断档的5年

发自纽约——当美国雷曼兄弟投资银行在2008年破产,引发自大萧条以来最严重的全球金融危机之后,一个关于危机成因的广泛共识似乎已经形成。一个过度臃肿且丧失机能的金融系统错误配置了资本,而且非但没能管理危机,其本身就是危机的来源。金融管制的放宽——加上极易取得的贷款——都导致人们过度承担风险。即便依然容易获取的资金能可以避免金融系统全面崩溃,但货币政策在重振经济方面的效用可能相对较低。因此,对财政政策的更多依赖——增加政府支出——就成为了必需之策。

五年之后,虽然有些人开始互相庆幸说他们制止了另一场大萧条的出现,但没有一个欧美人敢声称繁荣已经重新降临了。欧盟刚刚从一场二次衰退(有些国家是三次探底)中抬起头来,有些成员国还依然陷于衰退。在许多欧盟国家,GDP要么低于危机前水平,要么只高出一点点。有2700万欧洲人找不到工作。

同样,这边有2200万美国人无法获得全职工作。劳动参与率(经济活动人口占劳动年龄人口的比率)跌到了自妇女开始大量进入劳动力市场以来的最低水平。大多数美国人的收入和财富都比危机前少了一大截。事实上,一个典型全职男性职工的收入已经降到了超过40年以来的最低水平。

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