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In: Business and Management

Submitted By kongpong
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The hopeful continent
希望之洲
Africa rising
非洲崛起
After decades of slow growth, Africa has a real chance to follow in the footsteps of Asia
经历数十年缓慢增长之后,非洲真正获得了追随亚洲的发展机会
THE shops are stacked six feet high with goods, the streets outside are jammed with customers and salespeople are sweating profusely under the onslaught. But this is not a high street during the Christmas-shopping season in the rich world. It is the Onitsha market in southern Nigeria, every day of the year. Many call it the world’s biggest. Up to 3m people go there daily to buy rice and soap, computers and construction equipment. It is a hub for traders from the Gulf of Guinea, a region blighted by corruption, piracy, poverty and disease but also home to millions of highly motivated entrepreneurs and increasingly prosperous consumers. decade十年; stack n.堆叠, v.堆满,堆积 be jammed with挤满 profusely丰富地; 繁茂地 hub 中心,轮轴 prosperous成功的, 顺利的, 繁盛的
难句分析:
It is a hub( for traders from the Gulf of Guinea), a region (blighted by corruption, piracy, poverty and disease but also) home (to millions of highly motivated entrepreneurs and increasingly prosperous consumers).
Hub, region, home是并列宾语,括号部分是各个宾语的补语成分。
它是几内亚湾商人云集的中心。这里腐败猖獗,海盗横行,穷人遍地,疾病丛生,但是这里同时又汇聚了无数活跃的企业家和愈发富裕的消费者。
译文:
商店里堆积了六英尺高的商品,外面的大街上顾客接踵摩肩,店员们忙着接待一波又一波的客人,挥汗如雨。然而这并不是富裕国家圣诞节购物季的大街,而是尼日尼亚南部的奥尼查市场,一年中每天如此。许多人称之为世界第一大市场。每天有多达300万人去那里购买大米、肥皂、电脑和建筑设备。来自几内亚湾的商人都云集于此。这里腐败猖獗,海盗横行,穷人遍地,疾病丛生,但是这里同时又汇聚了无数活跃的企业家和愈发富裕的消费者。
Over the past decade six of the world’s ten fastest-growing countries were African. In eight of the past ten years, Africa has grown faster than East Asia, including Japan. Even allowing for the knock-on effect of the northern hemisphere’s slowdown, the IMF expects Africa to grow by 6% this year and nearly 6% in 2012, about the same as Asia. slowdown减速,衰退 过去十年中,全球10个经济增长最快的国家中,非洲占了6席。其中有8年非洲比包含日本在内的东亚增长要快。即便考虑到北半球经济衰退的影响,国际货币基金组织预测今年非洲的增速为6%,2012年将接近6%,与亚洲大致相当。
The commodities boom is partly responsible. In 2000-08 around a quarter of Africa’s growth came from higher revenues from natural resources. Favourable demography is another cause. With fertility rates crashing in Asia and Latin America, half of the increase in population over the next 40 years will be in Africa. But the growth also has a lot to do with the manufacturing and service economies that African countries are beginning to develop. The big question is whether Africa can keep that up if demand for commodities drops. demography人口统计学 fertility 肥沃; 多产难句解析:
With fertility rates crashing in Asia and Latin America(伴随状语), half of the increase (in population over the next 40 years后置定语) will be in Africa. But the growth also has a lot to do with the manufacturing and service economies( that African countries are beginning to develop后置定语).随着亚洲和拉丁美洲的生育率下滑,在接下来的40年中,世界人口增长有一半将来自非洲。非洲国家正在发展的制造业和服务业促进了经济增长商品交易繁荣是部分原因。从2000年至2008年,非洲增长约有四分之一来自于自然资源中获取的更高利润。人口优势则是另一原因。随着亚洲和拉丁美洲的生育率下滑,在接下来的40年中,世界人口增长有一半将来自非洲。非洲国家正在发展的制造业和服务业促进了经济增长。关键问题在于,如果商品需求下跌,非洲还能否继续保持增长。
Copper, gold, oil—and a pinch of salt
铜,黄金、石油,须谨慎视之
Optimism about Africa needs to be taken in fairly small doses, for things are still exceedingly bleak in much of the continent. Most Africans live on less than two dollars a day. Food production per person has slumped since independence in the 1960s. The average lifespan in some countries is under 50. Drought and famine persist. The climate is worsening, with deforestation and desertification still on the march. exceedingly非常地; 极度地 lifespan寿命, 使用期限 famine 饥荒, 饥馑, 缺乏 persist. 坚持; 持续
对非洲的乐观期许必须审慎,因为非洲许多地方,情况依然让人沮丧。大多数非洲人每天生活费用不到2美元。自上世纪60年代独立以来,人均粮食生产大幅下跌。一些国家的人均寿命不到50岁。干旱和饥荒持续存在。乱砍滥伐仍在继续,荒漠化不断加剧,气候受此影响也持续恶化。
Some countries praised for their breakneck economic growth, such as Angola and Equatorial Guinea, are oil-sodden kleptocracies. Some that have begun to get economic development right, such as Rwanda and Ethiopia, have become politically noxious. Congo, now undergoing a shoddy election, still looks barely governable and hideously corrupt. Zimbabwe is a scar on the conscience of the rest of southern Africa. South Africa, which used to be a model for the continent, is tainted with corruption; and within the ruling African National Congress there is talk of nationalising land and mines. breakneck非常危险的, 极快的 oil-sodden 浑身湿透的 kleptocracies盗贼统治(的国家) shoddy翻造的毛线; 伪造品; hideously可怕地; 非常讨厌地 be tainted with 污染,感染
像安哥拉和赤道几内亚这样的一些国家以经济高速增长著称。这些国家石油资源丰富,但是盗贼统治。一些国家经济发展开始步入正轨,如卢旺达和埃塞俄比亚,政治体制上却是不健全的。刚果现在正在进行虚假的大选,看上去依然无法管理、腐败丛生。津巴布韦是余下的南部非洲良心上的一道伤疤。南非曾是非洲的模范,现在也沾染了腐败,执政的非洲国民大会正对土地和矿藏国家化进行讨论。
Yet against that depressingly familiar backdrop, some fundamental numbers are moving in the right direction. Africa now has a fast-growing middle class: according to the World Bank, around 60m Africans have an income of $3,000 a year, and 100m will in 2015. The rate of foreign investment has soared around tenfold in the past decade. soared 翱翔, 高飞, 猛增 tenfold十倍的, 十重的
然而在这让人郁闷的熟悉背景之下,一些基本数据在朝好的方向发展。非洲现有一个快速增长的中产阶级:根据世界银行的数字,大约有6000万非洲人的年收入有3000美元,2015年的这一人口数字为1亿。外国投资的速度在过去十年中增加了10倍左右。
China’s arrival has improved Africa’s infrastructure and boosted its manufacturing sector. Other non-Western countries, from Brazil and Turkey to Malaysia and India, are following its lead. Africa could break into the global market for light manufacturing and services such as call centres. Cross-border commerce, long suppressed by political rivalry, is growing, as tariffs fall and barriers to trade are dismantled. rivalry敌对, 竞争, 对抗 tariffs关税, 价格表, 关税表 dismantled拆除...的设备, 去除覆盖物
难句分析:
Cross-border commerce, (long suppressed by political rivalry)(后置定语) , is growing, (as tariffs fall and barriers to trade are dismantled)(伴随状语).
