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国家财富

原标题:国家财富

译文导读

英大选前夕工党“誓让邮政和铁路系统重新国有化”;美特朗普政府提出了“一切为了国家利益”的经济国有化。为何国有化在西方再次引起人们的热议,国有化有何优势请看文章分析。

双语精读

Free exchange

National treasure

国家财富

Expanded state ownership is a risky solution to economic ills

提高国有化程度是应对经济症疾的措施之一,但此举风险重重

Translated by 嘉玥

Proofread by ffff😊zzzz, YL

Edited by 夭夭

When Jeremy Corbyn unveiled his Labour manifesto ahead of the recent British election, opponents gawked at pledges to renationalize the postal and rail systems. Such enthusiasm for state ownership smacks ofa philosophy long since abandoned by leaders on both left and right. Despite Labour’s decent electoral performance, nationalization is not everywhere on the march; on June 5th Donald Trump made public his desire to privatize air-traffic control. But the rise of Mr Corbyn and Bernie Sanders hints at a weakening of the rich-world consensus that the less of the economy owned by government, the better. That is a pity. Expanded state ownership is a poor way to cure economic ailments.

杰瑞米·科宾(Jeremy Corbyn)议员在英国大选前夕公布了工党宣言,反对党被宣言里要将邮政和铁路系统重新收归国有的承诺唬得一愣。对国有化的热衷带有一种哲学意味,尽管很久以前左右翼政党就打消了这一念头。且不论工党近日选举战绩如何(虽然工党在大选中表现得相当不错),国有化的风潮并没有四处扩散开去:6月5日,唐纳德·特朗普(Donald Trump)将他私有化航空交通管制的愿景公之于众。然而杰瑞米·科宾(Jeremy Corbyn)和伯尼.桑德斯(Bernie Sanders)势力的崛起暗示着发达国家对“经济体中的国有成分越少,经济运行越好”这一观点的认同度越来越低。这很令人遗憾,因为提高国有化程度并不是一个应对经济症疾的良方。

1.gawk at sb/sth 无礼地瞪眼看;呆头呆脑地盯着

Gawk - is often used to show disapproval and means to look at someone or something in a foolish way especially with your mouth open.

观看——通常是被用来反对和手段来看看某人或某事在一个愚蠢的方式,尤其是在你的嘴巴打开。

Interested customers could gawk at it, but they couldn't climb in to pose for photo ops or to check out the upholstery.

有兴趣的客户可以在围观,但他们无法攀登的照片构成老年退休金计划或检查出的铺垫。

2.smack of:带有……的味道,有某味道,有…气味

Even if official American outrage may smack of domestic political posturing, that of the victims' relatives does not.

如果说美国当局表现出的愤怒可能带有政治手腕的味道,那遇难者家属的愤怒绝对是发自心底的。

Such hopes for housing would smack of an effort to reanimate a corpse, had the bust not so far outpaced the boom.

对楼市的这种期望有些试图让死人复活的意味,不久之前的楼市泡沫破裂都已经超过了之前的繁荣。

For much of the 20th century, economists were open to a bit of dirigisme. Maurice Allais, an (admittedly French) economist who won the Nobel prize in 1988, recommended that the government run a few firms in each industry, the better to observe the relative merits of public and private ownership. Economists often embrace state control as a solution to market failure. Since there is no way to provide national security only to citizens who sign up to pay for it while denying it to the rest, it requires a government with the power to tax to provide defence. In cases of natural monopoly, in transport and telecommunications, nationalization is an alternative to allowing a dominant firm to use its market power to overcharge for subparservice. And state control looks attractive when private markets are bad at providing universal access to critical services. Private schools or health insurers have an incentive to skim offthe best-prepared students and healthiest patients, and to deny services to harder cases, creating a large pool of people that cannot profitably be served.

20世纪里大部分时间里,经济学家都赞同适度的国家干预。曾获1988年诺贝尔奖的法国著名经济学家莫里斯·阿莱斯(Maurice Allais)认为,如果政府在各行各业都经营几家公司的话,就能更好地观测出公有制和私有制的优缺点。经济学家通常将政府控制视为应对市场失灵的良药。由于没办法让少数有意付费的公民享受国家安全保障的同时,排除其他不愿付费的公民也享受同等服务,这就需要一个有着税收支持的政府来建设国防事业。在交通运输和电信这样的自然垄断行业,国有化是一种备选方案,可以防止一家主导企业利用市场支配力提供高价低质服务。另外,当私营市场难以一视同仁地为一群人提供关键性服务时,国有制便凸显优势。私立学校总是倾向于录取那些作了充分准备的学生,正如私营保险公司总是为更健康的患者提供保险,甚至拒绝为情况极为糟糕的患者提供保险,这就使得有一大批人没能享受到有益的服务。

1.dirigisme: 干预或统制;统制政策;统制经济

If "the largest financial crisis in human history" had been caused by too much laisser-faire, perhaps we now needed a little more dirigisme.

