ABC’s Foreign Correspondent program had a segment tonight called China – The Biggest Domino asking whether China can keep up its rate of production and consumption. An interesting statistic is that they consume the lowest share of GDP ever recorded, relying on foreign consumers and big infrastructure projects to drive demand.
According to the “Chinese battlers” they interviewed, the reason for the low demand is the lack of a social security safety net, especially with regards to medical issues. They have to save as much money as they can in case they have an accident or fall ill.
There are certainly many arguments against the reckless spending habits of the West, but perhaps it should (but probably won’t) give pause to some of the anti-welfare lobbyists, especially those who rely on selling non-necessities to the general consumer.