随着关税降低、壁垒解除,长期因政治敌对而被抑制的跨国商业得以发展。中国的到来改善了非洲的基础设施,增强了其制造业。其他一些非西方国家,从巴西到土耳其,从马来西亚到印度,正追随其后。非洲将会进入全球轻工业市场以及如话务中心这样的服务业。随着关税降低、壁垒解除,长期因政治敌对而被抑制的跨国商业得以发展。
Africa’s enthusiasm for technology is boosting growth. It has more than 600m mobile-phone users—more than America or Europe. Since roads are generally dreadful, advances in communications, with mobile banking and telephonic agro-info, have been a huge boon. Around a tenth of Africa’s land mass is covered by mobile-internet services—a higher proportion than in India. The health of many millions of Africans has also improved, thanks in part to the wider distribution of mosquito nets and the gradual easing of the ravages of HIV/AIDS. Skills are improving: productivity is growing by nearly 3% a year, compared with 2.3% in America. enthusiasm狂热; 积极性 boon 恩惠; 利益 gradual逐渐的, 徐徐的, 渐增的
难句分析:
(Since roads are generally dreadful)(原因状语), advances in communications, (with mobile banking and telephonic agro-info)(伴随状语), have been a huge boon. 由于道路总体上比较糟糕,通讯上的进步——如移动银行的流行和可从电话上获取农业信息,给生活带来了极大的便利
非洲对技术的热情促进了经济的增长。非洲共有6亿移动电话用户,这一数字要比美国或欧洲都多。由于道路总体上比较糟糕,通讯上的进步——如移动银行的流行和可从电话上获取农业信息,给生活带来了极大的便利。移动互联网设施覆盖了非洲大陆约十分之一的面——这一比例比印度要高。数以百万计的非洲人的身体健康同样得到改善,部分是由于蚊帐的广泛分发,以及艾滋造成的破坏慢慢减轻。技术也在进步:生产率每年以3% 的速率增长,与之相比,美国的这一速率为2.3%。
All this is happening partly because Africa is at last getting a taste of peace and decent government. For three decades after African countries threw off their colonial shackles, not a single one (bar the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius) peacefully ousted a government or president at the ballot box. But since Benin set the mainland trend in 1991, it has happened more than 30 times—far more often than in the Arab world. shackles n. 桎梏, 束缚物 v. 加桎梏, 束缚, 加枷锁 ousted逐出, 夺取, 取代 ballot投票 以上这些之所以得以正在发生, 部分原因是非洲终于能够初尝和平和较好政府的甜头了。非洲国家摆脱殖民镣铐之后的三十年, 从来没有一个国家(除了印度洋里的毛里求斯岛国)是通过投票箱和平地罢免一届政府或总统。不过自从贝宁在1991年和平罢免其政府, 从而开启了非洲大陆的先例后,和平罢免在非洲已经上演了30多次——远比阿拉伯世界要多。
Population trends could enhance these promising developments. A bulge of better-educated young people of working age is entering the job market and birth rates are beginning to decline. As the proportion of working-age people to dependents rises, growth should get a boost. Asia enjoyed such a “demographic dividend”, which began three decades ago and is now tailing off. In Africa it is just starting. bulge使膨胀, 使凸起; demographic人口统计学的 dividend股息, 红利, 被除数 tailing off拖尾
人口趋势提升了这种有前途的发展。更多的受过较好教育的达到工作年龄的年轻人进入职场,出生率开始下降。随着工作年龄人口与依赖者比例上升,应会促进经济发展。亚洲享受了始于三十年前“人口红利”,现已至尾声。而非洲则刚刚上路。
Having a lot of young adults is good for any country if its economy is thriving, but if jobs are in short supply it can lead to frustration and violence. Whether Africa’s demography brings a dividend or disaster is largely up to its governments. thriving 繁荣的, 旺盛的
对任何国家来说,如果经济繁荣,那么青壮年越多越好。但是如果工作岗位不足,则会导致挫折和暴力。非洲的人口会带来红利还是灾难,很大程度上取决于各国政府。
More trade than aid
要援助,更要贸易
Africa still needs deep reform. Governments should make it easier to start businesses and cut some taxes and collect honestly the ones they impose. Land needs to be taken out of communal ownership and title handed over to individual farmers so that they can get credit and expand. And, most of all, politicians need to keep their noses out of the trough and to leave power when their voters tell them to. communal公有的, 公社的 trough水槽, 马槽, 低谷,
非洲依然需要深化改革。政府需要降低经商门槛,削减部分税收,诚实征收税费。土地公共所有权需要被废除,并将所有权赋予农民个人,那样农民才可以借贷和扩张。而最重要的是,政客们需要廉洁自律,一旦选民要求,就得离职。
Western governments should open up to trade rather than just dish out aid. America’s African Growth and Opportunity Act, which lowered tariff barriers for many goods, is a good start, but it needs to be widened and copied by other nations. Foreign investors should sign the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which would let Africans see what foreign companies pay for licences to exploit natural resources. African governments should insist on total openness in the deals they strike with foreign companies and governments. dish out给予, 分发 strike with 打, 撞, 罢工
西方政府应该敞开贸易大门,而非仅仅施以援助。美国的《非洲增长和机会法》降低了多宗商品的关税壁垒,这是一个好的开端,但是需要加以扩大并让其他国家效仿。西方投资者应该签署《采掘行业透明度行动计划》,从而让非洲人了解是哪些外国公司花钱注册来开采他们的自然资源。非洲政府在与外国公司和政府交易过程,应当坚持完全公开。
Autocracy, corruption and strife will not disappear overnight. But at a dark time for the world economy, Africa’s progress is a reminder of the transformative promise of growth.

Autocracy 独裁政治; 独裁政府 strife冲突, 倾轧, 争斗 transformative adj. 起改造作用的, 有改革能力的 chapter 1 section b [经济学人] An unpalatable solution不被认可的解决办法
Eurobonds could restore confidence, but at a cost
欧元债券也许能重建信心,但亦要付出代价
Aug 20th 2011 | from the print edition
WITH alarming speed, Europe’s debt crisis has spread this summer from small countries such as Greece on the rim of the single-currency area to large economies such as Italy at its heart. The European Central Bank (ECB) has restored calm in Italian and Spanish government-bond markets for the moment by making big purchases of their debt. But such bond-buying is a temporary palliative. Many are now calling for a more fundamental solution to the crisis: the issue of “Eurobonds” in order to provide a fiscal underpinning to the shaky monetary union. palliative缓和的; 掩饰的; 减轻的 shaky震动的, 动摇的, 摇晃的, 虚弱的
今年夏天,债务危机以惊人的速度从欧洲一些小国家漫延到其主要经济体,从单一货币区外围国家希腊到欧洲核心经济体——意大利。欧洲央行(European Central Bank)大量购买意大利和西班牙的国债,暂时缓解市场的焦虑。但是买入国债只是暂时的纾困手段。当下人们呼吁更加彻底的解决方案:发行“欧元债券”,融合欧元区财政以支持摇摇欲坠的货币联盟。
These Eurobonds are not to be confused with their namesakes invented in the early 1960s, when bankers severed the link between currency and country of issuance by helping international borrowers sell dollar-denominated bonds in London. What advocates of new-style Eurobonds have in mind for the euro area would be even more far-reaching: they wish to sever the link between the creditworthiness of a country and its cost of borrowing. The 17 member states of the single-currency area would be able to borrow in bonds issued by a European debt agency. These would be jointly guaranteed by all euro-area countries and thus underwritten in particular by the most creditworthy of them—above all, Germany, because of its economic clout and top-notch credit rating. creditworthy有信誉的 这次提出的欧元债券和上世纪60年代发行的欧洲债券不一样。当时银行家们为了帮助国际卖家能够在伦敦出售美元计值的债券,允许其发行非本国流通货币的票面币值债券。今天欧元债券的支持者对欧元区的设想则更进一步:他们希望融资成本不与国家的偿付能力挂钩。这样欧元区各成员国就能通过发行统一债券融资。这些债券由欧元区国家联合担保,尤其是信誉良好的国家——德国,因为它经济形势最好,信用评级最高。
An underlying rationale for Eurobonds is that the public finances of the euro area as a whole look quite respectable, at least compared with those of other big rich economies. The IMF envisages that general government debt will reach 88% of the single-currency zone’s GDP this year. This is lower than America’s 98% and not much higher than Britain’s 83%. The euro area’s projected budget deficit will be a bit above 4% of GDP, better than America’s 10% and Britain’s 8.5%. Neither America—despite the recent downgrade of its debt by a rating agency—nor Britain has been subject to adebilitating loss of confidence. This suggests that pooling debt could indeed put an end to the euro crisis. envisages想像, 设想; 正视, debilitating 使人衰弱的; 削弱力量的
欧元债券的潜在存在根据是:欧元区公共财政融合成为一个整体会更重要,至少会被其他大而富有的经济体更重视。国际货币组织(IMF)预测今年欧元区政府债务会占其国民生产总值(GDP)的88%。低于美国——98%,略高于英国——83%。欧元区的预算赤字将会略高于GDP的4%,这比美国的10%,英国的8.5%好很多。英美的情况看起来更糟糕,甚至美国的信用评级最近还被降级了,但他们仍然没有丧失信心。这意味着债务聚合会结束欧元危机。
