I don't understand economics. If you do, please don't waste space trying to explain it to me. My eyes will glaze over as if you were discussing internal combustion engines.
Here's the thing. Our economy runs on expansion, right? Ever since somebody figured out a way to get somebody to buy something that they already had, we have had the phenomenon of "keeping up with the Joneses." As soon as everyone has a car, the car companies design a new one and make us think we need it. Most of us are paying way too much for more house than we need. God forbid we be seen in last year's jeans, carrying last year's expensive purse. We are told to spend, spend, spend.
Right now, it's all collapsing, the way my mom (who survived the Depression) said it would. She knew all about thrift, and making do and mending, and not being responsible for making all her daughter's greedy little Christmas dreams come true. She was thrifty even when times were good.
I'm semi-thrifty. I have been known to be wasteful sometimes. I have thrown away worn clothing without a) removing buttons, zippers and elastic, b) cutting any piece longer that twelve inches into strips to be braided into a rag rug or c) saving any useful piece for the ragbag. So, I am a wastrel.
Still, if we, as a society, live by those thrifty ideals, our economy will collapse, right? That's what they tell us. Spend, spend, spend! It's good for the economy! Get a tax refund? Spend it!
Maybe our economic system was flawed from the beginning. Or, maybe it worked as long as the expansion was genuine. When America was spreading out through the uncharted wilderness, welcoming (well, maybe not "welcoming"...maybe more like "grudgingly accommodating") all immigrants, there was a constantly increasing consumer base. Expanding rapidly.
It's just such a contradiction. Our cultural background and our religions urge thrift; yet our contemporary culture demands the opposite.
No wonder some of us are all at sixes and sevens.