The Insatiable American

Harvard economist Juliet Schor says consumers still overspend -- and it'll take more than a slowdown to seriously change their ways

Many Americans spent well beyond their means during the bull market of the 1990s. Harvard economist and best-selling author Juliet B. Schor, who has studied the phenomenon, calls it "New Consumerism" -- a movement she says was fueled by status buying and debt spending. So is the slowing economy the result of a movement away from New Consumerism? Schor isn't convinced. She thinks some consumers are downshifting, but not enough to be a driving force in the business cycle. And in turn, she doesn't think a slowdown, even a recession, would do much to tame the psychology of the New Consumer.

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