issuing credit within a community, revitalization through a community’s commitment to supporting local production, the historic importance of developing local currencies on a regional level, and the power of face-to-face interactions. 



2004 | Local Currencies in the 21st Century: Understanding Money, Building Local Economies, Renewing Community

In their report about the Local Currencies in the 21st Century Conference, Susan Witt and Christopher Lindstrom discuss “an economy of permanence” that occurs when the goods consumed in a region are produced in the same region using local resources and local labor. Decentralized regional currencies are an important counterforce working to redistribute wealth more broadly while supporting unique regional identities, cultures, and communities. The report describes the historical use of local currencies and what we can expect from the local currency movement in the future.



2008 | The Mystical Quality of Money

Lindstrom became interested in spreading consciousness around money upon the discovery of his ancestors' work that was deeply rooted in the monetary system. In this lecture, he speaks about the history of money, its mystical quality, and how it became a new form of communication, similar to the written language. Although money became a necessary part of human evolution, he says, a separation of the mind and material world was created as a result, which eventually created a separation of the archetypal male and female Universal forces within the human consciousness.




Thomas Linzey




2005 | Of Corporations, Law, and Democracy

As the co-founder and staff attorney for the nonprofit Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, Linzey is engaged in the work of "collective nonviolent disobedience through municipal lawmaking." He has dedicated himself to changing the method of governance in the United States. Linzey believes that for democracy to be a reality, a shift must be made from "regulating the activity to defining the actor." His lecture gives hope and direction to our communities that are too often plagued by absentee governing and ownership.



Michelle Long




2014 | We're All in it Together: An Economy in Which Relationships Matter Most

Michelle Long, Executive Director of Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), speaks at the Schumacher Center for a New Economics Library about the initiatives that BALLE and various communities have taken to strengthen ties between people and place as well as to support the growing local economy movement. She believes that “we’re all in it together” to work towards opening and spreading the innate goodness within us all. 



Amory Lovins



2001 | Loaves and Fishes

In this interview, Lovins details the pressing problem facing the environment over the next ten years and prescribes as a way of doing business as if nature and people are valued, or natural capitalism. He calls for protecting the climate by designing out our wastes and emissions– production redesigned on biological lines with closed loops, no waste, and no toxicity– because efficiency is cheaper than fuel. And business, unlike many of our other institutions, really has what it takes to solve tough problems quickly. 



2001 | Natural Capitalism: The Next Industrial Revolution

It is fortunate for us all that Lovins applies his brilliant ideas to caring for the environment. Here he argues that those industries creating energy-smart products are not only viable but also profitable. Not content to merely observe and comment, he jumps in to the designing of new-products design—taking risks, investing time and money, giving practical examples, and making a future industrial society based on sound biological principles seem feasible. 




Kevin Lyons



2002 | Greening the Campus from a Procurement Perspective

To talk of the importance of using more ecologically responsible products is easy; to implement their use in our institutions is a different journey. As purchasing agent for Rutgers University, one of the largest state educational institutions,  Lyons had the opportunity to put theory into practice. His story reveals his dogged determination, attention to small details, consensus-building with stakeholders, frustrations, humble courageousness, and willingness to be marginalized—all necessary to effect change. It is the story of an unsung hero of our times.



Oren Lyons



2004 | The Ice is Melting

Lyons is a tribal chief of the Onondaga Nation. Although referring to himself as unlettered, he communicates the wisdom Native Americans have passed down over the centuries. As Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan he is responsible for maintaining the Clan's customs, traditions, values, and history—all of which he tells about in his compelling lecture. He takes us back to the days of the Founding Fathers and shows how influential Native Americans were in guiding them in the formation of a democratic government. Chief Lyons focuses on what is urgently needed today: waking up to the coming global catastrophe represented by global warming; a return to responsible leadership; and giving thought to seven generations ahead in our decision-making.



Jerry Mander




1999 | Economic Globalization: The Era of Corporate Rule

Long in the forefront of the anti-globalization movement, Mander sets forth in clear and impassioned terms the devastating effects of the current global economy—"the most fundamental redesign of the planet's systems since the Industrial Revolution"—and shows how such measures as the Multilateral Agreement on Investment are designed to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. But he also shows the steps that can be taken by individuals and groups in opposition to globalization to protest and resist its domination and raise the fundamental question, "Who should make the rules we live by?" Delivered just a few weeks before the massive protest demonstrations in Seattle in November 1999, Mander anticipates the powerful forces that gathered there and suggests ways in which the anti-globalization movement can continue to make its voice heard and its truths manifest in future struggles.




John McClaughry



1989 | Bringing Power Back Home: Recreating Democracy on a Human Scale

Although for generations the government of Vermont rested with the administrators of its 246 towns, the past thirty years have seen a slow but steady growth of central power. According to McClaughry, Vermonters are in danger of losing true citizenship and therefore of losing their democracy as more and more decisions affecting their lives are made by distant functionaries. "[T]he place where you belong and where you recognize those who belong and those who are strangers, where the good of everyone is tied together in an interconnected web that is ruptured only at the peril of everyone in the community—that is where citizenship resides." Reiterating the central theme of The Vermont Papers: Recreating Democracy on a Human Scale (co-authored with Frank Bryan), McClaughry calls for a federation in Vermont of new political bodies called "shires," which would be big enough to take back the powers lost to the state and small enough to allow direct citizen participation.



