SHORTAGES: Time for a New Frugality

Use it up

Wear it out

Make it do

Or do without.

— Old New England maxim

That advice has long been out of fashion in a nation surfeited with material abundance, but now it may be on the verge of a comeback. At the height of its biggest boom, the U.S. seems almost to be based on an economy of scarcity. Shortages of an astounding variety of goods—fuel oil, nonferrous metals, wool, copper, cotton denims, vinyl records, plastic bottles, to name a few—are jacking up prices, interfering with production, and in some...

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