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《The Economist》《经济学人》中文版
Translated From 《The Economist》,By ecocn team http://www.ecocn.org
中国神话:经济快速增长并不是依赖出口2008-01-09[2008.01.03] Economics focus: An old Chinese myth中国神话

/>Economics focus

An old Chinese myth



Jan 3rd 2008
From The Economist print edition

Contrary to popular wisdom, China's rapid growth is not hugely dependent on exports
与大众观点相反,中国经济快速增长并不是过分依赖出口

MOST people suppose that China's economic success depends on exporting cheap goods to the rich world. If so, its growth would be seriously dented by a stuttering American economy. Headline figures show that China's exports surged from 20% of GDP in 2001 to almost 40% in 2007, which seems to suggest not only that exports are the main driver of growth, but also that China's economy would be hit much harder by an American downturn than it was during the previous recession in 2001. If exports are measured correctly, however, they account for a surprisingly modest share of China's economic growth.

大多人都认为中国经济的成功取决于把便宜的货物出口至富裕的国家。如果是这样的话,中国经济的增长则会被美国的经济疲软而拖累。数据表明,中国的出口额占GDP的份额从2001年的20%增长到2007年的40%,这看起来出口不单是中国经济增长的主要因素,而且美国经济的衰弱給中国带来的打击要比2001年的更大。无论如何,如果出口额计量的准确的话,出口占中国经济增长的份额应该是比较适中的。



The headline ratio of exports to GDP is very misleading. It compares apples and oranges: exports are measured as gross revenue while GDP is measured in value-added terms. Jonathan Anderson, an economist at UBS, a bank, has tried to estimate exports in value-added terms by stripping out imported components, and then converting the remaining domestic content into value-added terms by subtracting inputs purchased from other domestic sectors. At first glance, that second step seems odd: surely the materials which exporters buy from the rest of the economy should be included in any assessment of the importance of exports? But if purchases of domestic inputs were left in for exporters, the same thing would need to be done for all other sectors. That would make the denominator for the export ratio much bigger than GDP.



出口占GDP的数据很容易误导人。就像“苹果”和“桔子”一样:出口是按总量计算的而GDP则用增值计量。瑞银集团经济学家乔纳森×安德森(Jonathan Anderson),曾试图以增量来估算出口,做法是:先剔除进口部分,再将剩下的国内值部分减去从其他国内部门购买的投入量。乍一看,上述第二步似乎不好理解:出口部门从经济体其他部门中购入的量真该包含在出口值中吗?一旦其国内投入购进部分计入出口部门,那么其他所有部门就该以该口径统一。那样,用以除出出口比重的分母值就要远远大于GDP值。



Once these adjustments are made, Mr Anderson reckons that the "true" export share is just under 10% of GDP. That makes China slightly more exposed to exports than Japan, but nowhere near as export-led as Taiwan or Singapore (which on January 2nd reported an unexpected contraction in GDP in the fourth quarter of 2007, thanks in part to weakness in export markets). Indeed, China's economic performance during the global IT slump in 2001 showed that a collapse in exports is not the end of the world. The annual rate of growth in its exports fell by a massive 35 percentage points from peak to trough during 2000-01, yet China's overall GDP growth slowed by less than one percentage point. Employment figures also confirm that exports' share of the economy is relatively small. Surveys suggest that one-third of manufacturing workers are in export-oriented sectors, which is equivalent to only 6% of the total workforce.



一旦这些调整确定,安德森先生认为“净”出口额占GDP的份额低于10%。这使得中国经济比日本稍微更容易遭受出口的影响,但是比贸易导向的台湾或新加坡要好的多(其在1月2日被报道2007年第四季度因出口市场疲软,遭受不可预测的GDP缩水)。实际上,中国在2001年全球IT滑坡的经济表现已经证明了出口的下滑不是世界末日。在2000年到2001年间,中国出口增长率从最高点下降了35个百分点,而中国总体GDP仅下降不到1个百分点。就业指数也表明出口占经济的份额不高。调查表明三分之一的制造业工人是出口导向的行业的,这仅仅是总体劳动力的6%。



Even if the true export share of GDP is smaller than generally believed, surely the dramatic increase in China's exports implies that they are contributing a rising share of GDP growth? Mr Anderson's work again counsels caution. Although the headline exports-to-GDP ratio has almost doubled since 2000, the value-added share of exports in GDP has been surprisingly stable over the same period (see left-hand chart). This is explained by China's shift from exports with a high domestic content, such as toys, to new export sectors that use more imported components. Electronic products accounted for 42% of total manufactured exports in 2006, for example, up from 18% in 1995. But the domestic content of electronics is only a third to a half that of traditional light-manufacturing sectors. So in value-added terms exports have risen by far less than gross export revenues have.



即使出口占GDP的比例比大众认为的要低,中国出口的大幅增长是不是为GDP增长的贡献就大呢?安德森先生的研究又一次平息疑问。尽管自2000年起出口占GDP份额近乎增长1倍多,而同期GDP中的净出口额则保持稳定(见左图)。这可解释为中国的出口产品从含有大量国内材料,比如玩具,调整至新的出口行业,这些行业使用进口材料。比如,2006年电子产品占总制造品出口额的42%,而1995年这个数字是18%。








Many of China's foreign critics remain sceptical. They argue that China's massive current-account surplus (estimated at 11% of GDP in 2007) proves that it produces far more than it consumes and relies on foreign demand to buy the excess. In the six years to 2004, net exports (ie, exports minus imports) accounted for only 5% of China's GDP growth; 95% came from domestic demand. But since 2005, net exports have contributed more than 20% of growth (see right-hand chart).



