China ahorrativa y los Estados Unidos despilfarradores

La tasa de ahorro en China es la más alta de todos los países grandes. La tasa de ahorro bruto (el porcentaje del PIB no consumido inmediatamente), que comprende el ahorro tanto público como privado, de China asciende al 50 por ciento, aproximadamente. En cambio, la tasa de ahorro en los Estados Unidos es el más bajo de todos los países grandes: el 10 por ciento del PIB, aproximadamente. Casi todos los demás países se sitúan entre esos dos extremos.

Las diferencias entre las tasas de ahorro tienen mucha importancia y han de ser una razón poderosa por la que la tasa de crecimiento anual de China es ahora seis puntos porcentuales mayor que la de los EE.UU. Si las personas están ahorrando la mitad de sus ingresos, existen muchas posibilidades de que sus inversiones en capital impulsen la economía a un ritmo rápido. El ahorro en China es en parte un círculo virtuoso: el crecimiento económico rápido propicia un ahorro elevado, que, a su vez, sostiene un crecimiento rápido.

La diferencia entre las tasas de ahorro de China y los EE.UU. ha estado aumentando durante decenios. A comienzos del decenio de 1980, la tasa de ahorro de China era el doble. Ahora es cinco veces mayor. ¿Por qué son tan diferentes esas trayectorias?

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