Economy, consumption discussed in lecture
Professor Menzie Chinn of the University of Wisconsin lectured about consumption and production in today’s economy at the UH Honors College Commons Friday.
Sponsored by the Phronesis Politics and Ethics Program at the Honors College and Hobby Center for Public Policy, the lecture focused his book “Lost Decades: The Making of America’s Debt Crisis and the Long Recovery.”
“Big financial institutions were self-interested,” Chinn said. “There is an incentive if you want an institution to exist — you tend to take risks bigger than you otherwise would.”
Americans consume more than they produce and our consumption has been high since 1980s, he said.
“We are going to reduce consumption, increase savings and in international context what that means is that we are going to export more,” Chinn said. “Essentially, everyone should work more and spend less.”
In order to speed the recovery of the economy, Chinn said students need to learn skills that are easily transferrable. “We want to be flexible to all sorts of jobs.”
“Our economy is recovering, but very slowly.” Chinn said.
Chinn blamed political institutions that are interested in keeping their money.
“It’s difficult,” said Wen Long, an economics graduate student. “Are the rich going to carry the burden or the poor?
“The economy affects everyone.”