纽约时报双语:美国制造:富人的社会主义,其他人的资本主义

美国制造:富人的社会主义,其他人的资本主义
Made in the U.S.A.: Socialism for the Rich. Capitalism for the Rest.
托马斯·弗里德曼
2021年1月28日
纽约时报双语:美国制造:富人的社会主义,其他人的资本主义

I understand why Democrats are fuming.

我明白民主党人为什么愤愤不平。

Donald Trump ran up budget deficits in his first three years to levels seen in our history only during major wars and financial crises — thanks to tax cuts, military spending and little fiscal discipline. And he did so prepandemic, when the economy was already expanding and unemployment was low. But now that Joe Biden wants to spend more on pandemic relief and prevent the economy from tanking further, many Republicans — on cue — are rediscovering their deficit hawk wings.

由于减税、军费开支和几乎没有财政自制力,唐纳德·特朗普执政头三年里积累起来的预算赤字,达到了我们历史上只有在重大战争和金融危机时期才见过的水平。他这样做是在新冠病毒大流行之前,经济已在扩张、失业率很低的时候。但现在,乔·拜登希望在缓解大流行病方面投入更多资金、防止经济进一步下滑时,许多共和党人恰恰在这个时候发现,他们反对赤字的态度又强硬了起来。

What frauds.

这群骗子。

We need to do whatever it takes to help the most vulnerable Americans who have lost jobs, homes or businesses to Covid-19 — and to buttress cities overwhelmed by the virus. So, put me down for a double dose of generosity.

我们需要尽一切努力帮助因新冠病毒疾病失去工作、住房或生意的最脆弱的美国人,为被新冠病毒压垮了的城市提供支持。可以把我算在要求政府加倍慷慨的行列里。

But, but, but … when this virus clears, we ALL need to have a talk.

但是,但是,但是…当这个病毒被消灭后,我们都需要坐下来谈一谈。

There has been so much focus in recent years on the downsides of rapid globalization and “neoliberal free-market groupthink” — influencing both Democrats and Republicans — that we’ve ignored another, more powerful consensus that has taken hold on both parties: That we are in a new era of permanently low interest rates, so deficits don’t matter as long as you can service them, and so the role of government in developed countries can keep expanding — which it has with steadily larger bailouts, persistent deficit spending, mounting government debts and increasingly easy money out of Central Banks to finance it all.

近年来,快速的全球化,以及对民主党和共和党都有影响的“新自由主义的自由市场群体思维”的负面影响,已成为如此之大的焦点,以至于我们忽视了另一个更强大的、在两党都已生根的共识:我们处于一个永久低利率的新时代,因此,只要能支付利息,赤字并不要紧,而且,发达国家政府的作用可以继续稳步扩大——我们已经在这样做,政府的紧急财政援助稳步增长,赤字开支持续不断,债务越来越多,中央银行则在为所有这些提供来得越来越容易的钱。

This new consensus has a name: “Socialism for the rich and capitalism for the rest,” argues Ruchir Sharma, chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, author of “The Ten Rules of Successful Nations” and one of my favorite contrarian economic thinkers.

这个新共识有一个名称,摩根士丹利投资管理公司(Morgan Stanley Investment Management)首席全球策略师鲁奇尔·夏尔马(Ruchir Sharma)称之为:“富人的社会主义,其他人的资本主义。”夏尔马是《成功国家的十条规则》(The Ten Rules of Successful Nations)一书的作者,也是我最喜欢的经济学逆向思维者之一。

“Socialism for the rich and capitalism for the rest” — a variation on a theme popularized in the 1960s — happens, Sharma explained in a phone interview, when government intervention does more to stimulate the financial markets than the real economy. So, America’s richest 10 percent, who own more than 80 percent of U.S. stocks, have seen their wealth more than triple in 30 years, while the bottom 50 percent, relying on their day jobs in real markets to survive, had zero gains. Meanwhile, mediocre productivity in the real economy has limited opportunity, choice and income gains for the poor and middle class alike.

夏尔马在电话采访中解释说,当政府干预的作用更多地是刺激金融市场而不是实体经济时,就会出现“富人的社会主义,其他人的资本主义”,这个说法是20世纪60年代提出的一个观念的变体。因此,拥有80%以上美国股票的美国最富有的10%看到了他们的财富在30年里增长了三倍多,而靠实体经济中日常有薪工作谋生的底层50%没有看到任何增长。与此同时,实体经济生产率表现平平,限制了穷人和中产阶级的机会、选择和收入增长。

The best evidence is the last year: We’re in the middle of a pandemic that has crushed jobs and small businesses — but the stock market is soaring. That’s not right. That’s elephants flying. I always get worried watching elephants fly. It usually doesn’t end well.

