Economic Perspectives with Hopeton Hay on KAZI 88.7 FM in Austin, TX

Author of “In Cheap We Trust” Guest on December 28 Economic Perspectives

Posted by Hopeton on December 17, 2009

Note: Weber was scheduled for December 21, but a miscommunication resulted in the interview not being conducted.  We apologize for the mishap.  Weber will definitely be on Economic Perspectives December 28.

Cheap suit. Cheap date. Cheap shot. It’s a dirty word, an epithet laden with negative meanings. It is also the story of Lauren Weber’s life. As a child, she resented her father for keeping the heat at 50 degrees through the frigid New England winters and rarely using his car’s turn signals-to keep them from burning out. But as an adult, when she found herself walking 30 blocks to save $2 on subway fare, she realized she had turned into him.  Lauren Weber, author of In Cheap We Trust, is the December 28 guest on Economic Perspectives on KAZI 88.7 FM.  You can listen live to the interview online at

In this lively treatise on the virtues of being cheap, Weber explores provocative questions about Americans’ conflicted relationship with consumption and frugality. Why do we ridicule people who save money? Where’s the boundary between thrift and miserliness? Is thrift a virtue or a vice during a recession? And was it common sense or obsessive-compulsive disorder that made her father ration the family’s toilet paper?

In answering these questions, In Cheap We Trust offers a colorful ride through the history of frugality in the United States. Readers will learn the stories behind Ben Franklin and his famous maxims, Hetty Green (named “the world’s greatest miser” by the Guinness Book of Records) and the stereotyping of Jewish and Chinese immigrants as cheap.

Lauren Weber, photo by Isabelle

Weber also explores contemporary expressions and dilemmas of thrift. From Dumpster-diving to economist John Maynard Keynes’s “Paradox of Thrift” to today’s recession-driven enthusiasm for frugal living, In Cheap We Trust teases out the meanings of cheapness and examines the wisdom and pleasures of not spending every last penny.

Lauren Weber was formerly a staff reporter at Reuters and Newsday. She has also written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, American Banker, and other publications. Weber has a masters degree in business journalism from Baruch College, and was a Knight-Bagehot fellow, a fellowship that invites 10 business journalists each year to study finance and economics at Columbia’s Graduate School of Business. Since 2007 she’s been working on her book full-time and trying to live as cheaply as possible.


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