Tuesday, September 2, 2014
5

欧洲的分裂式愿景

发自伯克利——不像美国前总统小布什,欧洲的领导人们从来不曾遇到过所谓“愿景问题”。他们一直都知道自己期望把欧洲大陆变成什么样。但拥有一个愿景和将其付诸实施并不是一回事。而当到了该把理想变成现实的时候,欧盟的领导人就会一而再再而三地栽跟头。

这种欧洲人的目标与其实现目标的能力之间的不和谐在最近的欧盟峰会上再次出现。欧洲领导人如今就未来欧洲应当走向何处达成了同样的愿景:一个经济和货币联盟,并辅以一个银行联盟,财政联盟和货币联盟。而当讨论转移到应该如何——尤其是何时——建立后面这三个联盟时,麻烦就来了。

欧洲领导人达成一致的银行联盟意味着创立一个单一的监管权力机构。这意味着建立一个共同的存款保险方案以及一个关闭破产金融机构的机制。它还意味着给予欧盟的拯救机构以权力,让它们可以向资本不足的银行直接注资。

同样,财政联盟意味着给予欧盟委员会(否则就是一个欧洲财政部)否决国家预算的权威。这意味着成员国的某部分债务将会被重组:单一政府的债务将变成欧洲债券,并因此产生一个所有成员国共同承担的联合责任。委员会(或财政部)将随后决定需要额外发行多少欧洲债券以及代表谁来发行。

最后,政治联盟意味着将国家立法机构的法权移交给欧洲议会,由后者来决定如何构建欧洲的财政,银行和货币联盟。那些负责欧洲日常运作的人,包括欧洲中央银行的委员会,将对欧洲议会负责,而议会也可以因为他们失职而罢免他们。

人们总是不缺乏愿景。问题是有两个南辕北辙的方式去实现这些愿景。一个策略假设欧洲现在急需这一更深入联盟所推行的政策,根本无法再等待时间去向银行注入资本。必须迅速推进债务重组,并需要欧洲央行或是扩大化的欧洲稳定机制去购买当前那些危机政府的债务。

根据这一愿景,随着时间推移,欧洲将建立补充着些政策所需的体制架构。它可以创立一个单一的银行监管者,增强欧洲委员会的权力,或者创建一个欧洲财政部。同样的,它还能强化欧洲议会。但建立机制需要时间,而考虑到银行挤兑,主权债务和单一货币崩溃的风险,时间又紧迫到了火烧眉毛的程度。这也是新政策必须首先出台的原因。

另一个观点则认为在新体制建立之前推动新政策是卤莽之举。在欧洲相关体制拥有对财政政策的否决权之前重组债务只会刺激各国政府采取更多的贸然行为。在单一监管机构到位之前注入资本只能激发更多冒险行动。允许欧洲央行在欧洲议会得到使前者为其后者负责的权力之前监管银行只能加深欧盟的民主缺失并引发对抗反应。

欧洲不是没有经历过这一局面——在1990年代决定要建立欧元的时候。那时候有两个思想流派。一个阵营认为在经济政策趋向一致以及体制改革完成之前建立一个货币联盟是过于仓促的。

而另一流派的观点则截然相反,他们担心现有的货币制度僵硬,脆弱而且容易出现危机。欧洲已经没有时间去等待体制构建程序一步步推进。最好是尽快创立欧元,然后相关的改革和体制继续跟进。如果冒着过度概括的微小风险的话,我们可以说第一个阵营主要由北欧人组成,而第二个阵营则是南欧人做主角。

1992年的汇率危机随后打破了两派的平衡。一旦欧洲的汇率系统出了麻烦,南欧人那些认为欧洲无法推迟创立欧元的观点就占了上风。

随之产生后果也令人不甚满意。一个没有银行,财政和政治联盟的货币联盟已经成为了一场灾难。

但不推行这一进程也会带来一场灾难。1992年危机证明现有的系统是不稳定的。不向欧元推进可能为欧洲带来更多破坏性的危机。这也是为何欧洲领导人们迈出了如此富有野心的一步。

如今不进行银行资本再注入以及政府债券购买同样也会导致一场灾难。欧洲也因此发现自己处于一个曾经熟悉的困局当中。唯一的出路就是大大加速体制构建进程。做到这一点并不容易。但危机可不会等人。

翻译:邹驰骋

Hide Comments Hide Comments Read Comments (5)

