The World

Buying stuff is part of the American way of life. This analyst says there was a huge explosion in consumer credit in the 1920s, and then there was another big explosion in the 50s when credit cards were first introduced, and that consumer credit is embedded in American history. He says that’s exacerbated by the fact that other countries have been willing to lend us money to let us buy stuff when we can’t afford it, and that’s at the heart of the current problems around the world. It doesn’t help that in times of crisis, spending money has been hailed as our patriotic duty. People struggling nowadays are more worried about putting food on their tables. The analyst says it’s no longer a matter of whether we’re capable of changing our spending habits, but we’re being forced to change because we’ve run out of money. Not everyone sees this changing habits as a bad thing. This professor of public policy is of the thinking that the economy is a sub-system of the larger world ecosystem. He says just look at climate change and it’s biophysically impossible to keep on growing while economically it’s impossible to stop growing. But the first analyst says we need to cut back. In other words, we have to learn how to become a nation of savers again while other people, like the Chinese, need to learn how to shop until they drop.

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