The world’s consumers are sitting on piles of cash. Will they spend it? | The Economist

The world's consumers are sitting on piles of cash. Will they spend it?

Households look set to power the economic recovery-especially in America

THE ECONOMIC controls implemented during the second world war make today's restrictions on restaurants and football stadiums look lax. In America the government rationed everything from coffee to shoes and forbade the production of fridges and bicycles. In 1943 its entire automobile industry sold only 139 cars. Two years later the war ended, and a consumer-led boom ensued. Americans put to use the personal savings they had accumulated in wartime. By 1950 carmakers were producing more than 8m vehicles a year.

Governments today are slowly easing lockdowns, as vaccines reduce hospitalisations and deaths from covid-19. Attention is turning to the likely shape of the economic recovery. The big question is whether or not the rich world can repeat the post-war trick, with pent-up savings powering a rapid bounce-back.

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