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Posted December 15, 2009

Book: Thrift: Rebirth of a forgotten virtue
Author: Theodore Roosevelt Malloch
Encounter Books. New York. 2009. Pp. 225

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

Despite the calls for massive spending and “stimulus,” if the current financial crisis has taught us anything it is that it is imperative to save, not just spend bailouts. In fact, over the years thrift has become America’s lost or forgotten virtue, rarely mentioned and never celebrated, despite its true historical significance. In Thrift, Theodore Roosevelt Malloch looks at the history of thrift from its roots in the Scottish enlightenment to the no-waste credo of Sam Walton. Thrift, Malloch argues, provides the resources to ultimately stimulate prosperity. Even if the government manages to shock our economy back to life, Americans will require discipline, accountability and farsightedness — all natural products of thrift — to right its course for generations to come. In an age when corruption and ineptitude have crowded out thrift, Malloch’s important book is lively, topical, and immediately useful.

An Excerpt from the Book:

Many have tied this concept of work to the emerging doctrine of the sovereignty of God. It is critical for understanding the role of persons in the world. The question I put to you is this: Does this sovereignty relate to soteriology as well as individual salvation? Or has God’s svereignty been slowly shoved to the margins and effectively privatized? If linked to creation it has wide implication. The familiar biblical phrase “Christ is Lord of All” should mean more than lordship of narrow individual behavior or for one hour on Sunday morning in a church pew. The phrase has a cultural mandate, also impelling action in society and in the economy. The possibilities are manifold, all with an option to serve God or to bend to another manmade idol. Faithful stewardship is careful administration of what has been entrusted to you by someone higher than yourself. In Aristotle the oeconomia, which translates as “stewardship,” did not have to do with some separate category of ethics that can or cannot be related to real-life decisions. It had to do with the whole character of the actor. We have today removed ths normative element.

Table of Contents:

1. The origins of thrift

2. Consumerism and development

3. Virtue and the moral life

4. The consequences of modern selfishness

5. The “spirit” of nations

6. Modern theories and institutions of thrift

7. Thrift and the other virtues

8. Democratic morality and spiritual enterprise