The price of Euro and US dollars Daniel Leal Olivas/Getty Images

重振债权人调整

伦敦—美国总统特朗普政府大谈保护主义,但令人惊奇的是,没有人提到,更没有人引用一个显而易见的解决顽固性外部失衡的工具:1944年布雷顿森林协议的“稀缺货币条款”。

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写在协议第七章中,它授权各国“在与[国际货币]基金组织商议后,临时性采取限制稀缺货币的兑换操作自由的措施”;并授权这些国家“在决定这些限制措施的性质方面的完全的司法管辖权”。一国货币可以认为在外汇市场上属于稀缺,如果该国进口多于出口的话——也就是说,如果该国存在经常项目赤字的话。

稀缺货币条款的历史很有意思。在英国经济学家凯恩斯的建立国际清算银行的原始计划中,他提出了一套不断升级的制裁机制,针对保持持续信用余额的成员国,而对于持续保持债务余额的国家,采取不那么严厉的制裁。其思想是要施压各国降低经常项目盈余。盈余国如何花钱不做限制,但不允许囤钱。

当时全世界最大的债权国是美国,不难理解,它拒绝同意凯恩斯的方案。因此,IMF要么为赤字国提供短期金融援助,要么坚持正统的债务人调整教条。但是,为了安抚英国人,现在被视为布雷顿森林协议缔造者的美国财政部官员哈里·德克斯特·怀特(Harry Dexter White)在协议中加入了第七条,允许美元不足的成员国限制购买美国商品。

此后,稀缺货币条款一直是一纸空文。战后早期,美国通过马歇尔计划资金,堵住了欧洲国家的经常项目缺口。到20世纪70年代初,美国自身也出现了贸易赤字,而美元处于过度供给状态。美国国会敦促IMF援引稀缺货币条款针对“不守规则”的盈余国,但徒劳无功。普林斯顿大学历史学家哈罗德·詹姆斯(Harold James指出,局面倒转过来,美国拾起了凯恩斯的观点,但作为债权人的欧洲国家以及日本成功地把它挡了回去。

快进到今天。在全球四大经济体中,只有美国存在顽固性竞争力低迷。相反,中国、日本和德国竞争力超群。而因为中国出于自身原因愿意为美国的赤字提供融资,美元和人民币似乎陷入了偏离(misaligned positions )。

要改变这一状况,经济学家弗拉基米尔·马什(Vladimir Masch)认为美国应该采取“补偿自由贸易”(CFT)计划。CFT本质上即单方面激活稀缺货币条款。特朗普政府每年为美国贸易赤字设定一个上限,然后限制美国主要贸易伙伴盈余的上限。主要受影响的国家是中国、日本、德国和墨西哥,它们分别 2016年美国7,370亿美元贸易赤字的3,470亿、690亿、650亿和640亿。

根据马什的CFT安排,各盈余国如何限制对美出口,由它们自己决定。各国如果超出了出口配额,就必须支付等于实际出口额和允许出口额之差的罚款。如果它们想比配额出口更多又不支付罚款,它们的盈余出口将被禁止。

这个计划的问题在于它没有施压德国降低其对其他欧元区国家的盈余。平心而论,2008年全球金融危机后,欧盟确实制定了一个宏观经济失衡程序(Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure,MIP),对盈余超过GDP的6%,或赤字超过GDP的4%的欧元区国家课以罚款。但虽然MIP的精神与凯恩斯的国际清算联盟方案一致,它缺少两个关键机制。

首先,凯恩斯的计划自动对顽固债权国实施制裁,而欧盟的框架已经证明无力达到这一点。德国盈余超过GDP的6%十多年,但一直没有受到惩罚。尽管其对欧元区的盈余最近下降到GDP的3%,但这主要是因为穷困潦倒的地中海国家减少了德国商品的进口。如果这些国家的经济复苏,恢复接近充分就业的状态,德国盈余有可能重新增加。

MIP的第二个缺陷是它缺少稀缺货币条款为债务国所提供的遗漏保护(omit protection)。由于无法让货币贬值,欧元区顽固债务国唯一的出路是威胁退出单一货币。但是,希腊危机证明,这个威胁并不可信。结果是债权国和债务国之间的失衡无从解决。

解锁当前失衡状况的一个办法是调整布雷顿森林机制。各欧元区成员国根据国民收入和贸易水平,出资成立欧洲货币基金组织。该组织制定其自身的稀缺货币条款,允许成员国针对债权国的进口实施歧视性措施。

在上个月在索尔伯恩(Sorbonne)所做的涵盖面甚广的讲话中,法国总统马克龙便呼吁建立一个欧洲货币基金组织,尽管他并没有具体阐述他所构想的细节。一个允许贸易歧视的机制有可能违反欧洲自由贸易原则。但经济一体化总是需要依靠一定程度的债权国调整。若非如此,自由贸易体系最终将解体。开放边境的支持者们可以现在付出代价,否则,他们将来必将付出代价。

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