Although hard financial times have brought back the marketplace’s self-interested assertion that saving is unpatriotic, may we never revert to other elements of this ad accepted for the March 1932 Improvement Era:
Note the differences in the meaning of the word “hoard” and “save”, and the copy writers may have been deliberately trying to confuse the reader. Or, at least, there is a lot left unsaid in the historical context, which would have been obvious to people back then, and isn’t obvious to us today.
Remember this was just a few years after the stock market crash of 1929
Back in the 1930’s due to the failure of banks in the crash, people no longer trusted banks, so people “hoarded” their money, not by putting it in a savings account, but by burying it, or putting it in their mattress.
This took money out of circulation. So in the terms of the day “hoarding” (as opposed to saving/investing) really was a bad thing.
If the government printed more money, then your money decreased in value. Yet people were to scared to invest and didn’t trust banks enough to put the money in a savings account or even a checking account.
This was before bank accounts were insured/guaranteed by the government.
The smart thing would have been to purchase something that didn’t depreciate in value, like precious metals, or useful materials.
There’s more to the story with the federal government melting down gold coins and making it illegal for private citizens to own gold coins or bullion.
But the bottom line, is that there is more historical and cultural context to the ad than what is in the written copy.
Thanks for this context, Bookslinger. There *are* a lot of details to cringe from, as noted by other commenters (thanks, all), but you’re right to point out the risk of presentism by our assuming too great parallels between 1932 and 2008. Although I had forgotten it until reading your comment, I remember discussing a closely related idea in an English class on “Silas Marner.” Marner-the-miser was in part a villain because he hoarded his gold — not because he had gold, but because he made no use of it and thereby deprived the entire community of the good it might have done. Closer to home, Brigham Young very frequently made the point when he urged home production that manufacturing locally and trading locally did the community much good, because the same dollar would circulate multiple times, each time benefiting the community. But a dollar spent in purchasing from an outside merchant who freighted in merchandise meant that the dollar was gone from the community and could never do us any good any more. Heber J. Grant used the same reasoning when encouraging patronage of Mormon-owned Beneficial Life rather than out-of-town insurers.
Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — November 2, 2008 @ 3:27 pm