Friday, April 25, 2014
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全球金融改革是否可能?

香港—时至今日,已有充分的证据表明,不管是20世纪90年代的亚洲,还是十年后的美国和欧洲,金融系统都难逃崩溃的命运。增长中断和失业飙升的代价极其沉重。

但是,只要在某些关键点上不能达成国际共识,改革就会被严重削弱(如果不是胎死腹中的话)。资金、金融市场和人口的自由流动——从而规避监管和征税——或许是一种可接受的(甚至是建设性的)防止官方过度干预的办法,但如果大家竞相去监管化,以至于连必须的道德和审慎性标准都抛弃了,就会适得其反。

或许最重要的当务之急是形成连贯一致的办法处置摇摇欲坠的“具系统重要性的”机构。纳税人和政府不得不出手援助债权人,即使援助会鼓励过度冒险的行为也在所不惜,因为他们害怕倒闭产生毁灭性效应会蔓延开来。

根据美国法律,取代现行破产程序的新方针是让倒闭公司消失,而不是拯救它们——不管是通过出售、合并还是清盘。但新方针的成功取决于其他国家法律的配合,特别是英国和其他金融中心。

要求监管行动严格一致或许并不是必要的。比如,在保护商业银行免受投机性自营交易伤害方面,英国和美国可以采取不同的方针,但政策目标应该是广泛一致的,而在其他国家,这一问题也许并不迫切,因为那里的银行传统有所不同,交易活动的限制也更多。但东道国不应该助金融机构逃脱母国规则所施加的限制。

与这些改革紧密相关的是国际货币体系改革。事实上,一个相当合理的问题是现在我们到底有没有至少堪与布雷顿森林体系或再往前的金本位相比的“体系”。如今,没人能系统性、一贯性地发号施令,也没有被正式认可和控制的国际货币。

当然,由于市场和资本流规模和波动性的剧增,理想的明确且有效的国际货币机制更加难以实现了。事实上,有人说全球经济是在一个没有组织性的体系下成长,新兴国家也在这样的环境下发展壮大。

但是,被一再忽视的事实是,20世纪90年代接踵而至的金融危机的根源就在于国际货币失序,2008年爆发的危机更是如此。从某种意义上说,美国和亚洲之间持续的互补性失衡非常扎眼。

2000—2007年间,美国累计经常项目赤字约为5.5万亿美元,基本上正好抵消掉中国和日本的外汇储备增量。中国发现维持巨额贸易盈余是有利的,可以利用极高的国内储蓄率和外国投资流入支持其工业化和快速增长。

反之,面临增长缓慢问题的美国则乐于维持极高的消费水平,但这样的代价是个人储蓄下降、房地产泡沫越吹越大,并在破灭后留下了满目疮痍。

无可避免的现实教训是,任何国家只要能够自主制定决策,就会偏好于导致长期并最终不可持续的失衡的政策。或早或晚,调整都会到来——有可能是经过深思熟虑的国内政策和运转良好的国际货币体系,也有可能是金融危机。

不久前,我们还笃定地论证浮动汇率会及时、有序地充当国际调整的媒介。但是,在现实中,许多国家——特别是(但不限于)小型开放经济体——发现,放任货币浮动既不可行,也不可取。

可以确定的是——尽管这种“确定”令人不安——积极参与开放世界经济需要牺牲一些经济主权。或者说,为了让结果更加积极,需要拿出精诚合作的意愿。可行的办法包括:

·    由IMF行使更严格的监督,各国需要拿出更严格遵守“最佳行动”和一致规范的承诺。

·    IMF、G20或其他机构在强制性磋商后给出直接、公开的建议。

·    获得IMF和其他信用便利(比如中央银行互换业务)等方面的资质。

·    考虑在欧洲实施利息或其他财务惩罚或激励。

但是,如果基于过去的失败的方针效果不够好,那么也许形成新的货币波动方针的可能性就会大增。这一方针要求就合理的“均衡汇率”形成一致,同时还要允许汇率在一个相当宽的区间内波动,以容纳不确定性并让市场发挥作用。但个别国家将倾向于采取干预和各种经济政策捍卫均衡汇率,甚至会有更极端的情况,形成国际当局允许贸易伙伴采取激进的干预措施以增强稳定性。

合适的储备货币和充足的国际流动性则是另一大关键问题。多年来,一直由美元充当着这一角色(从某种程度上说也包括某些其他国家的货币),这引发了诸多关于美国拥有“过分特权”的抱怨。但以丢掉国家竞争力和强大的工业并束缚消费为代价增加其国际收支赤字并不符合美国的利益。而世界其他国家需要这个最大、最强、最稳定经济体的货币所提供的灵活性。

有用的储备货币的供应应该是有限的,但同时必须具有充分的弹性以满足动荡的金融世界所产生的大规模不可预期的需求。最重要的是,对储备货币稳定性和可获得性的信心不能削弱,这凸显了国家货币(也可能是一揽子多个国家的货币)的可操作性。

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  1. Commentedjean nutson

    Clearly there is the need for a centralised and a well organised global financial regulatory center which will singly oversee the necessary activities involved within the sector.

