This book surveys ‘thrift’ through its moral, religious, ethical, political, spiritual and philosophical expressions, focusing in on key moments such as the early Puritans and postwar rationing, and key characters such as Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Smiles and Henry Thoreau. The relationships between thrift and frugality, mindfulness, sustainability and alternative consumption practices are explained, and connections made between myriad conceptions of thrift and contemporary concerns for how consumer cultures impact scarce resources, wealth distribution and the Anthropocene. Ultimately, the book returns the reader to an understanding of thrift as it was originally used – to ‘thrive’ – and attempts to re-cast thrift in more collective, economically egalitarian terms, reclaiming it as a genuinely resistant practice. Students, scholars and general readers across all disciplines and interest areas will find much of interest in this book, which provides a multi-disciplinary look at a highly topical concept.

Abstract only
Frugality, de-growth and Voluntary Simplicity

92 7 Ecological thrift: frugality, de-​growth and Voluntary Simplicity Thrift as a tool for de-​growth Discourses around frugality and the environment are by no means new, and voices from across academic disciplines call for thrift from a broadly ecological standpoint, and have done for many decades. Several well-​researched and bestselling reports on the threatened state of the global environment saw public awareness grow from the 1970s onwards. Key amongst these was Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962) and the Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth report (1972

in A brief history of thrift
Abstract only
Thoreau in the city

the end of thrift. However, we may also be living between dominant forms of thrift … we too may be on the verge of a new hegemonic form of the thrift ethos’ (2011:9). Recent discourses on de-​growth and their interaction with certain thinking on post-​development is testament to this. In addition, such thinking is not simply zeitgeist rhetoric without historical foundation –​it has its own history. Furthermore, this history cannot fail to assert the presence of reciprocal humans. The charting of this history requires a proper in-​depth philosophical analysis of the

in A brief history of thrift
Abstract only

of de-​growth as a practical and philosophical stance for tackling this challenge. The conclusion seeks to place thrift once again at the forefront of history and posit it as a genuinely resistant practice that seeks to question the logic behind much of the way society, certainly in the developed world, is run.

in A brief history of thrift

post-​ development and de-​growth, which will be explored in more depth in the final chapter in the context of ecological imperative. For now, suffice to say that both de-​growth and post-​development are concerned with removing themselves completely from the logic of growth as necessity and of any imagination of a linear trajectory from ‘developing’ or ‘underdeveloped’ to ‘developed’. As 13 Towards a theory of thrift 13 Demaria and Kothari rightly insist, ‘these worldviews are not a novelty of the twenty-​first century, but they are rather part of a long search

in A brief history of thrift

people embedded in the community, which do not delocalise and are open to all as long as they remain sustainable, co-operatives are among the best economic organisations to deal with scarce resources. They can manage resources sustainably and peacefully because all are involved and control is Mainstreaming after the financial crisis 27 thus attainable through active participation and accountability.36 The Natividad fishermen and divers co-operative in Mexico is a very valuable case, showing that limited de-growth was actually not such, as it led to industrialisation

in Mainstreaming co-operation

sensibility and social media-centrism mixed with a conspiratorial and at times anti-development politics. Anti-fluoride activists and ‘the Turf cutters’, a movement who wish to retain an old tradition of local individual use of the bogs in rural Ireland, filled the void left by anti-politics. Liam Mac an Bhaird, a kind of neo-primitivist who became known for his YouTube videos dedicated to his love of turf, rose to prominence within the Occupy movement. While he graced our computer screens, Village magazine dedicated a front cover to the cause of ‘de-growth’. After the

in Ireland under austerity
Open Access (free)
The Debt–Growth–Inequality Nexus

economic foundations of our societies. He concludes, Taking a step back for a moment, there are only two ways out of [the dilemma of growth]. One is to make growth sustainable, the other is to make de-growth stable. Anything else invites either economic or ecological collapse. (Jackson 2009: 128) But there is another problem that is equally, if not more, sobering: as economies generate more debt and material goods, as they grow wealthier, it becomes more and more difficult for them to sustain growth. Economists inexplicably call this the “convergence factor,” noting

in Debt as Power