Greetings from Recoveryland, USA.
Peter Eichenberger takes a look at spending, shopping malls, and our current recession. As the end of this decade will more or less mark the sixtieth birthday of pioneer shopping center Cameron Village as well as the very first credit card purchase ever, at Major’s Cabin Grill in the Empire State Building the same year, 1950, some scritchings on da money mess: With typically savage ironic synchronicity, I recently found myself at Quail Ridge Books (love the place) in a Christmas return pickle. The more I dug into what I walked out with, James Carroll’s latest, House of War: The Pentagon and the Disastrous Rise of American Power, the more I was struck by parallels between the “defense” morass and the “Economic Crisis,” “Financial Crisis,” or whatever the Meltdown (TM) will be called five years from now. As the shopping center/card synthesis gelled around the same time the Department of Defense consolidated its power, the comparison is timely—and appropriate.