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Thrift and Thriving in AmericaCapitalism and Moral Order from the Puritans to the Present$
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Joshua Yates and James Davison Hunter

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199769063

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199769063.001.0001

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Disputing Abundance

Disputing Abundance

The Antiglobalization Protest Movement and Our Changing Natural Imaginary

(p.536) 22 Disputing Abundance
Thrift and Thriving in America

Joshua J. Yates

Oxford University Press

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

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