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全球化与技术进步摧毁老工人阶级

财经时报 2016.4.26

在西方发达国家,全球化正在失败。这一曾被誉为可以带来普遍好处的进程,如今正遭遇政治上的反弹。为什么会这样?至少在欧洲,主流的看法是,这是因为西方各国疏于推进提升我们全球竞争力所需要的各项经济改革。

我想提供另外一种看法。实际上,全球化在西方失败的原因,在于各个民主国家未能应对好全球化必然会带来的各种经济上的冲击――例如,实际平均收入20年来的停滞。另一冲击是全球金融危机(全球化的后果)及其对长期经济增长的永久性影响。

在欧洲大部分地区,全球化与技术进步的结合已经摧毁了老的工人阶级,如今又对中产阶级下层的技术性工作构成了挑战。因此,选民的造反并不令人震惊,也并不荒谬。如果劳动力市场改革可能导致法国选民失去工作(又无望获得新工作),他们为何还要为此欢呼呢?

有些改革收到了成效,但请扪心自问一下是为什么。德国2003年受到赞誉的劳动力市场改革在短期内取得了成功,因为改革通过低于其他发达国家的工资水平提升了德国的成本竞争力。德国的改革之所以实现了近乎充分就业,仅仅是因为当时没有其他国家这样做。如果当时有其他国家效仿这种做法的话,德国改革的结果将不会是利大于弊。

德国的改革还有一大弊端。改革降低了德国产品的相对价格,推高了净出口,从而引发大规模储蓄外流(储蓄外流是导致了欧元区危机的各种失衡的深层原因)。此类改革很难成为发达国家解决全球化问题的良方。

也没有任何事实证据表明,已进行改革的国家表现得更好或者更有能力应对民粹主义的崛起。美英两国的市场结构比多数欧洲大陆国家都更自由。然而,英国可能将要退出欧盟(EU),而美国共和党或许将要提名一个极端民粹主义者为本党总统候选人。芬兰在所有竞争力排名中都处于领先位置,但其经济已陷入复苏无望的窘境――该国还有一个强大的民粹主义政党。改革在经济上的效果通常比支持改革者愿意承认的还要不明显。而且,改革与民众对老牌政党的支持之间没有直接联系。

我的判断是,全球化已经在政治和技术上席卷了西方社会。我们既不可能、也不应该逃避全球化。但我们必须设法控制住这种变化。这意味着我们要承认,现在或许并非缔结下一个贸易协定(或者说市场自由化协议)的最佳时刻。

不久前,德国爆发了反对美欧之间《跨大西洋贸易与投资伙伴关系协定》(TTIP)的大规模抗议活动。该协定较具争议的一点是,它将削弱参与国的法律自主权。

过去两年,针对全球自由贸易(尤其是TTIP)的好处,德国公众舆论出现了戏剧性的逆转。YouGov做的一项民调显示,2014年,将近90%的德国民众支持自由贸易。如今,这一比例已降至56%。同一时期,彻底反对TTIP的人所占比例已从25%上升至33%。这些数字并不表明,欧盟应当实行贸易保护主义。但这些数字的快速变化应成为提醒政客们谨慎行事的警示信号。

我不明白德国社民党(SPD)主席、经济部长西格马尔?加布里尔(Sigmar Gabriel)为何如此热情地支持TTIP。如果他真的希望阻止本党支持率下滑,他应该更愿意考虑TTIP协定带来的政治代价。难怪反移民的德国新选择党(Alternative für Deutschland)的大量支持者原先都曾是社民党的支持者。

对TTIP说不,至少可以去除导致反欧盟或反全球化情绪高涨的一个因素。该协定微弱的经济上的好处,不足以抵消缔结协定带来的政治后果。

全球市场自由化的支持者们应该认识到的是,全球化与欧洲一体化都造就了输家。按照设想,全球化与欧洲一体化都本应创造一种没有人变穷、而有些人或许会变得更富的局面。

这种局面并未出现。我们已经在接近这样一个时刻:全球化――特别是欧元区成员身份――不仅对社会中的某些群体,还对整个国家造成了损害。如果政策制定者对此无所作为的话,选民们肯定会采取行动。

