This week marks the start of the holiday shopping season with Black Friday, and American consumers are expected to spend a record amount, particularly online. The consumer spending makes up 70% of the United States’ gross domestic product, which keeps the economy running smoothly. However, it wasn’t always this 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. Economic historian Louis Hyman from Cornell University discusses this shift and its history linked to the Salem witch trials. He also talks about whether there are alternatives to the consumer-driven economy that America is known for today.
A federal appeals court decision may have significant implications for the Voting Rights Act, and we delve into its economic repercussions and how it could play out in the Supreme Court. We also discuss the decline of cryptocurrency kings 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, but we encourage listeners to share their answers to our Make Me Smart question by emailing us at email@example.com or leaving a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART.