Parsimony is not Economy

This evening I was scanning old newspapers from some source materials regarding the great Halifax explosion of 1917 when I found this article in the Grand Rapids Tribune from the same year:

It is a curious and mortifying condition of the prevailing “economy” that many people abundantly able to buy what they want use the situation as an
excuse for going without. What does this profit them? It merely makes them richer at a time when the talk is of being poorer, says the Hartford

Food is one thing and clothes and other articles that shoppers buy are in a distinctly other class.

When Smith cut down the sugar, there is more sugar for Jones, and the supply of sugar Is limited. But when Mrs. Smith goes without a cloak for which she can easily pay and which she expected to buy this season, she is not helping Mrs. Jones to get it; she Is simply misering along in her own way, and to her small ability driving poor people out of work and discouraging merchants whose capital is invested. This isn’t economy, it is parsimony.

If everybody should quit making purchases, what would become of manufacturers or dealers and of the larger number of workers? It Is a good time to keep a level head. Many who watch the tendency of business say frankly that people of limited means are less saving than those who can well afford to get what they want.


  1. Jan says:

    Very interesting article. 🙂 It is so true. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. impNERD says:

    This is so true. I have heard time and time again on cable news shows (even Jon Stewart) talk about how we are buying useless things (while speaking to the middle class). That is ridiculous. Yes, the middle class should have bought homes they could afford and live without their SUV, but really, even those things are creating jobs for others.

  3. wendy says:

    @impNERD – thanks for your comment. I believe it’s important to live within your means, which a lot of Americans just don’t seem to be capable of. But if you’ve got a safety net in place, and are financially secure, becoming miserly just because the news says it’s a recession is hurting other people. Besides, if you’ve got money, a recession is a great time to buy cheap stuff 🙂

  4. Eddie Garcia says:

    I am of the belief that people are going to do what they want to do no matter the circumstances. I have witnessed this too many times in the lives of others. It is also known as justification. We must all spend wisely, but spend. If our jobs depended on it, we would see things differently. Thanks!

    Friends 4 Life!

  5. Sasha says:

    I agree with eddie…
    anyways.. a great article and an interesting one too…
    thanks for posting it..


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