Я написал несколько заметок про "японские декады". В том числе и об отсутствии снижения уровня долга в финансовом секторе и у домохозяйств. Сегодня Майкл Петтис прояснил некоторые особенности ребалансинга по-японски без снижения уровня долга.

"…  Japanese gross national savings declined from around 35% of GDP in 1990 to around 23% last year. The household savings rate dropped too, from around 10% in the 1990s to around 2%. 

… Household consumption, according to the article, nonetheless failed to grow meaningfully – in the past two decades it only grew by 1-2% annually – and this is much lower, presumably, than consumption growth in the 1980s. 
consumption growth may have been low, but it exceeded GDP growth. Rebalancing in the context of Japan (and China) does not mean that consumption growth must surge. It just means that consumption must grow faster than the economy so as to become a bigger share of GDP and a bigger driver of total growth. Put another way, it means that the savings rate must decline. If this is what actually happened, then in fact Japan did partly rebalance.

… The article helpfully provides us with the numbers for both in an accompanying graph, and this confirms that investment indeed dropped, from a peak of around 32-3% in 1990 to around 22% last year. 
    With investment such an important part of Japanese growth prior to the bursting of the bubble, the fact that it declined so dramatically seems to have had a huge impact on Japan’s subsequent lack of growth. So although in some important ways Japan “rebalanced”, for two decades it was nonetheless unable to grow even with a still-very-high and rising trade surplus, largely because investment declined sharply.

 …. In other words Tokyo seems to have responded to the collapse in the US by increasing its already-high level of investment to counteract the impact on the trade surplus. This is what happened in China too, after the 2007-08 banking crisis in the US.  This jump in investment seems to have kept Japanese growth going solidly for another two years after the current account surplus began its steep nine-year decline.

… After 1990, when investment growth could no longer keep up, perhaps because Japanese corporate, banking and government debt levels were becoming a serious constraint, the Japanese economy began a long, slow, painful decline.
   The government tried to continue subsidizing growth over the subsequent decades by keeping both wage growth and interest rates low, not to mention maintaining the undervalued currency, as we know. This unfortunately may have slowed the growth of both household income and household consumption, while maintaining the high trade surplus. This also may explain why the drop in household savings was partly matched by the rise in corporate savings – households continued seeing transfers of income to the corporate sector.

… At the macro level, in other words, it doesn’t matter what individual policies we take to boost consumption if these polices don’t in the aggregate represent a real transfer of income to the household sector, as they did not in Japan. Rebalancing must occur, but as an accounting-identify matter it can occur both through good ways (a surge in consumption) and bad ways (a drop in growth).

…Will China rebalance? Of course it will. It is not a question of if but rather of how. The same was true of Japan. No economy the size of China’s can be so heavily dependent on exports to absorb its excess production, especially once unemployment in the rich countries reaches significant levels. And no large economy can keep investment rates so high – and the allocation process so constrained by governance issues – for very long without running into the problem of capital misallocation. But there are many ways rebalancing can occur…"

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