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索洛大战波斯纳(7):金融崩溃如何破坏了实体经济?  

2009-04-28 14:05:48|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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中文博主按:我的美女同事说,书评就应该像索洛他们这样写。不要像我以前的那种书评。哈,她说得对极了。


七、金融崩溃如何破坏了实体经济?

Most commentary, at large, in Posner's book, and in thisreview, has been about how the financial collapse damages the real economy. Itmight be thought that somehow fixing the financial mess would automatically fixthe real economy. That is not so, for at least two reasons worth mentioning. Inthe first place, all that vanished wealth cannot be restored; much of it wasfluff, as we now know. American families are not worth $64.4 trillion. There isno way to know now whether they are worth more than $51.5 trillion or less.When all that shakes itself out, both the real economy and the financial systemwill be different.

总体上看,最值得一提的(波斯纳的书里和本文里),就是:金融崩溃如何破坏了实体经济。有人认为,只要在一定程度上修理了金融乱象,那么,就会自动地修复实体经济。不是这样的。最少有两个理由,值得说明一下。第一,所有消失的财富,不会恢复;大量的财富化为乌有,就像我们现在看到的这样。美国家庭不值64.4万亿美元了。现在,人们没有办法知道,它们是否值51.5万亿,或者更少?当乌云散去,实体经济和金融体系,都会变成另一个样子了。

Secondly, the restoration of credit flows is not just amatter of clarifying and strengthening the balance sheets of banks and otherlenders. It takes two to make a loan: a solvent and willing lender and acredible borrower. In a deep recession, there are not enough credibleborrowers, meaning businesses and individuals with excellent prospects of beingable to repay a loan on time, with interest. That is why direct stimulus has toaccompany the necessary work of cleaning up the debris cluttering the financialsystem, by removing those toxic assets from the balance sheets of banks andreplacing them with clean capital.

第二,信用缺陷的恢复,并不只是清理和强化银行或其他贷款者的资产负债表。有两个要素,才能进行借贷:有偿债能力的、有意愿贷款的贷款者,以及有信用的借款者。在深度衰退中,有信用的借款者(即能够及时偿还本息的企业和个人),都不够多。这就是我们为什么在直接刺激时,还必须清理金融体系的碎片,要从银行的资产负债表中清理掉有毒资产,要代之以干净的资本。

There are other weaknesses in Posner's remarks on the realeconomy. For example, more than once he says that the various antirecessionarymeasures—like fiscal stimulus, bailouts—are very "costly" and"may do long-term damage to the economy." He does not explain whatthese costs and damages are. Sometimes he seems to have budgetary costs in mind.But bailouts are mostly transfers from one group in society to another, forexample from taxpayers to financial institutions and their owners. They arecertainly not ethically satisfying transfers, but it is not clear how they dolong-term damage to the economy. The components of a fiscal stimulus packageare costs to the federal budget; but to the extent that they put otherwiseunemployed labor and idle industrial capacity to work, they do not impoverishthe economy; in fact, they enrich it. (Of course, one would prefer usefulprojects to wasteful ones.) If fiscal stimulus works, even imperfectly, thereis no doubt which way the benefit–cost ratio goes.

波斯纳在评论实体经济时,还有一些其他的缺陷。譬如,他不止一次地说:各种不同的反衰退措施(如财政刺激和救市),都是“成本高昂的”,都“对经济具有长期的损伤”。他并没有解释具体的成本和损失是什么。有时,他心里想的好像是“预算成本”。但是,救市,却主要是从一个群体向另一个群体进行财政转移,譬如,从纳税人那里向金融机构和金融机构的所有者那里转移。这样的转移,当然对一些人是不合适的,但是,我们不清楚的是:它们是如何对经济造成长期损失的。财政刺激方案的组分,对于联邦预算来说,当然是成本;但是,就“它们能让失业者和闲置的工业能力运动起来”而言,它们也没有使经济变成更加贫困;实际上,它们使经济更加富有。(当然,人们可能会更倾向于有用的项目,而不倾向于浪费的项目。)如果财政刺激有效了,即使是不那么完美无瑕的有效,那么,无疑地,这也是“成本-收益比”所指引的方向。

Posner is on much firmer ground in worrying about the verylarge increases in the money supply and in the interest-bearing public debtthat are left behind by antirecessionary policy. Even there, we do not know howskillful and lucky the Federal Reserve will be at mopping up excess liquiditywhen the economy recovers, whether by arranging repayment of loans it has madeto the private sector, or by selling off the assets it has acquired along withTreasury debt. And if the economy can be restored to normal growth and sensiblefiscal policy, the ratio of debt to GDP, which is what matters, can eventuallybe brought down. Without some analysis, this sort of talk does not spreadlight.

波斯纳有着更坚实的基础,来担忧反衰退政策所造成的货币供给的巨量增加,所造成的利息型公共债务的巨量增加。即使在那里,我们也不知道:当经济恢复了之后,在痛击多余的流动性时,联储的技术如何,运气又如何;是通过偿还它向私人部门的贷款呢?还是卖空它用国债收购的资产呢?而且,如果经济要恢复到正常增长状态和合理的财政政策时,那么,债务对GDP的比率(这是很重要的),就要最终降下来。如果没有进行分析,这种说法,也就没有什么参考价值了。

There is an even odder chapter called "A SilverLining?" In it Posner flirts with the idea that a recession, even adepression, has a good side. It weeds out inefficient firms and practices. Thisis a little like saying that a plague is not all bad: it cleans up the genepool. No doubt there is some truth to this idea of a purifying effect. But thenotion that it could possibly compensate for years of lost output and lost jobsseems wholly implausible. There is certainly no calculation of economic costsand benefits behind the thought of a "silver lining." I think it isanother example of overemphasis on minor gains in efficiency and neglect offirst-order facts.

还有一个更古怪的章节,叫“一线希望?”在这一章里,波斯纳提出一个观点,说:衰退,即使是萧条,也有好的一面。它清除了无效率的企业和事业。这就好像说“瘟疫也不是全不好”一样:它清理了基因库。无疑,这种“清洁效应”的想法,也有一点道理。但是,说它可能可以补偿多年的产出损失和工作损失,那就太没有说服力了。在“一线希望”这种思想的背后,当然,没有进行任何的经济成本和经济收益的计算。我认为,这是一个典型,它夸大了微不足道的效率收益,忽视了第一位的事实。

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