F.F. Schumacher, 66, aBritish economist and the author of "Small is Beautiful," whose unorthodox advocacy of small scale technology has won a wide range of adherents, died Sunday at a hospital in Switzerland.
Dr. Schumacher who had been visiting in Switzerland was on his way to Zurich by train when he became ill was taken to a hospital in Firbourg Canton, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. The cause of death was not immediately reported.
Dr. Schumacher's emphasis on the values of small-scale technology has become increaingly influential both in underdevelpoed nations and among ecologists and advocates of decentralization in the more developed countries.
With the apparent declie in availability of the cheap fuel and labor upon which many great industrial enterprises were founded, and with the growing disillusionment with the effects of bug technology, Dr. Schumacher's specific proposals for technology on a smaller and more human scale, once ridiculed, have found an expanding audience.
His book, first published in 1973, became a best seller in paperback, and made him something of a folk hero. Its sucess has been ascribed to its similarity to Eastern philosophies. It similarity to Eastern philosophies. It is subtitled: "A study of economics as if people matterd." The book, which has been translated into manylanguages, both urges human fulfillment and suggests means of reading that goal.
Dr. Schumacher was born in Germany and studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and at Columbia Universiyt in New York.
After coming to Britian he spent 20 years, from 1950 to 1970 as economic adviser to the National Coal Board. He spent time as a consultant in Asia where he refined many of his progress in less developed areas.
His essential idea was to encourage the establishment of small production facilitie in rural regions and to use local resources to meet local needs.
"All you need is simple materials," he said, adding in the aphoristic style for which he was known, "The Taj Mahal wasn't built with Portland cement."
In 1966 he established the Intermediate Technology Development Group in London. Intermediate technology, he once explained, is on a level between the hoe and the tractor. It was designed to meet the needs of developing countries by seeking out suitable technology, devising it when it did not exist and publishing instruction manuals for simple, low cost systems and industries.
His wife died in 1960, and he remarried in 1962. He had eight children.