Tuesday, 3 July 2012

David & Goliath OR 'Small is beautiful!'

I just couldn't resist this!

Small is Beautiful by E F Schumacher
If EF Schumacher's great work on rethinking economics had been called the Principle of Subsidiary Function its audience, I suspect, might not have reached the millions that were touched by Small is Beautiful.
Yet the former is a more accurate description of the concept at the heart of his work and the latter, in spite of being key to his book's success, not only did Schumacher resist, but it became a caricature of his ideas, easier for opponents to dismiss than the subtlety of his actual arguments. Because Schumacher's interest was not in smallness, per se. That would, in every sense of the term, be small-minded. He was interested in "appropriateness of scale".

It seems that the tendency in many walks of life these days that everything has to be bigger and produced faster to be considered successful. This is not the case and the other point is that Schumacher chose a title that would make his work attractive to a wider audience, a pointer for all writers.
The significant point is that whether it be a collection of countries, companies and associations of any type, they all have an optimum size and I believe the world has lost sight of that fact.

The European Community was massive when there were 9 countries but now that there are 27 it is out of control. Similarly organising health authorities in the UK into trusts has made larger units that are losing money rapidly and they are being amalgamated into even larger units to try and reduce losses! It makes no sense to me.

Just a couple of examples of large units becoming increasingly inefficient and in some ways taking control of ones writing is just as important. I know when the bit is between my teeth and I'm enjoying creating a passage it is so easy to forget the rest of the story and the relevance of that passage.   I know I take my reputation in my hands when I criticise the work of Dickens but in one or two of his stories his descriptions become so long and convoluted that a reader can lose the thread and become disinterested. The corollary being that too short is equally unsatisfying. I'm afraid I find some blogs can be a little overcooked and have you tried to read the Smashwords style guide?

As writers I make a plea for us all to apply brevity where convoluted description is not really necessary.

On a completely different note Happy Independence Day to all my supporters and readers in the USA!
God Bless