SupercapitalismSupercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life is a new book by Robert Reich, former Labor Secretary under Clinton. If you listen to NPR’s Morning Edition or American Public Media’s Marketplace, you’ve probably heard one of his commentaries.

The book delves into the development of US economy during the last century, mostly since the 1950s. His central argument is that the power and influence of capitalism has risen while the power of democracy has declined. We’ve now reached a point where most laws and regulations are passed due to corporate lobbying. Our power as citizens now lies mostly in our ability to make decisions as consumers. He also argues that our never-ending search for a better deal or a lower price forces producers to cut costs, which usually means cutting wages. We’ve created an endless circuit where our search for deals results in the decline of our own wages.

He offers two solutions to the problem:

Become aware of your choices as a consumer and consider paying more to support a company that supports your values. For example, saying you want corporations to help the planet, and then buying an SUV rather than a hybrid undermines your statement of your values and encourages corporations to continue supporting the SUV lifestyle.

Realize that corporations are not people, and therefore should not have the same rights or responsibilities as people. They should also not be expected to act in ways that are “socially responsible.” Corporations are solely charged with producing profits for shareholders. They will only act in the public good when it benefits the bottom line. Pretending anything else is foolhardy. He argues that corporations should not pay tax, but they also shouldn’t have the right to sue to block legislation or be able to donate money to political parties or candidates.

With these concepts in mind, we turn to the articles in the Festival of Frugality. True, we’re all still interested in the deal, but most frugal people understand that being frugal sometimes means spending more to get a better value for a better product or to achieve the kind of world you want to live in.

Editor’s Picks

Money Blue Book manages to find the upside to higher gas prices – less traffic and more use of public transportation.

Mrs. Nespy’s World runs down the job benefits that can be a deciding factor for prospective employees. It pays to treat employees well.

Cheap Healthy Good explains why diet foods are actually not good for your weight or health and suggests ways to eat more healthfully instead.

Frugal Homemaker Plus discusses the importance of teaching children about frugal values early.

Just Shoot Me Now shows you how to outwit the stores by always checking the unit price. Bigger isn’t always cheaper.

Credit Addict explains how to combine the stimulus checks, grocery gift cards, and rebate credit cards to save loads on groceries.

Saving Money

The Digerati Life shares 25 tips for saving money with grocery coupons.

Save and Conquer explains how home health remedies can save you lots of money.

FIRE Finance shares the top five freebie websites.

Funny about Money shares his cost-effective home renovation strategies.

I Create for Less shares her tips for saving money on framing art.

Home Life Weekly explains how to make dishwasher detergent.

Monroe on a Budget shares how she learned to love iced tea, the money-saving alternative to soda.

On Financial Success shares his astounding $92 savings on a $122 grocery bill.

Gagazine offers helpful tips for saving money on baby items.

I Want Better Gas Mileage argues that premium gasoline isn’t always worth the cost.

Free Money Finance shares more ways to save money on wedding costs.

Be Thrifty Like Us explains how to make a $19 swingset.

Finally Frugal switched from rice to Top Ramen to save money.

My Daily Dollars explains how to make homemade crackers.

Buxr explains what refurbished really means, and how to buy refurbished items.

The Financial Engineer discovered a way to stop roots from clogging his pipes – thus avoiding a costly plumber.

Lazy Man and Money explains how members of the military can take nearly free vacations.

Wealth Junkies shares her strategies for saving money with coupons.

Stop the Ride offers a simple tip for making your own plastic scrubber.

Living the Cheap Life provides a tip for earning money without doing anything.

Smart Easy Money shares her love of thrift-store shopping.

Hustler Money Blog offers 10 quick ways to save money.

Finance Gets Personal argues that you can save money by planning ahead and shopping less.

Blueprint for Financial Prosperity lists sales tax holidays for various states. Plan to shop then so you can save money on sales tax.

Money Ning discusses occasions when saving money shouldn’t be your goal.

Dough Roller offers 25 ways to save money on gas.


The Wealth Accumulator compares consumerism and thrift, and shares tips for becoming more thrifty.

My Family’s Money presents five deceptively simple ways to change your saving habits.

Saving Advice wonders why more faith communities don’t promote simple living.

FinancialZip suggests four ways to make more intelligent spending choices.

Tight Fisted Miser explains that tracking every penny is his way of budgeting and controlling spending.

Moolanomy shares his top 5 budget busters.

Frugal Fabulous proves that it is possible to entertain friends on a budget.

Five Cent Nickel continues the ongoing debate about frugal vs. cheap.

My Small Cents demonstrates that being organized can save money.

Cash Money Life tells you how to extend the life of your computer.

You Might As Well Burn $5 suggests ways to create your own financial windfall.

Freezing in NH discovered the joys of making and freezing her own toaster waffles.

Green Living

Gardeners Tips brings us money saving advice from the garden. Growing your own food is a surefire way to ease the impact on your wallet while also helping create a more sustainable world.

