Get curated editors’ picks, peeks behind the scenes, film recommendations and more.
‘Like all good revolutionaries, he travels light…’
A protégé of John Maynard Keynes, the German-British economist Ernst Friedrich ‘Fritz’ Schumacher (1911-77) came of age in step with his contemporaries who emphasised growth as they endeavoured to rebuild the modern world following the Second World War. Midway though his career, however, Schumacher began to believe that the increasingly complex global economy and the increasingly intricate machinery it was built on were proving ruinous for humanity. Influenced by Buddhist teachings, he developed a set of principles he called ‘Buddhist economics’, based on the beliefs that meaningful work is an essential part of being human, simple technology is valuable only to the extent that it meets needs, and the interconnected modern economy is disastrous to humankind and the environment. He trimmed his thesis to an eloquent three words for his landmark book Small Is Beautiful (1973), which brims with ideas that are today familiar to most and embraced by many, and is often cited as one of the most influential postwar works of economics. This documentary profile of Schumacher from 1977 captures him at the height of his influence and, incidentally, in the months leading up to his death, exploring his thoughtful philosophies of work, technology and human dignity.
Directors: Donald Brittain, Barrie Howells, Douglas Kiefer
Website: National Film Board of Canada
What can a Kurosawa classic tell us about reality, knowledge and truth?
Jocelyn Bell discovered pulsars. The Nobel Prize went to her supervisor
Animals and humans
A bluesy ballad tells the story of Old Bet, the first circus elephant in the US
In this 1975 lecture, the maglev train’s inventor deconstructs his ingenious design
Meaning and the good life
To know or not to know? Lillian weighs the costs of a life-changing genetic test
Information and communication
There are many ways to make a flat map of the world – each of them a unique distortion
Liquid experiments show how beautiful things can happen when chemicals meet
What is it like to clean the world for tomorrow while the rest of a city sleeps?
Philosophy of mind
Caring for the vulnerable opens gateways to our richest, deepest brain states