Public Program- Lauren Weber

Lectures and Performances
Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 7:30pm

From Cheap-Jacks to Scrooge McDuck: A Brief History of Cheapness and Thrift in America
by Lauren Weber

In Cheap We Trust

Where's the boundary between thrift and miserliness? What happened to the frugal habits Americans adopted during the Depression? How did thrift, once a heroic national virtue, come to be seen after World War II as a character flaw and an affront to the American way of life? Is frugality a virtue or a vice during a recession?

In answering these questions, journalist Lauren Weber, author of In Cheap We Trust: The Story of a Misunderstood American Virtue (Little, Brown, September 2009), will offer a colorful ride through the history of frugality in the United States, from colonial days to our current recession-driven enthusiasm for low-cost living. She.ll explore the roots of Americans. complicated relationship with spending and saving, touching on the non-importation movements of the 1760s and 1770s, Ben Franklin's political economy, Hetty Green (the late nineteenth-century financier named "the world's greatest miser" by the Guinness Book of Records), and the branding of Jewish and Chinese immigrants as cheap in order to neutralize the economic competition they were thought to represent.

Lauren Weber was formerly a staff reporter at Reuters and Newsday. She has also written for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and other publications. Lauren graduated from Wesleyan University and was a Knight-Bagehot fellow at Columbia University. She lives in New York City.

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