Scott Nearing (August 6, 1883 – August 24, 1983) was an American radical economist, educator, writer, political activist, and advocate of simple living.
Nearing was born in Morris Run, Tioga County, Pennsylvania, the heart of the state's coal country. Nearing's grandfather, Winfield Scott Nearing, had arrived in Tioga County with his family in 1864, at the age of 35, when he accepted a job as a civil and mining engineer. Before the end of the year he had assumed full control of mining operations as the superintendent of the Morris Run Coal Company, a position of authority which he held for the remainder of his working life. An intense, driven man, Scott Nearing's grandfather studied science and nature, practiced gardening and carpentry, and regularly received crates of books from New York City, amassing a large personal library. In his memoirs written late in his life, Scott Nearing would recall his grandfather as one of the four most influential figures in his life. Nearing's upbringing was that of a young bourgeois, his mother employing a part-time tutor and two Polish servants to clean the gleaming white house atop a hill overlooking the town. Scott's brother recalled that the citizens of Morris Run had treated the handsome and intelligent Scott "the way they would treat the heir to the nobleman.... They all treated him with awe."
Nearing's father was a small businessman and stockbroker, his mother a vigorous, energetic, and idealistic woman whom Nearing later credited with instilling in him an appreciation for the higher things in life: nature, books, and the arts. Despite an upbringing in a life of privilege made possible at some level by the harsh anti-union politics of his patriarchal grandfather, young Scott Nearing nevertheless developed a social conscience, which one of his biographers describes as "a burr under his skin that none of his relatives acquired and that no interpretation satisfactorily explains."..
Quotes by Scott Nearing
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