Disputing Abundance

Joshua J. Yates

in Thrift and Thriving in America

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199769063
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199896851 | DOI:
Disputing Abundance

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This chapter shows how the rhetoric of thrift in the antiglobalization protest movement serves as an illuminating backdrop against which to trace another surprising reformulation of thrift in the present. Where traditionally thrift has been thought necessary to free, prosperous, market-based societies, today it is commonly dismissed as either outmoded or inimical to free markets, to societies premised on a virtual, corporate-dominated, technologically produced abundance. In the movement's rendering, the spirit of thrift is enlisted in the resistance to the very society it was deemed instrumental in building. The chapter investigates how thrift is used in the effort to counter and subvert what movement activists believe to be the ideological premise of managerial and now global capitalism: the assertion that we live in an era of unlimited and inexhaustible material abundance. It also discusses what movement leaders advance as the constructive face of reactionary thrift—an affirmation of social and environmental justice.

Keywords: thrift; global capitalism; activists; social justice

Chapter.  15655 words. 

Subjects: Economic Sociology

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