It had to happen. I forgot my password on a financial account and had to create a new one. The young man who helped me closed off our conversation with the admonition, “Now that you can access your money again, don’t start spending it.”
I laughed because at my age I don’t have many needs. Maybe I’m what’s wrong with our economy. I’m not the consumer I used to be. On the other hand, I don’t know that the ever rising tide of consumption needed to fuel our system is good for the planet.
The Chinese, I’m told, are consummate savers. The habit stems from centuries of living in a country with largely two classes — the rich and the poor, with the rich showing a brutal indifference to the suffering of others. As a consequence, the bulk of the population, being poor, learned to be savers.
According to Hank Paulson, former Treasury Security under George W. Bush and former CEO of Goldman Sachs, this habit of savings is a detriment to China’s growth. It’s one of the reasons why their private sector lacks sufficient capital to grow markets, he explains.
…right now you have over saving in China because people don’t have adequate safety nets [such as] Social Security and welfare…(“Paulson’s Predictions,” by Andy Serwer, Fortune April 29, 2013 pg. 20)
Wait a minute. Did I read Paulson right? I know he believes in welfare for the banks but is he saying Social Security is a plus for a capitalist economy? Yes, that’s exactly what he said. I hope the Republican members of Congress are listening.
(Picture of Hank Paulson courtesy of wki.wooster.edu)