The paradox of thrift: does a rise in savings cause a fall in investment?


The paradox of thrift, an idea introduced by British economist John Maynard Keynes, challenges the usual belief that saving more money always leads to more overall savings in an economy.

  • Instead, it suggests that saving too much money can actually make the economy weaker by reducing spending and investment.
  • While some economists think we should encourage spending during tough times, others believe that saving more can help kickstart investment and growth in the long run.

GS-03 (Economy)

Dimensions of the Article:

  • Complications of the Paradox of Thrift
  • Significance of Investment and Saving
  • Suggested Measures

Complications of the Paradox of Thrift:

  • The paradox of thrift shows us how saving too much can affect both individual decisions and the economy as a whole.
  • Saving money is important for planning ahead and building up resources.
  • But if everyone saves a lot during tough times, it can actually slow down the economy.
  • This happens because people spend less, which means businesses sell fewer goods and services.
  • As a result, businesses may have to lay off workers, which can make the economy even weaker.

Significance of Investment and Saving:

  • Saving and investing are both really important for keeping the economy healthy.
  • Saving money provides the funds needed for investment, while investment helps create new businesses and improve existing ones.
  • But sometimes, when people are unsure about the future, they save more money instead of spending it. This can lead to less spending and investment, which can make the economy slow down even more.

Suggested Measures:

  • To deal with the paradox of thrift, we need to find a balance between saving money and spending it.
  • Some economists think we should encourage people to spend more during tough times by cutting taxes or increasing government spending on things like roads and schools. This can help boost demand for goods and services, which can then lead to more investment and growth.
  • On the other hand, some experts believe that saving more money can actually help the economy in the long run. They think saving money can provide the funds needed for businesses to grow and create new jobs. So, policies that encourage saving, like giving tax breaks for saving money for retirement or investing, can also help strengthen the economy.


In summary, the paradox of thrift shows us that saving too much money during tough times can slow down the economy. But saving money is still important for planning ahead and building up resources. To keep the economy healthy, we need to find ways to encourage spending while also encouraging saving and investment. This way, we can achieve growth and stability in the long run.