A man swipes his credit card. In a new book, author James Livingston argues that consumer culture is good for the economy, the environment, and your soul. - 

Steve Chiotakis: The nation's retailers reported a jump in sales in September, helped a lot by robust car sales. It's the biggest increase in 7 months.

Jill Schlesinger is editor-at-large at CBS/MoneyWatch. She's with us live from New York as she is every Friday morning from New York City. Good morning Jill.

Jill Schlesinger: Good morning.

Chiotakis: So people starting to spend a little money, perhaps. I thought the economy was stalled?

Schlesinger: Yeah, they are feeling a little bit better than maybe they say they're feeling because they're spending money. You know, even without car sales, sales were double forecasts -- driven by sales of furniture, gasoline, electronics... even bars and restaurants rose.

This is consistent with some data we got last week. Chain store sales were up 5.5 percent year over year in September. So I think some better-than-expected news for the nations retailers.

Chiotakis: You know, Jill, you used to work on Wall Street -- what do you make of these protests going on down there?

Schlesinger: Well, I just wanted to get down there earlier in the week to interview some people, and it was interesting. I think that the protesters really have a sense of frustration, a sense of powerlessness. I think they're really sick of hearing about the recovery for corporate America -- specifically for Wall Street and big banks -- when don't feel like they're participating.

And on the other end of spectrum, my old friends on Wall Street are saying, "these people are crazy, this is not our fault." But I think it's really a little bit dangerous to ignore this sentiment. People are really feeling like they are just not part of this economic recovery; it's causing great frustration.

Chiotakis: And they want to be heard. All right, Jill Schlesinger from CBS/MoneyWatch. Jill, thank you.

Schlesinger: Take care.