Time Essay: The (Possible) Blessings of Doing Without

A penny saved is two pence clear A pin a day is a groat a year —Benjamin Franklin

There was a time when Poor Richard's Almanac was strictly for children. No longer. The apostle of thrift now seems the right philosopher for modern America. One can almost see Ben peering over his bifocals and croaking, "I told you so."

So he did. But few listened. In his own day he was drowned out by the view of America as extended Genesis, a promised country where Colonists obeyed the biblical injunction to be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth. In the...

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