Is there any particular reason for a country as rich as ours to worry about its savings rate? Â I can’t see one. Â Very few of our problems would be solved by getting richer (as opposed to technologically more advanced, more capable of producing public goods and restricting the production of bads, and better-governed). Â Since GDP per capita continues to rise, saving means depriving current consumers for the benefit of future consumers who will be richer than we are.
Of course concern about future generations is to be applauded. Â However, if I try to put myself in the position of a trustee for those Americans who will be alive in a century, I’m worried about the tiny budget of the National Science Foundation and other basic-research enterprises, about an increasingly shoddy educational system, and about cooking the planet. Â The stock of capital plant and equipment, not so much.