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[经济学人] 【经济学人财经专栏】 Hu's counting 胡主席的“小算盘”(第二季)

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发表于 2011-2-6 16:52 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Hu's counting II   胡主席的“小算盘”(第二季)

Jan 29th 2011, 19:24 by S.C. | HONG KONG


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IN MY previous post, I scrutinised President Hu Jintao's claim that Chinese imports had saved American consumers $600 billion over the past decade. My back-of-the-envelope calculations suggested that his figure was, if anything, an understatement. At the same luncheon, China's president also talked about trade in the opposite direction. He said that imports to China had created more than 14m jobs around the world, since China joined the World Trade Organisation in 2001.

在我之前的博文中,我仔细检查了胡主席宣称的关于 “过去十年,从中国进口的商品为美国消费者省下了6000亿美元”这一论断。我的一系列简单容易的计算——如果没什么其他意外因素的话——表明他提供的数据只是一个保守陈述。在那次午宴上,中国国家主席还从相反的方向谈到了贸易。他说,自中国2001年加入世贸组织以来,对中国市场的进口为世界创了超过140万份工作。

President Hu was right to remind his audience that China is not just an export machine. Compared with Japan, it is remarkably open to foreign goods and investment. Over the past two decades, its ratio of imports to GDP (which peaked at 32% in 2005) was more than twice that of Japan's.

胡主席适时地提醒了他的观众们,中国不仅仅是一个出口机器。和日本相比,它总是卓有成效地对外国商品和投资开放。在过去的二十年中,它的进口额占国内生产总值比率是日本的两倍以上。(2005年处于峰值时曾达到32%)

So how many people owe their jobs to purchases by the Middle Kingdom? I have no idea how President Hu arrived at his figure of 14m, but I've attempted to replicate it in the table at right.

这么说来,到底有多少人的工作仰仗于那些来自中华大地的买家呢?我不知道胡主席是怎么得到1400万这个数据的,但我想试试通过右边的这份图表发几句牢骚(参见Jobsworth图)。

The first column of the table shows various countries' exports to China from 2001 to 2009, expressed as an annual average. The Philippines, for example, sold $11.7 billion a year on average over that period. But how many jobs does that translate into? One benchmark is GDP per worker (see the second column of the table). In the Philippines, the average worker produced $3,400 worth of output a year from 2001-2009. So you could say that it takes $3,400 of output to "support" one job. If that's the case, then $11.7 billion worth of Filippino exports to China supported almost 3.5m jobs in the country (third column).

表格的第一栏展示了各个国家从2001年到2009年对中国的出口量,以年平均值表示出来。以菲律宾为例,在这一时期中,每年平均向中国输入价值117亿美元。但是这可以转换成多少份工作呢?一个衡量标准是劳动力人均GDP(参见表格第二栏)。在菲律宾,2001年到2009年间,平均每个工人生产价值3400美元的输出产品。于是你就可以得出每“支持”一份工作,需要输出3400美元的结论。如果是这么回事的话,那么菲律宾对中国价值117亿美元的出口就创造了接近3500万份工作(第三栏)。

If you carry out this crude calculation for the top 13 exporters to China, you quickly reach and surpass President Hu's total. Again, by this back-of-the-envelope calculation, President Hu's big claim looks quite plausible.

如果你完成了对表格中从上到下13个国家的粗略计算,你很快就发现这大大超过了胡主席给出的总数。再一次,通过这种不太复杂的计算,胡主席的大话其实差不多是对的。

But I should immediately highlight two caveats and two flaws in this exercise.
但我必须事先强调在这份计算中的两点预先说明和两个瑕疵。

One caveat is that a country's export industries may not be as labour-intensive as its economy as a whole. The exports of Saudia Arabia, Brazil and Australia are, for example, dominated by commodities, which earn rich revenues, without employing too many people. Even in America, it took $165,000 of exports to support a single job in 2008, according to a  report by the Department of Commerce, compared with GDP per worker of only about $100,000 in that year.

第一个预先说明是一个国家的出口产业或许并不像它的整体经济那样劳动力密集。以沙特、巴西和澳大利亚为例,它们都是由商业支配的经济体,因此不需要雇佣太多的劳动力,但却可以赚取丰厚的税收。即使是在美国,根据该国商务部的报告,2008年劳动力人均GDP为100000美元,但同年却需要165000美元才能创造一个工作,

A second caveat is that GDP per employee measures the value added by a country's workers, excluding the value of imported materials and components. The value of exports, on the other hand, includes the cost of these imported materials. Some of what the Philippines sells to China may contain components the Filippinos bought from Japan, for example.

第二个预先说明是每个雇员的GDP衡量价值由该国的劳动力添加,不包括进口原材料和零件的价值。而从另一方的出口价值来说,则包括这些进口原材料。比如菲律宾对中国的进口,其中一部分可能包括了菲律宾从日本购买的零件。

That takes me to one of the deeper flaws in this exercise. Is it kosher to talk about trade "creating" and "destroying" jobs at all? Imports and exports obviously contribute to a great deal of churning in the labour market. They are responsible for a lot of "gross" job creation and destruction. But are they responsible for net job creation in a country? Economists normally think of trade as a force that reshapes the composition of employment, not its overall level. The level of employment is ultimately determined by aggregate demand, and aggregate demand is determined by whatever the central bank thinks the economy can bear, without jeopardising stable prices. Orders from China is one component of aggregate demand, to be sure. But if China shut up shop, creating a bit of economic slack in its trading partners, their central banks would simply cut rates to compensate.

