USA Today loves to run lifestyle features that purport to show how we are living, what we are doing, what we like and what we don’t like – premised on a collectivist assumption that all our preferences can be tracked and characterized with these aggregate claims.
Most of the time, these features are silly. It’s not really true that we are all listening to Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, or tweeting what we had for breakfast.
However, the other day, the paper offered a roundup of how the great recession has affected American life. The business cycle is one of those forces that does indeed affect everyone, so perhaps it makes sense to examine what the paper had to say.
The trends are gleaned from US Census data, which provide a look at how economic downturns can devastate a society, and offer a glimpse into a theme that the Austrian tradition has long emphasized. Economics isn’t just about trade statistics, retail sales or GDP. It is the very pith of life.