短缺时代的终结?

一季又一季,美国的宏观经济信息都说明了同样的问题:国内生产总值每年3%的持续增长远不足以提升美国的就业水平。就算国内生产总值每年增长4%,靠它来增加美国成年人的就业比例也还是杯水车薪。克林顿执政初期,美国潜在劳动生产率每年增长1.2%,20世纪90年代繁荣后期上升到2%到2.5%,现在则进一步攀升:把劳动生产率的增长势头控制在每年3%以下越来越难了。

生产率快速增长到底能持续多久,人们众说纷纭:乐观者指出信息技术之后的生物科技即将腾飞,其后的纳米技术也已经初露端倪。如果生产率的上升势头得以延续,将打开令人叹为观止的发展空间:50年后,美国普普通通的全职劳动者每年不仅能挣40,000美元,而且这40,000美元还相当于今天160,000的收入。

如果说美国只是世界经济的一极,邓小平南巡后开创了经济奇迹的中国则是另外的一极。而现在中国的劳动生产率以每年约6%的速度持续增长。如果保持这样的增长速度,如果中国经济能最终融合为一个整体-那么在2050年之前,中国的劳动生产率将能和今天的美国相提并论。印度呢?如果保持过去15年的增长速度,如果能够继续统一,那么它2050年的劳动生产率将能和今天的西班牙相媲美。

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