许多中国国外的批评家对此持有异议。他们辩称中国流动账户的大幅度顺差(2007年预计为GDP的11%)证明了中国生产的产品高于其消费能力,且依赖国外需求。至2004年的6年来,净出口额(例如:出口减去进口)仅占中国GDP增长的5%,其他的95%来自内需。但是自205年来,净出口额对GDP增长的贡献高于20%(见右图)。



This is due not to faster export growth, however, but to a sharp slowdown in imports. And even if the contribution from net exports fell to zero, China's GDP growth would still be close to 9% thanks to strong domestic demand. The boost from net exports is in any case unlikely to vanish, even if America does sink into recession, because exports to other emerging economies, where demand is more robust, are bigger than those to America. According to Standard Chartered Bank, Asia and the Middle East accounted for more than 40% of China's export growth in the first ten months of 2007, North America for less than 10%.



Multiplier effects



乘数效应



China's economy is driven not by exports but by investment, which accounts for over 40% of GDP. This raises an additional concern: that weaker exports could lead to a sharp drop in investment because exporters would need to add less capacity. But Arthur Kroeber at Dragonomics, a Beijing-based research firm, argues that investment is not as closely tied to exports as is often assumed: over half of all investment is in infrastructure and property. Mr Kroeber estimates that only 7% of total investment is directly linked to export production. Adding in the capital spending of local firms that produce inputs sold to exporters, he reckons that a still-modest 14% of investment is dependent on exports. Total investment is unlikely to collapse while investment in infrastructure and residential construction remains firm.



中国经济是由投资而不是出口推动的,投资占GDP的40%。这引发其他的关注:减弱的出口会导致投资的大幅度减少,因为出口商需要追加的生产力少了。但是,北京的一家叫做龙州经讯(Dragonomics)的研究咨询公司的阿瑟×可劳博(Arthur Kroeber)称投资并没有大家所认为的和出口的关系那么紧密:半数以上的投资被用于基础建设和房地产。可劳博先生认为总投资的7%和出口产品有关系。加上当地公司生产投入再卖给出口商的资本,他认为只有大约14%的投资额用上出口商。总投资应该不会因基础设施建设和居民建筑的停滞而下滑。



An American downturn will cause China's economy to slow. But the likely impact is hugely exaggerated by the headline figures of exports as a share of GDP. Dragonomics forecasts that in 2008 the contribution of net exports to China's growth will shrink by half. If the impact on investment is also included, GDP growth will slow to about 10% from 11.5% in 2007. This is hardly catastrophic. Indeed, given Beijing's worries about the economy overheating, it would be welcome.



美国经济停滞会导致中国经济增长放缓,但是作为GDP一部分的出口额会收到的影响更大。龙州经讯(Dragonomics)预测在2008年净出口对中国经济增长缩水至半。如果把对投资的影响计算在内,GDP增长会从2007年的11.5%降至10%。这不能算是一场灾难。实际上,鉴于北京政府对经济过热的担心,GDP的降低还是可以接受的。



The American government frequently accuses China of relying excessively on exports. But David Carbon, an economist at DBS, a Singaporean bank, suggests that America is starting to look like the pot that called the kettle black. In the year to September, net exports accounted for more than 30% of America's total GDP growth in 2007. Another popular belief looks ripe for reappraisal: it seems that domestic demand is a bigger driver of China's growth than it is of America's.


美国政府经常指责中国高度依赖出口,但是新加坡星展银行(DBS)的一位经济学家大卫×科本(David Carbon)称美国看起来要犯同样的错误了。至9月份,净出口额占美国2007年总GDP的30%有余。另外一个观点在评论中占了上风:中国的内需在推动经济增长方面比美国的更有力。
发表于13:23 | 阅读全文 | 评论 4 | 编辑 | 分享 0油价飙升非因短缺:民族主义的高潮2008-01-09[2008.1.3]The oil price 国际油价
The oil price 国际油价

Peak nationalism 民族主义的高潮

Jan 3rd 2008
From The Economist print edition

Oil keeps getting more expensive—but not because it is running out

油价保持着上涨的趋势——但不是因为短缺










NEW YEAR'S EVE has been and gone, but for oilmen, the party continues. On January 2nd, helped across the line by a New York trader eager for bragging rights, the first business day of the year, the price of their product topped $100 a barrel for the first time. Oil is now almost five times more expensive than it was at the beginning of 2002.



新年之夜已经结束了,但油商们庆祝的晚会还在继续。在1月2日,今年的第一个交易日,一位纽约的交易员渴望引起轰动效应,帮助油价突破了最后的关口,历史上首次达到了100美元一桶的巅峰价格。现在的石油价格几乎是2002年年初的5倍。






It would be natural to assume that ever increasing price reflects ever greater scarcity. And so it does, in a sense. Booming bits of the world, suchas China, India and the Middle Easthave seen demand for oil grow with their economies. Meanwhile, Western oil firms, in particular, are struggling to produce any more of the stuff than they did two or three years ago. That has left little spare production capacity and,in Americaat least, dwindling stocks. Every time a tempest brews in the Gulf of Mexico or dark clouds appear on the political horizon in the Middle East, jittery markets have pushed prices higher. This week, it wasa cold snap in America and turmoil in Nigeria that helped the price reach three figures.



