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Business Insider

Lindley Estes is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Lindley Estes.

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History says thrift isn’t here to stay

CONVENTIONAL wisdom dictates that the current U.S. recession has permanently changed the spending habits of American consumers.

Most people assume that Americans will learn the lessons of getting too deep into debt and not having enough savings to cushion the blow of job losses or other costly life events.

Americans will therefore be more likely to save rather than spend in the future, the thinking goes. Certainly the fate of bankrupt retailers such as Circuit City and Linens ‘N Things would lend credence to that theory.

Not everyone agrees. People shouldn’t write off the American consumer, author and financial columnist James Surowiecki writes in the Oct. 12 edition of The New Yorker.

"The evidence for a radical shift in the way we consume seems more like the product of wishful thinking than anything else," he writes.

Click here to read this week’s full Business Browser column.