The successive waves of market attacks on countries have exposed an inherent fragility of a monetary union of states in which each stands behind its own debt but with the usual escape routes of devaluation and inflation no longer available. If investors lose confidence in a country’s fiscal prospects, their fear can become self-fulfilling by pushing up bond yields to unsustainable levels. The ECB can soothe markets by buying bonds, but beyond a certain point such purchases threaten its independence. By pooling risk, Eurobonds could be a more durable counter to such destabilising liquidity crises, argues Paul De Grauwe, an economist at the Catholic University of Leuven, in Belgium. soothe使平静, 使缓和或减轻, 安慰
而现在欧元区各成员国独立应付自己的债务,面对货币贬值、通货膨胀束手无策,在市场不断施压的情况下,清晰地暴露出欧元区固有的脆弱。如果投资者对一个国家的财政预期失去信心,这种消极预期会推高其国债收益率,直至预期变成现实。尽管购买国债券可以暂时缓解市场压力,可一旦突破临界点,之前购买的国债券会严重影响欧洲央行(ECB)的独立性。因此通过风险聚合,欧元债券是应对流动性危机有力手段,比利时天主教鲁汶大学(Catholic University of Leuven) 的经济学家保罗•德•格劳威(Paul De Grauwe)说。
Another reason to introduce Eurobonds is that the existing defences drawn up to contain the crisis are starting to look too flimsy. The European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), the rescue fund set up last year, is due to have

Chapter 2 china’s economy
Five myths about china’s economy
作者:Arthur Kroeber 2010.04.11
中国30年的惊人经济崛起是这个时代最大的话题之一。其变化发生之快,使得人们对于美国以及世界面对中国所带来的挑战和机遇产生了大量传说和误解:
1.中国将会迅速超越美国,成为世界上最强大的经济体
根据PEW研究中心一份11月份的民意调查,44%的美国人认为中国已经是世界第一经济大国,而27%的人把美国是排在第一位置。这种观点与事实完全相悖。今年,中国经济预计将生产万亿美元的商品和服务,将使其超越日本成为世界第二大经济国家,但这仍然将只是美国14万亿经济总量的三分之一,并且远远落后于如果作为一个整体看待的欧盟。
中国经济之所以如此强大的原因之一就是它的13亿人口。但是中国人均GDP只有美国水平的1/7。而在家庭生活水平方面,中国落后得更多。每年,一个普通中国家庭消费的商品和服务总价值仅相当于普通美国家庭购买量的十四分之一。
尽管美国制造业失业率长期居高不下,美国仍是制造业的世界领导者,因为其制造商在诸如飞机和高科技设备之类的高价值产品上表现卓越,而中国仍然主要生产低成本的服装和消费电子产品。就商品价值而言,美国生产的产品占全球制造业产量的20%以上,差不多相当于中国所占比例的两倍。
2.中国大量持有美国国债意味着它能在经济谈判中要挟华盛顿。
中国是持有最多美国国债的国家——约1万亿美元。许多人认为这就意味着中国是‘美国的银行家’,就好比一个银行,每当华盛顿做出一些令中国领导人不喜欢的事,它就能通过出售国债,随时收回它的信用额度。
但是中国的国债持有并非银行向公司发放的常规贷款那样。它们更像是存款:安全,可流动且具有很低的利率。正如一个存款者,中国对于银行如何经营其业务拥有很少话语权。它只能用双脚投票,即将存款放到其它地方去--但是由于其存款量实在太庞大了,世界上没有其它一家‘银行’能够接受它们。欧洲和日本债券市场规模不够大,无法吸收那么多中国现金,而中国也无法购买足够多的油田,铁矿或房地产来消化它的资金。而且它也不能单单将其拥有的美元投资在国内,因为这样做会导致通胀混乱。因此,无论喜不喜欢,华盛顿和北京都得彼此纠缠在一快儿--并且互相都没有足够的实力要挟对方。
3.令其货币升值是中国为减少其贸易逆差所能做的最关键的事。
一些美国公司,工会和政客抱怨说中国通过保持人民币元与美元的固定汇率从而不公平地保持其商品在世界市场上的廉价,从而通过牺牲其贸易伙伴利益来推动贸易逆差。当然,汇率的确重要,但如果认为令人民币升值会奇迹般地使中国的贸易逆差消失,那是错误的。在上世纪80年代末,日本允许日元升值两倍,但其贸易逆差并未消失。相反,在2009年中国虽保持人民币与美元的固定汇率,其贸易逆差却下降了三分之一。
财政部之盖特纳上周四在北京与中国经济官员讨论货币问题。大多数观察家--包括中国最高的经济政策制定者--同意人民币应该升值。但是为了使该举措取得良好效果,必须同时采取其它政策变更加以配合。目前为止,中国减少贸易逆差所能做的最重要的事是刺激国内需求(包括进口需求),而他们已经通过庞大的基础建设开支项目开始实施了。有证据表明随着工资的提高以及人民对未来持乐观态度,中国家庭也正开始更自由地消费。
4.中国对资源的渴求正吸干整个世界,并成为全球暖化的主要因素。
诚然,中国目前是导致全球变暖的二氧化碳和其它温室气体的最大生产国。同时,相比包括美国在内的其它国家而言,中国生产每一美元的GDP所消耗的能源更多。但是,从人均角度看,中国使用的资源仍然比其它富裕国家少得多。例如,尽管轿车使用不断增长,中国每天消耗800万桶石油。美国每天消耗2000万桶。换一个说法,拥有近世界四分之一人口的中国仅占世界石油消费量的十分之一不到。美国的人口只有世界人口的百分之五,却消耗全球石油的近四分之一。究竟谁的消耗需求才是更大的问题呢?
5。中国的经济增长主要是通过残酷的剥削廉价劳动力。
每次一个发展经济开始迅速增长,富裕国家指责的“欺骗”通过保持其工资和汇率人为压低。但这不是欺骗,这是一个自然发展阶段即将结束,在每个国家,它将在中国。中国已经在很大程度上与其他经济体现在我们认为成熟和负责任的成功故事——包括日本、韩国和台湾。这些国家大量投资于基础设施和教育,并迅速把他们从生产率较低的工人工作在农村,在城市工作更有效率。当农村劳动力充足,工资低,但他们很快在这些剩余工人加入了城市劳动力。
中国是打击,现货现在:许多年轻人进入劳动力年龄(15 - 24)预计下降三分之一在接下来的12年。年轻的工人越来越少,工资只会涨不会跌。这已经发生了:上个月,广东省(中国的主要出口中心)上调最低工资标准上调20%。
中国仍然有大量的工人从乡村迁往城市,但超低价的时代中国的劳动力会很快消失。
Section b why do we fear a rising china

Chapter 2 section B时代周刊:为什么我们害怕一个崛起的中国

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It’s hard to argue that the rise of China, taken on the whole, is anything but good for the global economy. New wealth for China’s 1.3 billion people means 1.3 billion more people who can buy stuff from the rest of the world,creating jobsfrom American research labs to Japanese industrial zones to Brazilian mines. A global economy no longer solely dependent on the U.S. consumer for growth is potentially more stable and prosperous.
总体上讲,中国的崛起对全球经济推动作用是毋庸置疑的。13亿中国人所拥有的新财富意味着这个世界又增加了一股由13亿人构成的巨大购买力。从美国实验室到日本的工业区再到巴西的矿山,中国正为世界创造着无数的就业机会。不再单单依靠美国消费者来拉动增长的世界经济将会变得更加的稳定和繁荣。
Yet few people see China that way. Many don’t acknowledge China’s positive role in the world economy at all. Instead, they focus on the competition China has created, especially for the developed world, or the jobs many believe China has “stolen.” However, even those who realize, or even directly benefit from, China’s advance still can’t but feel uneasy about that advance. But why is that? Why do we fear a rising China in a way we don’t a rising India? Or why is an economically powerful China less acceptable than, for example, a stronger Europe?
然而很少有人以这种方式看待中国。很多人根本不承认中国在世界经济中所起的积极作用。相反,他们更关注于中国给世界,尤其是给发达国家带来的竞争,很多人认为中国"偷走"了他们的就业机会。但是,即便是那些认识到这一点,甚至是直接从中国发展中受益的人也依旧对中国的进步感到很不安。这是为什么呢?为什么我们不是害怕一个日益崛起的印度,而是去害怕一个崛起的中国? 为什么我们可以接受一个经济上更加强大的欧洲,却不能接受一个经济较欧洲稍弱的中国呢?
The conflicting emotions many have about China’s rise are the subject of my latestTIME magazine story, focused on Australia’s relationship with the Middle Kingdom. What’s happening Down Under is a glimpse into the future for all of us. And for me, reporting there got me thinking about why so many of us – and not just in the West, but out here in Asia as well – are having so much trouble coming to terms with the idea of China as a superpower.
很多人对中国崛起都持着一种矛盾的情感,这正是我最新一期的时代杂志故事的主题,这本杂志侧重于描述澳大利亚与这个“中央王朝”的关系。在澳大利亚发生的事就是我们对未来的一种预见。对于我,在当地报道的那段时间里我一直在思考一个问题:为什么我们— — 不仅仅包括西方人,很多亚洲人也是如此— —就这么难对中国作为超级大国这一想法达成共识。
There are few countries in the world that have benefited more from China’s rapid economic growth than Australia. The boom in exports Australia has enjoyed due to surging Chinese demand, especially for raw materials, is a key reason –perhaps the determining factor– why the country avoided a recession after the 2008 financial crisis. Trade with China is also spurring investment and creating jobs. But simultaneously, Australians are becoming uncomfortable about their growing relationship with China. They fret that the economy is becoming too dependent on China for its growth. They worry China will use its economic leverage to put political pressure on the country, or employ its growing economic power to become a strategic threat. They don’t much care for Chinese companies buying Australian assets. Australians worry that what helps their wallets hurts their country politically and strategically, and the more powerful China gets, the bigger that potential danger. Hugh White, head of the Strategic & Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University, explained the sentiment to me this way: “As China keeps growing strong enough to fulfill Australians’ economic aspirations, it grows more powerful and undermines U.S. primacy and our strategic aspirations. People are conscious that with the benefits we get from Chinese growth, there is a certain degree of vulnerability.”
这个世界上极少有国家能像澳大利亚那样从快速发展的中国获得如此多的利益。不断飙升的中国需求让澳大利亚的出口,特别是原材料出口,享受着长期的繁荣。这也是为什么这个国家在2008 年金融危机后的避免了经济衰退的关键原因,甚至说是决定性的原因。与中国的贸易也促进了投资,创造就业机会。但同时,澳大利亚人却对日益增进中澳关系感到不安。他们担心经济增长会过于依赖中国。他们也担心中国会利用其经济影响力对自己的国家施加政治压力或者把其日益增强的经济实力变成一种战略威胁。他们不太喜欢来澳大利亚购买资产的中国公司。澳大利亚人担心在经济上帮助了他们的中国会在政治上和战略上伤害到他们。中国越强大,潜在的危险也就越大。澳大利亚国立大学战略与防御研究中心主任休•怀特向我讲述了他的观点:发展的中国将强大到足以满足澳大利亚的经济愿望,他将变得更强大,强大到可以动摇美国的霸主地位和我们的战略愿望。人们意识当自己从中国经济增长中获益的同时,也得到了某种程度的脆弱性。
I think many of us around the world can sympathize with the Australians. As David Pilling ofThe Financial Timesrecently pointed out, China’s neighbors aren’t too fond of the way Beijing throws its new heft around in the Asia region as its economic influence grows. It’s no coincidence that political leaders in Seoul and Taipei strive to maintain strong ties to Washington even as their economies become driven more and more by China. Americans are queasy that the Chinese own so much U.S. debt. The Japanese own just about as much, but that doesn’t seem to bother anybody.
