World-Class Whiners

Categories: General Archive

Dying empire to the rest of the world: Hey! Be as fiscally irresponsible as we are, already!

There's a funny story in Slate about the "new conventional wisdom" that the high rate of savings in other countries is to blame for U.S. economic woes.

The savings-glut meme changes the terms of the conversation about global imbalances. It's not our fault that we rely on foreigners to fund our desire to spend in excess of our resources. Au contraire. Our extreme consumption and failure to save become something of a virtue. Somebody has to keep the world's factories humming and absorb all the products made in Japan, China, and elsewhere. And until the rest of the world becomes More Like Us in its consuming habits, the imbalances are likely to persist.

This short story has much to recommend. For starters, it's easily understood by non-economists. Plus, there are hints of the shape of the Post-Greenspan era to come. Finally, it's sprinkled with links to all kinds of econ blogs for the geeks who already know something about all of this.


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