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Radio 4 dedicated an entire hour to DM issues last night, broadcasting this gem of a program on Fritz Schumacher. Please listen again if you catch it in the next week. It will be re-broadcast on Radio4 tomorrow, Mon 27 Jun 2011 at 15:00
PS: Don't be put off by the picture of David Cameron - he features peripherally, as if to ensure timeliness in this decade. Information from the site:
This summer marks the birth centenary of Fritz Schumacher, seminal author of the newly re-published "Small is Beautiful - Economics as if people mattered". And a long-lost recording of one of his public lectures given at the Findhorn spiritual community in Scotland in October 1976, has just been lovingly restored.
The recording, now broadcast for the first time, is a revelation. Quite simply, just months before his sudden death, Fritz is on fire! He is relaxed, inspirational, extraordinarily witty, and highly prescient. "The economic party is over," he says, "we're just left with the washing up. At the height of our achievements, we're bankrupt. Our civilisation is experiencing the second fall of man and must get up again."
Jonathon Porritt examines how the philosophy of this German exile, described as "one of the few original thinkers of the 20th Century", is now being taken seriously in British government circles, even to the extent of unwittingly helping today's Prime Minister shape his ideas for Big Society. It also reveals how Cameron's predecessor, Margaret Thatcher, was a Schumacher fan - but only up to a point - and how Schumacher championed the now fashionable concepts of well-being measurement, localism, and volunteerism
Contributors include: Satish Kumar of the Schumacher College and George McRobie (with whom he pioneered the Intermediate Technology Development Group), Findhorn members who were present at his1976 talk, economist Wilfred Beckerman (author of Small is Stupid), and members of Schumacher's family.
Producer: Chris Eldon Lee
A Culture Wise production for BBC Radio 4
Sarah, Thanks for bringing my attention to this broadcast and providing a link, which I've just made use of. Absolutely brilliant . . ! I'd never heard him speak before. What a sharp wit and sense of humour the guy had! Had me laughing out loud at times, especially right at the beginning with his description of a "crank" as a simple tool for producing "revolutions", and right at the end with his story about East Germans seeing western Civilisation as an express train running at ever increasing speed towards an abyss - which they would overtake . . . Or maybe I should have cried. As it turned out, their system came off the rails before we reached the abyss, which still lies ahead.
Like many others, I too was inspired by Schumacher's Small is Beautiful back in the 1970's. I was also inspired by another German, little known over here, called Herbert Gruhl. As with Schumacher's book, I can't remember much of the detail, but the title of his book, also published in the early 1970s, said it all: Ein Planet wird Geplundert (A Planet is being Plundered). What more do you need to know to realise that we are on the wrong track . . ?!
If our civilisation survives, Schumacher will surly be long remembered as one of its greatest prophets.