April 26, 2012
Garon provides an overview of countries with high savings rates, including those in eastern Asia and in continental Europe, which have in common a long history of aggressively promoting savings among ordinary people, including the successful establishment of postal savings banks. He explains how the United States diverged from this pattern, and why the savings bank phenomenon did not catch on due in part to a commercial banking system that developed earlier in the United States and grew in strength and influence. The United States was also very prosperous in the post-war period, growing comfortable with the expansion of credit and government sponsorship of home ownership. In the aftermath of the financial crisis and the decimation of household balance sheets, Garon suggests one way to regenerate savings in the United States would be to re-establish a postal savings bank system for small savers.
Part 1: Welcoming Remarks (12:02)
Part 2: Sheldon Garon, Princeton University Nissan Professor of History and Asian Studies (34:19)
Part 3: Panel Discussion (20:48)
Part 4: Question and Answer Discussion (24:50)