很自然地,有人把持续增长的油价归结为石油日渐严重的稀缺性。某种意义上说,有这方面原因。世界上的地区,比如中国、印度、中东等,因为经济高速发展,对石油的需求大量增长。同时石油公司,以西方为主,已经很难像两三年前那样提高产量。一方面生产的空间有限,另一方面,至少在美国,石油储备一直在下降。一旦墨西哥湾出现了暴风,或者乌云笼罩在中东的政治敏感地带,敏锐的市场就会把价格往上推。这一周,美国经济的寒流和尼日利亚的政治混乱共同把油价推到了三位数。









No wonder, then, that the phrase “peak oil” has been gaining ground even faster than the oil price. With each extra dollar, the conviction grows that the planet has been wrung dry and will never be able to satisfy the thirst of abusy world.



毫无疑问,“石油拐点”这个说法的传播要比油价的上涨速度还快。每次油价涨一美元,人们就更加坚信:地球上的石油已经被榨干了,而且永远都不可能满足这个繁忙的世界对它的饥渴。









Geography, notgeology地缘问题,不是地质问题








Yet the fact that not enough oil is coming out of the ground does not meannot enough of it is there. There are many other explanations for the lacklustre response to the glaring price signal. For one thing, oil producers have tied their own hands. During the 1980s and 1990s, when the price was low and so were profits, they pared back hiring and investment to a minimum. Many ancillary firms that built rigs or collected seismic data shut up shop. Now oil firms want to increase their output again, they do not have the staff or equipment they need.



然而,事实上未来可供开采的石油不足并不等于现有的也不足。石油供给方对于闪烁的价格信号反应迟钝,有着很多别的原因。其一,石油供给方作茧自缚。在1980s至 1990s之间,当时石油的价格和利润都很低,他们把备用的人力和投资都削减到最低的水准。许多制造装备或者收集地震资料的辅助公司都被迫关门。现在石油公司再想增加他们的产量,却已经找不到足够多的员工或者机械。









Worse, nowadays, new oil tends to be found in relatively inaccessible spots or in more unwieldy forms. That adds to the cost of extracting oil,because more engineers and more complex machinery are needed to exploit it—butthe end of easy oil is a far remove from the jeremiads of peak-oilers. The gooey tar-sands of Canada contain almost as much oil as Saudi Arabia. Eventually, universities will churn out more geologists and shipyards more offshore platforms, though it will take a long time to make up for two decades of under investment.



更糟的是,如今,新石油趋向于在更加难以挖掘的地点被发现,其形态也更加粘稠。要开采它们需要投入更多的工程家和更复杂的机械,这都增加了开采石油的成本——但即使容易开采的石油告完,也和石油拐点论者的悲惨故事相距甚远。加拿大粘稠的柏油地里,所蕴藏的石油量和沙特一样多。最后,大学还将产出更多的地质学家、更多的造船厂和更多的离岸采油平台,尽管在20多年的投资不足情况下,这可能需要很长的时间才能完成。









The biggest impediment is political. Governments in almost all oil-rich countries, from Ecuador to Kazakhstan, aretrying to win a greater share of the industry's bumper profits. That is natural enough, but they often deter private investment or exclude it altogether. The world's oil supply would increase markedly if Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shellhad freer access to Russia, Venezuela and Iran. In short, the world is facing not peak oil, but a pinnacle of nationalism.



最大的障碍却来自于政治。从厄瓜多尔到哈萨克斯坦,几乎所有盛产石油的国家的政府都试图从石油产业的庞大利润中多分一份。这也很正常,但他们经常禁止个人投资或者把个人投资完全排除在外。如果Exxon Mobil和Royal Dutch Shell能够更自由的进入俄罗斯、委内瑞拉和伊朗,那么世界石油的供给将会显著上升。简而言之,世界面对的不是石油拐点,而是民族主义的高潮。









None of that will help consumers or governments. The economic toll of expensive oil is just as high whether geology or politics is to blame—and the best response is just the same. Policy should encourage energy efficiency and support research into alternative fuels. Governments seeking to shield their citizens with subsidies or price caps should instead expose them to the full cost to foster frugality. All this will be hard and unpopular. But politicians might console themselves with the thought that even the most recalcitrant petro-regime is more malleable than the brute realities of geology.



