Sunday, September 06, 2009

What if We Don't Shop?

The NYT published this piece about fundamental changes in US consumption.
Millions of Americans spent years tapping credit cards, stock portfolios and once-rising home values to spend in excess of their incomes and now lack the wherewithal to carry on. Those who still have the means feel pressure to conserve, fearful about layoffs, the stock market and real estate prices.
I've wondered for years what  most Americans like to do besides shop their way up the commodity ladder to bigger or more expensive. I don't know that many people who did this full time, but the ones who do seem to make the rules for everyone else.

We're seeing a forced slowdown, but no real shift in desires - are we?  Are consumers as totally inflexible as bankers, who a year after the big meltdown have taken all the government's money, maintained all the rules, and blocked all reform?

The main difference seems to be that bankers have more money - including more public money than the public has.

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