American shoppers are expected to spend a record amount during the holiday shopping season, particularly in online sales. This spending makes up 70% of the United States’ gross domestic product, keeping the economy humming.
However, this wasn’t always the case. Economic historian Louis Hyman at Cornell University explains that over 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.
Hyman also discusses whether there are alternatives to the consumer-driven economy that America knows today and its historical roots linked to the Salem witch trials. Additionally, we delve into the economic repercussions of a federal appeals court decision on the Voting Rights Act and how it could play out in the Supreme Court.
We also discuss the decline of cryptocurrency kings and later in the episode, we will 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 [firstname.lastname@example.org](mailto:email@example.com) or leaving a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART (508-825-7627).