Small is Beautiful


Small is Beautiful is a concept articulated by British economist E. F. Schumacher in which unrestrained production is not seen as the driving force of an effective economy. An effective economy takes into account the scale of local population needs in relationship with the limited natural resources.

Let us come together and do for ourselves.
(An an ongoing conversation on community, work, joy, and higher calling)

Gainful Employment- use of physical and mental faculties to grow in a particular direction.

Occupation- filling a given time or space with an object, action, or energy.

Livelihood- that which makes us lively.

“Always you have been told that work is a curse and labour a misfortune.
But I say to you that when you work you fulfill a part of earth’s furthest dream, assigned to you  when that dream was born,
And in keeping yourself with labour you are in truth loving life,
And to love life through labour is to be intimate with life’s inmost secret.”
(Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet)

The number one import and export of a locally self-reliant economy is the understanding of how to live as stewards of the gift of life. The market is an extension of our physical and mental faculties and should be used to serve all life on Earth. Monetary currency is a tool for exchange in the market. It serves the function of creating a standard to measure the value of goods and services. But there is no standard by which to judge the value of  money except for the whims a global free-market driven by growth and consumption. Economy based on consumption and debt is wholly unsustainable on every plane of being. Our world society has aptly demonstrated this.

At the moment, money is far too abstract to be considered a standard by which to base the value of anything. One morning we will all wake up and find that money has no value, both in the market and in the service of life. What then? Is there not something else shared during an exchange between living entities in the market place, something that nourishes our inmost yearning? What we seek to gain through the employment of physical and mental faculties should be closely examined now.

“On every level the word ‘profit’ conjugates with the verb to have, and the word ‘service’ conjugates with verb to be.” (Frederic Lionel, Revolution in Consciousness)

The value of an industry will no longer be based on the amount jobs it creates. There is no need to create jobs to keep people busy. There is more than enough work for everyone to do in the service of life on Earth.

I identify as an artist and a screen printer, the essential function of which is communication through imagery.  At the moment, there is much that I take for granted, like, that I can print with a variety of ready-to-print ink colors onto quality t-shirts using professional tools all of which arrived to my house by truck. In that process there are at least six industries that were once and can once again supply many people with gainful employment locally.   All there is to do is become intimate with the elements involved and to reach across disciplinary boundaries and figure out how to source all of our tools and materials from locally available industry and renewable resources. This is the task, and we are more than equal to it, all there is to do is to gainfully employ all of our faculties, most of all our hearts.

We each take assessment of our skills, aptitudes, and areas into which we wish to grow. We then come together and share our “haves” and our “have-nots,” or our resources. It is important to view our needs as resources, because it gives others joy in being of service. Reciprocity, in this regard, is equally as important, so as not to create imbalances from which quarrelsome attitudes may arise. It is crucial to the evolution of humanity that our energy be used wisely, because there is much to be done. Therefore, we should limit the time spent on that which does not bring us joy. If we can support one another in putting more energy into that which nourishes our mind and body to better serve the spirit then we are succeeding.

-Michael Clark


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