This brilliant book written in 1973 is so relevant it could have been written yesterday. Schumacher was a great believer that 'Technology must be the servant of man, not its master' that we need technology to solve our problems not create more. Technology is developed to enable us to make our lives easier, better and more enjoyable but instead of lightening the burden of work it has made extra work and life even more difficult. Regularly I hear the term 'juggling' things, 'fitting' things in. Now within the 21st century technology has made our day to day activities not easier but more complicated and stressful. We are slaves to technology and dependant on the way it dictates our lives. Our lack of time for leisure has increased over the past 40 years alongside this technological development and dependence.Things have got worse instead of better. Everywhere problems have grown; poverty, unemployment, climate change still continues to grow, technology has not solved problems it has made them escalate!
Development of technology has created a huge amount of so called labour saving devices but our time for leisure has reduced. Modern technology has practically eliminated skilful and productive work of the human hand with real materials. In the richer countries UK, USA and Germany we live strained and stressful lives but in poorer countries they have larger amounts of leisure time. With less labour saving devices they of course accomplish less, but the burden of 'living' is less compared to ours. Virtually all production has been reduced to work that is a heartless chore work that doesn't 'enrich a man but empties him' Schumacher talks about the need for a 'technology with a human face' a technology that helps us utilize the human hand and brain to be more productive than ever.
Ghandi has said the poor of the world cant be helped by mass production only by the production of the masses.
The production of the masses uses the priceless resources we all, as human beings possess; clever brains and skilful hands which can be supported with high quality tools. Mass production violates ecology and renewable resources and damages the enthusiasm of society. The term 'Many hands make light work' comes to mind and within that 'many' there becomes community, collaboration, connection to each other and materiality generating haptic wellbeing of making and producing.
We as humans have the capabilities to generate a high quality of life, a life balance of work and leisure by utilizing our brains and gifts of making and creativity but we choose to be believe the instigators of mass production and what they tell us we should be doing and using. They play on our pack mentality and insecurities into accepting that their way is the better way.
The term small is beautiful appropriates aspects of my practice also. I strive to make the other wise overlooked or discarded regarded in a different way, to make people see the beauty in decay and the elements. Everything is relevant no matter how small, in the cycle of life
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2011/mar/27/schumacher-david-cameron-small-beautiful 9accessed 12/7/17)
Schumacher E F, Small Is Beautiful, 1993, Vintage, London
MA Creative Practice