by the Sandwichman
From the 1865 pamphlet A REDUCTION OF HOURS AN INCREASE OF WAGES by Ira Steward:
Many things can be done for self, family, and domicile which cost nothing but time and labor; but when done, are sure to suggest one or two things more, costing money. There is time after eight hours' labor to attend an evening concert, which adds a little to the expense, but much to the enjoyment of the family. The Smiths and Jones "and everybody" are going, "and who wants to be so different from everybody else." If these are trivial considerations to intelligent minds, they are the only ones which can be brought to bear upon the masses to tempt them to bid for higher wages. The great majority of men and women must "act like other folks." "What will people think?" or "What will people say?" is the most terrible question which they can be asked.
The expression "keeping up with the Jones" is commonly attributed (on the internet) to a comic strip of that name by Arthur Momand begun in 1913. But was the idea of "keeping up with the Joneses" original with Steward and his eight-hour theory?