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谢国忠

谢国忠博客:只说出心中真相

 
 
 

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麻省理工学院经济学博士

个性介绍: 1960年出生于上海,1983年毕业于上海同济大学路桥系,1987年获麻省理工学院土木工程学硕士,1990年获麻省理工学院经济学博士。同年加入世界银行,担任经济分析员。在世行的五年时间,谢国忠所参与的项目涉及拉美、南亚及东亚地区,并负责处理该银行于印尼的工商业发展项目,以及其他亚太地区国家的电讯及电力发展项目。1995年,加入新加坡的Macquarie Bank,担任企业财务部的联席董事。1997年加入摩根士丹利,任亚太区经济学家,2006年9月辞去该职务。

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谢国忠:改革的成本  

2008-01-09 11:30:26|  分类: 媒体访谈与报道 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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谢国忠《改革的成本》的摘译
2006年03月27日
阮一峰
谢国忠搜狐博客 http://xieguozhong.blog.sohu.com/    

昨天,我在摩根斯坦利的网站上,看到了谢国忠对中国经济的一篇分析。他提出,中国经济的快速增长,有部分原因是以人民福利的下降换来的。真是卓识啊!

我完全同意他的思路。首先,中国经济是投资导向型的,就是说经济增长主要靠投入增加。随着经济规模越来越大,想要继续增长,所需的投资也必然越来越多。但是,中国政府拿不出那么多新增资源来投资。

怎么办呢?他们就把原本应由公共部门承担的社会福利支出,转嫁到了普通家庭身上,主要是住房、教育和医疗这三项。国有企业因此节省了大量支出,得以将这部分省下的资源用来投资;而普通家庭为了应对这些新增支出,不得不提高储蓄率,新增储蓄通过银行系统也转化为投资。正是这些投资支持了中国经济的进一步增长,这就是过去10年中发生的事情。

于是,就出现了一种可悲的分离。中国经济增长越快,人民感到的经济压力就越大,各种社会问题丛生。

谢国忠因此断言,下一步中国经济的发展将有质的变化,发展的重点将从经济增长转向解决社会问题。它的深层含义是,中国经济增长的动力必须从投资和出口转为消费。

他的这篇分析,我没有时间全部译成中文。我把最重要的段落译了出来(请用鼠标往下拉)。

====================== 



China: Addressing Backlash Against Reform
中国:改革的成本

Andy Xie (Hong Kong)

谢国忠(香港)



Summary & Conclusions

结论

China is experiencing the most intense debate in a decade on the merits of itsreform and open-door policy. Rising inequality and rising household financial burdensare the triggers. The debate is another factor that will shift China’s priorityfrom growth to non-growth issues, I believe.

改革开放政策到底是否正确?中国正在经历10年来最激烈的争论。导火索是越来越大的贫富分化和家庭生活负担。我认为,这场争论是使中国经济发展首要问题从经济增长转向非经济增长问题的因素之一。

The growth target in the 11th five-year plan (2006-2010) is 7.5%, compared with9.5% for the past 25 years. By setting a low target, the government has room tofocus on urgent issues, such as income inequality, education, healthcare, housing,and pollution. By addressing these issues, the Chinese economy will shift awayfrom investment and exports to consumption, in my view.

过去25年中,平均经济增长速度是9.5%,而第11个五年计划(2006-2010)中的经济增长目标只有7.5%。因为发展速度目标降低了,政府就有更大的主动来关注那些迫切的问题,比如贫富分化、教育、医疗、住房和污染。在我看来,在解决这些问题的过程中,中国经济的动力将从投资和出口转向消费。

Debating the reform and open-door policy

对改革开放政策的争论

China’s GDP expanded by 57.3% in constant price terms and 83.8% in current priceterms between 2000 and 2005, according to China’s National Statistics Bureau. Negativesentiment towards the economy has increased rapidly, despite the fast growth. Thelatest manifestation of this is the resurgence of anti-reform sentiment.

Extreme income inequality and other ills in China’s economy have always elicitedstrong opinions. However, until recently, the reform and open-door policy had notbeen questioned seriously for a decade. The current debate centres on whether thereforms have caused the problems and have gone too far — that is, questioning themerit of the reform and open-door policy.