我想世界各地许多人都会和澳大利亚人有着共鸣。最近,戴维皮林的《金融时报》指出,中国的邻国不太喜欢北京利用经济杠杆向他们施加影响力。这就是为什么当韩国和台湾的经济越来越依赖于中国时,他们的政治领导人却想方设法的维持和华盛顿的牢固联系。中国拥有着巨额的美国国债,这让美国人感到很不自在。日本也持着巨额的美国国债,但这似乎并不让人感到麻烦。
Of course, 30 years ago, it might have. The reaction many have to China today is very similar to the one that towards Japan in the 1980s, when the Land of the Rising Sun was the rising economic challenger to the West. In recent years, Americans got all jittery about a Chinese attempt to buy oil firm Unocal; more than 20 years ago, Americans got all jittery over Japan’s acquisition of Rockefeller Center. Why? After the overly emotional response in the U.S. to Sony’s acquisition of Hollywood’s Columbia Pictures, co-founder Akio Morita pointed out that Australian born Rupert Murdoch had previously bought 20thCentury Fox, without the drama. He was suggesting the reason was racism.
当然,30 年前,我们也许会感到日本是个麻烦。今天很多人对中国的反应恰似的我们上世纪 80 年代对日本的反应,当时这个日出之国正是挑战西方的崛起者。近年来,美国人总是对中国试图购买优尼科公司感到惴惴不安,20 多年前,在日本收购洛克菲勒中心时美国人也感到无比紧张。这是为什么呢?索尼创始人田昭夫指出:在索尼收购好莱坞哥伦比亚影业之前,澳大利亚出生鲁珀特 • 默多克已经买下了 20 世纪福克斯,但戏剧性的是,美国人对默多克的收购没什么动静,对索尼的收购却表现出了过激的反应。盛田昭夫认为这是种族主义偏见在作怪。
That may be part of the story today with China as well. But the issues are far more complex than that. In the West, Europeans and Americans have dominated the world scene for so many centuries that they’re uncomfortable with the notion of someone else claiming the throne of global hegemony. The concern Americans had with Japan back in the day was that the Japanese were competitors in the global economy, not partners. The fear was that Japan was trying to undermine American dominance, at least in the realm of business. Even beyond that, Japan was winning with an economic system that challenged American ideals of free markets and free enterprise. For many, the rise of Japan seemed to have something sinister behind it – a competing and unfamiliar economic, corporate and cultural system that was producing superior results to those of the West, and appeared to have only its own interests at heart. The challenge from Japan was not just economic, but ideological.
这可能是与当今中国相关的故事的一部分。但实际的问题比那复杂得多。在西方,欧洲人和美国人长时间主宰着世界,以至于他们对有人声称要夺取全球霸权的宝座的打算感到很不舒服。那时美国和日本的关系变冷淡的原因正是因为日本人已成为其在全球经济中的竞争对手,而不是伙伴。美国人害怕日本试图破坏他的统治地位,至少是害日本破坏其在商业领域的优势。但日本确实成功的用这个经济体系挑战了美国理想的自由市场和自由企业。对于许多人来说,日本的崛起的背后似乎有什么险恶的阴谋 — —一个极具竞争力却不为人熟悉的经济、企业和文化系统比之西方更能产生卓越的业绩,并且他们似乎只关心自己的利益。可以说来自日本的挑战并不只是在经济上,也包括了意识形态领域的。
The reasons many fear China today are very similar. China, too, uses a competing economic model – “state capitalism” – that challenges the economic ideology of the West. In many ways, China also behaves in a mercantilist fashion, which gives the impression it cares little about anyone else. It keeps its currency controlled so its exports can out-compete those from other countries, and it grabs natural resources for itself wherever and whenever it can. Often state-controlled companies are doing the grabbing, making China seem like a threatening monolithic juggernaut. Worst of all, the political ideology behind China’s economic ascent completely counters Western ideals about democracy and human rights. China is not just competing with the U.S. in world markets, but offering up an entirely different economic and political system, one that at times seems better at creating growth and jobs, even as it restricts much-cherished civil liberties. China is succeeding based on ideas that Americans despise.
这与今天许多人担心中国的原因是非常相似的。中国也使用同样的经济竞争模式— —"国家资本主义"— —挑战着西方的经济意识形态。在许多方面,中国同样给人以一种自私自利的重商主义的印象。他操控货币以保持出口优势,他贪婪的获取自然资源。他的国有控股的公司往往做一些吸引眼球的事,这使中国看起来像是一个极具威胁的庞大主宰。最糟糕的是,中国经济崛起背后的政治意识形态完全颠覆了西方关于民主和人权的理想。中国不只是与美国在全球市场竞争,而是给世界提供了一种完全不同的经济和政治体系,这种体系有时似乎更善于创造经济增长和就业,但它也极大限制了公民的自由权。中国所推销的理念正是美国人所蔑视的。
The concerns many in the world have with China go well beyond even that. No one ever expected Japan to become a military threat to the West, or even a contender for diplomatic influence around the world. Japan wanted to be No.1, but only when it came to its role in the world economy. Aside from that Japan was a part of the global establishment – a member of the G7 and a clear U.S. military ally. China is none of those things. More and more, China is using its economic clout to offer an alternative to the U.S.-led political and economic system. Beijing routinely complains about the primacy of the dollar and wantsits own currency to play a greater international role.Chinese diplomats have tried to extend their country’s political pull across Africa and Latin America while supporting countries clearly hostile to U.S. interests (such as North Korea.) And Beijing is becoming abigger military poweras well, something that makes its neighbors, many of which have a history of conflict with China (South Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan) extremely nervous. Every extra 10% to China’s GDP translates into more money the government can spend on its navy and armed forces.
世界上一些关注中国的人想到的还不止这些。没有人会去想日本是否会成为西方的军事威胁者或者外交影响的竞争者。日本想做第一,但也是仅限于经济领域而已。除此之外,日本的角色就是G7的成员国,一个完完全全的美国军事盟友。而中国哪个都不属于。中国正越来越多的利用其经济影响力,向世界提供替代美国为主导的政治和经济制度。北京经常抱怨美元的主导地位,并希望自己的货币方面发挥更大的国际作用。中国外交官已尝试跨非洲和拉丁美洲扩展他们的国家政治影响力,同时支持对美国怀有明显敌视的国家,例如朝鲜。北京军事力量正变的更加强大,这使那些过去与他有过历史冲突的邻国,比如韩国,越南,日本,台湾感到极度不安。中国的GDP每增长10%,就意味着中国政府有更多的钱可以投入到海军和武装部队中。
In other words, China appears to be challenging not just today’s economic orthodoxy and order, but the world’s political and military framework as well. China isn’t content just to sell more TV sets to the world, like Japan. The Chinese want to have more control over the world. And they want to use their economic clout to get it.
换句话说,中国似乎不只是挑战当今的正统经济模式和秩序,也挑战着世界的政治和军事框架。中国并不会像日本那样,仅满足于卖更多的电视给世界。中国想要的是更多地控制世界。他们想要利用其经济影响力来得到它。
Or so we think. The fact is we’re only guessing at what China might do as a superpower. Since China is still a relatively poor nation today, it makes sense that at this stage in its development, its leadership tends to be focused on what’s good for China. Will China’s outlook broaden as it become richer? We don’t know.
或者我们认为,事实是我们只能是猜测,当中国在成为一个超级大国时,他会做些什么?由于中国今天仍然是一个相对贫穷的国家,所以我们对他的领导层所做的一些利己的事表示理解,但富裕之后的中国呢,野心会扩大吗?我们不得而知。
When the U.S. took over global leadership from a waning British Empire, the world had a pretty good idea what to expect – that overall the U.S. would continue to hold to ideas of free enterprise and democracy. Now an equally important shift is taking place – the rise of the East – but it’s not so clear what it all means for the direction of global civilization. So maybe that’s what we fear most of all. The uncertainty of a fundamentally changing world.
当美国从日渐式微的英帝国接管了全球领导地位时,世界有了一个不错的预期 — —美国必将继续坚持自由企业和民主的思想。如今一个崛起的东方大国又一次主导了这种转变,但我们还不清楚的是这次转变对全球文明发展意味着什么。或许如今最让人害怕的情形就是,我们将面临一个从根本上转变,却饱含着不确定性的世界。 chapter 3 public finance and taxation section a--------- taxing times in development chaper 4 section A asia’s next revolution
Chapter 4 Asia’s next revolution
亚洲次世代革命
Countries across the continent are building welfare states—with a chance to learn from the West’s mistakes
全亚洲的国家都在构建福利制度——它们可以从西方的失误中汲取教训【注1】
ASIA’S economies have long wowed the world with their dynamism. Thanks to years of spectacular growth, more people have been pulled from abject poverty in modern Asia than at any other time in history. But as they become more affluent, the region’s citizens want more from their governments. Across the continent pressure is growing for public pensions, national health insurance, unemployment benefits and other hallmarks of social protection. As a result, the world’s most vibrant economies are shifting gear, away from simply building wealth towards building a welfare state.
长期以来,全世界都对亚洲经济体的活力赞叹不已。由于多年来经济增长强劲,在现代亚洲,脱离赤贫的人数与日俱增,达到了空前水平。但随着该地区的人民变得富裕起来,他们也对政府提出了更多的要求。放眼整片大陆,公共养老金、国民健康保险、失业补助和其他社会保障特色制度面临的压力正在增大。因此,世界上最富活力的这些经济体正在转型,从单纯地积累财富向构建福利制度转变。
The speed and scale of this shift are mind-boggling (see article). Last October Indonesia’s government promised to provide all its citizens with health insurance by 2014. It is building the biggest “single-payer” national health scheme—where one government outfit collects the contributions and foots the bills—in the world. In just two years China has extended pension coverage to an additional 240m rural folk, far more than the total number of people covered by Social Security, America’s public-pension system. A few years ago about 80% of people in rural China had no health insurance. Now virtually everyone does. In India some 40m households benefit from a government scheme to provide up to 100 days’ work a year at the minimum wage, and the state has extended health insurance to some 110m poor people, more than double the number of uninsured in America.
