The centenary of E.F. Schumacher’s birth (1911-1977) offered an urgent opportunity to revisit his work and life. Against the background of the crisis at the beginning of this century, reconsidering Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful or frugality paradigm makes clear that advances in responsible economics continue to be a priority. This book contains the proceedings of the 2001 Annual Conference of the European SPES Forum on ‘Responsibility in Economics and Business: The Legacy of E.F. Schumacher ’, which was organised in September 2011 by the Centre for Ethics of the University of Antwerp in collaboration with the Business Ethics Center of Budapest. The aims of this conference were to celebrate the 100th anniversary of E.F. Schumacher’s birth and to engage with Schumacher’s vision to help address the present need for responsibility in economics and business. The answers to our current economic crisis presented in this book prove that the legacy of an economist and philosopher like Schumacher are not confined to a utopian economic paradigm. Utopian economic paradigms are concerned with a better economic situation in the future. Schumacher reconsidered today, however, makes it clear that society needs responsible economics invested in the sustainability of the globe, right now.
Hendrik Opdebeeck is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Antwerp where he is affiliated with the Centre for Ethics. He studied philosophy and economics at the Universities of Leuven and Ghent where he obtained a PhD with a dissertation on E.F. Schumacher. His research is focused on cultural-philosophical backgrounds and effects of globalization. His publications in English include The Foundation and Application of Moral Philosophy (2000), Building Towers, Perspectives on Globalisation (2002), with L. Bouckaert and L. Zsolnai: Frugality. Rebalancing Material and Spiritual Values in Economic Life (Peter Lang, Oxford, 2008) and with L. Zsolnai: Spiritual Humanism and Economic Wisdom (2006).