Alan Elms found an unpublished article of my father’s titled “Any Fool Can Earn Money” in the University of Kansas archives. It appears to have been written in the early 1950s. Here’s part of it:
Intelligence will make money. But can intelligence spend it?
I doubt it.
It takes taste to spend money effectively.
I don´t mean that a fool can´t throw money around; he certainly can. I mean, instead, the pleasant effort of spending money fastidiously, pleasantly, appreciatively, welcoming the departure of each dollar for the rewards which the dollar brings in… To spend judiciously and beautifully is an act which compels me to exert my whole character. I have to be me, to take the measure of myself. Even in the most trivial every-day things I have to stop short if I ask myself, Do I really want this? Will this give me pleasure? Or is this something which if bought would keep me from buying something else which would give me much more reward?
I suppose the reward is not in the spending but in the leisure, not in the possession but in the enjoyment, not in acquisition but in individualization. American spending is sadly hasty. People save money and waste their own lives saving time, because the things they buy are not especially and individually their own. They are mere things–adequate, useful, and no more.