1996 | Prairie Grass Rising

McClaughry describes our history as it relates to decentralism in these United States and the importance of the renewal of ideas of human scale, mutual aid, community renewal and respect for the land. When we survey the sweep of American history, it is easy to become despondent about the march of giantism and centralized power. McClaughry mourns the absence of bold leaders to push the issue of centralization and decentralization on the national public. Yet, the spirit of decentralism, often paved over and ignored, always returns to bring about a new beginning.



Bill McKibben



2009 | The Most Important Number in the World

Beginning in 2007 we saw a dramatic and rapid melting of ice across the Arctic resulting from a one-degree increase in the Earth's temperature. McKibben saw this as an imperative reason to take action and knew that it meant more than talking and writing about climate change. In this lecture he describes the building of a climate- change movement that began with a local demonstration in his home state of Vermont and grew to a global movement that has changed the way we think about carbon. The organization McKibben founded is called 350.org, which refers to the maximum number of parts per million of COtolerable in the atmosphere if the world is to remain habitable.



John L. McKnight



1984 | John Deere and The Bereavement Counselor

Just as the sod-busting steel plow was destructive of the healthy agricultural development of Wisconsin, modern service technologies such as bereavement counseling can be destructive of the natural caring web of community. According to McKnight, costly service technologies are often counterproductive, resulting in a community's loss of traditional wisdom and social commitment. He recommends the recultivation of social forms that do not replace consent with control, replace diverse cultural behavior with service monopolies, or turn citizens into mere clients and consumers.



George McRobie



1982 | The Community's Role in Appropriate Technology

Founder with Fritz Schumacher of the Intermediate Technology Development Group in London, McRobie discusses the role of intermediate technology in building self-sufficient regional economies. He explains that engineers should be trained to scale down their designs to meet the cultural, economic, and natural-resource conditions of local place. When engineers design to save energy and capital rather than to save labor, the resulting technology facilitates the creation of large numbers of workplaces rather than centralizing manufacturing. McRobie sees intermediate technology as a tool to redistribute wealth, giving back to communities, families, and local organizations the power that has gradually been taken from them.



Deborah Meier



1998 | The Company We Keep: The Case for Small Schools

Meier argues that at the heart of civic life are responsible relationships; we learn by the company we keep. She goes on to contend that our system of large schools tends to discourage responsible interactions by their very scale. Not content to just criticize, she outlines the steps she and her colleagues have taken to shape small schools within the public school system, increasing continuity of staff, more interaction among age groups, and a sense of community.



Stephanie Mills




1991 | Making Amends to the Myriad Creatures

The purpose of the rapidly growing discipline called ecological restoration is to heal damaged landscapes by reinstating their original plant and animal communities, thereby making amends for humankind's degradation of ecosystems. Thousands of people nationwide are involved in this rigorous, labor-intensive, painstakingly slow work. Mills, author of Whatever Happened to Ecology?, a personal narrative of her journey into the bioregional movement, tells about current projects, describing the difficulties, pitfalls, and rewards in store for those who return a given area to its earlier biological diversity, stability, and beauty. She shows that protecting wilderness is not the only motive behind restoration: another is to regain a sense of belonging to and depending on one's local ecosystem, with the hope that "cultural interaction with [it] will inculcate a moral restraint on the impulse to control and determine, to expand and exploit," resulting in a sustainable way of life for future generations. 



2004 | Bob Swann's "Positively Dazzling Realism"

Writer, editor, ecologist, and activist, Mills has been involved with matters ecological, bioregional, social, and political for over thirty years. Although her books and essays have largely fallen under the rubric of nature writing, she presents here a portrait of Robert Swann, co-founder in 1980 of the Schumacher Center and its president until shortly before his death in January 2003. Focusing on his life-long active nonviolence, participation in the civil rights movement, and introduction into this country of the community land trust, Mills describes how Swann became an inspiring spokesman for community economics and was instrumental in advancing a community-based economic movement that continues to grow. She is eloquent in her portrayal of Swann as "a visionary of the here and now."



2010 | Young Vigor Searching for Light: Bob Swann, Arthur Morgan, and the Pantheon of Decentralism

Mills describes her coming of age in the sixties and how she was impacted by anarchist and decentralist thinkers, most prominently that of Schumacher Center founder Robert Swann. His passionate promotion of community land trusts, “honest money,” micro-credit, and local currency had created a vital set of means to encourage bioregional economies. Thanks to Arthur Morgan and his curriculum, to the legacy of decentralist thought from the West and the genius of Gandhi from the East, and to the moral clarity that landed him in prison as a war resister during World War II, Mills believes that Swann’s life and thought is an essential example for community resilience and resurgence in the troubling times to come.




Stacy Mitchell




2006 | Declarations of Independents

Independent businesses in the United States have been under attack in recent decades. Large chains, or "big-box" stores, have dominated the market for nearly every product, in the process homogenizing our once unique Main Streets. Now local communities across the country are fighting back, and Mitchell is helping to shape the tools. As a staff member of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance she creates effective guidelines for communities struggling to resist corporate invasion. Her lecture describes the application of innovative programs that provide hope for the future of independent business.



