Beyond Our Means

Beyond Our Means

Why America Spends While the World Saves

Book - 2012
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If the financial crisis has taught us anything, it is that Americans save too little, spend too much, and borrow excessively. What can we learn from East Asian and European countries that have fostered enduring cultures of thrift over the past two centuries? Beyond Our Means tells for the first time how other nations aggressively encouraged their citizens to save by means of special savings institutions and savings campaigns. The U.S. government, meanwhile, promoted mass consumption and reliance on credit, culminating in the global financial meltdown. Many economists believe people save according to universally rational calculations, saving the most in their middle years as they plan for retirement, and saving the least in welfare states. In reality, Europeans save at high rates despite generous welfare programs and aging populations. Americans save little, despite weaker social safety nets and a younger population. Tracing the development of such behaviors across three continents from the nineteenth century to today, this book highlights the role of institutions and moral suasion in shaping habits of saving and spending. It shows how the encouragement of thrift was not a relic of indigenous traditions but a modern movement to confront rising consumption. Around the world, messages to save and spend wisely confronted citizens everywhere--in schools, magazines, and novels. At the same time, in America, businesses and government normalized practices of living beyond one's means. Transnational history at its most compelling, Beyond Our Means reveals why some nations save so much and others so little. -- From Inside Book Flap.
Publisher: Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2012
ISBN: 9780691135991
0691135991
Call Number: 339.43 G19b
Characteristics: 475 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 25 cm

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StarGladiator
May 31, 2013

"What can we learn from East Asian and European countries that have fostered enduring cultures of thrift over the past two centuries? " That they don't embrace massive offshoring of jobs, and importation of foreign visa scab workers? Of course, that never enters into the universe of non-cognition of this "author"? When millions of jobs at all levels have been offshored over the past four to five decades (Prudential Insurance offshored office jobs in the 1970s to Ireland, as did other insurance corporations - - GE began offshoring engineer, scientist, programmer and technician jobs in the mid-1980s, it had been offshoring manufacturing jobs for quite some time before that date), not too many American workers have the opportunity to do anything but work and hustle for their next job and meal, but evidently that never occurs to this "author"? (Not surprising this was published by the Princeton University Press - - just look at Harvard, Princeton and Yale for the present and future training ground of the super-criminals of America.)

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