这种转变的速度和规模都令人难以置信(见另文)。去年十月,印度尼西亚政府承诺,到2014年为全体公民提供健康保险。该国正在构建最大的“单一支付”国民健康方案——即完全由政府来统一收取缴款并支付保险费用。中国养老金的覆盖面扩大了,短短两年里就又有2.4亿农村居民享受到了退休金,比“社会保障”——美国公共养老金系统所覆盖的总人数都高出许多。几年前,中国农村地区约80%的人口没有健康保险,现在几乎每个人都有了。在印度,政府计划以最低工资提供每年多达100天的工作机会,约有4000万家庭从中获益。印度还扩大了健康保险的覆盖面,约1.1亿穷人得到了健康保险,比美国未保险人数的两倍还多。
If you take Germany’s introduction of pensions in the 1880s as the beginning and Britain’s launch of its National Health Service in 1948 as the apogee, the creation of Europe’s welfare states took more than half a century. Some Asian countries will build theirs in a decade. If they get things wrong, especially through unaffordable promises, they could wreck the world’s most dynamic economies. But if they create affordable safety nets, they will not just improve life for their own citizens but also become role models themselves. At a time when governments in the rich world are failing to redesign states to cope with ageing populations and gaping budget deficits, this could be another area where Asia leapfrogs the West.
如果把19世纪80年代德国引入养老金作为开端,把1948年英国启动国民医疗保健制度作为顶峰,那么欧洲福利制度的创立足足用了半个世纪。而有些亚洲国家将只需十年。如果它们出了差错——特别是做出了实现不了的承诺,世界上最具活力的一些经济体可能就此葬送了。但如果这些国家提供了可以承受的保障措施,它们就不仅可以改善本国国民的生活,也能够把自身塑造为福利制度方面的楷模。眼下,富裕世界的政府无法重新设计制度来应对人口老龄化和预算赤字上升的问题;如果亚洲国家此时能够在福利制度方面有所作为,就能够在这个领域也超过西方。
Beyond Bismarck and Beveridge
这是俾斯麦和贝弗里奇所无法理解的【注2、3】
History offers many lessons for the Asians on what to avoid. Europe’s welfare states began as basic safety nets. But over time they turned into cushions. That was partly because, after wars and the Depression, European societies made redistribution their priority, but also because the recipients of welfare spending became powerful interest groups. The eventual result, all too often, was economic sclerosis with an ever-bigger state. America has kept its safety net less generous, but has made mistakes in creating its entitlements system—including making unaffordable pension and health-care promises, and tying people’s health insurance to their employment.
至于需要规避什么风险,历史为亚洲人提供了许多经验。欧洲的福利制度起初表现为基础的保障措施,但随着时间推移,它们转变成了缓冲措施。这一方面是因为在战争和大萧条之后,欧洲社会优先考虑财富重新分配;另一方面也是由于福利开支的接受者转变为了强大的利益集团。最终结果往往是经济陷入停滞,国家越来越庞大。美国在保障措施方面较为节制,但在建立津贴制度时犯了错误——包括许下了无法兑现的养老金和医保承诺,以及把国民的健康保险和就业状况挂钩。
The record in other parts of the emerging world, especially Latin America, is even worse. Governments have tended to collect insufficient tax revenue to cover their spending promises. Social protection often aggravated inequalities, because pensions and health care flowed to affluent urban workers but not the really poor. Brazil famously has a first-world rate of government spending but third-world public services.
在新兴世界其他地区,尤其是拉丁美洲,情况更为糟糕。各国政府往往没有足够的赋税收入来兑现开支承诺。社会保障常常加重了不平等现象,因为养老金和健康保险流向了富裕的城市劳动者,而没有流入真正的穷人手中。巴西的政府开支是第一世界的级别,公共服务却是第三世界的级别,比较典型。
Asia’s governments are acutely conscious of all this. They have little desire to replace traditions of hard work and thrift with a flabby welfare dependency. The region’s giants can seek inspiration not from Greece but from tiny Singapore, where government spending is only a fifth of GDP but schools and hospitals are among the best in the world. So far, the safety nets in big Asian countries have generally been minimalist: basic health insurance and pensions which replace a small fraction of workers’ former income. Even now, the region’s social spending relative to the size of its economies is only about 30% of the rich-country average and lower than any part of the emerging world except sub-Saharan Africa.
亚洲各国政府敏锐地意识到了所有这些情况。它们并不太想去用对福利的软弱依赖来替代辛劳节俭的传统。亚洲大国不该借鉴希腊,而可以从小小的新加坡身上寻找灵感——新加坡的政府开支只占 GDP 的20%,但学校和医院却是世界一流的。迄今为止,亚洲大国的保障措施总体来说较为粗糙:用基础的健康保险和养老金代替劳动者从前收入的一小部分。即使在今天,相对该地区经济体的规模来说,社会开支也只有富裕国家平均水平的30%左右,在新兴世界中仅仅高于撒哈拉沙漠以南的非洲地区。
That leaves a fair amount of room for expansion. But Asia also faces a number of peculiarly tricky problems. One is demography. Although a few countries, notably India, are relatively youthful, the region includes some of the world’s most rapidly ageing populations. Today China has five workers for every old person. By 2035 the ratio will have fallen to two. In America, by contrast, the baby-boom generation meant that the Social Security system had five contributors per beneficiary in 1960, a quarter of a century after its introduction. It still has three workers for every retired person.
这还有相当大的改善空间。但亚洲也面临着很多特别棘手的问题。一是人口结构的变化。尽管有几个国家(尤其是印度)年轻人口较多,但亚洲地区也有全球人口老龄化速度最快的一些国家。目前,中国每五名劳动者供养一位老年人。到2035年,这一比例将降低到每两人供养一名。相比之下,美国存在生育高峰期出生的一代,因此在引入社会保障制度25年后的1960年,每位受益者有五名劳动者为其缴款。今天,美国每位退休人员仍有三名劳动者来供养。
Another problem is size, which makes welfare especially hard. The three giants—China, India and Indonesia—are vast places with huge regional income disparities within their borders. Building a welfare state in any one of them is a bit like creating a single welfare state across the European Union. Lastly, many Asian workers (in India it is about 90%) are in the “informal” economy, making it harder to verify their incomes or reach them with transfers.
另一个问题是人口规模,这给福利制度带来了很大的困难。中国、印度和印度尼西亚这三个大国幅员辽阔,国内各地区存在着巨大的收入差异。在三国的任何一国建立福利制度,都有些类似于在整个欧洲联盟创建单一的福利制度。最后一点,许多亚洲劳动者(在印度,约90%)都处于“非正式”经济制度中,核实收入或是进行转移支付较为困难。
Cuddly tigers, not flabby cats
是幼虎,而不是病猫【注4】
How should these challenges be overcome? There is no single solution that applies from India to South Korea. Different countries will, and should, experiment with different welfare models. But there are three broad principles that all Asian governments could usefully keep in mind.
应当如何克服这些挑战呢?不可能从印度到韩国都采用同样的解决方案。不同的国家将尝试不同的福利模式,它们也的确应该如此。但所有亚洲国家政府都可以牢记三条通用准则,它们将会派上用场。
The first is to pay even more attention to the affordability over time of any promises. The size of most Asian pensions may be modest, but people collect them at an early age. In China, for example, women retire at 55; in Thailand many employees are obliged to stop work at 60 and can withdraw their pension funds at 55. That is patently unsustainable. Across Asia, retirement ages need to rise, and should be indexed to life expectancy.
一是随着时间推移,需要更加注重政府承诺的可实现性。大多数亚洲国家的养老金数额可能并不高,但人们很早就可以领取了。比如,中国女性55岁退休;而泰国许多雇员必须工作到60岁,在55岁时就可以领取养老基金了。这显然没有多少可持续性。在整个亚洲,退休年龄需要得到提高,并应当和国民的预期寿命相挂钩。
Second, Asian governments need to target their social spending more carefully. Crudely put, social provision should be about protecting the poor more than subsidising the rich. In fast-ageing societies, especially, handouts to the old must not squeeze out investment in the young. Too many Asian governments still waste oodles of public money on regressive universal subsidies. Indonesia, for instance, last year spent nine times as much on fuel subsidies as it did on health care, and the lion’s share of those subsidies flows to the country’s most affluent. As they promise a broader welfare state, Asia’s politicians have the political opportunity, and the economic responsibility, to get rid of this kind of wasteful spending.
二是亚洲各国政府需要更为谨慎地设定社会开支目标。简而言之,社会供给应当更多地去保护穷人,而不是去补贴富人。特别是在人口老龄化迅速的国家,对老年人的救济不能以牺牲对年轻人的投资为代价。太多的亚洲国家政府仍在为退步的通用补贴浪费大量公款。比如,印度尼西亚去年在燃油补贴方面花费的资金为卫生保健方面的九倍,而这笔补贴绝大部分都流入了该国最为富裕的一批人手中。亚洲的政治家承诺建立更为广泛的福利制度;他们在政治上有机会去摆脱这种奢侈开支,经济上也有责任去这么做。
Third, Asia’s reformers should concentrate on being both flexible and innovative. Don’t stifle labour markets with rigid severance rules or over-generous minimum wages. Make sure pensions are portable, between jobs and regions. Don’t equate a publicly funded safety net with government provision of services (a single public payer may be the cheapest way to provide basic health care, but that does not have to mean every nurse needs to be a government employee). And use technology to avoid the inefficiencies that hobble the rich world’s public sector. From making electronic health records ubiquitous to organising transfer payments through mobile phones, Asian countries can create new and efficient delivery systems with modern technology.