John Mohawk



1997 | How the Conquest of Indigenous Peoples Parallels the Conquest of Nature

Blending social history with an ecological perspective, Mohawk is able to draw the parallels among various cultures, from the ancient Greeks to the Spanish conquerors to the Nazi Germans. Each of them essentially believed in a Utopian idealism in which certain people are destined for greatness and other people, along with their environments, are to be destroyed or ignored. This is now the philosophy underlying global capitalism and its institutions—and the reason why the world is in such trouble. Indigenous people understand that, and it is by connecting with their wisdom and their way of thinking that we can begin to ask serious questions about where we are heading and at what cost.




Sally Fallon Morell



2008 | Very Small is Beautiful

Arguing that modern notions of germs, microbiology, vaccination, and disease are doing more harm than good, Fallon Morell advocates eating habits, centered on raw milk, as a way to prevent disease. In addition, she argues that large-scale food production and pasteurization must be abandoned in favor of small-scale, local farming.



David Morris




1996 | Reclaiming Community

Co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Morris describes the growing tension between the globalization of economies and the localization of politics, between our role as consumers and our role as citizens. He suggests that the resolution of this tension lies in Schumacher‘s call for local production for local consumption. A localized physical economy can co-exist with an impersonal globalized information economy, but to achieve this co-existence requires instituting new rules to encourage production methods which are accountable to community and place.







1996 | Moving Toward Community: From Global Dependence to Local Interdependence

Founder and director of the International Society for Ecology and Culture, Norberg-Hodge presents an eloquent argument in favor of worldwide action to oppose the global capitalist economy and its monoculture with revivified and strengthened local economies and communities. Drawing on her experience, particularly in Ladakh in northwestern India, she shows convincingly how much of a menace to tradition and stability the newly powerful global economy is, how destructive of culture as well as environment. But using her experience there in local organizing and cultural survival, she also demonstrates that it is possible to resist international pressures, raise awareness of the dangers of foreign influences, and create grass-roots initiatives for local empowerment and self-sufficiency.



Richard B. Norgaard



2010 | Economism and the Night Sky

As markets expand to global proportions, the cosmologies and moral tales embedded in the cultural narratives of particular places fade, and their lessons are forgotten. Norgaard describes that today, civilization sees the economy as our new cosmos. Economism is the term he uses to support this point, which is defined as a belief in the primacy of economics. Economism distinguishes between actual economic activity and the complex of myths developed to sustain our trust in the economy which keeps it functioning. He parallels economism to the myths that traditional people shared about nature and their relation to it—a sight that goes beyond today’s views where economic theory explains reality and guides our choices. To reach a new economy that is socially just and environmentally sustainable, Norgaard concludes that a new ecological awareness is critical to our vision of the future.




David W. Orr



1992 | Environmental Literacy: Education as if the Earth Mattered

"For the most part . . . we are still educating the young as if there were no planetary emergency." Yet, continues Orr, the environmental crisis is "first and foremost a crisis of mind, perception, and values—hence, a challenge to those institutions presuming to shape minds, perceptions, and values. It is an educational challenge." Our society must embrace and implement new ways of teaching that emphasize and prepare people for ecologically integrated lives and livelihoods. Orr describes the goals and basic tenets of ecological education, presenting five measures that are essential to transforming the modern curriculum.



2002 | Walking North on a South Bound Train

Why is the environmental movement failing in the face of current political strategy? David Orr discusses the points of failure in confronting the greatest challenge that faces us, and how best to alter our strategy for protecting our communities and the earth.




Will Raap



2006 | E. F. Schumacher: He Taught Us To Build Bridges and Plant Trees

Using the examples of the Intervale Foundation and Gardener's Supply, both of which Raap founded, he demonstrates that economic gain can be linked to social and environmental gain. A business can flourish by enhancing the environment and supporting community while still generating a profit. Raap recounts the encouraging story of the Intervale in Burlington, Vermont. Once a dumping ground, the Intervale has been rejuvenated as an incubator for beginning organic farmers, providing a model for putting marginalized land into productive use to benefit the surrounding community.



Kirkpatrick Sale



1983 | Mother of All: An Introduction to Bioregionalism

Sale argues that while the positive accomplishments of modern science are undeniable, the failures and dangers of the mechanistic, scientific worldview are such that the only sane path, the very path of survival, is "to once again comprehend the earth as a living creature." To begin to move toward this vision of the living earth, he says, we must get in touch with and understand the natural conditions of the specific place in which we live. Sale outlines four basic determinants of any organized civilization—scale, economy, politics, and society—and demonstrates how bioregionalism is an appropriate organizational model in each area, with historical validity and a workable vision for the future.



1990 | The Columbian Legacy and the Ecosterian Response

The 500th anniversary of the "discovery" of America motivates Sale, author of The Conquest of Paradise: Christopher Columbus and the Columbian Legacy, to reassess the legacy of European settlement and domination, finding it dangerously inadequate. As a countermeasure to this heritage and as a practical step toward an ecological future, he proposes the creation of small-scale communities to be called ecosteries, modeled on the monasteries that arose after the fall of Rome but devoted in our day to ecological protection and restoration as well as the preservation of the knowledge necessary for that work.



