|Zombie consumers lead US into lost decade|
| The global economy is being hobbled by a new generation of zombies — the economic walking dead. American consumers are in the early stages of an unprecedented retrenchment. In the 13 quarters since the beginning of 2008, inflation-adjusted annualised growth in consumption has averaged just 0.5 per cent. Never before in the postwar era have US consumers been this weak for this long.|
The zombie syndrome has an important antecedent. It was, in fact, a key symptom of the Japan disease, which led to the first of two lost decades for that country. Encouraged by the government, Japanese banks kept extending credit lines for a broad cross-section of insolvent companies — postponing restructuring and inevitable failure.