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Ernst F. Schumacher
1911 - 1977

British economist, author of Small is Beautiful and A Guide for the Perplexed


Societies need stability and change, tradition and innovation, public interest and private interest, planning and laissez-faire policies, order and freedom, growth and decay. Everywhere society's health depends on the simultaneous pursuit of mutually opposed activities or aims. The adoption of a final solution means a kind of death sentence for man's humanity and spells either cruelty or dissolution, generally both.

1978 - from A Guide for the Perplexed, Harper and Row
The pairs of opposites, of which freedom and order and growth and decay are the most basic, put tension into the world, a tension that sharpens man's sensitivity and increases his self-awareness. No real understanding is possible without awareness of these pairs of opposites which permeate everything man does.

1978 - from A Guide for the Perplexed, Harper and Row
We must do what we conceive to be the right thing, and not bother hour heads or burden our souls with whether we are going to be successful. Because if we don't do the right thing, we'll be doing the wrong thing, and we will just be part of the disease, and not a part of the cure.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius--and a lot of courage--to move in the opposite direction.

Justice is a denial of mercy, and mercy a denial of justice. Only a higher force can reconcile these opposites: wisdom. The problem cannot be solved, but wisdom can transcend it.

1978 - from A Guide for the Perplexed, Harper and Row