Yes, more people should do things based on economics and practicality. We live in a society that makes decisions based on popularity, convenience, and good feelings. While these can all be good factors to consider at the right time, economics and practicality should be given more prominence in decision making.
There is nothing wrong with making certain decisions based on economics, like painting a barn. However, other choices sometimes require weighing costs and benefits before deciding to spend or not. I agree that in general, people should tend to be conservative, to actually conserve resources, and use what we have rather than deplete what we should be saving. That doesn't always work.
For the large number of people that live in the world, it's important to do things that are practical. When buildings are built in Europe, it's not uncommon for them to last hundreds upon hundreds of years, or centuries even. The United States and the rest of the world should do things based on longevity as well.
People today are less aware of the economic consequences of their actions. Painting barns red because it is a good economic decision is one example of how it is possible to save money yet still have an excellent result. Awareness of the true cost of choices will help Americans save money and do better economically.