Sunday, October 26, 2014
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中国增长风险增加

北京—如果一切顺利,中国将于2021年超越美国成为世界第一大经济体(以当前美元价值衡量,如果用实际值衡量,超越美国将更快)。中国的人均收入将达到低端高收入国家的现有水平。但是,尽管中国经济前进势头迅猛,但在未来十年仍面临着一些不利的风险。

最紧迫的风险是欧洲的持续停滞甚至衰退。在过去十年中,出口增长为中国的整体经济增长贡献了大约三分之一,而在中国的出口中,又有三分之一去向了欧盟。如果欧洲的状况持续不振,中国的增长也将被拉后退。

过紧的宏观经济政策,特别是房地产调控政策,将增加减速风险,目前,在政府严厉措施的作用下,全国房价都呈现出下降态势。事实上,中国的情况与1997年亚洲金融危机时颇为相似。在危机爆发之前的几年中,中国一直在与通胀作斗争,准备着实现软着陆。但危机与紧缩政策一起导致中国在数年内出现了通缩和增长大减速。

如今,放眼中期,中国政府必须面对其过度干预经济所造成的问题。最新世界银行报告指出,国有企业改革不力是中国经济最主要的障碍。但这本身只是一个症状,更深层次的问题在于政府主导着经济活动。

中国政府直接控制着GDP的25—30%,此外还掌握着大部分金融资源。近年来,三分之一以上的银行贷款流向了基础设施,而基础设施大部分是由政府实体建设的。事实上,政府已认识到了基础设施投资过的问题,目前已中止了几项已经开工的高铁项目。但政府投资过度的问题仍然存在,数不尽的工业园和高新开发区就是明证。

中国的投资狂热不禁让人想起了20世纪80年代的日本,当时是,高铁延伸到了日本的每个角落,偏远地区也没有落下。如今,多条线路都必须仰仗政府补贴过活。尽管补贴在一定程度上能够改善普通人的生活质量,但这是以压抑国内消费为代价实现的。

基础设施投资难免要受边际回报递减规律的束缚,但消费增长是没有极限的。因此,压抑消费会拖累未来增长,家庭消费占GDP的比重从20世纪90年代中期的67%下降到了最近几年的不到50%,其中大部分可以用政府政策所导致的扭曲来解释。

中国政府是生产导向的。这样做的好处是有利于维持GDP的高增长率。但坏处同样明显,其中之一是收入不平等性的持续恶化。人均收入基尼系数已经超过了50(100代表最大程度的不平等),这意味着中国已经步入世界上最不平等的四分之一国家行列。

或许问题并不在于不平等性本身,而在于其后果,比如人力资本的分化。在中国,教育的回报是上升的,但获得教育的难易程度正在社会和人口结构中呈现两极分化。城市的教育状况在改善,但农村的孩子面临着教育质量下降的问题,因为优秀教师都跑到城市里去了。此外,由于城市和农村收入差距的存在,教育对农村家庭来说显得更加昂贵。

结果,大部分农村孩子开始工作时没有大学文凭。在中国的1.4亿农民工中,80%只接受过9年甚至更少的正式教育,远低于高收入国家标准。

中国官员似乎有意减弱收入不平等的状况,但政府的一系列政策——(包括但不限于)补贴生产商、优待资本密集型产业、维持效率极低的金融部门等——在加剧这一问题。但令人振奋的经济信号还是存在的。中国政府刚刚宣布了户籍政策新规。除大城市外,你只要在一地居住满三年,就可以自由选择是否将户籍迁入。这一政策大大有助于农民工,因为它保障了孩子平等接受教育的机会。

但是,要彻底转变政府的扭曲性行为就必须采取更加迅猛的政治变革。户籍改革是一个良好的开端,它增加了农民工在所在社区的政治权利。中国有着数量庞大的农民工群体,他们参与政治将迫使地方政府更加关心普通人民的需求。而我们希望,低级政府对群众要求的相应最终会传递到最高层。

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  1. CommentedJonathan Lam

    Gamesmith94134: China’s Growing Growth Risks
    Since the government also takes a lion’s share of financial resources that control 25-30% of GDP directly both internally and externally by creating its markets and productions; it is advisable as World Bank suggested adjusting the State-enterprising. It can be a hurdle for the next domestic policy to improvise its liabilities of socialism in form of the diminishing marginal return; and it is also a necessity to provide internal consumption to synchronize with global market system through the capitalistic competition both politically and financially. As much as the 30% export to Europe is subject to change due to the downturn of EU and others, increase of domestic consumption to substitute could be a tougher task if inflation must be under containment with lesser government intervention.
    In the accounts of instability and inequality from the regional growth, you have already mentioned of the labor force and its migration to the boom regions, so is the education for the newer generation. However, Mr. Wen cautioned the corruption that spread with the land occupation by abusive officials, and the struggles among the farmers and the government can be disruptive to forward growth if discontentment of the populace increases at a growing rate. Perhaps, in term of financial, there are more of repairs as I suggested to Andrew Sheng, President of the Fung Global Institute, Hong Kong, in the earlier readings. I saw more of the fraud cases in Hong Kong and China that took our attention like shell companies in China selling false claims like coal and metals. It certainly need better policing to the oversea activities. And, some other cases in Cayman Island like the state-enterprising went haywire with its shell companies. I am no suggesting the authority of China is fully responsible for the fraudsters, but defamation could make the situation worse if China is determined to establish itself to the global standard.
    There is another complaint of the debts to overseas sovereignties or companies can be a hazard to the debtors when China is attempting to build on Reminbi. I would wonder if we learn anything of the Greeks and Germen that something money really cannot buy or even sells itself in politics, like the EU debt crisis. Even the creditor like Mergel cannot have it her way regardless how much federation of Europe she promoted. It may cause distrust to the debtors and its people. Besides, I understand many investments overseas suffered dearly on the profitable return; instead, it infested corruptions and destructive results in the commodities markets if the local innovation cannot develop growth to the regions.
    Once, I mention to Justin Yifu Lin, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Development Economics at the World Bank, in his “Demystifying the Chinese economy”; ‘If you, as an economist, are thinking of being last over decades of continuing growth, you may consider ‘mediocrity makes the mainstream of all speed’; and then, China may not drift afar from its friends; and everyone would pay a little more patience to condone and benefit of the economic growth’. Perhaps, I would also say of the Zigzag that made the world goes around; sometimes, it needs to take a deeper breath than another, and perpetuity to growth is not an assumption; it is a formula to self-destruction.
    What if strength by appearance, and rotten within make China looks, it is meaningless in developing growth. Implosion and explosion are alike.
    May the Buddha bless you?

  2. CommentedProcyon Mukherjee

    The article must be read in the context that double digit growth for over a decade can never be sustainable, in fact what China has achieved thus far is commendable and with current focus shifting towards rights of migrant workers in the area of housing, more is in the offing. The article has struck a chord on the over-investments in infrastructure and about the current calling off of some of these projects. This has wide scale ramifications for the commodity prices, which have fallen short of support levels in absence of underlying demand, something that would be an added headwind than the more commonly known European whirlwind.

    Procyon Mukherjee

  3. CommentedMilo Jones

    We've been making similar points about the risks to China's growth for about a year.

    See both "Has China peaked? An exercise in forecasting using Neustadt and May’s History framework" and "China’s Present, the World’s Future, and the Pretense of Knowledge" at http://silberzahnjones.com/tag/china/

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