Saturday, January 20, 2007

New Pearce book available in the US

Biographer of G.K.Chesterton, Joseph Pearce has a new book out, Small is Still Beautiful, subtitled: Economics as if Families Mattered. From the publisher:
A third of a century ago, E. F. Schumacher rang out a timely warning against the idolatry of giantism with his book Small Is Beautiful. Since then, millions of copies of Schumacher’s work have been sold in dozens of different languages; few books before or since have spoken so profoundly to urgent economic and social considerations. Schumacher, a highly respected economist and adviser to third-world governments, broke ranks with the accepted wisdom of his peers to warn of impending calamity if rampant consumerism, technological dynamism, and economic expansionism were not checked by human and environmental considerations. Humanity was lurching blindly in the wrong direction, argued Schumacher. Its obsessive pursuit of wealth would not, as so many believed, ultimately lead to utopia but more probably to catastrophe.
Schumacher's greatest achievement was the fusion of ancient wisdom and modern economics in a language that encapsulated contemporary doubts and fears about the industrialized world. The wisdom of the ages, the perennial truths that have guided humanity throughout its history, serves as a constant reminder to each new generation of the limits to human ambition. But if this wisdom is a warning, it is also a battle cry. Schumacher saw that we needed to relearn the beauty of smallness, of human-scale technology and environments. It was no coincidence that his book was subtitled Economics as if People Mattered. Joseph Pearce revisits Schumacher’s arguments and examines the multifarious ways in which Schumacher’s ideas themselves still matter. Faced though we are with fearful new technological possibilities and the continued centralization of power in large governmental and economic structures, there is still the possibility of pursuing a saner and more sustainable vision for humanity. Bigger is not always best, Pearce reminds us, and small is still beautiful.

Book discussion here.
Interview with Pearce about this book here.


  1. Pearce devoted a couple of chapters to Schumacher in Literary Converts. If those passages are any indication, this book should be very interesting.

  2. Anyone know what differs between the book listed above and this one? I had added the book in the link to my wishlist after reading Pearce's article on Schumacher on Godspy.

    I've been interested in checking both Schumacher and Pearce's books out, as they present a much different look at economics that what I was taught in high school and college.

  3. It's the same book. My copy is from 2001. Is this a new edition, Nan?
    ~ JP

  4. This is the new, 2006 edition from ISI. I don't know if there have been previous American editions. I can e-mail Joseph and get the straight scoop from him.

  5. My copy is a Harper Collins hardcover published in London in 2001. It is 254 pages. There is a short Foreword by Schumacher's daughter Barabara Wood.
    Incidentally, Joseph is speaking in Chicago on March 9 to the Catholic Citizens of Illinois at a luncheon in the Chicago Athletic Club building. He was scheduled to speak on the 12th of January, but sadly he had to cancel to attend a funeral back in England. I will pass along the details of the meeting to any of you Chicago-region residents who might be interested. This is a monthly lecture series -- at which I have heard some great talks by the likes of Fr Fessio, Ralph McInerny, and -- several years ago, Joseph Pearce.

  6. Yes, I would LOVE to hear about that talk. My late grandfather was a member of the Chicago Athletic Club and we stayed there when I was about 8 or 9 or so. Grand place. This was back before the city re-routed Lake Shore Drive.

  7. Here I thought I was the only one who already had a copy of the book! I guess a lot of us who are fan's of Joseph Pearce's writing already got the book when it was published in England. However, thanks for the heads-up. I e-mailed the link for the Godspy interview to my dd's bf who is a political science and philosophy major. I'm trying so hard to get him interested in distributist ideas, this may do it. Now I just have to get him to read Pearce and Schumacher!

  8. Pearce is a terrific writer and very talented at that.

    I look forward to more and more printed material on distributism, and I hope this book leads to this end.


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