In continuing to understand and improve the American economy, US News & World Report chief business correspondent Rick Newman provides four pragmatic lessons Americans can learn from Chinese consumers:
1. Don’t gorge on debt.
2. Paying for an indulgence means paying less for other goods.
3. Budget first, then buy second.
4. Research extensively to find the best quality and deals.
The point isn’t that these lessons are new, but that Americans have gotten away from sound fiscal habits. Compared to us, the Chinese are relatively new market consumers and are going through the early stages of the free market consumer mentality that we had in the 1950s; namely, careful and practical spending that is based on their means. More mature consumers of a free market economy tend to push those limits, as we have done; as a result, we have become a nation mired in consumer debt. As mentioned in a previous post, the solution for Americans is not to spend more, but rather to invest more in human capital to jolt the economy forward.
Newman’s simple and balanced perspective on Chinese spending brings to light what Americans already know, but need to return to. For more details, read his full article.