英国紧缩的不白之冤

伦敦—说到底,英国政府在全球金融危机爆发时采取紧缩的决定正确吗?经济学家肯尼斯·罗格夫(Kenneth Rogoff)的一篇最近引起热议的评论给出了肯定的回答。罗格夫指出,尽管从事后看来政府应该借得更多,但当时英国确实存在步希腊后尘的现实风险。因此,照此看,财政大臣奥斯本(George Osborne)堪称全球金融的英雄。

为了证明当时存在资本外逃的现实风险,罗格夫用了历史案例来证明英国信用表现远远称不上可信。他指出,1932年英国对其所欠美国的一战债务违了约,在二战后积累大量债务,以及英国“在20世纪50年代中期到70年代中期数次依赖于IMF援助”。

罗格夫的分析并没有提到这些所谓的过错的发生环境。1932年对美国一战贷款违约一直是英国债务史上最大的污点,但了解其中的背景是十分重要的。在大战结束后的世界新形势中,战败国欠着战胜国大量债务,作为战胜国的协约国彼此之间也欠着大量债务(美国式唯一的净债权国)。凯恩斯正确地预测道,所有这些债务最终将会违约。

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