最好的证据来自去年:我们陷在一场摧毁了就业岗位和小企业的大流行病之中,而股票市场却在飞涨。不该这样。这是大象飞起来了。看着大象飞,我总是很担心。它通常不会有好结果。

And even if we raise taxes on the rich and direct more relief to the poor, which I favor, when you keep relying on this much stimulus, argues Sharma, you’re going to get lots of unintended consequences. And we are.

即使我们对富人增税,为穷人提供更多的救助(我支持这种做法),但当你继续依赖如此大规模的刺激时,夏尔马提出理由说,你仍会得到很多意想不到的后果。这正是我们看到的情况。

For instance, Sharma wrote in July in a Wall Street Journal essay titled “The Rescues Ruining Capitalism,” that easy money and increasingly generous bailouts fuel the rise of monopolies and keep “alive heavily indebted ‘zombie’ firms, at the expense of start-ups, which drive innovation.” And all of that is contributing to lower productivity, which means slower economic growth and “a shrinking of the pie for everyone.”

例如,夏尔马去年7月在《华尔街日报》(Wall Street Journal)发表了一篇题为《救助正在毁掉资本主义》(The Rescues Ruining Capitalism)的文章,他写道,来得容易的钱和越来越慷慨的救助,刺激了垄断的增长,让“负债累累的‘僵尸’企业继续存在下去,代价是牺牲了推动创新的初创企业”。所有这些都是生产率下降的原因,生产率下降意味着经济增长放缓,“所有人的蛋糕缩小”。

As such, no one should be surprised “that millennials and Gen Z are growing disillusioned with this distorted form of capitalism and say that they prefer socialism.”

正因如此,“千禧一代和Z世代对这种扭曲的资本主义形式越来越不抱幻想,而是说他们更喜欢社会主义”,这一点也不应该让人感到惊讶。

In the 1980s, “only 2 percent of publicly traded companies in the U.S. were considered ‘zombies,’ a term used by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) for companies that, over the previous three years, had not earned enough profit to make even the interest payments on their debt,” Sharma wrote. “The zombie minority started to grow rapidly in the early 2000s, and by the eve of the pandemic, accounted for 19 percent of U.S.-listed companies.” It’s happening in Europe, China and Japan, too.

20世纪80年代,“美国上市公司中只有2%被认为是‘僵尸’,国际清算银行(BIS)用这个词来形容那些在过去三年里的盈利连支付债务利息都不够的公司,”夏尔马写道。“‘僵尸’的数量在21世纪初开始迅速增长,到新冠病毒大流行前,已占到美国上市公司总数的19%。”这种情况也出现在欧洲、中国和日本。

And it’s all logical. Prolonged and increasingly generous bailouts, where governments are willing to buy even corporate junk bonds to prevent foreclosures, added Sharma, “distort the efficient allocation of capital needed to raise productivity.”

这都合乎逻辑。政府为了防止抵押品赎回权的取消,甚至愿意购买企业的垃圾债券,这种长期的、越来越慷慨的救助,“扭曲了提高生产率所需的资本有效配置,”夏尔马补充道。

The past few years should have been an era of huge creative destruction. With so many new cheap digital tools of innovation, so much access to cheap high-powered computing and so much easy money, start-ups should have been exploding. They were not.

过去的几年本该是一个巨大创造性破坏的时代。有这么多便宜的数码创新工具,这么多使用廉价高性能计算能力的机会,这么多来得容易的钱,初创企业本应出现爆炸式增长。但没有出现这种情况。

“Before the pandemic, the U.S. was generating start-ups — and shutting down established companies — at the slowest rates since at least the 1970s,” wrote Sharma. “The number of publicly traded U.S. companies had fallen by nearly half, to around 4,400, since the peak in 1996.” (The number of start-ups has increased in the pandemic, but that may be because so many businesses closed.)

“在新冠病毒大流行之前,美国正在以至少是自20世纪70年代以来最慢的速度产生初创企业、关停现存企业,”夏尔马写到。“美国上市公司的数量与1996年的峰值相比,下降了近一半,只剩约4400家。”(初创企业的数量在疫情期间有所增长,但这可能是因为那么多的企业倒闭了。)

Alas, though, big companies are becoming huge and more monopolistic in this easy money, low interest rate era. It is not only because the internet created global winner-take-all markets, which have enabled companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple to amass cash piles bigger than the reserves of many nation-states. It’s also because they can so easily use their inflated stock prices or cash hoards to buy up budding competitors and suck up all the talent and resources “crowding out the little guys,” Sharma said.