三是亚洲的改革者应当专注于同时具备灵活性和创新性。不要用死板的解聘规则或是过于慷慨的最低工资来扼杀劳动力市场。确保养老金可以在岗位之间、地区之间进行流动。不要把由公共资金支持的保障措施和政府的服务供给混为一谈(单一的公共支付体系可能是提供基础卫生保健最为低廉的方式,但这并不一定意味着所有护士都需要成为政府雇员)。此外,利用技术来避免效率低下现象——正是这种现象妨碍了富裕世界公共部门的发展。亚洲国家可以用现代技术来创立新型高效的福利给付系统,比如广泛采用电子档案、通过手机来管理转移性支付等等。
In the end, the success of Asia’s great leap towards welfare provision will be determined by politics as much as economics. The continent’s citizens will have to show a willingness to plan ahead, work longer and eschew handouts based on piling up debt for future generations: virtues that have so far eluded their rich-world counterparts. Achieving that political maturity will require the biggest leap of all.
亚洲的福利供给能否迈出一大步?最终这将由政治因素和经济因素同时决定。亚洲人民将不得不愿意提前做出打算,延长工作年限并避免因为接受救济而给子孙后代留下大笔债务。迄今为止,富裕世界的人民身上并没有这些美德。实现这种政治上的成熟将需要迈出最大的一步。
Section B ---------life should be cheap
Chapter 4 section B Life should be cheap
生活不应该那么贵
How China and India can help cut Western medical bills
看中国和印度如何帮助西方医疗服务降价
ACROSS the rich world, governments with ageing populations are worried about soaring health-care costs. In Britain this week David Cameron announced yet another reorganisation of the National Health Service. But the problem is most severe in America. Medical spending per head has nearly tripled since 1990, yet most indicators of health have barelybudged. And the rising cost of health care depresses wages—because many Americans receive health insurance from their employers, who therefore pay them less. budged让步; 改变意见; 推动, 移动
纵观富裕世界,面对老龄化人口压力的政府正为飙升的医疗费用忧心忡忡。在英国,大卫•卡梅隆本周宣布了改组国家卫生署的另一项措施。但美国的问题就严重了。自1990年以来,人均医疗支出几乎上涨了两倍,而大多数健康指标却鲜有改善。医疗费用上升还导致薪水下降,因为很多美国人的医疗保险都是由雇主支付,所以到手的钱变少了。
Help may be at hand. Frugal innovators in China and India are making medical devices that are cheaper—sometimes by an order of magnitude—than their Western equivalents. Companies such as China’s Mindray and India’s TRS serve home markets that include vast numbers of people for whom every yuan or rupee counts. So these companies focusrelentlessly on reducing costs. They create products that are stripped to their essentials: scanners that cost $10,000 rather than $100,000; portable electrocardiographs that cost $500 instead of $5,000. relentlessly无情地; 残酷地
救星可能就在身边。中国和印度的节约型创新者们正在制造比西方便宜的医疗仪器——同等产品的价位有时要低上一个数量级。中国的迈瑞和印度的TRS这类公司为本国市场服务,这里的很多人每一块钱、一卢比都要精打细算,所以这些公司不遗余力地削减费用。他们创造出只剩基本功能的产品:售价1万美元而不是10万美元的扫描仪;500美元而不是5000美元的便携式心电检测仪。
These devices are not merely cheap knock-offs of Western designs. Often they are just as effective as the gold-plated kit used in the West, yet they are rarely found in rich-world hospitals. Their absence helps explain the massive disparityin costs between Western and emerging-world treatments. A night in an American hospital typically costs 25 times as much as a night in an Indian, Brazilian or Chinese one; a night in a European hospital typically costs four times as much. disparity不一致 这些仪器并非只是西方设计的廉价仿制品。一般来说,它们和西方的镀金设备一样好使,可在富裕世界的医院里却难得一见。它们的缺席有助于解释西方与新兴国家的医疗费用何以如此悬殊。在美国医院住一晚的费用比在印度、巴西或中国医院贵24倍;而欧洲医院一晚的费用一般是是后者的4倍。
Western medical-device firms are well aware of eastern innovation. Indeed, firms such as GE Healthcare, Philips and Medtronic are investing heavily in China and India: setting up research centres, hiring local talent and developing frugalinventions of their own, which they gleefully sell both locally and in other emerging markets. Alas, they are not rushing to market such thrifty ingenuity back in America or Europe. frugal节俭的; 朴素的 gleefully极快乐地, 欢欣地 ingenuity智巧, 精巧的设计, 创造力
西方医疗设备公司很清楚东方的创新。确实,通用电气医疗集团、飞利浦和美敦力这类公司都在中国和印度大笔投资:设立研究中心、雇佣本地人才、开发他们自己的节约型创新产品,然后兴高采烈地在当地或其它新兴市场兜售。唉,可惜的是,他们没有急着要将这些省钱的创新产品卖回欧美老家。
Two main factors keep cheap devices out of Western markets. One is the muting of price signals. Health care is not an efficient market in the rich world because—be it in Europe, where the state typically pays the bills, or in America, where private insurance companies do—the customer does not have to shop around. Patients neither know nor care how much anything costs, so they demand the best of everything, which is wonderful for the makers of hugely expensive equipment.
有两大因素致使便宜仪器无法进入西方市场。一是价格信号被消音。富裕世界的医疗行业不是高效市场,因为——欧洲一般是国家买单,而美国是私人保险公司买单——消费者不需要自己去选择购买。病人既不知道也不关心这些东西值多少钱,所以他们总要求最好的,这对那些天价设备的制造商来说真是大大的利好消息。
A second factor—which applies more in America than in Europe—is red tape. America’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is excessively risk-averse: it often takes twice as long to approve a new medical technology as European regulators do. America’s confusing approvals process deters upstart medical-technology firms, since they typically lack the deep pockets and army of experts required to navigate it. And for a device to succeed in America it must be blessed not just by the FDA but also by the bureaucrats who oversee Medicare and Medicaid, the two huge government health-care schemes. Obtaining that blessing can take years.
第二个因素——美国比欧洲更严重——则是官样文章繁多。美国食品和药物管理局过分规避风险:它批准一项新医疗技术的时间经常是欧洲管理机构的两倍长。美国令人头晕眼花的审批程序让很多新兴医疗科技公司望而生畏,因为他们一般财力不够雄厚,也没有足够的专家团来搞定审批。一种新设备要想在美国成功获批,不仅要过食品和药物管理局这关,还需要监管政府两大医疗卫生计划——医疗保险和医疗补助——的官僚们点头放行。而这些可能要花上好几年。
Frugally does it
节约办事
Just as the appearance of cheap, well-engineered Japanese cars disrupted Western car markets, so the rise of frugal technology could transform the market for medical devices. Western politicians need to encourage this to happen. By turning their governments into better purchasers and by eliminating the barriers that discourage the sale of cheap technology in the rich world, they could bring down the cost of health care. That should earn them the gratitude of patients, taxpayers and workers—in other words, voters.
正如价格便宜、设计精良的日本车扰乱了西方汽车市场一样,节约型技术的兴起也可能改变医疗设备市场。西方政界人士需要鼓励这一趋势。通过将政府变成更精明的采购者、消除那些妨碍便宜科技在富裕世界销售的障碍,他们能够降低医疗费用。那应该可以为他们赢得病人、纳税人和工人们——换而言之,也就是选民们——的感激之情。
America and the yuan
美国和人民币
The truth hurts
真相伤人
Will the Treasury call China a currency manipulator?
财政部会定义中国为货币操纵国吗?
TO MOST people, to say that China holds down the value of its currency to boost its exports is to state the obvious. Not, though, to America’s Treasury Department. By law it must report twice a year on which countries fiddle their exchange rates at the world’s expense. China was last fingered in 1994. Ever since then, the Treasury has concluded that the designation would do more harm than good. Speculation is growing that it may decide differently in its next report, due on April 15th.
对大多数人来说,说中国通过抑制人民币的价值,刺激出口,等于在陈述一个明显的事实。然而对美国财政部来说,却不是这么简单。法律规定它每隔两年对其它国家干涉汇率,危害他国的行为进行汇报。中国曾在1994年列入汇率操纵国。自那时候起,财政部得出结论:罗列中国,更多的是带来坏处。外界猜测财政部可能将在4月15日的报告中推翻原先的结论。
The mood in America resembles that in 2005, when the Senate voted to hit China with tariffs of 27.5% and the Treasuryratcheted up its rhetoric. China abruptly moved to a managed float for the yuan. It was allowed to appreciate by 20% over the next three years before a halt was called during the banking panic of 2008. ratcheted 使)渐进
现在美国的感受类似2005年。那时,参议院投票决定对中国征收27.5%的报复性关税,财政部言辞也咄咄逼人。压力之下,中国突然转而对人民币采用管理的浮动汇率,允许人民币在三年内升值20%。 2008年,这一汇率机制在金融危机的风暴中戛然而止。
China seems more determined to resist pressure this time, though, and can rightly point out that its fiscal stimulus has halved its current-account surplus since 2007. America’s trade deficit with China has edged a bit lower, though further declines seem unlikely, now that its own recovery is under way.
然而此次,中国似乎更坚定地抵抗美方压力。它据理指出,自2007年来,财政刺激政策使本国的活期储蓄总额减少一半。另外,美国对中国的贸易逆差已小幅缩小(见上图),然而因为美国的经济复苏正在进行,逆差继续缩小似乎不太可能。
Nonetheless, the weight of opinion in America is running heavily against China. Unemployment has doubled since 2005 and Barack Obama wants exports to lead the recovery. That will be harder if China sticks to its export-centric yuan policy.