但无论最终原因是那个,对消费者和政府而言都没有什么办法。不论你归结为政治或者地质原因,稀缺资源石油的入门费都是一样的昂贵,当然应对方法也几乎一样。政策应该鼓励提高能源使用效率并支持可替代燃料的研发。政府不应该为了保护公民而提供津贴或者限价,相反应该让公民直接去承受全部成本以培养节俭的习惯。这些措施可能实施困难并不受欢迎。当然政治家们还是可以安慰一下自己,毕竟相比起地质学上残忍的现实,即使最暴虐的石油专制也要相对好对付得多。

发表于13:20 | 阅读全文 | 评论 4 | 编辑 | 分享 0泰国:感谢他信2008-01-09[2008.01.03]Counting Thaksin's blessings感谢他信
Thailand
泰国

Counting Thaksin's blessings
感谢他信
Jan 3rd 2008 | BANGKOK
From The Economist print edition

By electing allies of the deposed prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, Thais have voted against the 2006 coup. But the country's worries are not over yet
泰国人在选举中投票支持被免职的总理他信·西那瓦(Thaksin Shinawatra)的盟友,以此方式来表示对2006年政变的反对。但是这个国家的烦恼仍未结束。

IN STARK contrast to the terrible political violence in Pakistan and Kenya, Thailand's election, on December 23rd, was mostly peaceful. It also, notwithstanding perennial complaints of vote-buying, seemed largely fair. More remarkably, the military chiefs who deposed the government of Thaksin Shinawatra in a coup in 2006 seemed to accept the public's decision to overrule the coup and restore Mr Thaksin's allies to power in the form of the People's Power Party (PPP), a reincarnation of his disbanded Thai Rak Thai (TRT).
同巴基斯坦和肯尼亚恶劣的政治暴力完全不同,泰国12月23日的选举非常平静。尽管总是存在对贿选的抱怨,但总体上说,这次选举是公正的。更引人注目的是,虽然军方在 2006年的政变中推翻了他信·西那瓦领导的政府,但是军方领袖似乎接受了公众的决定:民众反对政变,并且投票支持他信盟友“人民力量党” (People's Power Party)掌权,而人民力量党可以看作是被解散的他信的泰爱泰党(Thai Rak Thai)的化身。


Mr Thaksin, too, has struck a conciliatory note. This week he said he would return from exile soon and invite the coupmakers to a round of golf. “For the sake of the country's reconciliation”, he would meet his nemesis, General Prem Tinsulanonda, the chief adviser to King Bhumibol, and the man widely presumed to be the mastermind behind the coup.
他信先生谈及此事也很欣慰。本周,他表示他将尽快返回泰国并邀请政变组织者们打一场高尔夫。“为了国家和解”,他将和他的政敌炳·廷素拉暖(Prem Tinsulanonda)将军会面。廷素拉暖先生是泰国国王普密蓬(Bhumibol)的首席顾问,被普遍认为是政变的幕后策划者。


If so, Thailand may emerge from two years of political strife and regain its former status as a beacon of multi-party democracy in Asia. Until recently such an outcome had seemed improbable. In October a memo came to light detailing the junta's plans, through spreading black propaganda and fomenting anti-Thaksin protests, to subvert the election to thwart a PPP victory. However, embarrassed by the plan's discovery, and perhaps disheartened by months of unpopularity, the junta seems to have dropped the plan and let the people decide.
假如这样的话,泰国将摆脱两年来的政治冲突,重新成为亚洲多党派民主政治的灯塔。直到最近,这似乎都是不可能的。10月,1份备忘录揭露出了军人集团的详细计划,通过散布“妖魔化”的宣传和煽动“反他信”的抗议,来破坏选举,阻止“人民力量党”获胜。然而,由于计划曝光使得他们陷入困境,也许还因为逐渐失去人民支持使他们感到沮丧,这个集团似乎已经放弃了该计划,而让人民自己做决定。


A potential spanner in the works is a decision by the Election Commission, due later this month, on which winning candidates will be disqualified for electoral malpractice. Early in the campaign the commission announced absurdly stringent regulations, raising fears it might apply them partially, to disqualify PPP candidates, or indeed the entire party, on flimsy grounds. The commission later absolved the junta over its plot to subvert the election, arguing that the conspiracy had not been enacted and thus no harm was done. If it is consistent it will judge poll-fraud allegations by the same yardstick, disqualifying elected members only if their rule-breaking may have altered the results. Early this week there were signs of splits in the commission, with one of its members saying he wanted to quit.
预计在本月末会有一个潜在的危险出现,选举委员会可能做出决定,取消一些获胜候选人的资格,因为他们在选举中使用了不当手段。在竞选早期,选举委员会宣布了一些荒谬严厉的规则,恐怕它会使用其中部分条款,以一些根本站不住脚的理由来取消这些人民力量党候选人的参选资格,甚至可能是整个人民力量党的资格。选举委员会随后宣布不追究军人集团意图破坏选举的阴谋,因为这个阴谋并没有开展,因此也没有造成损失。如果它是始终如一的话,那么它会以同样的标准来判断选举德欺诈行为,只有当这些当选议员们破坏规则的行为改变了结果的时候,才能取消他们的资格。本周早些时候,选举委员会出现了一些分裂的迹象,其中一名成员表示他想退出委员会。

