Small Is Beautiful by E. F. Schumacher
The sub title says it all: A study of economics as if people mattered. Yet this is no desert-dry treatise crammed with numbers and figures, usually beloved of economists. Rather it is imbued with hard nosed, real world compassion. "If ... nothing is left for fathers to teach their sons, or for the sons to accept from their fathers, family life collapses. The life, work, and happiness of all societies depend on certain 'psychological structures' which are infinitely precious and highly vulnerable. A man is destroyed by the inner conviction of uselessness. No amount of economic growth can compensate for such losses ..." But E.F. Schumacher was not your tie-dyed style of greenie — he was, after all, Economic Adviser to the British Coal Board for twenty years. Yet he developed an understanding of the world so very different to his peers. "An attitude to life which seeks fulfilment in the single-minded pursuit of wealth — in short, materialism — does not fit into this world, because it contains within itself no limiting principle, while the environment in which it is placed is strictly limited." Read this absolute classic to learn how Schumacher developed his notion of Intermediate Technology, as an appropriate mid-point between grinding poverty and decadent affluence.
Buy Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if people mattered, by E.F. Schumacher