Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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来自西方的灾难

新德里—在4年前金融危机处于谷底的时候,许多亚洲国家相信稳健的增长已让它们的经济与西方和伴随西方的问题一起“脱钩”了。但如今,随着欧元区的摇摇欲坠和美国复苏的疲软,亚洲也显现出步履蹒跚的迹象了。

一些亚洲政客会很自然地将任何增长疲软迹象的责任推给西方。但他们在采取必要的结构性改革、争取经济机会方面的无能同样是亚洲地区陷入增长困境的重要原因。

就拿印度来说吧。根据预测机构国际市场评估(International Market Assessment,IMA)的说法,“资本流枯竭……所反映的并不是全球经济状况”,而是投资者信心缺失,其主要原因是财政管理失当导致的“价格不稳定、投资下降和最终出现的……增长下降”。由于“政府不作为”,IMA推论说,“印度正在快速失速。”

印度的状况确实令人担忧。食品价格通胀达到了两位数,人们对有多大比例的印度人生活在贫困线以下甚至贫困县应该划在什么水平争论不休。官方统计采用平均日收入32卢比(0.57美元)作为穷人和贫困的分界线。

印度政府并没有着手解决当代印度社会的核心难题——充裕社会中的贫困——反而当起了把头埋在沙子里的鸵鸟。它号称要采取大手笔改革,但改革方案墨迹未干就被否决了。更糟糕的是,日渐严重的官员腐败正在侵蚀私人部门的活力。

但印度并不是唯一一个步履蹒跚的国家。中国也在担心增长放缓和工资膨胀。中国人民银行为此采取了降低利率以刺激国内投资的应对措施,人民币汇率也有所贬值,以助出口复苏。但中国上半年的进口量基本持平,显示中资企业并未投资于新设备,中国经济可能不久就会遭遇停滞。

中国的政治制度与印度截然相反,但两国在最深层次结构性问题方面惊人地相似。两国都采取了分散化决策的改革——中国在20世纪80年代,印度在90年代,并取得了快速的进步。在民主制度的推动下,印度的政治决策分散化了,但相当多的经济决策当局仍嵌在新德里僵硬的官僚体制中,阻挠着经济增长。相反,中国实现了经济分散化,但保留了中央政治集权,经济管理责任大体上被下放到省级,而这导致了中国自身的失衡问题。

因此,中国为了维持增长被迫从出口转向国内消费,而印度继续依赖内部投资、服务和原材料出口以及财政和经常项目赤字维持增长态势。但其最危险的赤字存在于治理之中。中国也是如此,薄熙来丑闻便暴露了中国自我标榜的技术专家治国论背后的问题。

其他亚洲国家的结构性问题也在日益严重。在越南,通胀率徘徊在20%或以上的水平,政府对于采取进一步改革似乎并不请愿。泰国没完没了的政治斗争让其经济无法提速;随着财政部长穆里亚尼的辞职,进入第二个任期的印尼总统苏西洛也失去了改革热情;而日本看起来要继续在了无生气中挣扎。

欧洲的动荡以及由此产生的民粹主义政治的抬头表明,亚洲政府不能继续躺在增长功劳簿上睡大觉了。事实上,牛津大学教授Pavlos Eleftheriadis最近对某希腊选民的评论应该引起亚洲领导人的注意:“对接受不诚实地引发问题的人领导怒不可遏”。事实上,根据Eleftheriadis的说法,希腊税务官如今正面临着挥舞着大棒的公民。这听起来与印度何其相像。

亚洲不乏维持和刺激增长的大胆相反。最近,中国、日本和韩国领导人决定就三边自由贸易协定展开对话,这三个国家分别是世界第二、第三和第十二大经济体,因此这一想法不可谓不宏伟,尽管亚洲两大民主国家与中国之间形成协议可能会让失败的世贸谈判多哈回合显得颇为愚蠢。

但印度看不到任何类似迹象。事实上,随着缅甸经济的对外开放,印度应该当先寻求刺激南亚增长和经济一体化,光是考虑到这样能稳固其地区邻国就值得这样做。然而,首相辛格最近在访问印度时并没有拿出常规投资项目之外的计划。大胆地提出与孟加拉国的合作也能产生非常有效的增长效应,但在这方面印度也一直踯躅不前。

主要新兴国家,特别是中国和印度,仍陷于麻烦之中,在这样的情况下,欧元崩溃可能会对亚洲造成严重影响。在这一幕发生之前,各国政府必须抓住政策主动权,从而强化全球金融市场对亚洲抵御西方灾难的能力的信心。

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  1. Commentedcaptainjohann Samuhanand

    The real problem in India is the reckless Crony capitalism practiced by so called nationalist leadership of NDA and world bank leadership of UPA.The recent case of King fisher Airlines is a point where the owners profligacy is condoned and not punished.He continues to have his placial yachts and F1 teams while not paying salaries to his employees while asking the state owned banks for bail out. One can find similar cases in NPAs of state controlled banks.this is the real structural reform which should be done and not FDI in wholesale retail or rate cuts by RBI

  2. CommentedYoshimichi Moriyama

    It is true that "many Asian governments came to believe that robust growth had led to a near-"decoupling" of their economies from the West and its ongoing problems."

    It was not true that robust growth had led to a near-"decoupling" of Asian economies from the West and its ongoing problems."

    It was all journalistic hype.

    Let's learn to decouple ourselves from hype, whether journalistic or governmental.

  3. CommentedZsolt Hermann

    The ill wind is not coming from the West.
    The ill wind is everywhere, because the whole thinking, system everybody tries applying is wrong.
    Structural reforms, austerity, stimulus, different governing systems cannot help here, at the end of the day we are enslaved by the same problem: our own insatiable, self centered, exploitative nature.
    We are all the same driven by this nature, our differences only come by the size of the desire, the size of the hunger, how far are we willing to go to get what we want, who and what are we willing to sacrifice for our own pleasure.
    This nature drove us through our history, and finally drove us into this dead end we find ourselves today in.
    The whole process is not even anybody's fault, humans simply instinctively, automatically followed this basic nature until today.
    But now as we face this global crisis that has no solution within the same framework it was created in, with the same thinking, with the same instincts we used so far, we have the obligation to try to understand to the greatest depth why we are here, what our true nature is and how we could adjust our nature to the new conditions of the global, interdependent reality, especially with the increasingly receding resources and opportunities around us.
    Humans are different from animals as they can evaluate themselves critically and moreover humans can actually change their inherent nature.
    So instead of analyzing who caused this crisis, where the ill wind comes from, how certain regions, nations could escape and pull ahead of someone else (which is of course impossible in an integral, interconnected system) we finally need to understand who we are, the system around us, and how we can adapt to the system.
    This vast natural system around us with its unbreakable laws of harmony and homeostasis is not going to change, only we can change.

  4. CommentedAlok Shukla

    Externally the extent of globalization has introduced the inter dependencies which would be good for every country in the long run and will promote peace among the countries.

    Internally as with most of the Asian countries at political level it is a one man show and at common populace as well as at political level it is the expectation that government is solution to every problem and knows the best. This lead to too much regulation, miss-allocation of resources and stifles innovation.

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