Remarks by Barbara Wood Schumacher, September 22, 2011, for the conference:
Responsibility in Economics and Business: The Legacy of E. F. Schumacher
I reached Gus Newport in Gulfport, Mississippi where he is working with residents to apply the CLT model to the rebuilding of traditionally African-American neighborhoods devastated by the hurricane. The North Gulfport and Turkey Creek communities were purchased and settled by freed slaves in 1866 and quickly grew into vibrant, self-sufficient neighborhoods made up of farms and small homesteads, surrounded by the marshland which was the natural protection against hurricanes.
The gap between wealth and poverty is growing in the U.S., because policies to stabilize the lives of the poor and people of color do not focus on long-term solutions. Our economy is unstable, in an inflationary spiral that continues to raise the cost of basic goods, including food, gasoline, medicine and health care. Most depressing is the lack of affordable housing for the poor, working and unemployed, and seniors with limited retirement income. The severity of the shortage of affordable housing has multiplied in recent years.
In 1981, Robert Swann, president of the E. F. Schumacher Society, helped to form the Community Land Trust in the South Berkshires. The Community Land Trust currently owns ten acres with four house sites clustered to intrude as little as possible on the remaining apple orchard. The offices of the Society are housed on the land.
The story of land is older than the story of man. Land came first; no man created it. Every society, large or small, must devise ways in which its members will share this gift. This is allocation (1). Members of the society must also determine under what conditions the land will be passed on to the next generation. This is continuity. And they must decide if, when, and how it may be traded with others. This is exchange.
We abuse the land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.
- Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac (1949)
Dare to Achieve
Are we there yet?
By Will Raap
The July 10, 2011 issue of Time magazine ran an article titled “Want to Make More than a Banker? Become a Farmer!” It is about the resurgence in the value of Midwest grain farms as food and energy (with the impact of ethanol) prices rise globally.