A new orientation of science and technology


Schumacher, Ernst Friedrich (1977). Small is beautiful: Economics as if people mattered. New York: Harper & Row. S. 34.

Scientific or technological „solutions“ which poison the environment or degrade the social structure and man himself are of no benefit, no matter how brilliantly conceived or how great their superficial attraction. Ever-bigger machines, entailing ever-bigger concentrations of economic power and exerting evergreater violence against the environment, do not represent progress: they are a denial of wisdom. Wisdom demands a new orientation of science and technology towards the organic, the gentle, the non-violent, the elegant and beautiful. Peace, as has often been said, is indivisible — how then could peace be built on a foundation of reckless science and violent technology? We must look for a revolution in technology to give us inventions and machines which reverse the destructive trends now threatening us all

What is it that we really require from the scientists and technologists? I should answer: We need methods and equipment which are

— cheap enough so that they are accessible to virtually everyone;
— suitable for small-scale application; and
— compatible with man’s need for creativity.

Out of these three characteristics is born non-violence and a relationship of man to nature which guarantees permanence. If only one of these three is neglected, things are bound to go wrong.