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食利者在此

发自日内瓦——自2008年金融危机以来,政策制定者和国际机构经常会对收入不均状况的扩大及其不利的政治后果感到忧虑。同时他们又往往将这一问题归咎于全球贸易和新技术等“外生”因素。

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但在政策制定者将目光过度集中于对贸易和新技术上时,却错失了一个导致收入不均的更强力驱动因素:发源于市场高度集中,大企业实力壮大以及规制俘虏现象(regulatory capture)的地方性寻租行为。

广义上说,租金作为一种收入形式,完全来源于对资产的所有权和控制权,而不是对经济资源的创新和创业型部署。当英国经济学家约翰·梅纳德·凯恩斯(John Maynard Keynes)在他1936年出版的《就业,利益和货币通论》一书中预测“食利者的消亡”时,他指的是一个除了为自身利益尽可能搜刮资本之外什么都不干的金融阶级。但在过去三十年间,金融食利者卷土重来。他们通过私人信贷创造和金融炼金术积累了巨大的收益,但这种收益又是与这类活动所产生的社会效益极不相称的。

此外,在我们这个超全球化时代,大型非金融企业也成为了一个食利阶级。这些企业依仗其雄厚的市场实力和游说实力,经常性地参与那些原本是金融行业自留地的食利活动中。因此这些大型非金融企业已经成为了收入不均恶化现象的普遍性来源。

非金融企业通过多种渠道进入食利游戏。它们不去保护真正的创新,而是系统性地滥用知识产权法来实现市场统治。它们通过大规模私有化计划去掠夺公共部门资源,同时又将很少要求向纳税人返还福利的公共补贴抓在手里。它们已经实现了深层次的市场操纵,把自己变成了收债者,还利用股份回购来提升高管的报酬,以上种种,不一而足。

在当前运作的食利方案的确切影响范围之外,全球各地宽松的企业信息披露规则使人难以估计问题的规模。现有的大部分研究都集中在美国经济上,其中一些研究通过加价定价的陡峭上升趋势去衡量主导企业市场力量的增长;其他人则研究迅猛发展的信息技术在“剩余财富”积累中的作用。

在联合国贸易和发展会议上,我们依靠一个新建立的56个发达和发展中国家上市公司数据库将研究延伸到了美国经济之外。我们使用这些数据来估计大型非金融企业的盈利在多大程度上超过了1995年以来的典型年度部门利润表现。我们发现,超额收益所占的比例在过去二十年中显着上涨,从1995~2000年的4%升至23~20%。对于位列全球前100强的企业来说,这一份额平均从16%上升到40%。

同样的多国数据库也证实在过去二十年里市场集中度大幅上升,对百强企业尤其如此。事实上,企业之间的巨大差距已成为企业食利时代的一个重要特征。 2015年,前100强企业的合共市值(一家公司的流通股总值)是数据库中排名末尾那2000家企业的7000倍,而二十年前这个数字只有31。

更糟糕的是,这一趋势并未扩大到就业。从1995年到2015年,前100名企业的市值增加了四倍,但其雇佣人数的增长还不到两倍。这意味着市场集中度和企业食利榨取是相互强化的。结果造就了一个“赢家拿最多”的市场环境,极大不利于新兴企业,创业创新以及高质量就业机会的持续创造。

我们以大范围的专利保护力量通过双边和多边贸易和投资协议的扩散为例:这些力量已经扩展到了以前未被认为是技术创新领域的新活动——比如金融和商业方法。那些科技巨头以此达到了新的规制俘虏水平,让它们可以为了自身利益去限制言论自由向非高科技市扩张,并塑造新兴的全球政策议程,例如金融包容性和电子商务。

现在应对迈向食利资本主义的趋势还为时未晚。我们可以通过制定更强有力的反垄断立法,为有组织劳动者赋权的政策,修订现有贸易协定以及在国际层面上更好地监控转让定价和逃税行为来应对助长广泛规制俘虏和企业食利主义的“内生因素”。一些政策制定者已经开始在这些方面采取行动。但成功需要更加协调一致的努力,现在也是大力回归生产性投资和创造就业的时候了。

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