The holiday shopping season is about to kick off, with Black Friday this week. American consumers are expected to spend more than ever before, particularly in online sales.
Consumer spending accounts for 70% of the United States’ GDP, which helps keep the economy running smoothly. But it wasn’t always that way.
In the 18th century, the American economy shifted from individuals making their own cloth to buying it in shops. This change has had serious environmental consequences today, according to Louis Hyman, an economic historian at Cornell University.
Hyman also discusses whether there are alternatives to the consumer-driven economy we know today and its history behind it, linked to the Salem witch trials.
A federal appeals court decision may have significant implications for the Voting Rights Act, and we delve into the economic repercussions of the ruling and how it could play out in the Supreme Court. We also discuss the decline of cryptocurrency kings.
Later in the episode, we will hear some suggestions for signature state cocktails from listeners and correct some misinformation about what was on the menu at the first Thanksgiving by food journalist Francis Lam.
Listeners are encouraged to share their answers to the Make Me Smart question by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or leaving a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART.