California isn’t just the world’s fifth largest economy—it’s also a global capital of consumer culture. And now its culture, and the everyday habits of its people, are being profoundly disrupted by the pandemic and its associated economic collapse. A sudden, sharp decline in consumer satisfaction has laid open the profound fragility of the California economy. How is COVID-19 changing the way Californians participate in the economy, particularly in the counties hit hardest by the pandemic? How can California bounce back from COVID? And what might Californians’ changing feelings about consumer culture portend for the rest of the country?
Cameron Shelton, director of the Lowe Institute of Political Economy at Claremont McKenna College and a lead investigator in the California Consumer Sentiment Indices, visits Zócalo to explore Californians’ rapidly changing feelings about consumerism.