1993 | The Green Revolution: The American Environmental Movement

Sale discusses the development and current trajectory of the environmental movement– documenting the origins of American conservationists, the dramatic change in public awareness and attitudes after the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, and the first Earth Day which was the single most important widespread demonstration in the 1960s. He speaks about the next steps that need to be taken in order to protect the natural world.



1996 | An Overview of Decentralism

Sale argues that the appropriate way to look at politics today is with a round-earth, decentralist perspective. Power should be diffused, and to the lowest level possible— which means to a bioregional level, and beyond that to a community level, a neighborhood level, a family level, and an individual level. Sale believes that decentralism can triumph over the nation-state but only by thinking locally, acting locally, and living locally.




Allan Savory



2015 | Greening the Desert: Holistic Management in the Era of Climate Change

While viewing the impending threat of climate change, Savory invites the audience to take a global view of the current situation of the world. Pointing out that more than twenty civilizations have failed in different regions of the world because of their agriculture practices over the centuries, he suggests a two-level solution to our problem: new policies and holistic management of ranches and farms. Savory finds it essential that public opinion comes to recognize that land management must be holistic while also acknowledging social, environmental, and economic complexity. 



William Schambra



1999 | The Friendship Club and the Well-Springs of Civil Society

A senior program officer at the Bradley Foundation, Schambra focuses here on creating the conditions for people to practice the art of self-governance in small face-to-face communities. Taking as his model the Friendship Club, a small self-governing community of drug users and street people in Milwaukee, he shows how these people have cultivated new attitudes and virtues without making themselves into the "grateful clients of credentialed experts." This level of civil society, he notes, can be murky and disorganized, but the existence of an institution that is their own is worth much more to seemingly powerless disadvantaged people than the benevolent ministrations of the bureaucratic social agencies delivering services and benefits.



Otto Scharmer




2013 | America Emerging: Western Civilization 2.0

The American dream is confronted with three “shadows” that threaten its fulfillment: resource depletion, political paralysis, and cultural ADHD. Scharmer says that we are called “to evolve that civilizational dream in a way that reflects and transforms these shadows by reinventing how we live and work together, by articulating what kind of civilization we want to be and cultivate." The problem with current economic thinking is that it is based on a paradigmatic framework formed by ego-system awareness. If capitalism is to be transformed, economic thought must be reframed to represent eco-system awareness. And if the American dream is to be preserved, we must take responsibility for revitalizing its three parts—the cultural, the political, and the economic. Scharmer has dedicated his career to helping bring about this regeneration.



Juliet B. Schor





2011 | The New Economics of Plentitude

Schor critiques both the free-market and Keynesian paradigms of macroeconomics. She argues that in this day and age we need to construct new economic relationships, a new economics, which take into account ecological dangers, stagnation and inequality in the global North, and global poverty. Schor insists that we need to move beyond the paradigm whereby planetary and human well-being are understood to be mutually exclusive. She proffers "an economic model for a post-growth society." This model involves a shift of labor from the formal labor market, a reduction of average work hours per employee, and the expansion of the local economy. She also draws on the new models of consumption and production that are being developed in our contemporary moment, highlighting how self-reliance today does not mean a return to 18th century practices, but 'high-tech self providing,' that is, the use of highly productive, smart machines on a household level.



E. F. Schumacher




1966 | Buddhist Economics

Fritz Schumacher's classic essay widely understood as a call for an economics of peace. In the essay Schumacher imagines a multitude of vibrant, self-sufficient villages which, from their secure sense of community and place, work together in peace and cooperation. In 1973 it was collected with other essays by Ernest Friedrich Schumacher in Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered. The book went on to be translated into 27 different languages and in 1995 was named by the Times Literary Supplement (London) as one of the hundred most influential books written after World War II. "Buddhist Economics" is included below in its original English version and in its multiple translations in recognition of the universality of its vision.



1965 | How To Help Them Help Themselves

In this 1965 article, E. F. Schumacher outlines a radical new approach to solve the twin problems that developing countries are faced with—unemployment and poverty. He recognizes the need for an intermediate level of technology based on the needs and skills possessed by individuals in districts or regions troubled with a large labour surplus rather than utilizing technologies that are devised primarily for the purpose of saving labour. Schumacher argues that projects on the level of Western technology leave the people helpless and disheartened: it does not "fit" into their way of life and remains outside their power of self-help. He concludes that those living in wealthier countries are moved by a genuine desire to help those who live in poverty, and that this elemental force can help the helpless to help themselves.



1972 | Think About Land

In this talk originally published by The Catholic Housing Aid Society, E. F. Schumacher addresses an immense and intolerable paradox: the housing problem in an affluent society. Through exploring numerous theories, Schumacher determines private land ownership to be the root of the problem. He closes by calling for a reorientation towards a much more decentralized pattern, a greater autonomy and self-reliance of small communities and, a much more flexible, just and rational use of land – as the social costs of inadequate housing immensely outweigh the real costs of adequate housing.



1974 | How to Abolish Land Speculation

With growing populations, growing mobility, growing production, and growing trade, land speculation becomes a pressing issue. In this 1974 Resurgence publication, E. F. Schumacher suggests the establishment of a rule that no landowner may ever receive a piece of land for more than its 'registered value’, as a way to abolish the absurd and unjust act of land speculation. 