It had been widely assumed that the PPP would get the most seats but not enough to prevent its main rival, the Democrat party, from forming a governing coalition. However, the Thaksinites did better than expected, winning 233 seats, only eight short of a majority in the 480-seat lower house (see chart). This was in spite of a recent change to the electoral system—to merge single-seat constituencies into ones returning up to three members—that seemed designed to encourage Mr Thaksin's supporters to spread their votes around other parties. As the extent of the PPP's victory became clear on election night, Samak Sundaravej, Mr Thaksin's stand-in as party leader, insisted he would be prime minister. By the middle of this week it seemed as if the PPP had persuaded most or all of the five minor parties that won seats to join its coalition. This would give it a big enough majority to withstand all but an extravagant number of disqualifications.
人们普遍认为人民力量党将夺得最多席位,但是还不足以阻挡它的主要对手民主党组成联合政府。然而,他信主义者做的比预期要好,赢得了480个下院席位中的 233个,只差8个就能成为多数党。这还是在选举体系近来做了一些变化的情况下取得的。新的选举体系将单一议席选区合并成一个并选出3名候选人,这似乎是为了怂恿他信先生的支持者们给其它政党投票。在选举之夜,当人民力量党的胜利变的明朗时,该党主席,被认为是他信替身的沙马?顺达卫(Samak Sundaravej)坚称他将出任总理。在本周中,看上去人民力量党好像已经说服了部分或者所有5个赢得席位的小党加入它领导的联合政府。这将使该党能获得多数党地位,除非被剥夺资格的人过多。


Mr Thaksin took full advantage of his crushing majority in the last parliament, pushing his cronies into key institutional jobs while scorning his critics. His allies' new government may not have it so easy. For one thing, the Democrats emerged stronger from the election, gaining 165 seats, up from 96 in the 2005 election (when the lower house had 500 seats), so they should provide more effective opposition. Furthermore, a new constitution narrowly approved in a referendum in August strengthens the checks and balances against an over-mighty executive. This includes a dubious change in which some Senate members will be appointed by judges and officials (the rest will be elected, probably in March).
他信先生充分利用了他在最后一届议会中多数党的优势,不顾他人反对,将他的亲信放在关键职位上。他的同盟者的新政府也许不会轻易的做到这一点。首先,民主党在选举中更强大了,获得了165个席位,比2005年选举时多出了96个席位(当时下院有500个席位),这样他们可以做出更有效的反对。此外,在8月份的公投中勉强通过的一部新宪法加强了对强力执政者的控制和平衡。这包括一个不确定的变化,即一些上院议员要由法官和政府职员指定(其余的将通过选举决定,大约在3月举行)。


Ideally the PPP-led government would offer the advantages of the previous TRT ones—sound macroeconomic management and policies to aid poor rural villagers—without the disadvantages, such as Mr Thaksin's autocratic tendencies and conflicts of interest. To boost flagging economic growth and weak investment, confidence in the stability and competence of government needs to be restored swiftly.
人民力量党领导的理想的政府应该提供一些以前泰爱泰党曾经提供过的优惠,例如有效的经济管理和对贫穷村民的援助政策,但是应抛弃那些缺点,例如他信先生的独裁趋势和违背公众利益的行为。要想推动逐渐衰退的经济和疲软的投资向前发展,就必须尽快恢复人民对政府稳定性和执政能力的信心。


Samak the knife
沙马是柄双刃剑
However, Thailand's political strife may not yet be over. Mr Samak, abrasive and uncouth, may prove an even more divisive prime minister than Mr Thaksin. Mr Samak is a staunch royalist but he is also a foe of General Prem, so it cannot be guaranteed that the generals and the Thaksinites will kiss and make up, especially since Mr Samak wants to lift Mr Thaksin's five-year ban from politics, and halt the corruption inquiries the coupmakers instigated against him. Mr Thaksin insists he has retired from politics but not everyone believes he will keep his word. If he or close relatives take top jobs in the new administration, and especially if he uses his restored power to seek revenge on the coupmakers, he risks renewed street protests and a reaction from the army's hardliners.
然而,泰国的政治冲突也许尚未结束。沙马先生的生硬粗暴和他的笨拙粗鲁也许会证明,他担任总理会带来比他信先生更大的分裂。沙马先生是个坚定的保皇派,但他也是炳将军的反对者,所以这不能保证将军们会和他信主义者们亲吻和解,特别是沙马先生希望解除他信先生5年内禁止涉足政坛的禁令,并且停止政变者针对他信先生的贪污调查。他信先生强调他已经从政坛“退休”,但并不是每个人都相信他的诺言。如果他或者他的近亲在新政府中得到一些重要职位,特别是如果他利用重新得到的权力向政变者寻求报复,他可能会遭遇新一轮的街头抗议和军队强硬派的强烈反弹。


In the absence of such a disaster, history may look kindly on the perpetrators of Thailand's 18th coup since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932. They spilled no blood and kept their promise to restore democracy promptly. But they and their supporters would have been more nefarious had Thai public opinion not stopped them: they tried to insert a clause in the new constitution granting themselves sweeping powers in the event of a political conflict, and then tried to achieve the same by means of an ordinary law, which the military-appointed interim assembly watered down before passing last month.
没有这些灾祸,那么自1932年泰国结束君主专制后的第18次政变的组织者将会在历史上留个好名声。他们没有引发流血冲突,并且遵守承诺迅速恢复民主。但是如果泰国的民意没有阻止他们,他们和他们的支持者也许会有更出格的举动:他们试图在新宪法中加入一条,即如果发生政治冲突,宪法将赋予他们最广泛的权力。随后,他们试图通过一部普通的法律达到这一目标,这部法律是上个月在它通过之前由军队指定的临时大会顺势通过的。


