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Thrift: Rebirth of a Forgotten Virtue Paperback – November 3, 2009
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"The notion of 'daily bread' that sustains us and the labor involved in providing such sustenance, built into the very structure of creation, is highlighted continually by Calvin....For Calvin, 'our bread' is a metaphor for 'all' goods and belongings. But these are not literally our bread....Caring for God's endowment in a respectful and thrifty fashion is here a form of biblical obedience." p.3-4
"For the religious or spiritually inclined, insatiable desire is, as it was for Calvin and the Reformers, a source of unhappiness and even spiritual insatbility." p.21
"Economic development, viewed from a normative perspective, is then rooted in God's own normative character and His call to participate in the building of a city with all the resources that have been entrusted to us." p.39
"Belief is the kernel of meanings; is the ultimate assurance in time concerning the firm ground of your life, arising from the revelation of God as the origin of all things. The belief of which the biblical record speaks grips you in the heart of your existence." p.144
"Six in ten believe success in life is pretty much determined by religious or spiritual forces. Of those who believe in God, huge majorities say God wants them to do something with their lives that will be useful to the world." p.182.
Furthermore, Mr. Malloch is too often preachy without providing much in terms of actionable recommendations. To his credit, the author makes some good observations about the importance of frugality and giving in both the private and public spheres. For example, Mr. Malloch rightly pillories the fact that saving is discouraged not only by the culture of affluence but also by the fiscal policies of the U.S. government and Congress (pp. 95-96; 125-126; 163).
Unfortunately, Mr. Malloch remains mostly vague about what to do about the lack of thriftiness in the United States. Here follow a few examples for illustration purposes only. The author complains that the only things that states appear to do well are spend, tax, and grow (p. 98). Why not propose the creation of a stabilization fund in each state of the Union after what both Chile and Norway have done to bridge the gap between the "fat" and "lean" years? Mr. Malloch also mentions that the lack of savings is especially troublesome to women (p. 87). Why not propose the introduction of mandatory financial literacy classes in say, 10th grade, to prepare future adults about their financial responsibilities? Too many adults show an appalling lack of interest and/or understanding of financial basics as the current economic recession clearly demonstrates.
In conclusion, Mr. Malloch has failed in his job of selling "thrift" to his audience. The book under review moralizes too much and is too vague to be of any great use to whomever is interested in this topic.