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The well-being of Europe’s citizens depends less on individual consumption and more on their social consumption of essential goods and services – from water and retail banking to schools and care homes – in what we call the foundational economy. Individual consumption depends on market income, while foundational consumption depends on social infrastructure and delivery systems of networks and branches, which are neither created nor renewed automatically, even as incomes increase. This historically created foundational economy has been wrecked in the last generation by privatisation, outsourcing, franchising and the widespread penetration of opportunistic and predatory business models. The distinctive, primary role of public policy should therefore be to secure the supply of basic services for all citizens (not a quantum of economic growth and jobs). Reconstructing the foundational has to start with a vision of citizenship that identifies foundational entitlements as the conditions for dignified human development, and likewise has to depend on treating the business enterprises central to the foundational economy as juridical persons with claims to entitlements but also with responsibilities and duties. If the aim is citizen well-being and flourishing for the many not the few, then European politics at regional, national and EU level needs to be refocused on foundational consumption and securing universal minimum access and quality. If/when government is unresponsive, the impetus for change has to come from engaging citizens locally and regionally in actions which break with the top down politics of ‘vote for us and we will do this for you’.

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Alison Hulme

exclusively at the concept of thrift and the way it has been used politically to encourage and discourage certain socio-​economic behaviours throughout history. It seeks to understand how the concept of thrift has been used and abused over time, and how the thrift-​seeking/​thrift-​avoiding individual subject has been celebrated and chastised accordingly. It is then, part archaeology of thrift –​mining into the uses of a concept; and part anthropology of thrift  –​exploring how interpretations of the concept have resulted in specific forms of everyday life. More crucially

in A brief history of thrift
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Thoreau in the city
Alison Hulme

to enrichen some and at best entail some form of ‘trickle-​down’ of that wealth to others (although there is rightly much scepticism about this). So, it stands to reason that for many, in fact most, people on the planet thrift in the form of frugality is simply a fact of everyday life. Historical discourses that present it as something that only occurs when times are economically tough, or amongst those who have enough to cut back a little, fail to recognise the material reality of the majority world.1 In addition, this account assumes that capitalism forms some

in A brief history of thrift
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Making do, rationing and nostalgic austerity
Alison Hulme

on allotments (Hinton and Redclift, 2009:12–​13). By 1942 it was estimated that over half Britain’s manual workers had an allotment or were growing food in their garden (Gardiner, 2004:166).1 It was not only food that required careful management. The Second World War in Britain also saw the launch of various government poster campaigns advocating thrift in other areas of everyday life, in a determined effort to drive down the consumptive needs of the population. Ministry of Information 70 70 A brief history of thrift 5.1  ‘Dig for victory’ poster from the

in A brief history of thrift
The Foundation Economy Collective

marshals. But that is the here and now. Everyday life was not like this for most of human history and it is not like this for many people in low-income countries today. Through most of history, cities were so unhealthy that they relied on inward migration to maintain population. That is what it was like before about 1880 in large West European cities plagued by high infant mortality and infectious diseases (Lenger 2012, pp. 38–40). Disease killed rich and poor alike because cities did not have urban systems which piped clean water and sanitation to every household and

in Foundational economy
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Simplicity, sensuality and politics in Henry Thoreau
Alison Hulme

brief history of thrift Thoreau’s anti-​capitalism If, for Thoreau, living ‘deliberately’ was about finding a more spiritual way of living and being in touch with one’s life, then it was also about re-​gaining freedom and time not possible under the constraints of capitalism; time to live in a way that allowed him to notice the things around him and find joy in them. In other words, not to be weighed down by the necessity to earn and to have no choice but to take part in activities in everyday life that he did not wish to spend his time engaged in. His asceticism

in A brief history of thrift
Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Smiles and Victorian moralism
Alison Hulme

, and God’s action following:  ‘God helps them that help themselves.’ Indeed Franklin/​Poor Richard did not espouse any notion that individual behaviour may have an effect on society as a whole, even though this may well have been Franklin’s motivation considering the times of national debt in which he lived.5 This was, then, a thrift that pervaded many elements of everyday life; a thrift that was about never being ‘showy’ or indulging in laziness (or perhaps even relaxation!). But what made this thrift post-​Puritan was Franklin’s lack of belief in salvation

in A brief history of thrift
Don Slater

. Detraditionalisation and pluralisation of styles of life We commonly characterise modernity in terms of the loosening of social and cultural structures that – in pre-modern times – were fixed by juridical, religious and traditional structures. For example, studies of emergent consumer culture emphasise a destabilisation of both status and lifestyle: there is a new fluidity to material culture, as well as a new pluralism that requires ‘choice’ and problematises the taken-for-grantedness of the objects, lifestyles and relationships that fill everyday life (for example, Giddens, 1991

in Market relations and the competitive process
A new beginning?
Costas Simitis

to restrictive measures, painful reforms or the genuine severity of the challenges that Greece faced. The growth and normalisation of violence and conflict in everyday life was indicative of how far Greek society had imploded. In the week prior to the Greece.indb 267 3/13/2014 1:56:50 PM 268 Part V: Elections of 6 May and 17 June 2012 June election, this became evident on a nation television programme when a member of Golden Dawn threw a glass of water at a member of SYRIZA before physically assaulting a female member of the Communist Party.8 It required this

in The European debt crisis
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Keynes, consumer rights and the new thrifty consumers
Alison Hulme

’ on the other. Whilst there is now little doubt that various countries at various points in history had very active mercantile economies in which consumption was very much part of everyday life, it is less easy to argue that a consumerist culture had therefore become an overwhelming factor. Consumerism in this sense is more frequently described as a twentieth-​ century phenomenon; one that came hand in hand with the mass consumption of the postwar years. There is no room here for a full discussion of the merits of denying a ‘moment’ of mass consumption or a

in A brief history of thrift