Oh My Aching Debts shares tips for saving money with alternative forms of energy.

The Q Family Adventure shares her tips for saving cash and the planet.

Not the Plan offers more tips for saving money while going green.

Green Pastures wonders how long you could go without buying something new and offers strategies for buying less and reusing more.

Paid Twice also makes the argument for reusing perfectly good items.

Paying Off My Future found new uses for junk mail envelopes.

Money Crashers offers ten inexpensive ways to live a greener life.

Frugal Babe shares her success with homemade diapers.

Hunting Happiness explores the new all-electric Chevy Volt and whether it can save money.


Phil for Humanity argues that not planning ahead is stupid, and explains why. Robert Reich would agree.

The Personal Financier teaches us how to enjoy budgeting and saving.

Chief Family Officer explains how to choose a college by comparing the costs.

Uncommon Cents offers another take on managing college costs.

Christian Personal Finances teaches us the simplest way to make a budget.

Financial Learn walks you through the process of setting up a budget.


KC Lau reviews a book on insurance for Malaysians, but he also includes a few tips that are helpful for everyone.

WenchyPoo argues that shortages and inflation are stealth tax increases. Robert Reich would agree.

Forex Trading Strategies shares strategies for knowing when it’s time to get out of a stock.

My Dollar Plan shares her found money success - an unclaimed bank account.

Saving to Invest presents the hard numbers about the rise in food costs.

Squawkfox offers several strategies for improving your education for less.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s Festival of Frugality. Be sure to submit to next week’s festival, hosted by Frugal for Life.


43 Responses to “Festival of Frugality #123: The Supercapitalism Edition”

  1. Kaye on April 29th, 2008 9:19 am

    Wow…thanks for including me as an editor’s pick! I’m honored. Also, I found a LOT of good articles here! Thanks again!

  2. » Festival of Frugality #123 - Books and Bargains on the Festival of Frugality on April 29th, 2008 9:47 am

    [...] Festival of Frugality #123 hits Sound Money Matters this week!  Scroll down past the book review to get to those meaty articles.  :)   There were 6 editor’s picks this week: [...]

  3. How I shaved $92.32 off a $121.66 grocery bill | On Financial Success on April 29th, 2008 10:18 am

    [...] This article was featured in the Festival of Frugality hosted bySound Money Matters. [...]

  4. Aaron Stroud on April 29th, 2008 10:31 am

    Thanks for including my post in the festival.

    Regarding the book, Reich’s two solutions sound fairly reasonable. Although, I’m not sure it’d be a good idea to stop businesses from having a legal option to protect themselves from malicious regulation.

    The government has a long record of going after businesses. It seems a little farfetched to expect stock holders to sue the government when their businesses/investments are being attacked.

    I was actually surprised by the suggestions you highlighted. His title suggested his views would be more ideological. After all, the title and his thesis confuses capitalism (economic freedom) with politics (what bureaucrats, politicians, and businesses do).

    Businesses will always seek to bludgeon their competitors with the government (play politics) as long as the government continues to get involved in our private lives.

  5. Save Money by Visiting the Store Less Often « Finance Gets Personal on April 29th, 2008 11:22 am

    [...] post was included in the Festival of Frugality, hosted by Sound Money Matters.) Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Prioritizing Your [...]

  6. Greener Pastures on April 29th, 2008 11:48 am

    Thank you for hosting, and thank you for including my article, How Long Could You Go Without Buying Something New?

    I’ve posted the Festival in my Blog Carnivals of the Week as well.

    Best, Lisa

  7. Tight Fisted Miser » Blog Archive » COPF #150 and FOF #123 Posts on April 29th, 2008 1:34 pm

    [...] Money,Save the Planet, By Not Having Kids.”  The Festival of Frugality is being hosted at  Sound Money Matters. It includes my post “Tracking Every Penny and My Non-Budget.” There are plenty of [...]

  8. Bryce on April 29th, 2008 2:27 pm

    Thanks very much for hosting and for including my post.

    Robert Reich’s take on capitalism and the economy is interesting. I’m not sure which large companies that I do business with support my values, but I have found that mom-and-pop places sometimes give you better quality and more for your money.

  9. Daily Accounting: 4/28 + 4/29 « My Daily Dollars on April 29th, 2008 2:49 pm

    [...] carnival is up today: the Festival of Frugality at Sound Money Matters. You’ll find my frugal recipe for homemade crackers and lots of other [...]

  10. Enoch Ko on April 29th, 2008 3:23 pm

    Thank you for hosting and including my post! :)

  11. Monroe on a Budget » Festival of Frugality 4/29 on April 29th, 2008 3:58 pm

    [...] Money Matters is hosting the April 29 edition of Festival of Frugality. Here are some of the frugal lifestyle articles you’ll find from bloggers across the [...]

