The case for small is often better argued through the case against big.
1: The film Etre Et Avoir.
2: Research show that small secondary schools of 300-800 pupils have better results, better behaviour, less truancy, less vandalism and better relationships than larger schools. The reasoning? Small schools make transformational human relationships possible, teachers know pupils and vice versa. 'You cannot teach a child well unless you know that child well'. Even knowing this the number of British schools with more than 2,000 pupils has tripled in the last decade.
3: Nobel economist Amartya Sen has shown that small family farms are more productive than big industrial ones. Ten family farms of a hundred acres can each produce more than one farm of a thousand acres. The reason? Passion, purpose, attention to detail, the effectiveness of human-scale housekeeping over industrialised systems.
4: Recent American research has American hospitals cost more to run per patient the bigger they get.
5: The bigger a company gets, the more impersonal and less innovative they are able to be. Which is why so many pharmaceutical companies outsource their research and development to small research start-ups.
6: When the accountants KPMG studied the results of mergers and acquisitions in 1999 they found that only 17% of all mergers added value to the combined company. With as many as 53% of mergers actually destroying share holder value.
7: Just 2% of all UK Charities hoover up 2/3 of charity funding.
8: No 3 star Michelin restaurant sits over 50 people
Economies of scale don't work so well when real human beings become involved. Scaling up usually means the added cost of inefficiencies of big management and infrastructure, more rules, more monitoring, more paperwork and pen pushing, and less trust and entrepreneurialism. As purpose is diluted so is passion, productiivity and ultimately financial growth.
nb: Most of this is lifted directly from the essay Small Is Splendid by David Boyle in The Idler No 44.