唉,但在这个货币宽松、低利率的时代,大公司正变得越来越庞大,越来越垄断。这不仅是因为互联网创造了全球的“赢者通吃”市场,让亚马逊(Amazon)、谷歌(Google)、Facebook和苹果(Apple)等公司积累的现金储备可能超过许多国家。这里面还有另一个原因,夏尔马写道,这些公司能够很容易地用它们过高的股价或积累的现金,来收购崭露头角的竞争对手,吸收所有的人才和资源,“把小企业挤出市场”。

Meanwhile, he added, as governments keep stepping in to eliminate recessions, downturns no longer play their role of purging the economy of inefficient companies, and recoveries have grown weaker and weaker, with lower productivity growth. So it takes more and more stimulus each time to prop up growth.

与此同时,他补充道,随着政府为消除衰退不断插手经济,衰退不再发挥在经济中淘汰低效企业的作用,复苏变得越来越弱,生产率增长也越来越慢。因此,补贴增长每次所需的刺激越来越大。

This is all actually making our system more fragile.

这实际上是在让我们的制度更加脆弱。

Now that so many countries, led by the U.S., have massively increased their debt loads, if we got even a small burst of inflation that drove interest on the 10-year Treasury to 3 percent from 1 percent, the amount of money the U.S. would have to devote to debt servicing would be so enormous that little money might be left for discretionary spending on research, infrastructure or education — or another rainy day.

现在,以美国为首的许多国家都已大大增加了债务负担,即使出现小小的通货膨胀,让10年期美国国债的利率从目前的1%上升到3%的话,美国将不得不把如此之多的钱用于支付债务利息,以至于可能用于研究、基础设施或教育,或用于未雨绸缪的钱所剩无几。

Sure, we could then just print even more money, but that could threaten the status of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency and raise our borrowing costs even more.

当然,到那时我们可以印甚至更多的钱,但那可能会威胁到美元作为世界储备货币的地位,并进一步提高我们的借贷成本。

So, yes, yes, yes — we must, right now, help our fellow citizens, who are hurting, through this pandemic. But instead of more cash handouts, maybe we should do it the way the Koreans, Taiwanese, Singaporeans, Chinese and other East Asians have been doing it — cash assistance to only the most vulnerable and more investments in infrastructure that improve productivity and create good jobs. The East Asians also focus on making their governments smarter, particularly around delivering things like health care, rather than bigger — one reason they have gotten through this pandemic with less pain.

所以,是的,是的,是的——我们必须现在就为我们的同胞提供帮助,让已经遭受了伤害的他们度过这场大流行病。但是,不能用发更多现金的方法。也许我们应该像韩国人、台湾人、新加坡人、中国人和其他东亚人一直在做的那样——只向最脆弱的群体提供现金支持,同时加大基础设施投资,以提高生产率和创造好的就业机会。东亚人的注意力也放在让他们的政府变得更聪明上,尤其是在提供医疗保健等方面,而不是让政府变得更大。这是他们能够以更少的痛苦度过这场大流行病的原因之一。

Biden plans a big infrastructure package soon. He totally gets it. I just hope that Congress, and the markets, don’t have debt fatigue by the time we get to the most productive medicine: infrastructure.

拜登打算很快推出一个大手笔的基础设施计划。他完全明白。我只是希望,在我们拿出最有效的一招——投资基础设施——之前,国会和市场不开始厌倦债务。

Going forward, how about more inclusive capitalism for everyone and less knee-jerk socialism for rich people. Economies grow from more people inventing and starting stuff. “Without entrepreneurial risk and creative destruction, capitalism doesn’t work,” wrote Sharma. “Disruption and regeneration, the heart of the system, grind to a halt. The deadwood never falls from the tree. The green shoots are nipped in the bud.”

面向未来,多搞点让所有人受益的更包容的资本主义,少搞点让富人受益的未经思考的社会主义,如何。经济增长源于更多的人搞发明、创造新东西。“没有创业的风险和创造性的破坏,资本主义就行不通,”夏尔马写道。“这个制度的核心——破坏和再生——渐渐陷入瘫痪。朽木不再从树上掉下来。绿色的新枝被扼杀在萌芽状态。”

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