“Franklin’s Thrift” ReleasedJune 10, 2009
“Franklin’s Thrift: The Lost History of An American Virtue,” published by Templeton Press, was released this week. The contributors to this volume, myself included, trace how from the eighteenth century on the idea and practice of thrift has been part of the American vision of economic freedom and social abundance. The historic practice of thrift, far from being an exercise in miserly behavior, is rooted in the belief that communities can use the benefits of thrift to build themselves up and to forge social bonds. Thrift, we argue, is a prerequisite for community advancement.
As our own culture of indebtedness has brought us to the brink of economic failure, history calls our generation to the great battle of our times. Our fathers and grandfathers secured the beaches of Normandy. We must secure a nation drowning in private and public debt. Without the practice of thrift there can be no wealth. Without wealth there can be no generosity. And without public and private generosity the social bonds that built this nation will tear at the seams.