  2. CommentedMiguel Reynolds

    For capitalism to be sustainable, competition is a must.

    In the last 30 years we observed huge concentrations in several global markets, specially in the financing industry, that is converting the global market in a sum of connected oligopolies.. Those oligopolies easily control the political system, promoting the creation of even more oligopolies... and this is a cycle that must end. Fair competition is one of the main sources of innovation, value creation and thus, sustainability - it needs to be restored. Otherwise, the actual capitalistic system will implode.


  3. CommentedSarah Morehead

    The elasticity is critical. When I studied the gold standard, it struck me that by pegging a specific dollar amount to an ounce of gold and not allowing that amount to inflate, the reserve currency was not allowed to change with population growth. It seems to me that ignoring population growth forces the economy away from equilibrium because the demand for resources is continually driven up, but the supply of dollars was fixed to the supply of gold. If the price per ounce of gold had been allowed to grow along with natural population growth, could the breakdown of the system have been avoided?

  4. CommentedRoman Bleifer

    The global financial reform is not only possible. It is the need to take place, but in a very distant future. Attempts to solve the problem of global crisis, the financial instruments are doomed to failure. First of all, because the global crisis is not a financial crisis. It has a systemic nature and global scope. ( http://crisismir.com/analiticheskie-materialy/ekonomika/13-mirovoj-ekonomicheskij-krizis-prichiny-i-posledstviya-quo-vadis.html ) The new system of production is only beginning to emerge. Production system will generate an adequate financial system to it. On the other hand will not work. The fact that the current financial system is not sustainable for the future of the economy, so obvious that it is unlikely this issue may be the subject of Discussion.

  5. CommentedGary Marshall

    Here is a solution to the Greek problem and a stable global financial system. 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.

    ####

    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. It is the same $0 combined worth whether the community pays its taxes immediately or never pays them at all.

    So 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 of the community or the wealth of the community any
    more than taxation would have. 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

    1. CommentedGreg Rushing

      1. Your model assumes that the government expenditure will be "worthy". The fact is that not all government expenditures will pay for themselves or be economically productive. For instance, suppose the government borrowed the $10 million by issuing the bond. At some future period, government will have to repay $10 million + interest. Next assume that, after borrowing this $10 million for a fixed term of years, a new government is elected and decides not to spend this $10 million, leaving it in non-interest bearing cash in a bank vault. At the end of the period, government will still have to repay the $10 million + interest. In nominal terms, government will have a net loss equal to the interest now owed on the $10 million. Additionally, society will have a lost opportunity cost equal to the lost economic productivity of deploying that $10 million in a worthy manner. This is basically what Greece has done.

  6. CommentedJonathan Lam

    Gamesmith94134: Is global financial reforms possible?

    It is agreeable that “confidence in its stability and availability must be maintained, which highlights the practicality of a national currency, or perhaps a variety of national currencies”. So, it was the past failure of the monetarism or the equilibrium exchange rate, even for the gold standard, and we must reform on how we can keep the balance each country with its capital, human and natural resources through the market system rather than use infinite expanding capitals or control to dominate the monetary system.

    ”But “individual countries would orient intervention and economic policies toward defending the equilibrium rate, or, more radically, an international authority might authorize aggressive intervention by trading partners to promote consistency.” Mr. Paul Volcker did not clearly illustrate what equilibrium rate or how “consistency” he may suggest. As the past years, Quantitative Easing caused currency war among countries, since US and ECB cut it interest rate to its lowest, 1.9% for the ten year bond and Zero coupon for the short term bonds. Is it really how equilibrium rate can be even if the inflation is well above the margin? Or is it how the present equilibrium rate attempt to ensure Dollar and Euro can devalue the rest of the competitive currencies with less of their consents? Much of the recent criticism of the international authority that bankrupted the monetary system with sovereignty debts defaults, fiat money, Zombie banks, rouge trader and the breaking-up European Union. I surely like to hear how “consistency” can be, or how reform can be initiated structurally as Mr. Paul Volcker suggested, instead of kicking the can down the road, hair cut maneuver which I would consider them as hara-kiri on the economy since quantitative easing did not promote growth after all.

    Monetarism empowered by the single currency or a few created the fiscal or trade imbalances that made deficits inescapable like US and EU. So, intervention of governments or IMF is not a proper approach for the equilibrium rate, in its extreme, many nations reversed such intervention with its protectionism or trade war.
    In the recent deposit flights of Greece and Spain, it resonated with Mr. Fisher’s statement, from Reuter.

    "Unless fiscal authorities can structure their affairs to incent the private sector into putting the cheap and ample money the Fed has provided to the economy to work in job creation, monetary policy will prove impotent," Fisher said."My point is monetary policy is not the answer - it can only make things worse if this monetizing is repeated."
    Perhaps, we should understand now it was the human resources like employment and credits make price and value sustainable, and consumption on the natural resources made it mark incurs liquidity to growth. It must be the complete chains of consumption and competition of all resources among nations and societies. Capital is only applying to who use it and whom it supports; currency is only part of measurement on accountability and its exchange rate has made its competition in the market system.


