Beyond Our Means, by Sheldon Garon

People in nations with substantial social welfare provisions save more than Americans, who lack some of those provisions and therefore should be saving more to cover unpredictable expenses. European households keep saving through retirement, but Americans dissipate their wealth in retirement. Rapid economic growth does not lead to higher savings by individuals in the United States, whereas in Europe even slow growth results in significant savings rates. Why?

Sheldon Garon contends that Americans lack moral teaching related to wealth, public policies that encourage saving, and a cultural ethos that nurtures practices of thrift. To realize success, Americans instead rely on high consumption, borrowing and visions of the steady high growth of wealth.

 

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