Quand la Chine économise, l'Amérique dépense

Le taux d'épargne chinois est supérieur à celui de tous les plus grands pays. Le taux d'épargne brut de la Chine (le pourcentage du PIB qui n'est pas immédiatement consommé), qui comprend à la fois l'épargne publique et privée, tourne autour de 50%. En revanche, le taux d'épargne aux États-Unis est le plus bas de tous les grands pays, puisqu'il atteint en gros 10% du PIB. Presque tous les autres pays sont compris entre ces deux extrêmes.

Les différences de taux d'épargne sont très importantes, et doivent constituer une des principales raisons pour lesquelles la croissance économique de la Chine est aujourd'hui à six points de pourcentage au-dessus de celle des États-Unis. Si les gens épargnent la moitié de leurs revenus, leurs investissements dans le capital peuvent faire progresser l'économie à un rythme rapide. Épargner en Chine est en partie un cercle vertueux : une croissance économique rapide mène à une épargne élevée, qui à son tour entretient une croissance rapide.

L'écart entre taux d'épargne chinois et américain se creuse depuis des décennies. Au début des années 1980, le taux d'épargne de la Chine était deux fois plus élevé que celui des États-Unis. Aujourd'hui il l'est cinq fois. Pourquoi ces trajectoires sont-elles si différentes ?

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