尽管如此,美国现在有高涨的反华情绪。自2005年来,失业率双倍增长。奥巴马希望通过贸易出口,走向复苏。但如果中国坚持便利出口的人民币政策,奥巴马的愿望会更难实现。
Businesses have also become less reliable defenders of China, rankled by measures such as an edict last autumn which, according to American technology companies, virtually shuts them out of Chinese government procurement. The hacking attacks on Google and the trial of Rio Tinto executives have hardly helped. “A whole slew of multinationals I’ve talked to are increasingly fed up with how they are being dealt with on micro, industry, product-specific stuff,” says Fred Bergsten, director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a think-tank. procurement获得; 取得
根据美国的科技公司,去年秋天的一个中方法令几乎使它们无法获得中国政府的采购合同。因此,美国企业抱怨不已,越来越不愿维护中国。针对谷歌的黑客攻击以及力拓高管的审判使情况变得更糟。“我谈过的许多跨国公司都表示它们越来越无法忍受在微型计算机,工业,规格产品这些领域所受的待遇。”彼得森国际经济研究所(一智库)所长弗雷德•伯格斯坦说道。
Charles Schumer, a Democratic senator, and Lindsey Graham, a Republican, authors of the 2005 China tariff bill that probably pushed China to move, have introduced a variant that would force the Treasury to make the designation and then seek redress through the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organisation, and unilateral duties. One manufacturing-union group has produced maps showing just how many jobs each congressional district and state has lost to China.
China tariff bill (that probably pushed China to moved定语从句), have introduced a variant (that would force the Treasury to make the designation and then seek redress through the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organisation, and unilateral duties同位语从句). 划线部分为主句
One manufacturing-union group has produced maps (showing just how many jobs each congressional district and state has lost to China现在分词形式作状语).
曾在2005年起草反华税收法案——很可能正是这个法案促使中国改变——的民主党参议员查尔斯•舒默和共和党参议员林赛•格雷厄姆已提出了一个类似法案,这法案将迫使财政部把中国列入操纵国名单,并且通过国际货币基金组织,世贸组织以及单边提高关税等手段寻求贸易平衡。一个制造业工会绘制了地图,显示了在中国出口的冲击下,美国各地工作岗位的流失情况。
A popular view in Washington is that the Treasury could call China a manipulator to wrest control of the issue from hotheads in Congress. The practical consequences are small: it requires the United States only to consult with the offending country, something the two already do frequently. It would also fulfil Mr Obama’s promise to use America’s trade enforcement tools more vigorously. But Nicholas Lardy, also of the Peterson Institute, thinks that—far from restraining others—a Treasury designation of China as a manipulator would be “like throwing red meat to the Congress and enhancing the possibility they pass a currency bill.”
现在华盛顿流行这么一种观点:财政部可以定义中国为操纵国,以此从国会鲁莽的议员手中抢回对此问题的主导权。但这样没什么实际的影响:这将要求美国与操纵国进行协商,而两国已经频繁协商。同样,这将实现奥巴马先生提高美国贸易执法机构执法力度的承诺。但是同样来自彼得森研究所的尼古拉斯•拉迪认为罗列中国不但不能限制国会议员插手,反而会刺激国会,加大了国会议员通过一项货币法案的可能性。
The administration’s best hope is that China moves of its own accord before events in Congress or elsewhere force a confrontation. Tim Geithner, the treasury secretary, is surprisingly confident that China will act. Sander Levin, the usually interventionist-minded chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee which oversees trade matters, advocates multilateral rather than unilateral pressure. So perhaps the administration will give China one last chance and seek a multilateral remedy at the G20 in June. If China still fails to respond, the Treasury, by the time of its autumn report, will no longer be able to deny the obvious. unilateral单方面, 片面的, 单边的
美国政府最希望见到的是在国会或其他机构制造冲突前,中国主动改变。美国财长蒂莫西•盖特纳对中国将会改变充满信心,这着实让人惊讶。监管贸易事务的众议院筹款委员会主席桑德•莱文,一个认为政府应介入贸易的议员,主张进行多边施压,而不是单边施压。据此分析,美国可能此次会放过中国一马,而在今年6月举行的G20会议上寻求多方解决方案。如果中国在那时还没有行动,那么财政部将不能再在秋季出炉的报告中,否认明显的事实。
Chaper 5 banking the golden rules of banking译文
Buttonwood The golden rules of banking They make the rules, and get the gold
梧桐协定---银行的的黄金法则,制定法则,获取利益
THE crisis has taught people a lot about the banking industry and the thought processes of its leaders. These lessons can be distilled into four golden rules.
金融危机教会了人们许多关于银行业和其领导者思维决策方面的知识。这些知识可以总结为chapte5 4条黄金法则。
1. The laws of supply and demand do not apply.When food producers compete to supply a supermarket, the retailer has the luxury of selecting the lowest bidder. But when it comes to investment banking, wages are very high even though the number of applicants is vastly greater than the number of posts. If the same was true of, say, hospital cleaning, wages would be slashed.
1.供给和需求功能是没用的。食品制造者们向超市提供商品,他们之间产生了竞争,此时零售商就拥有众多的选择来挑选最低的出价者。但是在投资银行中,即使应聘者的数目远多于职位,工资也会很高。如果同样的情况发生在其他地方,比如医院清洁,薪水将会大打折扣。
An investment bank, like a supermarket, demands a certain quality standard: it will not hire just anybody. But whereas it may be easy to identify a rotten banana, it is harder to be sure which trainee will be the next Nick Leeson and which the potential George Soros. That gives executives an excuse when things go wrong.
投资银行就像超市一样,要求有一定的品质标准:他不能随便雇佣一个人。但是要找到害群之马容易,要确定新人是否会成为下一个尼克李森h或是具有乔治·索罗斯那样潜质的人也是很难的。但事情变糟时,这也给了执行长官们一个借口推卸责任。
2. Success is down to my genius; failure is caused by someone else.When banks do well, and profits soar, the bosses are responsible for it all with their strategic cunning and inspiring leadership. Huge bonuses are therefore due.
2.成功归于己,失败错在他人。银行业务好的时候,利润就会高涨,老板们为此奉献了妙计和激励人心的领导才能。因为获得了巨额回报。
But, like Macavity the mystery cat, executives were never at the scene of the crime. They did not attend the crucial meeting, read the vital memo or open the incriminating e-mail. Together with this surprising inattentiveness, executives have a remarkably faulty memory which means that conversations are rarely recalled in any detail. It is a wonder, indeed, given their technical shortcomings and early-onset Alzheimer’s, that they make it to the top of their organisations at all.
但是,就像神秘的猫---麦克维蒂一样,执行官大佬们绝不会出现在犯罪现场。他们不会参加过关键的会议,不阅读重要的备忘录或者不打开有可能牵扯他们的邮件。连同这些令人意外的不在意,执行长官们已经有了一个很明显的错误记忆,这就意味着他们很少能回忆起谈话细节。在有技术缺陷或提早患有老年痴呆的情况下,他们能做到顶层职位,这确实令人惊奇。
But executives do tend to remember one vital fact. When scandal breaks, the blame should lie with a few rogue employees who have ignored the corporate culture. Managers cannot possibly be expected to keep track of the actions of junior staff. And that leads to the next rule.
但是执行大佬们一定会记得一件重要的事情。那就是当丑闻败露,责任应该归于那些无视公司文化的“流氓”职员们。经理们不可能时时刻刻盯着新人。这就产生了下一条准则。
3. What is lucky for an individual trader may be unlucky for the bank as a whole. There is a survivorship bias in both fund management and trading. If your career starts with some bad losses, it will quickly come to an end. So, by definition, veteran traders will have had initial success. But that could be down to luck, not skill.
3.对个人来说是好事,对整个银行来说却未必。存货者偏差存在于在基金管理和证劵交易之间。如果你的事业以损失开始的,那么它将会很快的结束。所以,由此可见,那些久经商场的老手们一开始都取得了成功。但是那可能归结于运气而不是技能。
Successful fund managers attract more clients and thus manage more money. This will keep happening until they have a bad year, when clients will desert them. Their worst result will thus occur when they have the most money to look after. They may end up losing more client money in cash terms than they ever made.
成功的基金经理能够吸引更多的客户,因此能管理更多的钱。这种情况将会一直持续到遇到经济衰退,这时候客户将会抛弃他们。当他们能管理最多钱的同时也会产生最坏的结果。最终很可能会血本无归。
Similarly, successful traders will be given more responsibility, first heading their departments and then leading the bank itself. They will gain a reputation as the kind of person who can handle risk, and they will believe their own publicity. The likes of Dick Fuld of Lehman Brothers and Jon Corzine at MF Global seemed to regard caution as a quality for wimps.
简单来说,成功的交易者肩负了更多的责任,首先带领部门致富然后才是整个银行。他们将会因为能处理风险投资而得到名誉,并且越发相信自己。例如雷曼兄弟的迪克•福尔德和全球曼氏金融的科尔辛,他们似乎都把谨慎当做弱者的特质。
This is a variant of the Peter principle, which holds that managers get promoted to their level of incompetence. The trader-cum-executive will make the biggest mistake when he is in charge of the whole bank. By this stage, he will be personally rich and will remain so even if the entire bank fails, not least because:
经理们会被提拔到到不能胜任的位置,这是彼得定理的一个变体。当证劵交易人同时兼执行人管理整家银行的时候,将会犯最大的错误。在这个时期,他将会个人变得富有,即使整个银行倒闭了,也会一直保持富有,原因尤其在于:
4. Resigning can be a retirement plan. When ordinary folk resign, they are lucky to get paid to the end of the month. But when bankers leave in awkward circumstances, they make out like a lottery winner (Bob Diamond, formerly of Barclays, has done worse on this score than others). The bank may want to avoid a lawsuit, with all its unfavourable publicity. The more trouble the bank is in, the less publicity it will want and the better the negotiating position of the executive. This may not be the ideal incentive structure.