如果“人类历史上最大的金融危机”是太过自由放任造成的,那么或许我们现在需要多一点国家干预。

His thinking is a curious melange of leftism, dirigisme and liberalism whose Cartesian logic sometimes seemed crystalline only to himself.

他的思想很古怪,融合左翼,政府对国民经济的干预主义及自由主义,他的笛卡尔逻辑有时似乎只对他自己透明。

2.subpar: 不到一般(或预期)水平的;低于标准的

I guess Chris has to take some credit here, because in years past, I guess there's been some sort of subpar speakers at TED.

我猜克里斯一定很相信这些,因为在过去的几年中,我猜在TED的讲台上有过这么一些不够格的演讲者。

The trick is to not feel subpar when a travel snob overshadows your story with one of their own.

当你遇到高傲的旅客用他们的经历来贬低你的时候,窍门就是别觉得自己低人一等。

3. skim off:全部,刮削,撇去,撇下,撇去之漂浮物:,撇取

General Logistics, which oversees much of the military's assets, is notorious for offering rich opportunities to "skim off" .

总后勤部负责监管军方的大部分资产,以“油水丰厚”而著称。

He tried to skim off the best players for the school team.

他设法为校队选拔最好的球员。

3.这实际上涉及到公共设施的非排他性。非排他性是与排他性相对应的。排他性是指排斥他人消费的可能性,即如你在使用一件产品时别人就不能使用,或当你能完全拥有一件产品时,别人就不能拥有。一般来说,凡是企业和个人家庭能完整地购买其消费权的产品,都具有消费上的排他性。这种产品是私人产品。公共产品的非排他性也称为消费上的非排斥性,是指一个人在消费这类产品时,无法排除他人也同时消费这类产品,而且即使你不愿意消费这一产品,你也没有办法排斥。如你走在一条公路上,你无法排除其他人也走这条公路,如你不愿意受到公路上的路灯的光照,但只要你走上这条有路灯的公路,就必须受到照射。

非排他性还有一层含义,是指虽然有些产品在技术上也可以排斥其他人消费,但这样做是不经济的,或者是与公众的共同利益相违背的,因而是不允许的。比如,你可以在公路上设置路障来限制其他人的通行,但如此会付出两方面的成本:一是需要建设路障并派人进行日常管理,即增加了管理成本;二是使本来可以走这条马路的人不再能通行,带来了效率的损失,这也是一种成本。因而即使在马路上设立路障在技术上是可行的,但却是不经济的。同样以马路为例,虽然私人可以出资建设,但由此可能带来高额收费而影响公众的利益,因而或者由政府投资建设或者必须将此作为公共产品进行必要的政府管理。

But in the 1970s economists came to see state ownership as a costly fix to such problems. Owners of private firms benefit directly when innovation reduces costs and boosts profits; bureaucrats usually lack such a clear financial incentive to improve performance. Firms with the backing of the state are less vulnerable to competition; as they lumber on they hoard resources that could be better used elsewhere. Inattention to cost-cutting is not always a flaw. Oliver Hart, co-winner of last year’s Nobel prize for economics, pointed to private prisons as a case in which profit-focused managers might accept a cost-efficient decline in the welfare of prisoners that society would prefer not to have. Yet economists saw in the productivity slowdown of the 1970s evidence that an overreaching state was throttlingeconomic dynamism. Mr Corbyn first won election to parliament when the Tory govbusily selling off bits of state firms like British Leyland (the nationalized carmaker), British Airways and what was then called British Petroleum. Other governments followed suit although public assets in most countries remain large (see right-hand chart).

然而在20世纪70年代,经济学家逐渐意识到,企业国有化这一解决方案将付出十分高昂的代价。如果私营企业通过创新缩减成本提升利润,其所有者能直接从中获利,而国企的管理者通常缺少诸如此类的明确财务动机来提升绩效。有国家撑腰的公司不太容易受到竞争的影响,因为他们囤积的资源可以在其他地方更好地利用。对削减成本的忽视未必是一件坏事:去年诺贝尔经济学奖的共同受奖者之一的奥利弗·哈特(Oliver Hart)在私立监狱这个例子中指出,讲求利润最大化的管理者也许会采取高效措施以减少犯人们的福利,然而民众的意见或许与之相左。不过,经济学家们从20世纪70年代生产率下降的证据中发现,出售国有资产等过火的行为会抑制经济活力。杰瑞米·科宾(Jeremy Corbyn)首次赢得议会选举,是在保守党出售诸如英国利兰集团(British Leyland), 英国航空公司(British Airways)和当时的英国石油公司(British Petroleum)等国有企业的小分支企业之时。其他政府也纷纷效仿英国,尽管大部分国家国有资产的规模仍然十分庞大。

1.throttling: 抑制(讨论,贸易等);使窒息;【机】(用节汽阀等)调节;使节流

More than a year ago, President Obama signed into law a series of sweeping sanctions cumulatively aimed at throttling Iran's energy sector.

