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Monday, March 30, 2009

Prudence, meet Frugality

I've been reading a biography of Benjamin Franklin. In 1775 the American colonies had defied the British government and were embarked on a war with the foremost military power in the world. It was more likely to go wrong than otherwise. On one side was the prospect of defeat and ruin. On the other was the prospect of risking ruin in the process of avoiding defeat. Franklin wrote the following in a letter to his son.
For my own Part tho I am for the most prudent Parsimony of the public Treasury am not terrified by the Expense of this War should it continue ever so long. A little more Frugality or a little more Industry in Individuals will with Ease defray it. Suppose it a 100,000 a month or 1,200,000 a year. If 500,000 Families will each spend a Shilling a Week less or earn a Shilling a Week more or if they will spend Sixpence a Week less and earn Sixpence a Week more they may pay the whole Sum without otherwise feeling it. Forbearing to drink Tea saves three fourths of the money and 500,000 Women doing each Threepence Worth of Spinning or Knitting in a Week will pay the rest. I wish nevertheless most earnestly for Peace this war being a truly unnatural and mischievous one but we have nothing to expect from Submission but Slavery and Contempt. I am ever Your affectionate Father BF

Nothing about quantitative easing there.

1 comment:

anthony said...

I admit, his words sound full of inspired commitment and logic...a call to action for a nation...then I saw his pension.