The New Thrift

Download Audio
The New Frugality (Time cover.)
The New Frugality (Time cover.)

Now, in our own "Great Recession," Americans are clipping coupons, cancelling vacations, and also struggling to make ends meet.

These are indeed tough times. 57% of Americans now say the American Dream will be harder to achieve, according to a Time magazine poll and cover story. The magazine also found new attitudes about frugality, what we value, and what we expect – even after the economy recovers.

This Hour, On Point: the new American era of thrift.

You can join the conversation. What's your story of thrift in an era of recession? How does it echo what this country has been through before? Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.Guests:

Joining us from New York is Nancy Gibbs, editor-at-large at TIME Magazine, and a former professor of journalism at Princeton University. Her article, "The New Frugality," is the cover story for this week's issue of TIME Magazine. You can see the profiles of average people the magazine interviewed — from an organic gardener to a doggie day care owner — for the new issue.

Joining us from Berkeley, California is Martha Olney, professor of economics at University of California-Berkeley. She is author of "Buy Now, Pay Later: Advertising, Credit, and Consumer Durables in the 1920s" and co-author, with Paul Krugman and Robin Wells, of "Essentials of Economics."

More links:

Some of the sound narratives used in today's show come courtesy of Story Corps. You can listen to hundreds of other stories at the organization's Web site.

The San Fransisco Chronicle recently spoke with people who lived through the Great Depression and posted some video of the interviews. Frugality and its many forms have become trendy, as The New York Times noted recently. And Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, a long-time student of the Great Depression, spoke about the connection between then and now at a recent forum.

This program aired on April 21, 2009.


More from On Point

Listen Live