一年多以前,奥巴马总统签署了一系列极为严厉的制裁,以期逐渐控制伊朗的能源领域。

The invention provides a throttling connection pipe of air-conditioner which embeds a throttling device into a connection pipe.

本发明提供了一种把节流装置嵌入在连接管中的空调用节流连接管。

State-owned firms pose risks beyond that to dynamism. Government-run companies may prioritize swollen payrolls over customer satisfaction. More worryingly, state firms can become vehicles for corruption, used to dole outthe largesse of the state to favored backers or to funnel social wealth into the pockets of the powerful. As state control over the economy grows, political connections become a surer route to business success than entrepreneurialism. Even botchedprivatizations can improve governance in corruption-plagued emerging economies.

国有企业的风险远远不止抑制经济活力这么简单。比起顾客的满意度,政府运营的企业也许会优先考虑庞大的薪资单。更加令人担心的是,国有企业也许会成为腐败的载体,使得国家的补贴被管理者分派给受优待的支持者们,或是将社会财富输导到有权势之人的口袋中。随着经济体国有化程度的加强,政治关系将超过创业精神,成为通往商业成功的必然之路。在腐败猖獗的新兴经济体中,即使是粗拙的私有化改革,也能改善公司治理的现状。

1.dole out: 少量地分给,发放

he bank claims that this profit-making activity helps it to dole out money to the poorest countries.

世行声称这种赢利行为可以有助于该行向最贫困国家发放资金。

And if I dole out all my possessions to feed others, and if I deliver up my body that I may boast, but do not have love, I profit nothing.

我若将我一切所有的变卖为食物分给人吃,又舍己身叫我可以夸口,却没有爱,仍然与我无益。

2. botched: 笨活;粗拙的补缀;〔英方〕疮;〔医〕(皮肤上的)疖

v.粗拙地补缀;笨手笨脚地弄坏;搞坏了事情

Hamilton was hospitalised with severe burns after a botched explosion in a take of the moment in which she disappears into a cloud of smoke.

拍汉密尔顿消失在一团烟雾中那个场景时,爆破失败,她严重烧伤,被送往医院救治。

At every meeting I made a complaint the rest of the committee did not want to hear: botched fire drills, filing cabinets toppling over.

在每次会议上,我都会提出委员会中其他人不想听到的抱怨:粗糙的救火演习、摇摇欲坠的档案柜。

If antipathyto nationalization is fading, however, that has less to do with newfound confidence in state competence and more with disappointment in private business. Although studies typically find that countries with more of the economy under state control grow more slowly than those with less, much of the rich world—including enthusiastic privatizers like America and Britain—is limping through productivity doldrums. High corporate profits suggest that private markets are not hotbeds of cut-throat competition. Recent economic growth has done more to enrich shareholders and a small set of highly skilled workers than the public as a whole. Tech dynamos like Google and Facebook delight consumers, but these companies increasingly wield unsettling economic and social power. Both the financial crisis and growing suspicion of Silicon Valley fan suspicion that private ownership is not a sure way to advance the public good.

如果说对国有化的反感正在消退的话,这也和政府新建立起的公信力没多大关系,更多地则是反映出人们对私营企业的失望。尽管研究表明:大多国有化程度越高的国家经济增速越慢,但是包括美国和英国这些私有化热衷者在内的大部分发达国家,却经受着生产率放缓的考验。高额的公司利润表明私营市场并非是孕育激烈竞争的温床。近期的经济增长,与其说让社会整体的境况变得更好,不如说是让股东和一小部分高技能工人受益。谷歌和脸书等科技行业引领者让消费者得到了满足,然而这些公司对经济和社会舆论的影响力却越发令人不安。金融危机以及对硅谷狂热者们越发强烈的疑心使得人们开始质疑,私有制并不一定能够推进公共利益最大化。

1.antipathy: 反感,厌恶

his antipathy to ideas is often expressed as anti-elitism.

这种对于新思想的憎恶之心往往往被称为反精英主义。

Some of his antipathy to banks might be traced to this time, when his job seemed at risk.

他对银行界的部分反感可以追溯到这个时候。

2.limp through: 步履维艰,蹒跚

hey're going to have problems with field-grade officers -- big shortages. They're going to have to limp through.

他们将遇到校级军官短缺的问题,严重短缺。他们一定会步履维艰。

Why else would it take so long for legislation to allow gay soldiers to serve openly in the army to limp through Congress?

此外,立法机构为何很久才同意同性恋士兵公开在军队服役,蹒跚地穿过国会呢?

