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A Brief History of Thrift$
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Alison Hulme

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781526128836

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.7765/9781526128843

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 19 April 2021



(p.118) Afterword
A Brief History of Thrift

Alison Hulme

Manchester University Press

I admitted in the preface to this book that I felt my relationship to thrift (even thrift as thriving) was essentially at best complicated, and at worst hypocritical. Having engaged with the thinkers in this book as I wrote, it now occurs to me that my position is actually perhaps something I can live with more happily than I thought! I have, unwittingly, been living as simply as possible for over a decade. I have never accumulated much stuff (and that remains the case even now that I have a child). I have always tried to remain in control of my time as far as was possible and despite very average earnings have had very few periods when I carried out work that made me unhappy in a full-time position. (Although there were plenty of times I sacrificed work satisfaction to earn enough in a short space of time to buy my freedom!) I have never owned a car. I have not owned a television for about fifteen years now and have avoided much commercial (in particular celebrity) culture. I am not a hermit. I live in a city, I have a relatively mainstream life, a mortgage, a job, I am aware of new figures in popular culture and new TV formats (well – the ones you couldn’t miss anyway). But I realise that I have simplified without becoming a simplifier! And I am very glad. I also realise, that because I had not realised I was a simplifier, that this was not done as some kind of anti-capitalist protest. Don’t get me wrong, I do strongly believe many aspects of a capitalist system make for a less just and fulfilling life for most people, but my own choices in how to live were not explicitly about that – I just liked the simplicity and most of all the sense of not needing much. It made me feel free, and able to take hard times on the chin as it were. All of this is classic privileged simplifier stuff in some ways, and I recognise this, but engaging with scholarly work on the Anthropocene and de-growth has caused me to realise that promoting thrift as thriving is not something I need to feel slightly embarrassed about due to my own awkwardness over not wanting to be preachy. Rather, this is a far wider concern with the development trajectories of societies across the globe. Movements in the developing world have rendered less relevant concerns that only the rich can employ thrift as thriving; they have made thrift about other factors such as power, agency, self-sufficiency and reciprocity....

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