"Austerity - Understanding & Practicing it"
Quotations for consideration:
- “One person’s Austerity may yet be another person’s Ostentatiousness.” - Anon
- “There is no austerity equal to a balanced mind, and there is no happiness equal to contentment; there is no disease like covetousness, and no virtue like mercy.” - Chanakya
- "It does not matter how much we have, as we cannot do much to change what we have. But we can certainly change the way we use what we have, as what really matters is what we do with what we have. A chess pawn, if used well, will become a Queen." -T.T. Rangarajan.
- “There must be a reason why some people can live well. They must have worked for it. I only feel angry when I see waste. When I see people throwing away things that we could use.” - Mother Theresa. (See “Equality for All or All are Equal”)
- What is Austerity – Asceticism or Miserliness or Parsimony or Frugality or Thriftiness? Perhaps we should first understand what Austerity is NOT!
- Asceticism – Severe self denial of social life and of all comforts by doing without what one does not have or having, but forsaking it all. Can even include self mortification. This is obviously NOT Austerity and is not for social people.
- Miserliness or Stinginess:- Denying to oneself and to others the ordinary comforts or even necessities of life, for the sake of hoarding. Even this is obviously NOT Austerity and again is not for social people.
- Parsimony: - Excessive and unreasonable saving just for the sake of saving. This too is NOT Austerity and once again is not for social people.
- Frugality: - Saving by exercising economy, by wise and sparing use and careful administration of the means at one’s disposal. When exalted into being a virtue to be pursued for its own sake, becomes the vice of Parsimony. Within limits this is good but only reflects a slight touch of Austerity.
- Prudence: - Prudence that plans and providence that acts - is looking far ahead and sacrificing the present for the future, saving as much as may be necessary for that end. This too is good but it is only a part of what Austerity is.
- Thriftiness: -At once earning & saving with a view to wholesome and profitable expenditure at an appropriate future time. This too is good but again is only part of what Austerity is.
Now let us try and understand what Austerity really is - Exercising strict Frugality, well short of Parsimony, incorporating the concepts of Prudence, Providence and Thriftiness.
Austerity - Can it be described as living within a Budget without reducing standards? Austerity is a Principle which is admirable and those who properly practice it worth emulating.
The Operative word here is ‘Properly’, because Austerity is much more than mere cost cutting. It is an attitude of mind that leads you into managing better with less. Practical Austerity must not be confused