“Since consumption is merely a means to human well-being, the aim should be to obtain the maximum of well-being with the minimum of consumption… Modern economics, on the other hand, considers consumption to be the sole end and purpose of all economic activity.” – E.F. Schumacher – Small is Beautiful
In 1974, E.F. Schumacher published “Small is Beautiful,” a collection of essays touting the virtues of smallness. He argued that we were too focused on increasing GDP and producing more goods, and in the process stomping on the environment, and even our own best interests. Though Schumacher’s ideas were largely discarded during the boom-times of the 90s and 00s, the combined effects of the recession and our increased environmental awareness seem to be bringing Schumacher’s ideas back to the forefront.
Most agree that our economy has been irreversibly changed by the great recession that we’re still slowly climbing out of. But how will the new economy look when it re-establishes itself? Will we continue to rely on the industrial food system, or will the local foods movement prove to be more than just a trend? Will we continue to support big box retail and it’s relentless drive for lower prices, or will we realize the value of shopping and manufacturing goods locally?
Capitol Hill has many businesses, organizations and individuals who are helping to define what comes next. Here are three people I spoke with for a better understanding of how their creations fit into Capitol Hill and the re-growth of the “Small is Beautiful” movement — Summer Robinson of Pilot Books, Ian Anderson of Zone Four and Scott Allison of Cherry Hill Urban Farm.
- Pilot Books: 219 Broadway E
- Zone Four: 1720 12th Ave
- Cherry Hill Urban Farm: 1127 15th Ave