4.辞职就是为了养老。一般人辞职,能在月底前拿到钱就很幸运了。但是当银行家们丢下烂摊子离开的时候,他们就像是彩票得主(博达文,巴克莱前执行长,这方面是个例外). 这时候的银行可能希望避免诉讼和塑造不好的公众形象。银行越是泥足深陷,他们所希望拥有的社会公信力就越少,这时执行官们就处于一个更有利的谈判位置。这些不应该成为理想的刺激机制。
Moreover, if the bank is big enough, the government will not be willing to let it fail. Take the Royal Bank of Scotland. Had it gone bankrupt, then the pension scheme might have fallen into the hands of the Pension Protection Fund (PPF), a collective-insurance plan. That would have been bad news for Fred Goodwin, the then chief executive, since individual pension payouts are capped under PPF rules. The limit at the time was £24,000 ($44,500) rather than the £703,000 he originally claimed.
而且,如果银行规模够大,政府也不会希望其倒闭。以苏格兰皇家银行为例。银行破产,养老金项目可能要养老金保护基金掌管,这是一个集体保障计划。对于弗雷德•古德温,下一任执行官来说那将会是坏的消息,因为个人养老金支出由养老金保护基金掌管。这时期的最多发放俩万四千英镑(也就是四万四千五百美金)而不是他一开始宣称的七十万零300英镑。
Bankers get such generous payoffs because it is in their contracts and airtight contracts are needed to attract the best people. But is this right? The BBC just appointed a director-general on a salary that is one-third less than that of the previous incumbent. Even so, there was no shortage of qualified applicants for the post. Back to the first rule: in banking, the laws of supply and demand do not apply.
银行家们能有这么多的报酬是因为他们的合同都注明了,无懈可击的合同可以吸引最优秀的人。但是这样做对吗? BBC刚直接任命了一位总经理,他的工资比前任少了三分之一。即使是这样,合格的应聘者还是很多。回想第一条准则:在银行业,供给和需求法则是没用的。
Chaper 6 stocks and bonds
The secrets of buffett’s success
IF INVESTORS had access to a time machine and could take themselves back to 1976, which stock should they buy? For Americans, the answer is clear: the best risk-adjusted return came not from a technology stock, but from Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate run by Warren Buffett. Berkshire also has a better record than all the mutual funds that have survived over that long period.
如果投资者有机会登上时光穿梭机回到1976年,他会买哪一只股票呢?对于美国人来说,答案是显而易见的:按照风险调整报酬率计算,最佳的回报不是来自于某只科技类股票,而是来自由沃伦·巴菲特掌舵的巨无霸公司——伯克希尔·哈撒韦的股票。同时,伯克希尔公司股票的回报率还高于所有经历了同样长时间而生存下来的共同基金。

Some academics have discounted Mr Buffett as a statistical outlier. Others have simply stood in awe of his stock-picking skills, which they view as unrepeatable. But a new paper* from researchers at New York University and AQR Capital Management, an investment manager, seems to have identified the main factors that have driven the extraordinary record of the sage of Omaha.
某些学术人士低估了巴菲特,认为他不过是一个统计学中的溢出值。另外一些人只是简单地崇拜他的选股技巧,并且认为他的选股能力是不可重复的。不过,纽约大学和AQR资本管理公司的研究人员与一位投资经理发表的两篇新文章似乎是发现了奥马哈圣人取得不同寻常回报的主要原因。

Understanding the success of Mr Buffett requires a brief detour into investment theory. Academics view stocks in terms of their sensitivity to market movements, or “beta”. Stocks that move more violently than the market (rising 10%, for instance, when the index increases by 5%) are described as having “high beta”, whereas stocks that move less violently are considered “low beta”. The model suggests that investors demand a higher return for owning more volatile—and thus higher-risk—stocks.
搞清楚巴菲特的成功需要对投资理论做一番简要的回顾。在学术人士眼中,股票的回报率取决去它对于市场波动的敏感度,即股票的“贝塔值”。比市场波动还要剧烈的股票(例如,指数上涨了5%而股票价格却上涨了10%)被赋予“高贝塔值”,而那些波动幅度小于市场的股票被赋予“低贝塔值”。根据这种投资模型,想获取高回报率的投资者要拥有那些波动幅度更大的——因而也是风险更高的——股票。

The problem with the model is that, over the long run, reality has turned out to be different. Low-beta stocks have performed better, on a risk-adjusted basis, than their high-beta counterparts. As a related paper† illustrates, it should in theory be possible to exploit this anomaly by buying low-beta stocks and enhancing their return by borrowing money (leveraging the portfolio, in the jargon).
这种模型的缺陷在于,长期的事实与理论是不一致的。与承担的风险相比,低贝塔值的股票的表现要强于高贝塔值的股票。正如一份相关的报告所阐述的那样,从理论上来说存在着利用这种反常现象的可能性,即通过购买低贝塔值的股票并且利用借钱的方式(用行话来说,就是将投资组合杠杆化)增强回报率。
But this anomaly may exist only because most investors cannot, or will not, use such a strategy. Pension schemes and mutual funds are constrained from borrowing money. So they take the alternative approach to juicing up their portfolios: buying high-beta stocks. As a result, the average mutual-fund portfolio is more volatile than the market. And the effect of ignoring low-beta stocks is that they become underpriced.
但是这种反常现象之所以存在,是因为大多数的投资者不能并且不愿意采取这样一种策略。养老金和公共基金受不能借钱买股票的限制,就采取了另一种增强投资组合回报率的方式:购买高贝塔值的股票。结果,共同基金投资组合的波动比市场还要剧烈,忽视低贝塔值股票的恶果就是净值低于面值。
Mr Buffett has been able to exploit this anomaly. He is well-known for buying shares in high-quality companies when they are temporarily down on their luck (Coca-Cola in the 1980s after the New Coke debacle and General Electric during the financial crisis in 2008). “It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price,” he once said. He has also steered largely clear of more volatile sectors, such as technology, where he cannot be sure that a company has a sustainable advantage.
巴菲特能有效利用这种反常现象。他为人所称道的地方在于,当高质量的公司的股票暂时低于它们价值时(在1980年代可口可乐公司的新产品不被市场认可时买入它的股票,在2008年金融危机时买入通用电气公司的股票),他会买入这些公司的股票。他曾说:“以合理的价格买入好公司的股票要强于以高价格买入一般公司的股票”。他同时还设法避免那些波动幅度更大的股票,例如他不能确定是否据有可持续性优势的科技类公司。
Without leverage, however, Mr Buffett’s returns would have been unspectacular. The researchers estimate that Berkshire, on average, leveraged its capital by 60%, significantly boosting the company’s return. Better still, the firm has been able to borrow at a low cost; its debt was AAA-rated from 1989 to 2009.
然而不使用杠杆的话,巴菲特的回报率可能只有一般的水平。据研究人员估算,伯克希尔公司60%的资金使用了杠杆,这样做极大地提升了公司的回报率。更有利的是,公司能够以低利率从投资者那里借钱;从1989年到2009年,伯克希尔的公司债评级一直是AAA。
Yet the underappreciated element of Berkshire’s leverage are its insurance and reinsurance operations, which provide more than a third of its funding. An insurance company takes in premiums upfront and pays out claims later on; it is, in effect, borrowing from its policyholders. This would be an expensive strategy if the company undercharged for the risks it was taking. But thanks to the profitability of its insurance operations, Berkshire’s borrowing costs from this source have averaged 2.2%, more than three percentage points below the average short-term financing cost of the American government over the same period.
然而,伯克希尔公司利用杠杆投资这一事实未得到正确评价的原因还在于她的保险和再保险业务,这两项业务为公司提供了1/3以上的资金。保险公司能够先收取保费然后再兑付;也就是说,保险公司可以从保单持有人那里借钱。如果保险公司低估了业务风险,这将是一种昂贵的策略。但是,得益于公司保险业务的盈利能力,伯克希尔公司从这个渠道的借款费用平均只有2.2%,比同时期的美国政府短期融资平均利率还要低至少3个百分点。
A further advantage has been the stability of Berkshire’s funding. As many property developers have discovered in the past, relying on borrowed money to enhance returns can be fatal when lenders lose confidence. But the long-term nature of the insurance funding has protected Mr Buffett during periods (such as the late 1990s) when Berkshire shares have underperformed the market.
另一项优势是伯克希尔公司现金流的稳定性。以许多房地产商的过去经验来看,当贷款人对市场失去信心的时候,依靠借债来提高回报率的做法对借款人来说是致命的。然而,保险资金的这种长期属性在这种时候(如1990年代后期)保护了巴菲特,那时伯克希尔公司股票的表现要弱于市场。
These two factors—the low-beta nature of the portfolio and leverage—pretty much explain all of Mr Buffett’s superior returns, the authors find. Of course, that is quite a different thing from saying that such a long-term performance could be easily replicated. As the authors admit, Mr Buffett recognised these principles, and started applying them, half a century before they wrote their paper.
作者认为,这两个因素——低贝塔值的投资组合加上利用杠杆——完美地诠释了巴菲特获得高回报的原因。当然,想轻易复制如此的长期表现就是另外一回事了。正如作者所承认的那样,巴菲特早在他们文章发表前50年就已经认识到这些规律,并且已经开始运用它们了。…...

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