Monday, November 8, 2010

The Consumption Assumption

As the G-20 nations plan their get-together to gang up on China for its high savings rate and low currency policies, no one wants to face the real issues.  Almost everyone seems to think the only answer to our economic woes is spending.  If we can't spend, then get the Chinese to spend (on our much finer quality merchandise, of course).  Their savings rate is 50%, ours is 15%, which by the way is an improvement over past years when we headed toward a negative savings rate.

No, they tell us, it's not an improvement.  We must get out and buy Ninja blenders, hot tubs, greenhouses, knick-knacks at jewelry and cosmetics parties, whatever we can think of to use for a few months, then toss into our next garage/yard sale.  Better yet, buy a brand new car to gobble more mid-East petroleum.  Oh, if only we would spend, spend, spend, our troubles would end, end, end.

Ours would.  But only if we're selfish in our definition of "ours."  Only if we forget the generations to come, which don't matter much because they'll be smarter than we are and able to figure out how to make something of almost nothing, we hope, we think, well, maybe not.

"God will provide," says Virginia.

Right, or take all of us to our heavenly homes, where life is better forever.  I think we can do better.  I think we have the talents to do better.  Are we on the right track, saving more, or are we simply waiting to resume our historically high consumption?

If we put our minds together, I'm sure we can do better than spend, spend, spend.


  1. Does it help that I just bought my second Ninja blender?

  2. Hey, someone reads this blog! I hoped if I threw in enough examples (hot tub, greenhouse, etc.) someone might respond. Thanks, Judy.