No worries, here. I promise to bring scandal and much discussion in a near future post in which I complete my thoughts on inflation, promiscuous license, and inflationary sex. Trust me, it is amazing the corollaries.
Today, though I want to discuss frugality and thrift. These are two virtues that fit snuggly with industriousness. Industriousness is that virtue we should have learned at about age four or five when our parents gave us something to play with create something by intersecting our will with the created order. Frugality and thrift go along with this virtue by attempting to limit how much of that created order is used so that waste is not piled up and so that these resources may be allotted to others who need them.
These are natural virtues mentioned by both the Church and liberal thinkers like Henry Hazlitt. Notice the similarity:
“Let the working man and the employer make free agreements, and in particular let them agree freely as to the wages; nevertheless, there underlies a dictate of natural justice more imperious and ancient than any bargain between man and man, namely, that wages ought not to be insufficient to support a frugal and well-behaved wage-earner.”
“The classical economists, refuting the fallacies of their own day, showed that the saving policy that was in the best interests of the individual was also in the best interests of the nation. They showed that the rational saver, in making provision for his own future, was not hurting, but helping, the whole community. But today the ancient virtue of thrift, as well as its defense by the classical economists, is once more under attack, for allegedly new reasons, while the opposite doctrine of spending is in fashion.”
Both understood that a labor contract should be a free agreement and both would agree that a labor contract could be entered into without justice by lack of knowledge, force, coercion, etc. The interesting connection of frugality is present as well. Rerum Novarum mentions wages for a frugal and well-behaved wage-earner and Hazlitt starts from the opposite side and mentions thrift leads to savings which leads to the investment and proper aligning of the economic order. The spendthrift, both understand, is irresponsible with limited resources and harm society. Hazlitt is prophetic in that he sees the high spender becomes a high roller and squanders and gambles his excess wealth. Both call for the proper spending of excess wealth for those who need it most. It is in this way that saving our wealth is spending it in a proper way because it is not hoarded, something both would reject; rather it is used to re-invest in the market so that production of needed goods and services will continue. Throwing money around like “it grows on trees” (maybe it was money from the same Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil) to get the wheels of the economy greased and rolling is one of the largest lies of snakes today.
Hazlitt’s next paragraph, mentions one of my new favorite thinkers, Frederic Bastiat. Henry uses one of Bastiat’s example of two rich brothers, one spends and the other thrifts. Hazlitt and the Church again meet on common ground for Bastiat died embracing his Catholic Faith.
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