• Wed. Nov 29th, 2023

The Evolution of America’s Consumer-Driven Economy


Nov 22, 2023

This week, the holiday shopping season is set to kick off with Black Friday, and American shoppers are expected to spend a record amount, particularly in online sales. As a journalist, I feel it’s important to delve into the economic implications of this spending spree.

Consumer spending makes up 70% of the United States’ gross domestic product, keeping the economy humming. But did you know that this wasn’t always the case? Economic historian Louis Hyman from Cornell University explains that over the 18th century, the American economy shifted from individuals making their own cloth to buying it in shops. This shift has led to serious environmental consequences today.

But what about alternatives to our consumer-driven economy? Hyman also discusses this topic and shares some insights linked to the Salem witch trials. It’s fascinating how our past shapes our present economic systems.

In other news, a federal appeals court decision may have significant implications for the Voting Rights Act. We delve into this topic and discuss how it could play out in the Supreme Court. Additionally, we touch on the decline of cryptocurrency kings and what it means for investors.

Later in the episode, we will hear some suggestions for signature state cocktails from listeners. And food journalist Francis Lam was incorrect about what was on the menu at the first Thanksgiving – can you believe it? It just goes to show that sometimes even experts get things wrong!

Lastly, listeners are encouraged to share their answers to our Make Me Smart question at [makemesmart@marketplace.org](mailto:makemesmart@marketplace.org) or by leaving a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART (508-827-6273).

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