这引发了我在这些计算中留下的另一个瑕疵。我们谈论“创造”或者“毁灭”工作,根本上合乎规则传统么?进口和出口显然对劳动力市场的活跃有巨大贡献。它们对于工作“粗略”量的创造和毁灭都负有责任,但对于一个国家的净工作创造量呢?经济学家通常把贸易视为一种能够重塑职业系统形态的力量,而不是它的总体水平。职业系统的“水平”最终取决于总需求,而总需求则取决于中央银行对经济体承受能力的判断,绝不能有对价格稳定的威胁。可以确定的是,来自中国的订单只是总需求的一部分。如果中国停止对外采购,给它的贸易伙伴造成那么一点经济衰退,则该国的中央银行将会简单地降低利率以作为抵消。

(译者注:出口会增长一个国家的总需求,而这种“总需求”并不稳定,依赖于进口方市场的运营状况,比如上文中说的中国停止进口,则出口国总需求会下降,此时该国中央银行降低利率后,将刺激国内消费,抵消进口国带来的需求减少。)

Paul Krugman once made this point forcefully in a 1997 passage on NAFTA:
保罗•克鲁格曼曾在1997年《北美自由贸易协定》中强有力的指出过这一点。

The debate over the North American Free Trade Agreement was conducted almost entirely in terms of supposed job creation or destruction. The obvious (to me) point that the average unemployment rate over the next 10 years will be what the Fed wants it to be, regardless of the U.S.-Mexico trade balance, never made it into the public consciousness. (In fact, when I made that argument at one panel discussion in 1993, a fellow panelist—a NAFTA advocate, as it happens—exploded in rage: "It's remarks like that that make people hate economists!")

围绕《北美自由贸易协定》的争论最后几乎是完全以假定的工作量创造或者破坏作为结论。显然的(对于我来说)一点是平均失业率在接下来的十年中将会是联邦政府希望看到的,这无视了美国和墨西哥贸易平衡,也绝不敢让它进入公众的认知范围。(实际上,当我在1993年的一次专题小组讨论会上为此争辩时,其中一个组员——北美自由贸易区的倡导者,就在我说出这话的时候——勃然大怒:“这种评论只会让人们讨厌经济学家!”)

Those were the good old days. Since then, the Fed has cut interest rates as low as they can go, while conspicuously failing to restore full employment. In these unfortunate circumstances, demand from China might well help to lift employment in America and anywhere else suffering from an underemployed economy and an impotent central bank. But that is hardly the case for the
whole of the ten years since China joined the WTO.

这些都是一去不返的好日子了。从那以后,联邦政府尽其所能地降低税率,但同时也显然没能使市场达到充分就业。在这种不利的情况下,来自中国的需求或许会很好的帮助美国提高就业率,而其他地方则只有遭受经济体就业不足和中央银行无能的痛苦。不过自从中国加入WTO以后的整整十年里,就再也不是那么回事儿了。

But even in today's demand-constrained world, President Hu should be careful about claiming too much for China's purchases. If he wants to argue that exports to China "create" demand and jobs around the world, he must also believe that exports from China leech demand and "destroy" jobs around the world. Indeed, much of what China imports—from iron ore to hard drives—is fashioned into goods for sale elsewhere. For every planter in Malaysia who owes his job to China's demand for rubber, there is an ex-tiremaker in America who blames Chinese exports for his redundancy.

不过即使是在今天这种受需求制约的世界,胡主席也应该小心谨慎,避免过度张扬中国的购买力。如果他想要为“中国的进口为世界“创造”了需求和工作”争辩,他必须同样相信中国的出口也在榨取需求,同时“破坏”这世界的工作。实际上,中国进口的大部分商品——从铁矿到硬盘驱动器——其实是为了卖到其他地方。当一个马来西亚的农民因为中国对橡胶的需求而获得了工作时,在美国就会有一个“丢掉饭碗的轮胎制造商”埋怨中国出口了他的过剩商品。

It's precisely that kind of logic that underlies Mr Krugman's more recent calculation that China's mercantilism is costing America 1.4m jobs, not creating the 600,000 jobs shown in the table. Indeed, of the 13 countries in the table, only seven (Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Saudi Arabia) saw their net exports to China grow from 2001 to 2008.

以上理论更严谨的反应了那种成为克鲁格曼先生最近一次计算的基础的逻辑,那就是中国的重商主义耗去了美国140万份工作,而不是表格中的创造了60万份工作。实际上,表格上的13个国家中只有7个(日本,马来西亚,菲律宾,新加坡,韩国,台湾(地区)和沙特阿拉伯)对中国的净出口从2001年到2008年实现了增长。
It's fine to carry out calculations on the back of the envelope, but be careful what lies on the other side of the ledger.
从事一些并不复杂的计算是好事,但要记得小心藏在账本另一端的谎言。

译者补充:关于保罗克鲁格曼

保罗·克鲁格曼:(Paul R. Krugman,1953年2月28日)美国经济学家,保罗·克鲁格曼是自由经济学派的新生代,理论研究领域是贸易模式和区域经济活动。目前是普林斯顿大学经济系教授。1991年获克拉克经济学奖,2008年获诺贝尔经济学奖。现为麻省理工学院经济系经济学教授。克鲁格曼的主要研究领域包括国际贸易、国际金融、货币危机与汇率变化理论。他创建的新国际贸易理论,分析解释了收入增长和不完善竞争对国际贸易的影响。
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