"1. Thrift is a value and practice embraced by a striving and aspiring people. It has never held interest for the idle rich or for those who live lavishly on borrowed money or inherited privilege. To say it another way, the key principles of thrift — hard work, regular savings, and careful stewardship of resources — are central to flourishing middle-class societies, while the same thrift principles are almost always disdained in societies dominated by aristocratic elites.

"2. Thrift is broadly democratic in its ambition and reach. It aims to create mass prosperity. Toward that end, it seeks to bring new people, often immigrants and the working poor, into its compass and to unite such people in cooperative institutions. Thrift is also democratic in its faith in the power of education. Thrift leaders and institutions have consistently made it a priority to teach children about saving, conserving, and being generous to others.

"3. Thrift is oriented to the future. One of the most persistent misconceptions about thrift is that it is stuck in the distant past. Nothing could be further from the truth. Every serious thrift advocate and every thrift movement has been future-minded, and often visionary, in its ambitions and efforts for social change.

"4. Thrift is a renewable cultural resource. It offers a set of guiding ethical and social principles from which Americans today, no less than in the past, can draw upon in responding to the grave challenges we face today."