The generals signally failed to prove the claims of “rampant corruption” and other misdeeds by Mr Thaksin used to justify the coup. Worse, they did nothing to correct the most heinous abuses of his administration: extrajudicial killings by police during a 2003 “war on drugs” and two massacres in 2004 of Muslim protesters by security forces in Thailand's troubled south. The junta and those among the fickle Bangkok elite who excused the coup should have learned their lesson that extra-constitutional excursions do not solve problems. That, however, may be too much to hope.
将军们显然没能证明他信先生的“猖狂的贪污”和其它罪行以显示政变是正当的。更糟糕的是,他们没有为纠正他信政府的最恶劣的行为做任何事:警察在2003 年的“毒品战争”中未经法庭审判的杀戮和2004年发生的两次屠杀,安全部队在麻烦不断的泰国南部杀害了许多穆斯林抗议者。军人集团和那些为政变申辩的曼谷的精英们应该已经得到教训了,超越宪法的行为不能解决任何问题。然而,这也许是异想天开。
发表于13:18 | 阅读全文 | 评论 0 | 编辑 | 分享 0脱衣舞俱乐部:得克萨斯州杆子税2008-01-07[2008.01.03] Strip clubs-The Texas pole tax 脱衣舞俱乐部-得克萨斯州杆子税
Strip clubs
脱衣舞俱乐部

The Texas pole tax
得克萨斯州杆子税

Jan 3rd 2008 | AUSTIN
From The Economist print edition

A good cause, but a bad policy
好理由,坏政策

THERE is a new price to be paid for looking at naked women in Texas. On January 1st the state's strip clubs began imposing a $5 surcharge for each visitor. The “pole tax,” as it is commonly called, is expected to bring the state an additional $40m in revenue each year. Most of the proceeds will go to programmes that support victims of sexual assault.
在得克萨斯看裸体女人你得新付一笔钱了。从1月1号开始该州脱衣舞俱乐部开始向每位光临者收取5美元的额外费用。 “杆子税”(译注:pole tax这个词未找到词典解释,另有一个poll tax,指的是人头税。网上搜索了一下,有个网页说pole tax是poll tax转过来的,不知道正确不。Pole有“柱子”、“杆子”的意思,表演脱衣舞通常需要在舞台上立一根圆杆子让表演者攀爬,因此我推测是不是可以译成这个“杆子”税。但以上都是推测,希望知道的指点一下),这是它通常的叫法,预期每年为该州带来4千万美元的额外收入。该收入的绝大部分将用于支持性侵犯受害人计划。

Helping rape victims is obviously an excellent idea, and the measure was passed by the Texas legislature easily last year. But it is controversial in some quarters. Club owners, in particular, think they are being shaken down and vilified despite providing a perfectly legal service, and are already sounding a little defensive. Commercials for The Lodge, in Dallas, boast that its customers enjoy “women, manly steaks, cigars, and women.” In light of the new tax a co-owner has noted, rather less laddishly, that the club also raises money for charity via car washes. Smaller clubs are worried that their patrons cannot or will not pony up five measly dollars, a prediction that may prove true but is certainly rather depressing.
帮助强奸案受害人显然是个很好的计划,这个措施去年早些时候就通过了得克萨斯州的立法。但是在一些人中引起了争议。尤其是俱乐部老板,认为他们尽管提供的是完全合法的服务却被敲诈和诋毁,而且他们听起来有点自卫的味道了。达拉斯的“小屋”俱乐部的广告吹嘘说它的顾客们享受着“女人、适合男人的牛排、雪茄和女人”。看到这种新税,一位合伙人平静地提到(译注:rather less laddishly指更少男孩子气的,更少稚气的,到底怎么译,高手指点)他的俱乐部也通过洗车来为慈善事业筹钱。更小的俱乐部担心他们的顾客不能或者不愿意付清这区区5美元的小钱,这个预测可能被证明是正确的但当然相当令人沮丧。

Another gripe is that the tax implies an unfair link between club patronage and sexual violence, though no evidence to support this has been presented. State representative Ellen Cohen, who sponsored the legislation, argued that connecting the two is fair because both strip clubs and sex crimes objectify women. And apparently a majority of Texas legislators were comfortable with that explanation. In 2004, in contrast, Governor Rick Perry proposed taxing strip clubs to pay for public schools. The idea was considered inappropriate and it went nowhere.
另一个抱怨是该税不公正地暗示了在光临俱乐部和性暴力之间有着联系,尽管没有能够支持这一论点的证据被提出来。州议员Ellen Cohen,是他发起了这部法律,辩论说两者之间的联系是公正的,因为脱衣舞俱乐部和性犯罪都把妇女物化了。而且很显然,得克萨斯州的立法者们感到能坦然接受一解释。相反,2004年州长Rick Perry提议对脱衣舞俱乐部征税来为公立中学支付费用时这个想法被认为是不适当的而不了了之。

