Here is historian James Truslow Adams, in a book called Our Business Civilization. It was published just before the 1929 stock market crash which kicked off the Great Depression. And 2007 looks good for being the new 1929.
Again, we are told by leaders of the world of mass-production that thrift is out of date. One of the greatest manufacturers in the country recently wrote that “use” not “saving” should govern our ideas with respect to our national and other resources.
In another remarkable pronouncement, this man, who is an idol of a large part of the people, said that no boy had ever succeeded or would succeed who saved money when he was young.
Another leader writes that “one reason for America’s prosperity and one reason, in my opinion, why that prosperity will continue, is that we have committed ourselves to a standard of living far beyond our wildest pre-war dreams…
”We cannot make good except by producing more wealth, and always a little ahead of us is advertising with its alluring images of still other good things that work will buy. Americans have passed out of the period where they care about petty economies.
”They want convenience. They want action. They want comfort and style. It is impossible to call Americans back to petty thrift, and I personally am glad of it.
”I live now in New York where everybody expects to be overcharged and where nobody counts the dimes, much less the pennies … We have ceased to count our pennies in America, and I certainly hope we never return to the days of the most graceless of all virtues, a niggardly and pennypinching thrift.”