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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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Puritans, Quakers and Methodists
Alison Hulme

puritanical attitude towards human nature (i.e. self-​interested or community-​interested) means their thrift was essentially one which saw money as evil, or one which saw it as the least harmful of various evils and which could therefore be used for greater good. History presents the answer as the latter if we accept that puritanical doctrine came via Calvin and therefore via Augustine, as Augustine’s thought most certainly fed into that which saw the State as responsible for holding back the worst of the ‘passions’, including greed, and making something useful of

in A brief history of thrift
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Jack Mosse

: In a way, that thing about an ounce of passion is worth a ton of fact is relevant here. You can get things wrong, but if you take a pretty strong view, people like that. When taking on new staff and training them, the need to be opinionated and convincing was also prominent, as the chief newsletter editor explained: Whenever a new editor comes in, the first thing I say to them is, and the first thing that was

in The pound and the fury
Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Smiles and Victorian moralism
Alison Hulme

. Blankenhorn et  al. praise Franklin for the way in which he both reflected the American mentality and shaped it into what we now call the ‘American Dream’, arguing that he ‘revealed dispositions that reflected not just his own character but the American character itself:  the passion for freedom, the aspiration for self-​improvement, the pragmatic approach to problems, the desire to do good, and the confident outlook on the future’ (Blankenhorn et al., 2009:5). They reject the claim that Franklin promoted an outmoded, crabbed and narrowly economistic vision of human purpose

in A brief history of thrift
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Simplicity, sensuality and politics in Henry Thoreau
Alison Hulme

consumption’ (Nachane, n.d.:S20). Most crucially though, both Gandhi and Thoreau had a deep reverence for frugality and asceticism which they linked to the spiritual development of humankind, believing the latter was not attainable without leading an ascetic life. As Bhrigupati Singh attests, both Gandhi and Thoreau were conceptually and practically preoccupied with the ascetic ideal for most of their adult life (2010:7). For Gandhi this was via Brahmacharya (self-​control or ‘control of the 57 Spiritual thrift 57 passions’) –​hence his fasting and his celibacy. In

in A brief history of thrift
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Keynes, consumer rights and the new thrifty consumers
Alison Hulme

capitalism’s relationship with itself. As previously mentioned, capitalism has proceeded down a line stemming from Augustinian thought in which avarice was seen as able to be commandeered in order to guard against other more detrimental passions (such as lust) –​this avarice was what Mandeville talked of when he said that every part was full of ‘vice’. This led to the Keynesian idea of benefits for all and the political rhetoric of the duty to consume. However, in travelling this path in which money is posited as capable of doing good, capitalism had also requisitioned a

in A brief history of thrift
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of market power, the importance of protecting working people: These are all things that I learned under her guidance, and she really helped me develop a passion for economic policy. After five years working, Joelle went to Princeton to do a master’s in Economics and Public Policy. A year after

in Reclaiming economics for future generations
The Foundation Economy Collective

; while they also made retail price comparisons more difficult through confusion pricing. The consumer-driven model has been premised on the bizarre idea that citizens are not busy with all the everyday demands of work and family life, but are instead ‘rational’, one-dimensional calculating machines with a passion for price comparison websites. As for direct control through outsourcing contracts, insofar as they could be written at all in terms of costs and key performance indicators, they were almost classics of incompleteness. In those circumstances, only high

in Foundational economy