Towards a theory of thrift
in A brief history of thrift
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Challenges the conventional version of economic history in which thrift is portrayed as gradually fading into the background as consumer societies take over. Argues in contrast that thrift (as frugality) has been a consistent undercurrent to capitalism and aided its survival. Points to histories of peasants, monks, revolutionaries, conservationists, environmentalists, civil rights activists, philanthropists, social protestors, and others committed to an ethos of restraint. Argues this alternative history of thrift can be mapped philosophically as a strong lineage from Aristotle’s notion of thriving, to Thomas Aquinas, to Marx, to Thoreau, and to present-day radical green movements.

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