10 things you didn’t know about E F Schumacher

1. He held the rank of colonel in the US army.

2. He was a member of a group called Men of the Trees, with a particular interest in developing ways to reforest the Sahara.

3. In 1938 he was part of a start-up company called Battery Traction Ltd that aimed to build a national network of electric car charging points and battery hiring stations. It was scuppered by the war and we’re still waiting for that network.

4. He wrote the Times obituary for John Maynard Keynes.

5. Depending on which publication he was writing for, he wrote under the pseudonyms Ivor Moresby and Ernest F Sutor as well as his own name.

6. He was once given some wheat that had been found in an ancient Egyptian tomb, or so he was told. Despite being thousands of years old, Schumacher planted it in the garden and it grew.

7. He was fascinated by UFOs.

8. He was a well known economist by his mid thirties, but looked ten years younger than he was. On hearing his name, people often asked him if he was any relation of the famous economist.

9. “I should much rather be a farmer than an economist” he once wrote. “The trouble is that I am not a farmer, and have no farm.”

10. Schumacher was a doctor and had multiple degrees, but all of them were honorary. He never actually completed his own course of studies.

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