The Revenge Of Globalisation’s Losers

Financial times

2016.4.26

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/04/26/ft-revenge-globalisations-losers/

Globalisation is failing in advanced western countries, where a process once hailed for delivering universal benefit now faces a political backlash. Why? The establishment view, in Europe at least, is that states have neglected to forge the economic reforms necessary to make us more competitive globally.

I would like to offer an alternative view. The failure of globalisation in the west is in fact down to democracies failure to cope with the economic shocks that inevitably result from globalisation ― such as the stagnation of real average incomes for two decades. Another shock has been the global financial crisis ― a consequence of globalisation ― and its permanent impact on long-term economic growth.

In large parts of Europe, the combination of globalisation and technical advance destroyed the old working class and is now challenging the skilled jobs of the lower middle class. So voters’ insurrection is neither shocking nor irrational. Why should French voters cheer labour market reforms if it could result in the loss of their jobs, with no hope of a new one?

Some reforms have worked, but ask yourself why. Germany’s acclaimed labour market reforms[OF THE 2000S?] in 2003 succeeded in the short term because they raised the country’s cost competitiveness through lower wages relative to other advanced countries. The reforms produced a state of near full employment only because no other country did the same. If others had followed, there would have been no net gain.

The reforms had a big downside. They reduced relative prices in Germany and pushed up net exports in turn generating massive savings outflows, the deep cause of the imbalances that led to the eurozone crisis. Reforms such as these can hardly be the recipe for how advanced nations should address the problem of globalisation.

Nor is their any factual evidence that countries that have reformed are performing better or are more able to cope with a populist insurrection. The US and the UK have more liberal market structures than most of continental Europe. Yet the UK may be about to exit the EU; in the US the Republicans may be about to nominate an extreme populist as their presidential candidate. Finland leads all the competitiveness rankings but the economy is a non-recovering basket case ― and it has a strong populist party. The economic impact of reforms is usually subtler than its advocates admit. And there is no straight connection between reforms and support for established political parties.

My diagnosis is that globalisation has overwhelmed western societies politically and technically. There is no way we can, or should, hide from it. But we have to manage the change. This means accepting that the optimal moment for the next trade agreement, or market liberalisation, may not be right now.

Over the weekend there were large protests in Germany against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership , an agreement between America and the EU. One of its more controversial aspects, is that it would reduce the legal sovereignty of its participants.

In the past two years, there has been a dramatic reversal of public opinion in Germany about the benefits of free global trade in general, and TTIP in particular. In 2014, almost 90 per cent of Germans were in favour of free trade, according to a YouGov poll. That has fallen to 56 per cent. The number of people who reject TTIP outright has risen from 25 per cent to 33 per cent over the same period of time. These numbers do not suggest that the EU should become protectionist. But the fast shift in those figures should serve as a warning signal to politicians to tread carefully.

I do not understand why Sigmar Gabriel, leader of Germany’s Social Democrats and economics minister, is such an ardent advocate of TTIP. If he is serious about stopping the erosion of support for his party, he should be more open-minded about the political costs of this agreement. It is hardly surprising that a large number of supporters of the anti-immigrant Alternative für Deutschland party are former SPD voters.

A no to TTIP would at least remove one factor behind the surge in anti-EU or anti-globalisation attitudes. The marginal economic benefits of the agreement are outweighed by the political consequences of its adoption

What advocates of global market liberalisation should recognise is that both globalisation and European integration have produced losers. Both were supposed to produce a situation in which nobody should be worse off, while some might be better off.

That did not happen. We are close to the point where globalisation and membership of the eurozone in particular have damaged not only certain groups in society but entire nations. If the policymakers do not react to this, the voters surely will.