The emergence of America’s consumer economy

The holiday shopping season kicks off this week with Black Friday, and American shoppers are looking forward to it A record amount of spendingEspecially in online sales.

Consumer spending keeps the US economy humming, accounting for 70% of the nation’s GDP. But it wasn’t always like this.

„You go from a world in the 18th century, at the time of the Revolution, where almost all Americans bought their own cloth in stores and something called homespun,” said Lewis Hyman, an economic historian at Cornell. University.

On today’s show, Hyman gives us a history lesson on how the U.S. economy became consumer-driven, why that shift has created serious environmental consequences, and whether there are alternatives to the consumer-driven economy we know today. Also, what does this have to do with the Salem witch trials?

Later, a federal appeals court ruling could significantly weaken the Voting Rights Act. We’ll get to the economic implications of the ruling and how it might play out in the Supreme Court. Plus: Oh, how mighty crypto kings fall.

Then, we’ll ask for listener suggestions for signature state cocktails. Food journalist Francis Lam was wrong about what was on the menu at the first Thanksgiving.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

We want to hear your answer to the Make Me Smart question. You can contact us at [email protected] or leave us a voicemail at 508-UB-SMART.

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