28 February 2000
Thrift Becoming Uncommon?
Daniel Akst, in his essay “Saving Yourself”, discusses the need for thrift during the U.S. economic recession. According to Ackst economist Thorstein Veblen developed the theory of conspicuous consumption while economist Simon Patten promoted consumer spending and capitalism as tools of social change. Thrift declined following World War II and the Great Depression due to the promotion of spending as a way of strengthening the U.S. economy. Akst discusses how purchasing second-hand items may be necessary due to economic problems. Akst gives a very informative, descriptive, and detailed article about the spending habits of people. He gives the impression that he really researched this topic. I felt that Akst brings up several good points and is very persuasive.
Akst seems to be targeting people whom he would classify as “spenders” persuading them to start being thrift again. Thrift is “using money and other resources carefully and wastefully.” according to the dictionary. He goes on to rant about how you can find fake thrift all over especially in newspaper home sections and shelter magazines. Rich people boasting about furnishing their multimillion-dollar homes with zany castoffs and repurposed industrial objects. He also discusses the children of a celebrity and their surgical procedures done to their noses. Akst says “real thrift, the skeptical, calculating kind” can make a difference between having financial obligations and not.
Akst believes that men spend money on things like elegant cars, costly dinners, fancy wristwatches and other forms of showiness to show off, and impress women much like the peacock flaunts his tail to show off to peahens. Spending money and gender are undoubtedly connected together. He says sex sells and thrift is the opposite of sex. So Ackst’s examples of wasteful spending of money to impress the opposite sex are a very good example of thrift...