1976 | Nonviolence

In this lecture, E. F. Schumacher suggests nonviolence is not only a matter of ethics, but also a matter of technology – and that technology is a matter of metaphysics. Schumacher describes, from the time of Descartes, a diminishing urge of the human spirit to rise above the frivolities of everyday life. This is due to an improper scale of things, and when nonviolence is neither aspired towards nor practiced, violence is assuredly to result. The idea of nonviolence, he says, is to begin living in a nonviolent way.




Vandana Shiva




2000 | Biopiracy: The Colonization of the Seed

Our deepest obligations to each other are being defined as criminal by the privatization of natural phenomenon. In her lecture Shiva questions how a seed can be commoditized when it carries in it the history of the earth, its seasons, and the farmers who worked the earth. How can it be patented by corporations? The seed, she argues, is rightly part of a common cultural inheritance; it does not belong in the economic sphere. In challenging the commercialization of the seed, she challenges the growing global economic system and the corporations that feed it. It is a struggle for the preservation of cultural identity, diversity, and small communities. Shiva speaks passionately about the effects of industrial agriculture on small farmers, the environment, and the quality of the foods we eat.



Michael H. Shuman



2002 | Going Local: New Opportunities for Community Economies

Shuman's lecture to the Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires points to the shift that is occurring from a global economy focusing on cheap goods and the protection of private bottom lines to a local economy centering on place and the protection of families, communities, and the environment. Locally owned businesses and local production encourage self-reliance, which ultimately will "systematically resolve . . . material conflicts over oil, water, land, resources, and poverty . . . mak[ing] a very important contribution to world peace."



2007 | Local Stock Exchanges: The Next Wave of Community Economy Building

Shuman makes a critical point when he asks his audience how many have pension funds and sees a fair number of hands go up, then enquires of those who do have them, "How many are primarily invested in local business?” Almost no one in attendance raises a hand. Why is it that even “the most local-economy-minded people,” as he describes his audience, do not own stock in local companies? It is not because local businesses are poor investments; in fact, Shuman details a variety of ways in which small place-based businesses are more stable, easier to research, and do more for local economies than large corporations; rather, the issue is with the legal and financial industry infrastructure. Securities law discourages individuals from purchasing local business stocks, and issuing stock is tricky for a small business. Nonetheless, Shuman argues, the potential exists. A number of local stock issuings have already been successful, and states can help by revising securities laws. There remain a few hurdles to overcome, but local stock exchanges will offer the opportunity to help build local living economies.




Bren Smith



2015 | Ecological Redemption: Ocean Farming in the Era of Climate Change

When the cod stocks crashed back home in Newfoundland, Smith, a fisherman working at the height of the period of industrialized food, found himself on the front lines of the world's climate crisis. He soon began a search for sustainability, and in this lecture he shares his story of ecological redemption. Smith is the founder of the nonprofit GreenWave, which won the 2015 Buckminster Fuller Challenge for sustainability. Smith is creating a hub for the new 3D ocean-farming industry, which will act as an engine for job creation and food justice. He explains that ocean farming will address major issues such as overfishing and climate change while building the foundation for a new blue-green economy and transforming fishermen into restorative ocean farmers.



Cathrine Sneed



1995 | The Garden Project: Growing Urban Communities

Delivering a powerful message that is moving, hopeful, and urgent, Sneed shows that bringing people out of the jails and off the streets into the garden can be transformative in both the human and natural realms. Her personal story is equally compelling as she tells about overcoming life-threatening illness, poverty, a skeptical bureaucracy, and the resistance of co-workers to her creation of a gardening program within the San Francisco jail system. Through their work in the garden and Sneed's untiring efforts on their behalf, she has taught the participants a better way to live.



2008 | Gardens That Build Hope and Healing

Founder of the Garden Project in San Francisco, Sneed relates her experiences working with former inmates and at-risk youth to develop an organic community garden. All the food that is raised is given away to people in need: "This gives our folks a purpose; they know they can make a contribution." She makes it clear that her project has the power to profoundly change its participants and give them the tools necessary to function in society.




James Gustave Speth



2009 | Preamble: New Economy, Sustaining Economy

Speth believes that a great challenge Americans now face is to build a new economy—a sustaining economy. He argues for the urgent transformation of old and failing economic systems if we hope to achieve a sustainable and equitable future. Most of all, Americans need a new politics and new social movement powerful enough to drive change.



2010 | Letter to Liberals: Liberalism, Environmentalism, and Economic Growth

The task of aligning the interests of liberals and environmentalists is not an easy one. Aside from the fact that the former focus primarily on social concerns and the latter on ecological, there is a fundamental split between them on the question of economic growth. For most mainstream liberal thinkers, economic growth is a necessary ingredient for a positive future, holding the potential to lift people out of poverty, but environmentalists argue increasingly that continuing economic growth will not be ecologically sustainable much longer. Despite this schism, Speth argues, liberals and environmentalists are mutually reliant. In “a land of pervasive economic insecurity and stark inequality,” making real environmental progress will be politically impossible. And the effects of climate change are likely to have the harshest effects on the world’s poor. Thus, environmental campaigns cannot succeed without the strengthening of liberalism, nor can liberal goals be met without progress on the environmental front. Therefore, Speth calls for liberals and environmentalists to set aside their ideological differences and work towards common goals.



