The 2008 financial crisis made it clear: Americans save too little, spend too much and borrow excessively, says Princeton professor Sheldon Garon. In Western Europe and East Asia, governments aggressively encourage people to save through special savings institutions and savings campaigns.
Garon has just released a new book, Beyond Our Means: Why America Spends While the World Saves. He discussed his findings with NPR:
Do Americans spend more than people in Western Europe and Asia?
“They definitely do. You can look at consumption levels and control for purchasing power over the last several decades, and America is simply in a league of its own. The only people who come close are people in Britain, but they are about 85 percent of the level of American consumption. Germans, French and others are in the 70 percent range, Japanese even a little lower. So Americans spend like no one else.”
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