• Fri. Dec 1st, 2023

The Evolution of America’s Consumer-Driven Economy


Nov 22, 2023

This week marks the start of the holiday shopping season with Black Friday, and American consumers are expected to spend a record amount, particularly in online sales. The consumer-driven economy accounts for 70% of the United States’ gross domestic product, keeping the economy running smoothly. However, this wasn’t always the case.

In the 18th century, the American economy shifted from individuals making their own cloth to buying it in shops. Economic historian Louis Hyman at Cornell University discusses how this shift has had serious environmental consequences today. He also examines whether there are alternatives to the consumer-driven economy that we know today and its history linked to the Salem witch trials.

Furthermore, 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 how cryptocurrency kings have fallen from grace in recent times.

Later in the episode, listeners will hear some suggestions for signature state cocktails from our listeners and food journalist Francis Lam corrects some of his earlier statements about what was on the menu at the first Thanksgiving. Finally, we encourage our listeners to share their answers to our Make Me Smart question by reaching out at makemesmart@marketplace.org or leaving a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART

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