"Marketers created a term—Cyber Monday—and digital retailers created deals. We consumers create chaos; and most of the headlines cheer because all of our digital buying creates jobs.
The enthusiasm, however, can obscure one of the most important impending economic and social trends: the transformation (and sometimes collapse) of brick-and-mortar retailing…"
Americans have been big spenders for decades now, but as Sheldon Garon observes in his new history of consumption, “Beyond Our Means,” that’s in large part because our economic system is set up to encourage overspending. And what the revival of layaway makes clear is that, while many shoppers are prone to spend what they don’t have on what they shouldn’t buy, they can also be sophisticated about their weakness, and savvy about finding ways to control it. They know that sometimes you have to have your hands tied in order to grab what you want.
Margaret Talbot on the indie rocker behind “Portlandia”; Ben McGrath on Don Bosco’s rise to high-school football dominance; James Surowiecki on the return of layaway; Ariel Levy on Biocon’s Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, the richest woman in India; and more: http://nyr.kr/Ln2M