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Chapter 3c

The Propensity to Save Icon

January 1, 2020

The Origin of the Propensity to Save

28 Regarding profusion, The passion for present enjoyment is the principle which prompts us to spend.

  • It is sometimes violent and very difficult to restrain, leading to wastefulness.
  • Generally, it is only momentary and occasional.

The desire of bettering our condition is the principle which prompts to save.

  • It is a desire which is generally calm and dispassionate.
  • It comes with us from birth and stays with us until we die.

Everyone wants to improve their lives. Most propose to do this through the increase of fortune.

  • It is the most vulgar and obvious means.
  • The most likely way of increasing their fortune is to save and accumulate a part of what they acquire.

The principle of spending prevails in almost all men sometimes and prevails in some men almost all the time.

  • Yet in the lifetime of most men, frugality predominates very greatly.

29 Regarding misconduct, there are everywhere much more prudent and successful undertakings than injudicious and unsuccessful ones.

Despite the frequency of bankruptcies, only a few businessmen, perhaps not more 0.1%, go bankrupt.

  • Bankruptcy is perhaps the greatest and most humiliating calamity for an innocent man.
  • Most men are careful to avoid it.
  • Some do not avoid it, as some do not avoid the gallows.

30 Great nations are never impoverished by private prodigality and misconduct. But they sometimes are impoverished by public prodigality and misconduct.

In most countries, the whole public revenue is employed in maintaining unproductive hands composed of=

  • splendid courts,
  • great ecclesiastical establishments,
  • great fleets and armies who produce nothing in peacetime and cannot repay their expenses in wartime.

Such people are all maintained by the produce of other men’s labour. When multiplied unnecessarily, they can consume so much produce that they leave nothing to maintain the productive labourers who reproduce it next year.

  • The next year’s produce will be less.
  • The third year’s produce will be much less.

Those unproductive hands might consume so much of the society’s revenue that they encroach on its capital – they might consume the funds maintaining productive labour.

  • All the frugality and good conduct of individuals might not be enough to compensate this waste.

32 This frugality and good conduct is enough to compensate=

  • private prodigality and misconduct
  • government extravagance

Public, national, and private opulence are originally derived from the principle of the uniform, constant, and uninterrupted effort of every man to better his condition.

This principle* is frequently powerful enough to maintain the natural progress of things towards improvement despite=

  • the extravagance of government, and
  • the greatest errors of administration.

*Translator’s note: In Hinduism, this principle is known as shakti

This is similar to the unknown principle of animal life which frequently restores health and vigour in spite of=

  • the disease, and
  • the doctor’s absurd prescriptions.

*Translator’s note: In Hinduism, this principle is known as prana

32 A nation’s produce can be increased in value only by increasing the quantity of productive workers or the quality of productive powers.

This incease requires the increase of capital in the form of=

  • additions and improvements to those machines which facilitate labour, and
  • a more proper division and distribution* of employment

*Translator’s note: This is what the Pantry network, with ISAIAH Match, is supposed to do

In either case, an additional capital is almost always needed. Much more capital is needed to keep each worker constantly employed when labour is greatly divided, than where labour is undivided.

When a country’s produce is greater this year than last year, it means=

  • that its capital increased, and
  • that the good conduct of some people have added more to the national capital than was taken from it by=
    • private misconduct, or
    • government extravagance.

Normally, this is true for most nations, even those without prudent governments. To prove this, we can compare a country at distant time periods. Improvement is not obvious in the short term because progress is frequently very gradual.


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