    The outbreak of financial failure fell on the competitiveness and consumption that interrupted the macro and micro economics. When the market system was being globalized, the capital, natural, and human resources interacted with other countries’ markets, internalized market collapsed under competition and the equilibrium of exchange rates react as consumption is discharged under pressure. Perhaps, monetarism or its equilibrium of exchange rate is not relevant to the standardized reforms if each must sustain its competitiveness and consumption. It is advisable to use the measurable balances of the resources that made the globalized financial system sustainable and dependable.

    Finally, at present, monetizing can only make the global economy worse; the solution must come through the structural developments how we deal with our resources both internally and externally. There must be agreement on the concept of sharing and limitation of the finite resources including capital, human and natural. Each must sustain its internal balance in the first place; then, we can rebuild ourselves on the principle of sharing in globalization or global economy. Hopefully, we can join together to answer to the questions on economical balance and political harmony with mutual respects of others. Perhaps, sky, earth, and ocean give a better boundary of life, and it is what we all share with, depend on but never undercut.

    May the Buddha Bless you?

  7. CommentedPaul A. Myers

    We should discuss the positive alternative of having a vast web of relatively small national and regional banks, possibly with rules that allow a regional bank to be twice as large as a national bank. Other activities, particularly those that scale with size, should be put into regulated associations with stockholders consisting of banks, federal reserve banks, and possibly other shareholders with strict limits on ownership concentration. These associations would be more like public utilities.

    So activities that are "efficient" simply due to "scale" would be removed from the "risk" activities of regular banks. Fees charged by such associations would be more based on cost rather than power to exploit, as is now the case.

    Such a banking system might foster greater economic growth than the current system which can argued to lower economic growth due to the abuses inherent in concentration of capital and risk.

    If the United States were to create a sensible banking system, possibly other countries and regions might follow.

  8. CommentedZsolt Hermann

    I think the lesson from the Eurocrisis is that financial unity is impossible without solid foundations, without deeper integration, and truly mutual understanding and cooperation.
    Financial relations, economics is basically the external representation of the underlying human connections, thus for any financial, economical union, collaboration, union to successfully exist and become sustainable first we have to establish an integrated social system around the globe.
    What the crisis itself and more and more scientific publications, economical and political analysis shows us is that whether we want it or not we already exist in a fully interconnected and interdependent global system.
    And since it is a natural consequence of our evolution there is nothing we can do against it, instead we have to learn the system, its laws and then apply it to our lives, consciously building a truly working supra-national human system above our inherent differences, maintaining those "underneath" and then solve all of our problems from within that mutual place above our differences.

    1. CommentedSarah Morehead

      Sharing a currency when each country has its own business cycles seems unsustainable to me. You can't execute monetary policy in one country without affecting the business cycles of the others. this is fine if all are experiencing expansions and contractions simultaneously, but that can only happen in a textbook.

  9. CommentedCharles Travis

    If an institution becomes too big to fail we should be asking whether it should even exist. At least in the case of governments there is the possibility of political accountability. It is the absence of accountability rather than solely a regulatory problem with large institutional players. Those charged with managing these entities face no downside risk for their mismanagement. Given that the principle of moral hazard is well understood within those circles it leaves one with the inescapable conclusion that the lack of accountability within the current system is not a product but instead a purpose of that system.

    It almost makes one sympathetic with the diffuse and disorganized cries of protest.

  10. CommentedFrank O'Callaghan

    A problem still would arise not only between currencies but within them where imbalances are allowed to accumulate such as currently in the Eurozone. The decoupling of the lending agencies from the consequences of their decisions is a core cause.

  11. Portrait of Michael Heller

    CommentedMichael Heller

    Paul Volcker:

    Though unsure about the wisdom of trying to decide “appropriate equilibrium exchange rates”, I agree “active participation in an open world economy requires surrender of economic sovereignty” in regulatory areas you mention (e.g. dictating demise rather than rescue of failing firms) as well as in the conditions of IMF programs.

    I rather think the international regulations you mention in the first part of the article are more desirable and urgent than the creation of a new monetary order. Ideally international regulations about ownership, production and commerce based on competition and free trade principles without subsidies would be such that markets eliminate many distortions by ‘getting the prices right’ globally, making unnecessary the monitoring and control of interrelated currency values. An international economic regime for reducing systemic risks should aim for simplicity, treating causes rather than symptoms.

    With the right international regulations in place China and the US might both have been compelled to follow better balanced internal models of development, and external imbalances might not have become an issue.

    Who knows? Perhaps once the Euro problem is solved the idea of currency-plus-fiscal union might spread like wildfire across the world. Yet, to return to the first point, it won’t ever really be solved until Europe’s competition-promoting single-market regulatory framework is effective.

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