3. doldrum: 经济无生气,衰退

Modern forms of public ownership are designed to look more benign than the old models. The new nationalization might involve governments sitting quietly in the boardroom, grabbing a share of profits for the public purse and reminding firms not to neglect their social responsibilities, while leaving enough shares in private hands to harness the benefits ofred-bloodedcapitalism.

现代化的私有制形式较过去而言更加温和。在新形式下的国有化中,政府也许就只是安静地坐在董事会会议室中,为了公共资金攫取一部分利润,同时提醒公司不要忘记履行社会责任,而将更多的份额交由私人掌控,以便充分利用欣欣向荣的资本主义的益处。

1. red-blooded: 健壮的,精神好的,有勇气的,情节紧张的,精力充沛的

India's companies are refreshingly red-blooded, but more than other firms in the world they carry a giant responsibility.

印度的公司是新鲜的血液,但他们也比世界上其它的公司需要承担更巨大的责任。

Innovation gave a kind of brand-new brand image new appearance, appear red-blooded , young and rich and modern contemporary feeling.

创造出了一种全新的品牌形象新面貌,显得布满活力、朝气蓬勃以及富有时髦的现代感。

Hire, not fire

有利于就业,不利于竞争

Even this modest version of state capitalism could disappoint. Shared ownership, even at small scales, has the potential to blunt competition in ways that harm consumers. The rise of large asset managers, like BlackRock and Vanguard, means that huge stakes in firms representing much of the stockmarket are controlled by a few passive investors running money for private savers. Recent research suggests that this concentrated ownership may be bad for competition. As a result of common ownership of airlines by asset managers, for instance, fares are estimated to be 3% to 5% higher than if ownership were more dispersed.

即使是此类温和的国有资本主义,其表现也不尽如人意。合作制企业,不论规模多小,都有可能妨害竞争,从而损害消费者的利益。诸如贝莱德资产管理公司 (BlackRock) 和先锋基金等大型资产管理公司的崛起,意味着为私人投资者打理财富的少数消极投资者,控制了代表股票市场的公司的大部分股份。近期的研究表明,高度集中的所有权也许会危及竞争。例如,资产管理公司拥有共同所有权的航空公司,相较于处在更为分散化的所有权控制下的航空公司,其机票价格大概要高出3%到5%。

Some on the left might see higher prices as an acceptable cost for a reduction in corporate power (and it is hard to imagine service at some airlines getting worse in public hands). Yet there are other risks to consider. China’s state-owned sector is proving difficult to shrink in part because it accounts for so much employment. Governments trying to deliver good jobs may be tempted to lean on state-controlled firms to hire more staff, particularly in countries with powerful public-sector unions. Consumers and taxpayers would bear the costs of such bloating. Corporate power, inequality and underemployment are all real worries. Expanding state ownership is the wrong way to tackle such ills.

左翼人士也许会将高昂的票价视为削弱公司势力所要付出的必要代价(而且很难想象国有化的航空公司提供的服务会差到哪里去)。然而要考虑的风险还不止这些。中国的国有部门不太可能收缩,其中一个原因就是相当一部分就业都仰仗于此。试图增加就业的政府依赖国有企业吸纳更多的员工,有着强大公共部门的国家尤甚。消费者和纳税人将承受国有企业人员冗杂的代价。公司势力、不平等以及就业率不足才是真正的后顾之忧。然而通过扩张国有化来解决这些问题并不是一个正确的做法。

文章结构

第一段主要是用特朗普欲将邮政和铁路系统重新收归国有的冲击性宣言引出本文主题,也就是对国有制和私有制的批判性思考。第二段至第四段主要是概述国有制企业的利弊。第二段是将适当的国家干预,数量规模适当的国有制企业是有利于经济体的。这主要是由市场本身的性质决定的。一是市场失灵的不可避免性。二是公共服务领域非排他性、非公益性的特性。第三段到第四段是讲国有制企业的弊端。主要是低效冗杂,无法适应激烈的市场竞争,不健全的公司治理极易滋生权钱交易,以至于政治成功也纳入到商业成功里,成为不可或缺的一部分。第五段是一个辩证,讲私有制企业也有其自身的弊端。主要是私有企业顾全整个社会的利益,而只是通过资本增值为一小部分资本家谋利。第六段至第七段是构想新形式的国有制企业。在这个设想下,国有制企业会逐渐放开管理权,而是作为监督者审视资本的运作。第八段是讲国有企业之所以不可或缺,很重要的一个原因就是国内大部分的就业都仰仗于此。

译者简介

我是一名大二学生,专业财务管理。几年前入坑《经济学人》,遇到了一群有着同样爱好的,处处提携、指导我的小伙伴,感到非常开心也非常荣幸。欢迎更多的小伙伴进行交流,邮箱是3057833235@qq.com.

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