Do you view living totally debt free as a from of conservation?
Even better for those rare folks who have paid off their mortgage, and live off grid.
We are frugal, but NOT cheap. That is such a difficult concept for people to understand. We do not go out and spend money on frivolous cheap junk. When we need something we buy quality items that will last a LONG time.
My husband is doing a lot of construction of barns right now. He needed a quality hammer. He got advice from his Master Carpenter best friend. You can get a hammer at the dollar store, you can get one for $5 at WalMart....or you can buy a true quality hammer (made in America, by the way) for $27.95. Our carpenter friend has been using his on construction jobs for 25 years. That is just one small example.
We do not ever feel sucked in to "keep up with the Jones."
Our next home will be large, 5000 sq ft, straw bale house...totally off grid, and constructed by ourselves. It needs to be so large to hold our huge personal library, since we are avid bibliophiles.
Imagine a country where people strove to have no bills, pay of mortgages early, and produce their own power. They would learn to THINK before flipping something on.
Imagine the good they might do for their communities, and neighbors, and the world, if they taught their children to honestly be happy, and not always desire "more."
What if the focus became on people, relationships, animals, and the world, and not on aquiring "stuff?"