One concrete example of the backlash is the negative sentiment towards the salesof state-owned assets to foreign capital. Private equity firms, for example, arefacing more difficulty in acquiring state-owned enterprises. Even the IPOs of state-ownedcompanies in Hong Kong are being questioned. The rallying cry is that China isselling its assets to foreign capital too cheaply.

Concerns about structural problems in the economy are often linked to doubtsabout foreign capital, since the rising influence of foreign capital in China’seconomy is one of the most visible signs of its open door policy. I estimate thatone-fifth of China’s GDP (over half in the export sector) is produced by foreign-ownedfirms, which would make China the most open large economy in the world.

Negative sentiment over foreign capital seems to derive mostly from a smallelite, worried that foreign capital may be undermining the development of indigenouscompanies. The lack of internationally competitive Chinese firms has fanned theflames of such suspicion.

The sentiment towards foreign capital among the population is mostly positive.Most local governments still tout the amounts of foreign capital that they attractto their populations.

‘Retreating is no way out’

“倒退没有出路”

China’s top leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to the reform and the open-doorpolicy. The Premier has stated that retreating is no way out. The risk of a substantialpolicy reversal is still low, in my view. Despite the ills in the economy, mostpeople are far better off than 15 years ago, when China was still quite closed.There is little popular support for a step backwards.

While the public at large support the reform and open-door policy, they alsowant their concerns to be addressed. I believe the main concerns are (1) ruralpoverty, (2) rising income inequality, (3) escalating costs of education and healthcare,(4) declining property affordability, (5) pollution, and (6) work safety. Publicdemand for government action on these issues looks likely to escalate in the comingyears.

China’s economic policy has tended to be about sustaining fast growth. Whenevergrowth has looked like slackening, the government has introduced another wave ofreforms to revive momentum. China has trusted in growth as the solution for thecountry’s problems.

Developments in the current boom have shaken this faith in growth. Despite themagnitude of the boom, popular discussions about the economy relate mostly to escalatingproblems rather than the accomplishments of growth (e.g. infrastructure development).This shift in sentiment is likely to have a significant impact on China’s policydevelopment in the coming years, I believe.

The growth target in the 11th five-year plan (2006-2010) is 7.5%, compared witha realized growth rate of 9.5% over the past 25 years. The government’s aim insetting a relatively low target is to leave room to address non-growth issues.The 11th five-year plan is likely to be a period of consolidation for the Chineseeconomy, in my view.

Over the next five years, I think the Chinese government needs to implementpolicies to address the issues that negatively affect livelihoods. If the problemscontinue to escalate, the doubts about China’s reform and open-door policy couldspread from a small elite to the masses.

Diverging trends of economy and household welfare

经济增长与国民福利的分离

The fixation with growth is to blame for many of today’s problems. To mobilizeresources to support investment-led growth, central and local governments havebeen shifting financial burdens to the masses. Education, healthcare and housingare the most important items. Merely 10 years ago, most people took for grantedthat the public sector would finance these three necessities. Today, they havecome to represent the biggest outlays in household expenditure. This is why, despiteincome growth, most people feel under more pressure than they did 10 years ago.

不健康的经济增长方式带来了很多问题。为了支持投资导向的经济增长,必须投入越来越多的资源,中央和地方政府就把筹集资源的负担转嫁到了社会大众身上。教育、医疗和住房是其中最主要的项目。仅仅在10年前,大多数人都认为国家会理所当然的提供这三种必需品。但是今天,这三项支出却成了家庭消费中的最大项目。这就是为什么,尽管收入在增长,大多数人却感到比十年前的压力更大了。

As the state sector has shed its burdens, it has used its improved financialsituation to list assets on the stock market and increase investment. The risein expenditure on infrastructure, for example, is due partly to the state sectorshifting its financial burdens to the household sector.

当国有企业卸走了它的负担后,财务状况得到了改善,于是国有企业增加了投资,到证券市场上上市融资。比如,基础设施的投入增加,部分原因就是国有部门将其财务负担转嫁到普通家庭身上。

The privatization of the housing market has played an important role in increasinginvestment. Sales of residential properties increased from 2% of GDP in 1998 to6.2% in 2005. As household income is about 56% of GDP, this implies that propertypurchases equate to around 11.1% of household income. The fear of rising propertyprices is a major driver of rising demand for properties. This item clearly featuresvery prominently in household expenditure, but did not exist 10 years ago.