Such targeted taxes seem to be in vogue at the moment. Gavin Newsom, the mayor of San Francisco, recently proposed that retailers pay a fee for selling sugar-laden fizzy drinks. The revenue would fund a city initiative to encourage healthy eating and exercise. Last year's proposed expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Programme would have been funded by increased tobacco taxes (though the connection here also seems rather a stretch, since not that many children smoke; George Bush vetoed it anyway). In Wisconsin, a state legislator wants to raise more money for the juvenile criminal justice system via a tax on video games.
当前这种有针对性的征税似乎在成为时尚。Gavin Newsom,旧金山市市长,最近提议让销售高糖起泡饮料的零售商支付一笔费用。这笔收入将为一个鼓励健康饮食和锻炼的城市计划提供启动资金。去年提议的扩大州儿童健康保险计划本应由增加的烟草税(尽管这儿两者之间的联系也有点牵强,因为没有很多儿童吸烟;不管怎样乔治.布什投了赞成票)来提供资金。在威斯康星,一个州立法委员想通过对视频游戏征税来为未成年罪犯司法系统筹集资金。

Critics say that all of these measures are punitive. Louche behaviour, after all, is not a crime. But its practitioners have had a hard time making their case. Last month opponents of the pole tax filed for a temporary injunction against it. They argued that nude dancing is a type of expression and that its free exercise should therefore not be inhibited. The judge was unimpressed.
批评者说所有这些措施都是惩罚性的。品行不端,毕竟不是一种罪行。但它们的开业者很难为自己辩护。上个月杆子税的反对者们提起诉讼申请临时强制令来反对它。他们争论说裸体跳舞只是一种表达,因此这种自由体操不应被限制。法官不为所动。
发表于12:35 | 阅读全文 | 评论 4 | 编辑 | 分享 0欧元:比美元更坚挺2008-01-07[2008.01.03]Déjà vu 似曾相识
The euro area 欧元区

Déjà vu 似曾相识
Jan 3rd 2008
From The Economist print edition

The euro area is not immune to the ills that afflict America and Britain
欧元区对折磨英美的疾病并无免疫力


(插图作者:Satoshi Kambayashi)

EARLY in the new year of 2001, Lucas Papademos attended his first meeting of the European Central Bank's (ECB) rate-setting council. Mr Papademos was there to represent Greece, which had just joined the single currency. A day before the meeting, the Federal Reserve had lowered its key interest rate by half a percentage point, the first of a string of cuts aimed at staving off recession. The ECB declined to follow the Fed's lead, deciding to keep its benchmark rate unchanged.

2001年新年伊始,作为刚刚使用欧洲统一货币的希腊政府的代表,Lucas Papademos首次出席欧洲中央银行(Eruopean CenrelBank,以下简称ECB)利率制定会议。会议开始前一天,美联储降息0.5个百分点,并由此展开一轮旨在防止经济衰退的降息风潮。ECB并没有效仿美联储的做法,而是决定保持基准利率不变。

Seven years on, the ECB enters the new year in an eerily similar position. On January 10th its policy meeting will welcome central-bank governors from two new members, Cyprus and Malta, which both adopted the euro on New Year's Day. Now, as then, inflation of close to 3% is the bank's main worry, since it remains fairly upbeat about GDP growth. The ECB's economists expect the euro area to grow by 1.5-2.5% this year—broadly in line with its potential, in other words, albeit with downside risks. Similarly, the bank expected “continuing robust, albeit slightly lower growth rates” at the start of 2001, despite worries about America's economy.

七年过去了。新年来临之际,ECB面临的处境与当初惊人的相似。在1月10日的政策会议上,ECB将迎来两个新成员国——塞浦路斯和马耳他的央行行长。该两国均已在元旦使用了欧元。当前,在ECB对其GDP增长仍持乐观态度的情况下,接近3%的通货膨胀率便成了最令它担心的事情。ECB的经济学家们预计欧元区虽面临多种不利风险,但仍有巨大潜力实现1.5%-2.5%的GDP增长。同样地,在2001年初,即便美国经济令人忧心忡忡,ECB仍认为欧元区经济的增长“虽会略微放缓,但势头将持续强劲”。

The first policy summit of 2008 is very likely to end with a decision to keep rates on hold, just as the January 2001 meeting did. Indeed the ECB is more minded to lift rates than cut them, judging from comments made by Jean-Claude Trichet, its president, following the bank's last meeting on December 6th. But if events keep playing out just as they did seven years ago, the ECB will be forced into lowering rates later this year.

2008年首次ECB政策峰会很有可能做出保持利率不变的决定,正如2001年的做法一样。从ECB行长Jean-Claude Trichet在去年12月6日最后一次ECB会议会后的讲话判断,ECB的确更倾向于提高而不是降低汇率。然而如果事态走势同7年前一样的话,ECB将被迫在今年晚些时候降低利率。

Much depends on the economy's response to malfunctioning credit markets and the gathering economic gloom in America. An optimist would argue that the euro zone will prove resilient, because it does not have America's legacy of struggling subprime borrowers, its current-account deficit or its housing bubble.

这将主要取决于欧元区经济对信贷市场危机以及美国经济复苏的反应。乐观者也许会说事实将证明欧元区适应力很强,因为它不像美国那样,需要面对众多痛苦挣扎的次级债借款者、经常项目赤字以及房地产市场泡沫等遗留局面。

A closer look prompts a less sanguine assessment. Europe has its own property hotspots. House-price gains in Spain and Ireland have been far greater than in America over the past decade. Both markets are now cooling. Even if Ireland's economy is too small to be a big part of the ECB's reckoning, Spain does have enough clout to alter the course of the euro area. Thomas Meyer at Deutsche Bank reckons that in the past five years, Spain accounted for more than one-third of the growth in consumer spending, more than half of the increase in investment and nearly two-thirds of the job gains of the euro area's big four economies.

