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Thoreau in the city
Alison Hulme

existing systems. To be sure, writing a history of thrift as thriving rather entails writing a ‘Left’ history whether one means to or not, as the thrift that has resisted frugality has almost always adhered to what could broadly be agreed to be Left-​wing thinking. It becomes about reclaiming thrift for the Left regardless of one’s primary motivation. This is no simple task, as many if not most on the political Left have understandably despised thrift (as frugality) historically. Perhaps most famously, Oscar Wilde’s previously quoted take on it is worth repeating here

in A brief history of thrift
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Puritans, Quakers and Methodists
Alison Hulme

enough money to make ends meet after they have paid for the absolute essentials in their lives. As Oscar Wilde said, ‘Sometimes the poor are praised for being thrifty. But to recommend thrift to the poor is both grotesque and insulting. It is like advising a man who is starving to eat less’ (2001). It is almost impossible, even once we travel far from the Puritans and Methodists into lifestyle thrifters, to get away from this moral righteousness. In fact, with the exception of some current-​day politically radical Quakers, few of these positions fully represent an

in A brief history of thrift