Please login or register to post a comment

  1. CommentedZsolt Hermann

    It seems that as we slowly understand the nature and the fundamental reasons behind the Eurocrisis, and in truth behind the whole global crisis, more and more people agree that the solution is towards further, deeper integration.
    I think instead of the question when, how quickly such an integration should take place the real question is how can we motivate the public to agree to such a fundamental, revolutionary change, especially today when they trust their leaders less and less.
    We have enough experience from human history that revolutions, structural changes which were introduced forcefully, or by tricking the public into it did not last, and usually resulted in terrible wars, or oppressive regimes.
    Even if the change makes sense to a small number of people, even if those people have the best intention and have all the objective data supporting their view they will not be successful unless they can transmit, project their vision to those who have to actually perform the changes, take on the burdens, the general public.
    We could see very clearly through the Greek or other European examples that while the politicians, financial elite agreed on new policies, stimulus or austerity packages, the actual public did not go along with it, rejected it, and we will continue to see this scenario through government changes, riots or other events as long as we do not change our attitude and approach.
    Thus the only option politicians, the present leaders have to facilitate the needed changes is a global, integral education program, explaining to each and every culture, social layer, gender and age why we ended up in the dead end of the global crisis, and why only a full and equal integration, a mutually considerate and responsible human system can offer us a safer and sustainable future.
    We all need to learn and immediately pass on the fundamental characteristics and laws of the global, integral, interdependent natural system we exist in.

  2. CommentedGary Marshall

    Hello Mr. Eichengreen,

    Below is a proof of an idea that will force a European banking, fiscal, and political union.

    If anyone can find the flaw, I shall be more than happy to give him or her $50,000. I am just tired of doing this. Its not the end of the world, but a new beginning.

    ####

    The costs of borrowing for a nation to fund public expenditures, if it borrows solely from its resident citizens and in the nation's currency, is nil.

    Why? Because if, in adding a financial debt to a community, one adds an equivalent financial asset, the aggregate finances of the community will not in any way be altered. This is simple reasoning confirmed by
    simple arithmetic.

    The community is the source of the government's funds. The government taxes the community to pay for public services provided by the government.

    Cost of public services is $10 million.

    Scenario 1: The government taxes $10 million.

    Community finances: minus $10 million from community bank accounts for government expenditures.
    No community government debt, no community government IOU.

    Scenario 2: The government borrows $10 million from solely community lenders at a certain interest rate.

    Community finances: minus $10 million from community bank accounts for government expenditures.
    Community government debt: $10 million;
    Community government bond: $10 million.

    At x years in the future: the asset held by the community (lenders) will be $10 million + y interest. The deferred liability claimed against the community (taxpayers) will be $10 million + y interest.

    The value of all community government debts when combined with all community government IOUs or bonds is zero for the community.

    Theoretically, at some point in the future, the government would collect taxes from the community, i.e. the taxpayers, and simply hand them back to the community, i.e. its lenders, erasing the acquired community government debts and assets.

    In conclusion, if a community borrows from its own citizens to fund worthy public expenditures rather than taxes those citizens, it will not alter the aggregate finances nor the wealth of the community. Adding a financial debt and an equivalent financial asset to a community will cause the elimination of both when summed.

    Whatever financial benefit Taxation possesses is nullified by the fact that borrowing instead of Taxation places no greater financial burden on the community.

    However, the costs of Taxation are immense. By ridding the nation of Taxation and instituting borrowing to fund public expenditures, the nation will shed all those costs of Taxation for the negligible fee of borrowing in the financial markets and the administration of public
    debt.

    Regards,
    Gary Marshall

  3. CommentedEric West

    How so? The 1992 crisis proved that trying to force monetary union was a supremely stupid idea and reinforced the notion that free-floating sovereign currencies was the only just way to proceed when dealing with such disparate economies. This statement simply does not hold up - if modest currency alignment was dangerous, the single currency was insane. It still is... and the faster we dismantle it and return to sovereign currencies, the better.

  4. Commentedtony maher

    Your banking, fiscal and political union visions are just that - visions.

    The leadership have exhausted the patience of their respective electorates who do not share this vision at all.

    It is the democratic deficit which is pulling down these euro castles in the air.

      CommentedAntoni Jaume

      «The leadership have exhausted the patience of their respective electorates who do not share this vision at all.»

      You are not entitled to speak for all of the Europeans.

      «It is the democratic deficit which is pulling down these euro castles in the air. »

      The democratic deficit is not something that any brit has any right to speak about. They're the main culprit of it. The British government is always standing against the European parliament. They're the ones that want to do all in the dark, giving precedence to governments over parliament.

Featured