2012 | America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy

In this lecture based on his book, America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy, Speth addresses the problems that we are facing today as a nation and as a globe. Beginning on the local and regional levels, Speth says that we must forge together to build a coherent, positive, and plausible America from the ground up. As he envisions what the future will look like, he is adamant that America the Possible can be achieved by first changing our culture, our values, and our consciousness in this country in order to move towards a new economy that prioritizes sustaining the well-being of people and the planet. 




Charlene Spretnak



1984 | Green Politics: The Spiritual Dimension

Spretnak proposes that the spiritual dimension of the Green politics movement is both non-sectarian and also acknowledges the teachings within various religious traditions that support the Green vision, though they are not always emphasized. Both sources can help Greens move society beyond the patriarchal, anthropocentric, spiritually barren, media-shaped values of the modern technological world. Welcoming the spiritual dimension enriches the Green vision of recognizing interrelatedness, cultivating ecological wisdom, achieving gender equality, and more fully developing social responsibility.



Joseph Stanislaw



2008 | Energy: Global is Local

Transitioning to a new energy economy requires the collaboration of individuals, corporations, and government. Joseph Stanislaw argues that market forces will shift energy production toward alternative sources. This shift, he says, will require a more localized system where energy is produced internally for the region




Matt Stinchcomb




2014 | The Nature of Work: How Ecosystems Can Teach Us to Build Lasting and Fulfilling Businesses

The entrepreneurial spirit of the Internet in the late 1990s drew Stinchcomb into the Internet-business arena, the "maker movement,” and ultimately, the launch of Etsy in 2005. As co-creator of Etsy, he established a highly successful intersection of the market for handmade products and artists looking to sell on a wide-reaching platform. Deeply influenced by E. F. Schumacher’s Small Is Beautiful and Bill McKibben’s Deep Ecology, which emphasized the importance of human-scale and local community economies, Stinchcomb sees the rise of small businesses as paving the way for a new economy. He explores the sustainable-business lessons that can be learned by observing ecosystem dynamics, challenging the audience to view everything in our lives—including our businesses and our choices--as connected rather than fragmented.



Robert Swann




1972 | Introduction from "The Community Land Trust: A Guide to a New Model for Land Tenure in America"

In 1967 Robert Swann and Slater King established the first community land trust in Albany, GA. The publication of this guide established the term community land trusts, and paved the way for community land trust projects across the US and internationally. The guide describes how communities can use these tools to gain control of the development process in their own neighborhoods. They can be used equally well in urban or rural areas, especially in conjunction with a local community development corporation – themselves innovations of poor communities for their own development.



1988 | Local Currencies: Catalysts for Sustainable Regional Economies

The current centralized banking and money system in the United States has outlived its usefulness in a relatively short time, say Robert Swann and Susan Witt. Since the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, savings have been funneled out of rural areas into the large financial centers, where small businesses must compete with multinational corporations for credit. Monetary decisions are based on the needs of the largest depositors in the largest cities while the needs of vast sections of the country go unmet. With a locally-issued currency circulating in an appropriately circumscribed area or bioregion, credit decisions can be made by people with particular personal knowledge not only of the borrowers but also of the needs of the region as a whole. Only in this way can we create diversified stable regional economies made up of many interrelating small businesses.



1995 | Land: Challenge and the Opportunity

Aldo Leopold presented a bold challenge to environmentalists: if we are to foster a culture of love and respect for land, land can no longer be an item to buy and sell on the market. Susan Witt and Robert Swann summarize the community land trust approach to land tenureship pioneered by Swann. They describe various working applications of the model including affordable housing, affordable access to land for farmers, ecologically based land use planning, and safe-guarding of traditionally used lands by and for indigenous peoples.




Gordon Thorne



2009 | Community Arts Trust

Thorne addressed the Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires annual meeting with a talk on the concept of a "Community Arts Trust". Gordon describes his evolution as an artist, developer, and executive director of a non-profit as it relates to shaping and maintaining healthy and diverse communities. He believes that arts spaces should be a part of the commons in perpetuity and that performing arts spaces be made accessible and affordable to artists in the community.



John Todd




1985 | An Ecological Economic Order

Todd believes that a "new sustainable economic order can be established with ecologically based enterprises." Ecology as a basis for design, he says, "is the framework of this new economic order. It needs to be combined with a view according to which the earth is seen as a sentient being, a Gaian world view, and our obligations as humans are not just to ourselves but to all of life." Todd sketches some of the ideas and technologies developed by the New Alchemy Institute and Ocean Arks International, organizations that have made tangible progress—in soil recreation, water purification, resource recovery, etc.—toward reversing environmental degradation and restoring diversity in a sustainable ecological economic order.



2001 | Ecological Design: Reinventing the Future

To hear Todd is to be struck by his dedication, modesty, integrity, and humanity. A biologist and Earth steward, he is in the forefront of the new field called ecological design, which applies the intelligence of nature to human needs. By decoding this intelligence it can be used technologically in order to reduce the destructive impact of humankind on the planet. Todd tells about the work being done to create living technologies in the areas of food production, generation of fuels, conversions of wastes,  repairing of environments, and in his own case restoring of degraded and polluted waters. He describes his current involvement in an eco-industrial park in Burlington, Vermont, which will consist of small enterprises, such as a brewery and a fish farm, that share their resources so the waste or excess of one will be an in-put component of the other.




