Inconspicuous consumption

In: Uncategorized

13 Oct 2009

James Surowiecki, writing in the New Yorker (12 October), argues that the recession has not changed American consumption habits as much as many pundits are assuming. His article concludes:

“But the evidence for a radical shift in the way we consume seems more like the product of wishful thinking (there’s a palpable longing among pundits for Americans to become more frugal) than anything else. In many categories, spending has dropped only slightly, if at all. And, while these are very tough times for retailers who believed that spending could only go up, retail sales rose briskly in August. Before we go proclaiming this the age of the American tightwad, a little perspective is in order. Even after the worst recession of the past seventy years, retail sales this year will be about where they were in 2005. Does anyone really think that four years ago Americans were misers?”

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