  12. andys on April 29th, 2008 4:14 pm

    Thanks for including my post. Great to discover your blog as well. Andy

  13. My Biggest Budget Busters | Moolanomy on April 29th, 2008 5:15 pm

    [...] Festival of Frugality #123 hosted by Sound Money Matters. For more information please visit the Festival of [...]

  14. 2008 News Archive | Moolanomy on April 29th, 2008 5:15 pm

    [...] – My Biggest Budget Busters was featured in the Festival of Frugality #123 hosted by Sound Money [...]

  15. Frugal Babe » Archive » 123rd Festival of Frugality on April 29th, 2008 7:26 pm

    [...] Festival of Frugality is up at Sound Money Matters.  Lots of good ideas and entertaining reading.   I completely agree [...]

  16. Terrific Tuesday: Welcome to Those of you Visiting from the Festival of Frugality! | Uncommon Cents on April 29th, 2008 11:13 pm

    [...] and Festivals, Links I’d like to extent my warmest aloha to those of you visiting us this week from the Festival of Frugality, hosted by Sound Money Matters. Please enjoy your [...]

  17. Patrick on April 30th, 2008 4:19 am

    Thanks for hosting. :)

  18. Economic Stimulus Checks, Day Jobs, and Allowances on April 30th, 2008 5:31 am

    [...] Festival of Frugality #123: The Supercapitalism Edition included Are You Missing Some Money? [...]

  19. Listed in the Festival of Frugality #123 on April 30th, 2008 6:53 am

    [...] article, Home Health Remedies, has been listed in the Festival of Frugality #123. Aryn at Sound Money Matters has an interesting theme for the festival, Supercapitalism, where she [...]

  20. Living the Cheap Life » Blog Archive » Personal finance blog carnivals: my submissions & best-of on April 30th, 2008 9:35 pm

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  21. Frugal For Life » Blog Archive » Topical Carnivals week 18 on May 1st, 2008 5:33 am

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    [...] Frugality [...]

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    [...] credit card debt was included over at This week Know The Ledge was absent from the Festival of Frugality, but it’s still a great weekly read that you should frequent as I do. Thanks again to [...]

  24. squawkfox on May 3rd, 2008 8:07 am

    Thank you for including my post! I have linked back via: Carnivals

  25. Weekly Round-Up Busy Week Edition on May 4th, 2008 8:32 am

    [...] Festival of Frugality #123, The Supercapitalism Edition was held at Sound Money Matters. My article, Frugal Tips to Extend Your Computer’s Life, was [...]

  26. Weekly Round-Up Busy Week Edition on May 4th, 2008 8:32 am

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  27. Sunday Morning Link Love: Carnivals and Yard Sales | I've Paid For This Twice Already... on May 4th, 2008 9:14 am

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  28. Weekend Reading: May 4, 2008 | Moolanomy on May 4th, 2008 9:28 am

    [...] Biggest Budget Busters was featured in the Festival of Frugality #123 hosted by Sound Money [...]

  29. » Carnivals - Week of 04/28/08 @ on May 4th, 2008 6:46 pm

    [...] Festival of Frugality included “Frugal vs. Cheap: Where do you Draw the Line?” Also included was “Tax [...]

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  33. Funny about Money on May 5th, 2008 11:05 pm

    Hey! I finally managed to get into this! Thanks for the link to Funny’s rumination on the most cost-effective ruminations.

    I’ve linked back to this festival in today’s “Moments of Fame” post.

  34. Frugal For Life » Blog Archive » Festival of Frugality 124 on May 6th, 2008 8:00 am

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  36. Blog Carnival Round-Up, Week of April 27th | Greener Pastures: Personal Finance on June 30th, 2008 12:28 am

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  37. Almost Frugal Carnivals, Festivals and Link Love — almost frugal on July 10th, 2008 10:57 pm

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  40. Eddie Orman on April 3rd, 2011 11:05 pm

    This is a great post. I like the line “We’ve created an endless circuit where our search for deals results in the decline of our own wages.”

    It sure helps to step back now and again and try to see the bigger picture… cheaper is not always better…more is sometimes less…

    Eddie Orman
    Webmaster, Free–

  41. Jenna Griego on April 4th, 2011 8:18 pm

    I for one AM always looking for “the deal” but I also know that when looking for it, you have to use common sense.
    I enjoyed the “SUV lifestyle” comment that you wrote.
    I also really liked the links that were posted here.

  42. Sally S. on April 12th, 2011 11:51 pm

    “…being frugal sometimes means spending more to get a better value for a better product or to achieve the kind of world you want to live in.”

    Practice what you preach or practice what you believe in seem like cliches, yet there are always people who do it. It is understandable in the current economic situation that people would prefer to buy goods at less cost. However, it is not cost-effective.

    Many companies will keep on making cheap and disposable products. They will do so until people stop buying them and opt for quality. Whereas, companies that continue to preserve the quality of their products are shutting down.

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