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Entries tagged with ‘intermediate technology’

Schumacher ‘Small is Beautiful’

Publication of Fritz Schumacher’s book, Small is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered

“Coinciding with the 1973 oil crisis, this book became a bestseller and fostered worldwide interest in alternative technologies and alternative economics.” (Practical Action website)

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Intermediate Technology Development Group (now Practical Action) formed

The Intermediate Technology Development Group (now called Practical Action) was founded in 1966 by Fritz Schumacher and a few of his close associates to promote the use of ‘appropriate’ efficient labour-intensive technologies in rural areas. One of its first efforts was to produce a ’Directory of Hand and Animal Drawn Equipment’ for the British National Export Council for Agricultural Implements Mission to Nigeria. This was the forerunner of other technical guides like Tools for Agriculture, The Power Guide and similar directories. (Practical Action website)

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Concept of ‘Intermediate Technology’ introduced

The concept of ’Intermediate Technology’ was introduced by radical economist and philosopher Fritz Schumacher first in a report for the Indian Planning Commission in 1962 and then popularised in an influential article published in the Observer in 1965.

Schumacher emphasised “the inadequacies of conventional aid policies based, as they were then, on the transfer of modern, capital-intensive and large-scale technologies to developing countries which did not have the financial resources, technical skills or mass markets to accommodate them. He argued that there should be a shift in emphasis towards ’intermediate technologies’ based on the needs and skills possessed by the people of developing countries.” (Practical Action website)  Intermediate technologies were thus described as relatively small, simple, capital-saving, labour-intensive, and environmentally less-damaging technologies, suitable for local, small-scale application. (Wood, 1983) 

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