O texto que se segue, acessível a ultraleigos como eu, desmonta bem a falácia da ideia do consumo como propulsor da economia e da poupança como elemento retardador e obstáculo do avanço económico e resolução de crises a médio-longo prazo. Por sua vez, esta desmitificação, que vem ao encontro de muitas outras ao longo dos tempos, acaba por deitar por terra o propósito de muitos programas governamentais de fomento do consumo, mesmo aqueles que pretendem impulsionar um sector de modo específico.
Most saving takes the form of financial instruments, including everything from basic checking accounts to the fanciest investment tools. If people are keeping higher checking account balances or putting more in savings accounts or money market mutual funds, then that wealth is not withdrawn from the economy. It is simply channeled elsewhere than into consumer goods. Financial institutions that accept such deposits lend them to customers who invest in their businesses. This is the process of creating the capital that is the sine qua non of sustainable, long-term economic growth.
In Bastiat’s terms, we see the lost expenditures at the retail store, but we mostly don’t see the “backdoor” way the savings are channeled to other businesses. More precisely, an increase in the savings rate represents a change in consumers’ time preferences: They are saying they are less interested in current consumption and more interested in future consumption. The beauty of financial markets is that they translate that change in preferences into a change in the flow of resources. Those investments will take time to become consumption goods, but that’s what consumers want.