如果观察仔细些,也许就不会这么乐观了。欧洲也有房地产热。过去十年间,西班牙和爱尔兰两国房价的上涨幅度远远大于美国。现在两国的房地产市场正在逐步降温。如果说爱尔兰的经济太小不足以左右ECB的决策,那么西班牙的影响力绝对足以改变欧元区的发展方向。德意志银行的Thomas Meyer指出过去五年间,在欧元区的四大经济体中,超过三分之一的居民消费增长、超过一般的投资增长以及接近三分之二的就业机会增加都归功于西班牙。

The good times may be ending. Spain's boom has been built on a ready supply of loans. But the credit squeeze means borrowed funds are now harder to come by, which leaves its economy vulnerable. Cooling housing markets in France and in Italy are likely to hurt those economies too.

好日子也许就要结束了。西班牙的繁荣是建立在充足的贷款的基础之上的。但是眼下的信贷紧缩意味着很难筹集借入资金,西班牙经济将因此变得脆弱。法国和意大利房地产市场的降温同样会伤害两国的经济。

The euro zone also has financial imbalances to contend with. True, its current account has been broadly balanced, in contrast with America's large and persistent deficits. But that is mostly because Germany's current-account surplus, equivalent to 6% of GDP last year according to the OECD, has acted as a huge counterweight to deficits elsewhere.

欧元区同样需要解决金融不平衡的问题。诚然,同美国长期的巨额赤字相比,欧元区的经常项目总体上讲是平衡的。但是,这主要是德国的经常项目盈余与其他国家的赤字相抵消的结果。根据OECD公布的数据,2007年德国的经常项目盈余相当于GDP的6%。

The high level of saving by German firms contributes to this handsome surplus and masks a worrying fault line running through the euro area. Outside Germany, companies are heavily dependent on borrowing to finance their capital spending, which makes the outlook for investment very sensitive to conditions in credit markets. David Owen at Dresdner Kleinwort reckons that if Germany is excluded, the corporate sector's financing gap (the difference between income and spending) was almost 6% of GDP last year. That is a bigger funding shortfall than in 2000, on the eve of a savage retrenchment by firms that hurt jobs as well as investment (see chart).

德国公司的高水平储蓄使德国经常项目出现可观的盈余,并掩盖了欧元区内暗流般蔓延的担忧。在德国以外,各公司过分依赖借贷来为其资本开支筹集资金,使得其投资前景对信贷市场的状况十分敏感。Dresdner Kleinwort公司的David Owen指出,如果不算德国,各公司融资缺口(即收入和支出之间的差额)大约是欧元区去年GDP的6%。这一融资缺口比2000年那场破坏就业和投资的野蛮的公司紧缩战略风波前夕的缺口还要大(见图)。



Companies' reliance on borrowing is all the more worrying since banks play a far bigger role as suppliers of capital in Europe than in America. The banks' troubles have not yet crippled the supply of loans to companies. Indeed, as Mr Trichet pointed out last month, such borrowing rose by 13.9% in the year to October, a rate that “does not suggest that we are experiencing a credit crunch”. That could be premature. Mr Owen thinks the surge in borrowing may reflect firms taking up pre-arranged credit lines while they can.

自从银行在欧洲扮演着远比在美国重要的资本提供者角色以来,人们就愈发担心公司对借贷的依赖度问题。银行面临的困难尚未削弱对公司的贷款供应。的确,正如 Trichet先生上月指出,截至10月份,借款额上升了13.9%,这一数据“说明我们并未经历信贷危机。”这一断言也许为时过早。Owen先生认为借款额的激增可能只能说明公司趁着为时未晚的时候使用了早已被授予的信贷额度。

The euro area may shrug off these ills, particularly if Germany powers ahead and consumer spending picks up. Germany's export machine has been fuelled by vigorous demand in emerging economies. Moreover, its companies can readily finance capital spending from profits. Even so, Mr Meyer at Deutsche Bank reckons that the export performance of the past two years is “unrepeatable”. A strong euro and sluggish growth (or worse) in Britain and America, the euro area's two biggest markets, mean exports are a less reliable source of demand.

欧元区可能会对这些疾病嗤之以鼻,尤其是在德国经济全速前进以及居民消费加快的情况下。新兴市场的强大需求为德国这架出口机器加足了油。此外,德国公司可以从利润中为资本支出提供足够的资金。然而即便如此,德意志银行的Meyer先生指出德国过去两年内的出口表现是“不可复制”的。强势欧元以及英国和美国这两个欧元区最大市场疲软的经济增长(或者更差)意味着出口不再是那么可靠的需求来源。

The lesson of 2001 is that when the outlook for the economy appears bad enough, the ECB will cut interest rates, even if inflation is stubbornly high. Already, two other inflation-targeting central banks—in Britain and Canada—have followed the Fed's lead. If the banking crisis persists, the ECB may have to do likewise.

2001的教训是当经济预期足够糟糕的时候,即便通货膨胀率高居不下,ECB也会降低利率。而另外两个同样实行通货膨胀目标制的中央银行——英国和加拿大的央行已经仿效了美国的做法。如果银行危机持续下去,ECB也许不得不采取同样的措施。
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