Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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解决南欧问题的方案——货币贬值

剑桥 ——对于欧洲而言,今年很可能是欧元生死存亡的考验。欧元区若要继续存在,则需要提出一项可靠的方案,解决其长期存在的主权债务危机问题,而这反过来又需要解决外部失衡和财政失衡两大问题,这两种宏观经济失衡问题正是这一危机的核心。

此次危机暴露出欧元区内部成员国在经济竞争力方面存在很大的差距。从1996年到2010年,德国单位劳动力成本仅上升8%,法国上升13%,而葡萄牙上升24%,西班牙上升35%,意大利上升37%,希腊上升则高达59%。这一问题导致欧元区内部国家贸易极度不平衡,而南欧和法国庞大财政赤字和公共债务庞大,使这一问题更为复杂,原因很大部分要归咎于外国债权人。

难道必须要欧元区解体才能解决这些贸易不平衡问题吗?假如葡萄牙退出欧元区,重新引入埃斯库多(葡萄牙货币单位),那么随后而来的汇率贬值会使葡萄牙出口产品价格下跌,进口产品价格上涨,刺激葡萄牙经济发展,带来其急需的经济增长。但是,脱离欧元将是一件很棘手的事,因为它所带来的金融风暴将胜过任何通过货币贬值来增强竞争力中获得的短期收益。

有这样一种非常简单的解决方案,南欧经济困难国家不必放弃欧元,也不必贬低本国货币汇率。这一方案包括提高增值税,同时削减工资税。我们最近进行的研究表明,这样的“财政货币贬值”,无论在国内生产总值,消费还是就业和通胀方面,对经济产生的影响与贬低本国货币汇率产生的影响相当。

货币贬值能行得通,因为这样会使进口产品更加昂贵,出口产品更加便宜,而提高增值税,削减工资税也能发挥这样的作用。提高增值税会提高进口货物的价格,外国企业面临更高的关税。为确保国内企业不会提高价格,在增加增值税的同时,必须削减工资税。

此外,由于出口产品免征增值税,国内出口产品价格也将下降。这样以来,即使不脱离欧元区,不进行汇率贬值,也能增强经济竞争力,收到同样的预期效果。

这项政策在财政方面也会有所帮助。汇率贬值确实能够增强竞争力。增强竞争力对经济增长产生积极影响,通过提高税收,可以改善财政状况。此外,财政货币贬值的一项重要优势体现在,其产生的额外收入与国家的贸易赤字比例相当。对于正遭受因竞争力不强而因此产生贸易赤字的国家而言,此举通常意味着能获得更多的收入,在短期内尤为如此。

财政货币贬值和汇率贬值一样,在这一过程中既会有赢家也会有输家。两者都起着财富杠杆的作用:通胀意味着债券持有人会遭受实际损失,这一损失与他们的财富多少及贬值的幅度相称。如果不调整资本税,国内股票持有人也会蒙受类似的损失。

相比而言,许多资金转移,如失业福利,卫生福利,公共养老金等,都与通货膨胀挂钩,从而维持了其实际价值。最低工资也是如此。这些资金分配产生的影响在汇率贬值方面发挥了重要的政治作用,这些影响大部分也在财政货币贬值中得到体现。

财政货币贬值的做法已经得到了一些人士的拥护。事实上,法国总统尼古拉·萨尔科齐政府就刚刚宣布了一项财政货币贬值计划。若有些人担心财政货币贬值将会与欧元规则相互冲突,则可以援引德国举例即可。德国政府2007年实施了一项类似的计划(没有公开说明),将增值税从16%提高到19%,将雇主对社会保险的贡献率从6.5%削减至4.2%。

总之,除了推行汇率贬值以外,还存在其他解决南欧短期竞争力问题的简单财政方案。可以肯定的是,可行的财政货币贬值方案必须将规模控制在一定限度内。但是,伴随着债务重组,宽松的货币政策,欧洲央行的资金流动性支持及非常必要的结构性改革,这些可行的财政货币贬值方案,可以在欧元区不解体,并且不会导致紧缩引起的严重经济衰退的前提下,帮助那些经济困难的国家踏上正轨。

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  1. CommentedWilliam Wallace

    Sounds doable in theory, but it depends on two unlikely factors. First, firms would need to immediately factor the labor savings into pre-tax price reductions, rather than increasing profits or decreasing losses. Secondly, given the unlikelihood of these price reductions, the impact on consumer spending of higher post-tax prices might decrease aggregate demand enough to offset the benefits of the policy.

    I rather think a lot more focus on structural as opposed to cyclical deficits, and wider EU support for the latter while discouraging the former, would do a lot to put things on firmer footing, while sending a coherent message to the bond markets.

  2. CommentedZsolt Hermann

    Zsolt 01:39 02 Mar 12

    We can forgive economists that they view everything through the glasses of financial and economical adjustments, believing they can solve all our problems by pushing here, pulling there and then everything falls into place again.

    The global crisis is much deeper than a simple economic problem, in truth the economy is just a superficial representation of how we humans relate to each other and the real crisis is there, within our attitude, relationship towards each other.

    But even if stay within the realms of economy and finances all the recommended solutions take it for granted that the present costant growth, expansive economical system can carry on, and we just need to find our way back to the higway that leads us to sunset, when more and more experts, studies shows that this approach is unsustainable at our present conditions we evolved into.

    Sooner or later we have to face the signs and the facts that we have to build a completely new human system from the ground up, starting with the most important components: human beings and how they connect to each other, how they view each other and cooperate with each other in the closed, interdependent, integral system of the 21st century.

    Everything else is secondary and depends on the fundamental principle of the human network in between us.

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