The case against thrift

Judith Levine writes in Salon:

Mildred in Minneapolis calls in to offer pointers on buying food in dented cans, along with homeopathic cures for botulism. Betsy in Boston says she boils and reuses her dental floss. Norbert, outside Nome, Alaska, reaches the radio station by solar-powered Web phone to boast that he’s been boiling his floss since 1977. Tran, a Buddhist in Aspen, Colo., warns of the dangers of attachment.

And then the host, who today is focusing on personal economies during the recession, turns to me: “Isn’t this all a blessing in disguise, Judith? Haven’t we lost our way, and aren’t we now discovering new, and better, values?” I’m getting such questions regularly these days; my 2006 book, “Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping,” has unexpectedly made me an oracle.

Well, yes, sort of, I stammer. But, uh, actually, no. On one hand, who can argue that the grow-grow-growth consumer economy is outgrowing the limits not just of our bank accounts but also our finite Earth? Part of me is ecstatic to wave goodbye to the $20 martini and the 20,000-square-foot house.

And then there is the other hand…..

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