Nancy Jack Todd



2005 | The Promise of Ecological Design

Todd shows us that the power of positive work can overcome horrific destruction. Describing the models created by the New Alchemy Institute and Ocean Arks International, she demonstrates the evolution of ecological design as a viable option for creating a sustainable world. Her lecture reminds us that nature is our best source of reference. Through adherence to natural systems we can "provide for the present population of the world sustainably."



Charles Turner



2007 | What About Us–the Earth's People?

As the old paradigm of materialism that is causing social, ecological, and economic injustices crumbles, it is essential to consciously participate in the shaping of a new paradigm. Turner describes the transition from a material to a spiritual consciousness, saying, "We have gone through the materialization of consciousness to the extent that this age has focused on human beings as material objects . . . and now we are on the brink of an age that will bring the opportunity for our consciousness to be spiritualized."



2008 | A New Cosmological View

Turner offers a new way for human's to interact and develop cosmic energy for positive and harmonious results. He proposes a conscious development in the capacity of the organizer. The most important objective of the organizing process, he argues, is building the organizational forms that balance the relationship of the individual to the group. He sees this clearly in his work in Boston with oppressed communities.




Jakob von Uexkull



1992 | The Right Livelihood Award and Further Initiatives for a Sustainable Society

The Right Livelihood Award, known as "the Alternative Nobel Prize," was established in 1980 "to honor and support individuals who are finding practical solutions to the most urgent challenges facing us today." Von Uexkull describes the Award and many of its recipients, including those who are working for human rights and justice, environmental protection, and spiritual regeneration. The Award is one of a number of initiatives launched by von Uexkull, who believes that the only way to address today's environmental, economic, and social ills is to "set up shadow institutions, in order to create a new and alternative mainstream and to give it as much energy and standing as possible." He concludes with an appeal to "create the foundations for a sustainable world order without delay" and a proposal for a democratically elected People's Council for Global Sustainability.




Stewart Wallis



2010 | Voices of a New Economics

Wallis identifies overconsumption as a primary source of inequality and natural destruction. He outlines a new economic model that emphasizes well-being, efficiency, and development within the bounds of our global ecosystem. For change to come about, he says, society, business, faith, arts, and education will all have to become a part of the transition.



Greg Watson




1997 | The Wisdom That Builds Community

Watson relates the story of an urban community that came together to reshape its destiny. Starting with shovels and garbage bags to clean up abandoned lots, residents formed the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, which used the structure of the Community Land Trust in acquiring lots that now support hundreds of units of renovated owner-occupied homes, a productive greenhouse, locally-owned businesses, and reinvigorated neighborhood pride. In telling the story of Dudley Street, Watson describes his own background as an African American growing up in Cleveland in the 1960s. Seeing the ecological degradation surrounding him, he grew to become a leader in the environmental movement, later returning to the urban landscape with a richer understanding of the complex issues needed to build sustainable communities.



2013 | Shaping a New Agriculture: Food, Land, and People

Watson speaks to what Massachusetts can do to preserve farmland and to develop a community-based revitalization that emphasizes urban gardening, energy conservation, and environmental justice. As the Commissioner of Agriculture for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Watson assesses what has happened in agriculture over the past twenty years. He describes moving towards a more sustainable regional food system and agricultural economy, one that creates fair wages for farmers and that creates affordable, healthy food for low-income families.



2015 | Public Voice for Schumacher Center's Sustainable Economic Policies

Watson, former Massachusetts Commissioner of Agriculture, discusses his role as the Schumacher Center’s Director of Policy and Systems Design as well as his background and views on a variety of issues in this interview with Berkshire Trade and Commerce. Watson is a public voice for sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, new monetary systems, equitable land tenure arrangements, neighborhood planning through democratic processes, government policies that support human-scale development, citizen financing of new enterprises, import-replacement strategies, and other concepts.



2017 | In Search of Integrity

From 1980-1983 Watson held the envious position as director of education at the New Alchemy Institute. During the construction of an innovative “Pillow-Dome” Buckminster Fuller came to New Alchemy in 1982 and handed Watson a copy of a manuscript of a book he was writing, asking him to look it over. In it was a powerful prose poem entitled “Integrity”. Years later in 2016 very few had ever heard of “Integrity”. In the following essay Watson describes the lessons “Integrity” has to teach us about hypocracy– a hybrid word of democracy and hypocrisy. The text of “Integrity” is also included in its entirety.




Judy Wicks



2004 | Good Morning, Beautiful Business

Despite the dominating and destructive power of large, monolithic corporations, business can be an essential and effective force for community empowerment. Wicks shows how locally rooted businesses can address the needs of all stakeholders—employees, customers, investors, neighbors, and the earth. She describes the evolution of her restaurant, the White Dog Café in Philadelphia, and the way her personal experiences and beliefs gained in her business led her to adopt practices such as paying a living wage, supporting community service and educational programming, purchasing 100 percent wind-generated electricity, and sourcing produce and humanely raised animal products from local family farms.



