跑题的欧洲紧缩之争

发自布鲁塞尔——欧元区危机最明显的症状就是其极高且不断变动的风险溢价,而一众欧元区外围国家则必须为其公共债务支付这种风险溢价。此外,美国经济学家卡门·莱因哈特(Carmen Reinhart)和肯尼斯·罗格夫(Kenneth Rogoff )在一篇颇有影响的论文指出当一国的公共债务上升到GDP的90%以上时,其经济增长会急剧下降。所以解决该危机的政策方案似乎也很简单:紧缩。必须削减财政赤字以降低负债务水平。

但关于紧缩和高水平公共债务成本的讨论忽略了一个重点:欠外国人的公共债务不同于欠本国公民的债务。外国人无法投票支持提高税收或降低支出以减轻债务。此外,就国内债务而言,高利率或高风险溢价只不过是导致更多的国内再分配(从纳税人到债券持有者)。相比之下,对外债而言,高利率会导致国家整体的财富流失,因为在这种情况下政府必须把资源转移到国外,而这通常需要结合汇率贬值与国内支出削减。

外债和内债的区别在欧元危机期间显得尤其重要,因为欧元区成员国无法像其它国家一样通过贬值货币来提高出口,从而减轻外债。而事实证明欧元危机其实并不是主权危机,而是外债危机。

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