A Saturday shopping trip leads to some big questions

What does our consumer economy look like?

Starting today, and running the rest of the week on the broadcast, we've got a special series from our Sustainability desk: Consumed.

The series focuses on what this economy we all live in actually looks like and how it doesn't really work right without us, the consumer.

What we want to know -- what we're trying to figure out -- is whether we can actually afford all this in the long run. Is this consumer economy sustainable? 

Think about what happens on a regular day, when we're out and about, just running errands. My plan was nothing special, really. It was filled with the same things lots of us do all the time: a couple of stores, a much needed haircut. My weekend started with errands, but ended with me looking at all kinds of stuff I didn't need.

So, what does my weekend have to do with the consumer economy? What we consume is often dictated and ramped up by what everyone around us is spending. It's sort of a competition, like Scott Tong discovered in his reporting.

Later in the week, we'll see an economy dependent on all this spending impacts everything from businesses to workers to our personal relationships.


 Can we afford the consumer economy? Marketplace explores how we consume, what we get from it, what it costs and whether we can keep it up. 

Explore the whole series and play the game.

 


About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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