Thursday, April 24, 2014
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新兴市场的号角

伊萨卡—步入2012年之际,我们值得思考一下新兴市场的十年强劲经济增长是如何引发去年波涛汹涌的政治转型的。从中东的戏剧性事件,到印度人民对安纳·哈扎尔(Anna Hazare)反腐行动山呼海啸的支持,街头运动站在向新兴市场的领导人传递一个清晰的信号,光有增长是不够的。忽视这个信号必将付出代价。

21世纪的第一个十年,新兴市场经济体稳步增长,甚至连全球金融危机都没有阻止它们。但伴随着经济利益一同出现的是腐败横行,而腐败横行动摇着人们对维持增长势头所必须的深入改革的支持。

腐败有多种形式,但是,在新兴市场,多种因素的合力正在形成最终颠覆现有体制的癌症。在这些国家中,肆无忌惮的低层次腐败激怒着贫困人口;事实上,低层次腐败让贫困人口无法获得他们赖以生存的社会服务和基本政府功能。

另一种腐败是从大规模项目中捞取巨额回扣。比如,在印度,供不应求的频谱通过拍卖发售,而拍卖是被操纵的,政府因此要损失高达300—400亿美元的收入。

对普通民众来说,大规模腐败不一定看得见,因为,尽管涉案数量大到令人咋舌,但其成本并不像低层次腐败那样能让他们直接感受到。但随着快速增长加剧了不平等性,人们对这类大规模腐败的感知也发生了变化。

在中国和印度等国家,快速的经济增长让大量人民摆脱了贫困。但全球化和快速增长带来的好处并不是均匀分布的,富人变得愈加富有了,而大部分人民仍在贫困状态中挣扎。

收入不平等恶化的问题绝不仅限于新兴市场,但公开腐败和普遍的不公相结合就造成了一股暗流,破坏了人们对增进和巩固经济利益所需要的改革的支持。

在许多新兴市场国家,缺乏政治自由在给问题火上浇油。腐败、不公加上政治压迫造成了巨大的压力,而且没有发泄这种压力的制度性渠道。

但政治自由也不是万灵丹。在印度这样的民主国家,在政治上有关系者从有缺陷的增长中捞到了巨大的好处,而没有捞到好处者怨声载道。在每个选举周期中,人民都有一次“让混蛋滚蛋”的机会,这在一定程度上减轻了压力,但并没有根除造成这一现象的问题。

很难预测什么会触发群众游行,但经济因素是关键的。比如,食品价格上涨会伤害贫民,特别是城市贫民,他们收入中的一大块都花在了视频上;而与农村劳动力不同,他们不能从食品价格上涨中获益。随着城市人口的膨胀,减轻他们的压力将变得越来越困难。

有的国家对最近发生的事件的反应是政治压迫、信息封锁或多种威权措施的综合。比如,中国就屏蔽了关于埃及示威的媒体报道。但是,阿拉伯之春显示了高压政治体制的脆弱,通过限制信息流动维持统治的合法性是行不通的。

充满活力的新兴市场国家给我们的主要教训是,只关注GDP增长最终可能不利于经济和政治稳定。尽管国民收入有了快速增加,但如果领导人不能公平地分配经济增长到来的好处,他们就很容易受到群众的反对。处理腐败是改善长期增长、维持社会稳定的关键。

这些国家需要采取措施助贫民摆脱贫困陷阱,给他们现实的机会改善其经济福利。这些措施包括扩大金融市场,让更多的人能够获得信用和投资;增强社会安全网以保护经济弱势群体;以及增加教育的可获得性和平等性。

这些教训对发达经济体同样有效,因为发达经济体也在遭受不平等性恶化和腐败潜规则的问题。但是,对富国来说,重建漂亮的经济增长才是当务之急。

新兴市场正面临着黄金机会,可以通过解决腐败等深层次问题来最大程度地汲取经济利益、锁定增长和稳定。去年发生的一系列事件表明,不作为的代价是沉重的。

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  1. Portrait of Shriya Anand

    CommentedShriya Anand

    I agree with the author's point that rising inequality combined with corruption and political repression is bad for emerging economies and for growth. However, citing support for Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement and the Arab spring as responses to economic inequality in the developing world is over-simplification. The two movements have emerged in response to very different problems, and within very different political contexts. One has resulted from frustration with corruption and has been expressed in an open political system, while the Arab spring was a response to political repression and had a different economic underpinning -- there, the problem was economies dependent on natural resources, an underdeveloped private sector, a growing large young educated population for which economies could not provide suitable opportunities leading to widespread unemployment. The former is in response to a specific problem, and the latter arose from discontent with the system at large. While I agree that inequality and corruption had a role to play in both cases, I disagree that popular discontent in these two movements was fundamentally similar and can be linked.

    The author also suggests that tackling corruption will allow emerging markets to lock in growth and stability. Tackling corruption, while important, is not enough by itself to restore growth and reduce inequality. Growth in developing countries is slowing in response to global recessionary forces, and in some countries like India it is slowing because of an inability to reform fast enough. There is no disagreement that low-level and high-level corruption needs to be addressed, the argument now is what institutional arrangements can make this possible.

  2. CommentedZsolt Hermann

    I agree with the main theme of "growth is not enough" statement, that we need transparency, honesty and equality, but I do not understand why this would only concern emerging market countries?

    Last year the protests, demonstrations sweeped the whole globe, and they are likely to continue this year too, probably even stronger than before.

    Through the information we recieve each day we can see how much there is no real freedom and democracy even in the western societies, in the US we can learn how much it costs to buy the Presidency, in Europe the democratic principles have been openly thrown away in order to keep a false structure alive, the money the US "lost sight of" through the recent wars makes the Indian corruption look like peanuts, and we could continue the examples endlessly.

    We need to see there are no different regions, dufferent cultures, governing systems, countries, nations, markets any more.

    We are all tied up in the same network, we all carry the same burdens, the global crisis is exactly what the name says, it is global affecting all of us.

    And the solution also has to be global, we all have to come out of our own subjective boxes and learn how to work together in a mutually responsible manner above all our differences, prejudice, rejections and misunderstandings.

    Whether we like it or not we evolved into completely new existential conditions and we have to adapt to them.

    We live in historic times, we are building a new humanity, which means a single, united network, optimally mutually working together for each other. Basically by this we find our way back to the harmonic natural living system model we were separated from by our growing ego thousands of years ago, but now in our new world we have to return to homeostasis despite, on top of our ego creating a very exciting, powerful, multi colored system with unlimited potential.

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