2006 | "Exuberant Episodes of Import Replacing": Two Tributes to Jane Jacobs

In these lectures, Susan Witt and Judy Wicks pay tribute to Jane Jacobs, legendary urban activist and visionary. Witt speaks to the warmth of Jacobs's spirit, reflecting on how she championed "ideas that matter". She was a supporter of the micro-credit program launched in Great Barrington by the Schumacher Center, calling regional currencies one of the most elegant tools for stimulating and regulating production and trade in a region.  Wicks describes how Jacobs's writing became a source of inspiration for her work with a group in her community known as the Sansom Committee, which successfully fought to save the block on Sansom Street where Wicks lived from being demolished to make way for a mall. Jacobs, who saw cities as a natural eco-system for human beings, fought throughout her career to protect urban diversity and human scale from urban renewal.



2014 | Building a New Economy: What's Love Got to Do With It?

Based on her memoir Good Morning, Beautiful Business, Wicks shares her experiences as a socially and environmentally concerned entrepreneur and leader in the localization movement. She tells the story of her stay in an Eskimo village where she was exposed to a community that operated through sharing and cooperation, co-founding the first Free People store in Philadelphia which sold up-cycled goods, founding the White Dog Café and ensuring its ongoing sustainable business practices. Wicks explains what it means to be an entrepreneur who cherishes the relationships among people, community, and the planet.




Susan Witt



1990 | A New Lease on Farmland: Assuring a Future for Farming in the Northeast

Farmers must be able to earn a living from the land and do so sustainably if farmland is to be preserved. True farmland preservation will require economic structures which encourage and enhance the patterns of mutual responsibility that constitute local culture. A New Lease On Farmland discusses long-term leases that provide for ownership of improvements as well as a variety of local financing and marketing models that involve the community in the support of local farms. The model outlined in the pamphlet recently became the basis for the partnership between The Nature Conservancy, the Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires, and two farmers to purchase Indian Line Farm, the first Community Supported Agricultural Farm in this country.



1995 | Land: Challenge and Opportunity

Aldo Leopold presented a bold challenge to environmentalists: if we are to foster a culture of love and respect for land, land can no longer be an item to buy and sell on the market. Susan Witt and Robert Swann summarize the community land trust approach to land tenureship pioneered by Swann. They describe various working applications of the model including affordable housing, affordable access to land for farmers, ecologically based land use planning, and safe-guarding of traditionally used lands by and for indigenous peoples.



2001 | A New Peace

Part of An Economics of Peace - three essays published together in 2001. In the weeks following the tragedies of September 11, the Schumacher Center received numerous requests from around the world for Fritz Schumacher's essay, "Buddhist Economics." This essay was first published in 1973 in the classic Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered. We are happy to offer a reprint of it here along with Wendell Berry's "Thoughts in the Presence of Fear," written in response to September 11. Accompanying these two essays is "A New Peace", comments made at the Global Dialogue for Peace Gathering in Sussex, England, on September 17, 2001 by Susan Witt, Executive Director of the Schumacher Center. Taken together, these three essays sound a clear call for alternative economic systems as a means to a lasting peace the world over.



2017 | Democratizing Monetary Issue: Vision and Implementation in the Berkshire Region of the U.S.

In this essay Susan Witt argues that the current centralized banking and money system in the United States has outlived its usefulness. Since the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, savings have been funneled out of rural areas into the large financial centers, where small businesses must compete with multinational corporations for credit. Monetary decisions are based on the needs of the largest depositors in the largest cities while the needs of vast sections of the country go unmet. With a locally-issued currency circulating in an appropriately circumscribed area or bioregion, credit decisions can be made by people with particular personal knowledge not only of the borrowers but also of the needs of the region as a whole. Launched in 2006, BerkShares, a currency for the Berkshire region of Massachusetts, provides the story of one community working to put vision into practice.




Caroline Woolard




2014 | What is a Work of Art in the Age of a $120,000 Art Degree? "Entrepreneurs of the Self" in the New Economy

Woolard’s story begins with the decision that she would not put any money into paying rent but rather put every dollar she made into artwork for public places. It is a story of self and a search for places where voluntary reciprocal exchange can thrive. In describing the launch of the community skill-sharing network known as Trade School, her barter and solidarity-economies class at the New School, and the creation of the Exchange Café at the Museum of Modern Arts, Woolard shares her insight on what it means to turn a single initiative into a space of coalition building that supports the solidarity economy. She sees a place for artists in the community land trust movement, envisioning what the first community land trust in New York City would look like. The result: an emphasis on place-based organizing and stronger bonds as artists and policy-makers work together to move beyond creative enterprise.



Arthur Zajonc



1997 | Buddhist Technology: Bringing a New Consciousness to Our Technological Future

A leading physicist and humanist, Zajonc focuses on the relationship between technology and work on one hand and right values and livelihood on the other. He shows how traditions and culture once provided a right moral context for work, but now that context has been broken apart by the dramatically increasing capacity of amoral technology to replace human work. Citing fascinating examples from literature and mythology, Taoism, and Studs Terkel, Zajonc makes a powerful case for the restoration of the links between technology, love, and beauty that must be re-established if we are to be fully human.