By Stephen Gudeman

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Both are means-to-ends acts; both have to do with limiting the use of means; and both unfold over time. But thrift presumes that the stream of wealth is limited, whereas profit making may expand the stream. With thrift, one limits the use of the means – whether a ball of thread, a pot of food, or money for purchases – to have a leftover for the morrow. Making savings is a cautionary act, often taken in the face of an uncertain future. Thrift preserves what one has. Profit making is different. It can include being thrifty as in buying less expensive resources, which is directed to minimizing the means.

Org/core/terms. 002 Current or currency? both pulling together and toward one another. In joint work each relates to the other and assists or helps in the shared project, which is to secure strength for sustaining the house. There are disparities in the efforts and in who gets the returns, but people do not keep formal accounts of who does what, although tactical or short-term efforts are certainly noted. A house does not have an underlying gauge by which work is made comparable and counted for distribution of the rewards.

Org/core/terms. 001 Seeing straight In market economies, abstractions develop. Multiple forms of exchange become trade, and trade increasingly separates into the spheres of commerce, finance, and meta-finance, which is the province of financial centers. Each market sphere represents greater distance from the material world of the house and social relationships yet often recreates their images through the spells of advertising, ritual, and magical connections to bridge the gap between the world of the house and that of the corporation and keep the economy running.

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Anthropology and Economy by Stephen Gudeman


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