Reviving appropriate technology

Reviving appropriate technology

CAMBRIDGE — In 1973, the British economist E.F. Schumacher published a book with the captivating title “Small Is Beautiful”, advocating the use in poor countries of human-scale, less capital-intensive technologies more suited to local conditions. The book sparked vigorous debate among economists in the 1970s and 1980s on “appropriate technology”.

For developing countries, the ability to adopt new technologies created in the rich world is surely an important advantage. But technologies developed in advanced economies, where skills and capital are abundant, might constitute at best a mixed blessing. A recent discussion involving distinguished economists, convened by the International Economic Association […]

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