Thursday, November 20, 2014
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欧洲绿洲

巴黎—非欧洲人对欧洲不像欧洲人那样悲观吗?对于某个大陆的问题,距离是产生更平衡观点的必要条件吗?

在几个月前的一次采访中,中国建设银行董事长王洪章委婉地表达了他对欧洲克制的热情。他引用中国成语评价欧洲:“瘦死的骆驼比马大”,接着又说欧洲经济比许多人想象得坚挺得多。此外,尽管没有明说,但他表示在正确的价格买入欧洲的时机已经对头了。

当然,不是所有人都抱着如此乐观的态度。英吉利海峡另一头,英国的疑欧派对于远离“下沉的船”踌躇满志。但是,尽管《经济学人》最近说法国“拒绝承认出了问题”,其实英国人自己也是如此。诚然,法国今年既没有举办奥运会,也没有王室生日,但是,就经济而言,两国可以说坐在一条船上。

如果你像今秋的我一样去过美国或亚洲,那么欧洲的形象大概会有选择地更加光明一些:尽管欧洲仍被视为积极的模式,但已不再被看作全球行动者。从美国的角度看,欧洲不再是个问题,但也没有被当成世界问题解决方案的一部分——大概直接考虑欧洲的人例外(但是,即使对这些人来说,也是疑虑重重)。

但是,对许多国际投资者来说,欧洲仍然是,或者说再次成为值得冒风险的目标,甚至——比如在王建章眼中——是黄金机会。在复杂性——以及随之而来的不确定性——与日俱增的时候,投资者需要对冲赌注。至少部分金砖国家(巴西、俄罗斯、印度、中国和南非)正在失去经济动力;而墨西哥等新新兴大国虽然看起来诱人无比,但实际上可能相当脆弱。

在这样的环境下,欧洲或许是疲倦、衰老和压抑之洲,但正如其奢侈品和航空业所证明的,现在就判定它一蹶不振还为时过早。相对衰落是显而易见的:18世纪伊始,欧洲人口占世界的20%,如今只占7%,到2050年预计将进一步下降。但人口并不能决定命运:人口稀少并不能阻止新加坡保持强大的经济竞争力。

欧洲也许不再是经济灵感之源,但仍可以称为人们的梦想。欧洲仍被当成“礼仪”模式。不管有多不认同,中国人和日本人动同意一点:如果说民族主义紧张局势不断抬头的今日亚洲和20世纪上半叶的欧洲极为相似的话,其原因正在于亚洲缺少让法国和德国泯去几百年仇怨的妥协程序。

类似地,俄罗斯总统普京强调“俄罗斯文明”特征的语调很可能唤起人们对十九世纪反西方思想家的回忆;但俄罗斯国内的很多精英仍将欧盟(尽管它有各种各样的弱点)视为现存最文明的治理模式。当中国人寻找社会保护的基准模式时,他们会去斯堪的纳维亚取经。

但如果欧洲不再是资深的地缘政治行动方,他还能成为一种模式吗?当美国官员对欧洲人说“我们需要你们”时,他们的意思是轻蔑的:“请不要在崩溃时把全球经济也拖下水。”欧洲人成了西方的日本人——资金提供者,充其量只是全球战略要务的支持角色。

比如,如果以色列-巴勒斯坦冲突仍能够解决的话,那么解决方案只有寄希望于美国的强力参与。奥巴马希望和他的偶像林肯一样成为划时代总统更有可能为他过早获得的诺贝尔和平奖抹上污点,而不是促成全面的中东和解。当然,没多少人会期待能够完成这一伟大成就,但期待欧盟外交政策女皇凯瑟琳·阿什顿(Catherine Ashton)或其他欧洲人完成这一伟大成就的人显然更少。

欧洲仍然是重要的经济和商业行动者——可能在任何时候重获生机,因为它至少已经部分走出了系统性危机。欧洲也仍然是妥协模式,在这一模式中,尽管存在高得难以接受的失业率(特别是年轻人失业率),但你仍可以有梦。

但欧洲已不再被认为是全球行动者——本应如此。它是一片和平绿洲——如果不是动力之源的话。今日欧洲的问题是是否能——以及更重要的的,是否应该——满足于这一地位。

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    1. CommentedPaul A. Myers

      The correct model for the 21st century might just be enlightened self-economic interest. Possibly Germany under Angela Merkel is the big country most successfully following the "correct" model, not American neo-imperialism under any particular American president.

      Singapore in many ways is the right model to emulate in the future, and Europe is well poised to do that. The challenge is to take the great educational and expertise "assets" of Europe and integrate these strengths into a worldwide economic competitor. Many parts of Europe are already successfully doing just that.

      In contrast, let's posit the premise that the US can no longer play a decisive global strategic power role, nor any other country. Possibly the US will continue to try to play a role that is no longer possible in the world. Possibly the long post-World War II paradigm is coming to an end.

      One of the elite "pipedreams" of the current age is that somehow the US could broker a Palestinian-Israel peace. The chance of the US playing a "transformative" role with Israel is vanishingly small.

      Possibly in the future the US can play, with other nations, an incremental balancing role in geopolitics. But the days of marching in and trying to reorder a society look like they are over.

    2. CommentedZsolt Hermann

      Unfortunately this article is still based on that illusion that the world economy is in some kind of a pause, like half time in a soccer game, and very soon the second half starts and the dormant economic machinery starts turning again.
      The camel, and the horse and all the others in fact, are not only starving but they are almost dead, because what they were feeding on so far has disappeared.
      We are not in a crisis, or recession, but in a system failure, the dream of constant quantitative growth is over.
      The drive, which used to be the excessive and harmful overproduction and over consumption has to be changed, the camel needs to get used to a new food, that is a natural necessity and resource based economy.
      Moreover in the global, interconnected human network the previous fragmented, self obsessed, subjective, individualistic or nationalistic planning and decision making cannot work, only a systematic approach, taking the well being of the whole system into consideration can yield any prosperity or sustainable progress.
      And this is where Europe could provide an example.
      The European countries started an experiment with the Union which if successful could provide the blueprint for the world to follow.
      But for that to work the leaders of the Union need to bite the bullet and accept that only a deep, full integration can truly fulfill the initial promise due to the present interconnected and interdependent human system.

        CommentedEdward Ponderer

        The need to feel in control, the fear of one's expertise evaporating, often leads to blind trust in long-established paradigms without examination -- even if these have evolved beyond recognition, and reality proves only a vague shadow of prediction.

        Subsystems are being undermined in terms of distrust in human relationships (behavioral economics), and the global upper system is reaching the limits finite global markets and resources.

        In short, insides of black boxes gears are grinding and springs are popping, and from above, we are beginning to run into a wall as well.

        A new global sense of interdependence developed through a plan of integral education is becoming critical to follow and master the ever-changing local realities feeding into the global whole. There must be a sense of mutual guarantee on national, corporate and individual levels -- that we all become as input sensors into the whole.

        To proceed with number values and wait for the recycling of a cloud formation, may prove a very long wait.

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