• Wed. Dec 6th, 2023

The Evolution of America’s Consumer-Driven Economy


Nov 22, 2023

American shoppers are expected to set a new record in consumer spending during the upcoming holiday shopping season, particularly in online sales. This week, Black Friday kicks off the festivities, and the economy will be humming thanks to the 70% of consumer spending that makes up the United States’ gross domestic product.

However, this wasn’t always the case. In fact, over the 18th century, the American economy underwent a significant shift from individuals making their own cloth to buying it in shops. Economic historian Louis Hyman at Cornell University explains how this change has led to serious environmental consequences today.

Hyman also discusses whether there are alternatives to America’s consumer-driven economy and its history linked to the Salem witch trials. Meanwhile, a federal appeals court decision may have significant implications for the Voting Rights Act. We delve into the economic repercussions of this ruling and how it could play out in the Supreme Court.

Additionally, we discuss recent developments in cryptocurrency and hear some suggestions for signature state cocktails from listeners. Food journalist Francis Lam was incorrect about what was on the menu at the first Thanksgiving.

Listeners are encouraged to share their answers to our Make Me Smart question by emailing us at makemesmart@marketplace.org or leaving a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART.

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