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Archive for november 2009

citaten uit ‘Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered’ van E.F. Schumacher – 1973

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They want production to be limited to useful things, but they forget that the production of too many useful things results in too many useless people

Deze citaten hebben op deze blogpagina enkel als doel discussiemateriaal aan te leveren binnen de draad op “Is voedsel een maatschappelijke dienst?“.

Om de analyses en mogelijke oplossingen die E.F Schumacher aanreikt echt te kunnen vatten, lees je best het boek, waaruit hier wordt geciteerd.

bladzijde 88

Schumacher citeert experten, die het Mansholt Plan verdedigen:

In the discussion of the Mansholt Plan, agriculture is generally referred to as one of Europe’s ‘industries’. The question arises of whether agriculture is, in fact, an industry, or whether it might be something essentially different. Not surprisingly, as this is a metaphysical – or meta-economic – question, it is never raised by economists.

Now, the fundamental ‘principle’ of agriculture is that it deals with life, that is to say, with living substances. Its products are the results of processes of life and its means of production is the living soil. A cubic centimetre of fertile soil contains milliards of living organisms, the full exploration of which is far beyond the capacities of man. The fundamental ‘principle’ of modern industry, on the other hand, is that it deals with man-devised processes which work reliably only when applied to man-devised, non-living materials. The idea of industry is the eliminitaion of living substances.

The ideal of industry is to eliminate the living factor, even including the human-factor, and to turn the productive process over to machines.

bladzijde 90

Schumacher citeert verder experten, die het Mansholt Plan verdedigen:

Or again: ‘Agriculture, in Europe at least, is essentially directed towards food-production … It is well known that the demand for food increases relatively slowly with the increases in real income. This causes the total incomes earned in agriculture to rise more slowly in comparison with the the incomes earned in industry; to maintain the same rate of growth of incomes per head is only possible if there is an adequate rate of decline in the numbers engaged in agriculture’

‘The conclusions seem inescapable: under circumstances which are normal in other advanced countries, the community would be able to satisfy its own needs with only one-third as many farmers as now.’

Schumacher becommentarieert dit:

No serious exception can be taken to these statements if we adopt – as the experts have adopted – the metaphysical position of the crudest materialism, for which money costs and money incomes are the ultimate criteria and determinants of human action, and the living world has no significance beyond that of a quarry for exploitation.

On a wider view, however, the land is seen as a priceless asset which it is man’s task and happiness ‘to dress and to keep’. We can say that man’s management of the land must be primarily orientated towards three goals – health, beauty, and permanence. The fourth goal – the only one exepted by the experts – productivity, will then be attained almost as a by-product.

The crude materialists view sees agriculture as ‘essentially directed towards food-production’. A wider view sees agriculture as having to fulfil at least three tasks:

  • to keep man in touch with living nature, of which he is and remains a highly vulnerable part;
  • to humanises and ennoble man’s wider habitat; and
  • to bring forth the foodstuffs and other materials which are needed for a becoming life

bladzijde 124

Schumacher brengt hier twee interessante stellingen naar voor, die essentieel zijn om te begrijpen waarom landbouw in Europa toen (1973) was wat het vandaag (2009) nog steeds is. Of omgekeerd.

In fact, one might put the following proposition to students of sociology: ‘The prestige carried by people in modern industrial society varies in inverse proportion to their closeness to actual production.

Karl Marx appears to have foreseen much of this when he wrote:’They want production to be limited to useful things, but they forget that the production of too many useful things results in too many useless people‘ …


Written by hallometsteven

november 6, 2009 at 9:31 am