Conclusion: Is Education The ‘Greatest Resource’?
The idea that education is ‘the greatest resource’ (Schumacher 1973 P64) pervades both technocentric and ecocentric thought. The former argues – along the lines of the Baconian creed – that for us to avoid ecological malpractice and to ‘manage’ our way out of difficulties which our production system creates we must know more thoroughly the laws of nature. On the other hand the ecocentric sees that education provides answers to more fundamental problems: ‘We are suffering from a metaphysical disease and the cure must be metaphysical. Education which fails to clarify our central convictions is mere training or indulgence’ (Schumacher, ibid). So education can provide the panacea for our ills; whether we think (see Preface, section 1) that if only people knew the ‘facts’ of environmental abuse such abuse would stop, or whether we believe, with the Blueprint, that a complete change of values must accompany total reorganisation of society along more ecologically sound lines. Schumacher argued that education is the ‘greatest resource’ because it maintains and strengthens not only human daring, initiative and constructive activity but also regard for nature. If this book is to conclude constructively, by indicating the best way forward to a more ecologically and socially harmonious society, it must now examine this ecocentric claim that the best way is provided through education.