Comments on: No U.S. bounce from China’s safety net Thu, 21 Jul 2016 07:57:19 +0000 hourly 1 By: Mekhong Kurt Sat, 06 Jun 2009 12:01:32 +0000 Mr. Swann, this is one of the most incisive analyses I’ve read with nearly a quarter of a century living in Asia, 4 in mainland China and 4 in Macau (while it still belonged to Portugal).

When I lived in Tianjin 1985-86 and Beijing 1986-88, the commorn street intelligence held that a typical worker saved around 40% of his or her income, partly because there wasn’t all that much to buy and partly of the then-extant cradle-to-grave system that provided for practically everything. While I’m certainly no expert on anything at all to do with economics, that seemed to be borne out by Chinese I knew, including the family of a lady from Beijing I married. Her Mother save 35-40% of her salary, while her Father usually hit the 50% range (but, then, his salary was considerably higher than hers). Other friends, colleagues, and students (I taught in universities) told me comparable stories. I even got into the act myself after marrying, knowing that we would be going to the U.S. for further studies for my wife, and in about 19 months, earning the equivalent of $400/month, I saved about $2750. But even I had few expenses, though I didn’t get *quite* everything a Chinese citizen did.

So, I’m a bit puzzled by the percentage saved as cited in your article. True, what I read was in the popular press, and my direct experiences with Chinese were (1.) only anecdotal, and (2.) univerfied — I never asked anyone to show me their bank book or to see the stash under the bed or whatever.

I returned to mainland China for nearly a year 1999-2000, and even that late my boss and his wife, both of whom worked, after about seven years of marriage (and having a daughter along the way) saved enough money to buy multiple household high-end goods (television, refrigerator, sound system, etc.), a late-model used car, and a late-model used motorcycle — AND an apartment measuring about 750 dquare feet. And their families both were dirt-poor, so it wasn’t the daddies forking over a chunk.

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the article and learned some things from it — thanks!

By: Rolfe WInkler Wed, 03 Jun 2009 21:24:44 +0000 Great column….totally original stuff.

By: J Fernandes Wed, 03 Jun 2009 14:55:42 +0000 As china inflates, deflation will hit the US. All these job losses are the starting signs of what is to come.

By: Anubis Wed, 03 Jun 2009 14:03:15 +0000 Geitner has simply asked for what has already happened. Are we so desperate that we now want to tell other nations what to do with their money for our economic benefit?

Consumption is now the “Holy Grail” of economic recovery. This is meaningless in the abstract. We need to consume products that enable us to use resources more efficiently. The market place lacks such choices. This leaves us only to buy the same old fodder in order to jump start the economy. Consumers are waking up to this fact and manufacturers are not adapting.

So much for the free market.