I’ve seen claims like this before but here is a great example of a broad description of how McMansions contributed to the American economic crisis:
A worrying and much commented on aspect of America’s Great Recession was that very few people saw it coming.
The autopsy revealed many obvious causes — the artful bundling and trading of bad debt, the notion that every good American deserved a McMansion in the suburbs whether or not he could pay for it, instituting big tax cuts and massive spending increases, pervasive debt, everywhere.
These were mostly ignored until it was too late.
What intrigues me here is not the argument that the construction of and mortgages provided for McMansions and other large houses contributed to the economic crisis. They did. However, the argument here is that Americans thought they deserved McMansions and other goods. Is this true? It is one thing to have the credit available to make such big purchases but another thing to have a pervasive ideology that everyone deserves such an opportunity. The real problem then was not McMansions but materialism and excessive consumption. This is why McMansions are often mentioned in the same sentence with SUVs: both have become symbols of unnecessary but wanted consumer goods.
This is the reason I have wondered repeatedly on this blog whether American consumer patterns will change once (if?) the economy turns around. Because of the downturn, it is more difficult to purchase and build things like McMansions. But, if the economy turns around, will people again turn to unnecessary consumer goods? A number of commentators have suggested spending patterns will change, particularly for younger adults who will have or want to delay purchases like cars or houses. Yet, we will have to wait and see and see whether the economic status of today sticks around for a long time or not and then how people respond.