Saul WainwrightPol 4044FFinal EssayProf. Nash
in any case the influence of economics, is far-reaching can hardly be doubted”.
Heessentially associates economics with the “central role” of determining what is“‘economic’ and what is ‘uneconomic’” and that these criteria, are above all other criteria, in their ability to “influence over [
] the actions of individuals and groups aswell as over those of governments.”
Schumacher sees the political dominance of economic ideas and says, “It is hardly an exaggeration to say that, with increasingaffluence, economics has moved into the very centre of public concern,” and that throughthis dominance of economic thought and through the act of condemnation of somethingas “uneconomic, its right to existence is not merely questioned but energetically denied.”
This concern with the dominance of economics then leads Schumacher to explore what isdetermining the distinction between what is economic verse uneconomic. Schumacher recognizes that in order to get at this question he needs to engage ideas outside of thenormal realm of economic thought – moving towards the importance of qualitative versequantitative distinctions is critically important to this move.For Schumacher the central role that economics plays in society is not a problem, in facthe by no means supposes to replace “economics” with something else. What he wants tohighlight is that economics is a function of something else. That, in essence, economicsdoes not operate distinct from its surroundings or philosophical roots that dominate thesociety at any one stage. What he is concerned with is the overtly scientific focus of economics and its obsession with the quantitative that leads to an “economist– turned-econometrician,” and that they, economists, fail to pay attention to the “
primacy of qualitative distinctions
In other words our understanding of economics does notencompass a large enough spectrum of life. Schumacher has to expand the understandingof economics to one that embeds it into a larger philosophy of society. Schumacher,quoted John Stuart Mill as saying that, the political-economy is “not a thing by itself, butas a fragment of a greater whole; a branch of social philosophy, so interlinked with all the
E. F. Schumacher,
Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered,
(London: Abacus,1974), p. 33.
Ibid., p. 33.
Ibid., p. 34.
Ibid., p. 40.