According to Benjamin Franklin, Thrift is a lifestyle commitment that requires prudence, responsibility, and discipline, which are forgotten aspects of the American character.  The thrifty lifestyle offered one an opportunity to earn success and build stability, two important aspects of community connectivity. Thrift allowed one to establish independence and to invest in the future while building relationships with one’s neighbors, who were also practicing thrift.  Being thrifty means that one is living a life that embraces both receiving and giving, which are the basis of healthy psychological differentiation as I mentioned earlier.  Therefore, thrift is the most comprehensive of all the American virtues I have talked about so far.  It is a complete concept and one that leads to a balanced and fulfilling life.

During the past century the American psychology has shifted from thrift to self-actualization and creative expansionism.  This is an individualistic/humanistic trend that has been in my opinion, anti-community.  For as thrift is a deeply relational concept as Franklin explained, self-actualization without communion fosters independence without relationship.  Practicing thrift breeds interdependence.


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