How is the topic of shopping in the early 1800’s relevant to a discussion of the free enterprise system?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This is the sort of question that might do better as a discussion since there are many ways to look at it.

One way to look at this question is to say that the types of goods that were readily available (and those that were not) to shoppers in the early 1800s show how a free enterprise system in a market economy can create a large supply of relatively cheap goods.  In the early 1800s, the creation of a textile industry in the US meant that fabric and clothing were relatively easy to come by.  This was much more true of clothes than it was of other things that were not yet able to be mass produced.

What this shows us is that a true free enterprise/market system leads to mass production and division of labor.  This, in turn, leads to the greater availability of cheap goods.

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