Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Savings mobilisation in developing countries

My last post described how one researcher thinks that China's high investment rate is due primarily to companies retaining profits. Coupled with other observations, it suggests some interesting hypotheses and provides evidence against others.

Here's a compressed statement of several hypotheses. Since the general Chinese population is not saving, but dissaving, the high investment rate has more to do with the character of capitalism and capitalists in Chinese conditions than just Chinese culture in its entirety. If other countries had Chinese economic conditions then they would have similar savings rates.

Leading academics have argued both for and against cultural factors as leading determinants of economic growth. I incline to think that capitalism and its growth are fairly mechanical relative to current macroeconomic conditions, so that cultural factors, rather than institutional and economic arrangements for example, are of secondary importance once capitalism gains impetus in a society.

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