Maybe we did learn something. After years of American consumers spending money like corrupt politicians there is a mentality shift. I see now that our savings rates have increased substantially. So it took a recession for people to realize that maybe a McMansions was not a great investment. Having second thoughts about that Escalade with mortgage type payments, and ten miles to the gallon. That $5 latte and pedicures, now substituted for making and doing it yourself at home. For decades we Americans were known around the world for saving little and charging vast amounts more than financially should have been allowed. All along learning nothing from past generations.
Today more people seem content with what they have, instead of trying to acquire things. Loans are being taken out for useful purposes like home improvement, hybrid cars, and education. Private and community gardens are more popular than ever, with people choosing to grow greater amounts of fruits and vegetables instead of flowers. I like that not even kids think driving a Hummer is cool anymore.
So when times get better how many will switch back to the materialistic way of thinking?