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Thrift

immediate, responsibility and support

THRIFT Thrift is an old-fashioned but not an obsolete virtue. Children should not support able-bodied young parents, but able-bodied young people may very properly support their parents or grandparents in old age. Personal responsibility for one's own well-being is not the most popular doctrine in these days, but it is sound doctrine, nevertheless. We who preach constantly social responsibility are in danger of carrying it to an extreme, just as the doc trine of an overruling providence in supreme con trol of the universe has sometimes been used to undermine a healthy feeling of personal responsi bility for that particular fraction of it which has been entrusted to us.

When it is held that wages and salaries in America do not permit saving, or do so only at the expense of immediate welfare, we may cite the analogous instance of the lawyer's demonstration to a client that they could not put him in jail for what he had done. Unfortunately for the argu ment, and for the client, he was in jail at the time. So the fact is that American wage-earners and small tradesmen and clerks and farmers do save, and what many actually do, more could do, without incurring the risk of slighting immediate needs of the family. Saving in practice goes along with a

higher, rather than a lower, standard of current expenditure.

Thrift has received a bad name preparatory to the hanging, but thrift is not the mean, unsocial, antiquated relic of primitive society that it has been so often of late represented to be. Thrift is little else than strength of character, a sober measuring of future against immediate needs. It is a generous and manly trait, a certain soundness at the core resisting the rottenness of civilization and the dry-rot of stupidity. Thrift should be taught in the public schools, as the Massachusetts Commission on Old Age Pensions recommends. It should be encouraged in the home. Facilities for its exercise should be multiplied. The savings which are its result should be jealously safeguarded, and it should have its natural reward.