在投资增加的过程中,住房市场私有化扮演了一个很重要的角色。住宅销售从1998年GDP的2%上升到了2005年的6.2%。因为家庭收入大约是GDP的56%,所以这表明家庭要用其收入的11.1%来购买住房。房地产的需求上升,很大程度上是因为人们害怕房地产价格会不断上涨。这个开支现在在家庭支出中扮演重要角色,但是10年前它是不存在的。

The 1Q06 central bank survey on urban consumption and saving behaviour showedthat willingness to consume has reached a historical low and education expenditureis the principal deterrent against consumption. China’s education system has aserious flaw, in my view. Schools are state-owned monopolies, but have flexibilitywhen it comes to charging students. Considering the importance that Chinese householdsattach to education, schools have great pricing power to raise charges on all sortsof pretexts. Chinese schools behave neither like public schools, which have a missionto serve, nor private schools, which must compete to succeed.

2006年第一季度,中央银行对城镇居民消费和储蓄行为的调查显示,消费意愿达到了历史上的最低点,人们不愿消费的首要原因是教育费用。在我看来,中国的教育体系有一个很重大的缺点。学校都是国有垄断的,但是却有权利自主决定如何对学生收费。考虑到中国家庭对教育的重视,学校会以各种借口运用其定价权来提高费用。中国的学校既不像提供义务教育的公立学校,也不像必须靠教育质量来确保生存的私立学校。

The latest report from the World Health Organization ranks China fourth frombottom among over 190 countries on social equity of healthcare. China had a healthcaresystem completely funded by the government only 10 years ago. The dramatic reversalhas had a traumatic impact on livelihoods. Similar to schools, Chinese hospitalsare state-owned monopolies that have pricing flexibility. In healthcare, the bargainingposition of the patient is essentially nil. It is not surprising that the currentsystem is the cause of considerable resentment.

世界卫生组织的最新医疗公平的报告,将中国在190个国家中列在倒数第四位。仅仅在10年前,中国的医疗体系完全由政府来承担。体制的变化对普通人的生活造成了灾难性的影响。同教育体系相类似,中国的医院也是国有垄断的,且有价格自主权。病人对价格几乎完全没有异议能力。现在的医疗体系在人民中造成巨大怨恨,是毫不奇怪的。

The new and large burdens from shouldering education, healthcare and housingexpenses explain why China’s impressive growth has not generated the same increasein household welfare — because the growth has taken place partly at households’expense. The China Youth Daily recently published a survey showing that 85.3% ofthe population feel a heavier financial burdens now than 10 years ago.

在教育、医疗和住房上新增的开支不断增大,解释了为什么中国引人注目的经济增长不能在国民福利上体现出来,因为这种经济增长一部分是以国民福利为代价而换来的。《中国青年报》最近公布的一项调查显示,85.3%的人感到现在比10年前经济负担更重。

The contrast between economic growth and household welfare is due to the three‘mountains’ of education, healthcare and housing, which weigh down on householdpocketbooks. Indeed, one major reason behind China’s fast economic growth is theshift in these financial burdens from the state to the household sector.

经济增长与国民福利分离的原因是“三座大山”:教育、医疗和住房。它们压在普通家庭的钱包上。实际上,中国经济快速增长背后的一个主要原因就是,将社会福利支出转移到了普通家庭的身上。

Policy implications

政策建议

Change appears to be in the air. The recently completed National People’s Congressfocused on the big social issues rather than growth per se. I expect most policychanges in the coming months to address the imbalances in China’s economy.

The first area likely to see action move is minimum wages. The city of Shenzhenhas just announced an increase in its minimum wage from Rmb 690/month to Rmb 800/month.Senior government leaders are increasingly expressing support for increased minimumwages. I see this as a key ingredient in addressing China’s economic imbalances.

More affordable housing is the next objective that needs to be met to increasehousehold welfare, in my view. Many cities are talking about this, but not doingenough, because such a solution is not sufficiently profitable for either propertydevelopers or city governments. I would expect to see some new policies implementedthis year.

The central government is targeting commercial corruption in hospitals and schoolsas a temporary measure to respond to popular unhappiness. However, reforms arenecessary to make these two sectors function efficiently on their own. I believeChina needs to introduce government-funded basic education and healthcare and topromote private capital market competition as much as possible to make these twoindustries efficient.

(完)
谢国忠搜狐博客 http://xieguozhong.blog.sohu.com/  

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