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美国经济学家泰勒:中国肯定会成为世界最大经济体,但未必是最强大国家

陈为 正和岛

  岛 君 说  

蒂莫西·泰勒(Timothy Taylor),美国著名经济学家,全球权威杂志《经济展望杂志》主编。经典畅销书《斯坦福极简经济学》与美国百所高校通用教材《经济学原理》作者。


泰勒学术功底深厚,曾为众多诺贝尔经济学奖获得者编发论文,帮助他们用生动的语言向普通大众解释他们的理论,被称为“诺奖得主的天才编辑”。亦曾因在斯坦福大学讲授的经济学课程备受欢迎,获“斯坦福杰出教学奖”。他还为多家报刊撰写经济学专栏,并为联邦储备银行等机构或组织讲授经济学课程。


泰勒非常重视教育,受邀来中国讲学的时候,他也在不同的场合分享从各国经济发展中得出的经验和教训:受教育程度越高的国家,人均GDP越高,人均收入就越高。1980年,中国人平均接受教育的程度很低,与美国差距很大;到了2014年,虽然仍低于世界平均水平,但受教育年限显著提升,这个过程就是中国在努力追赶的过程。


作为一个定位新政商关系的专栏,借着泰勒在喜马拉雅开设经济学入门课的机会,我们以邮件的形式采访了他。作为严谨的经济学家,泰勒的回答实在是太谨慎克制了,但依然可以通过其只言片语,了解美国主流社会的一些观点。我们也希望借此,让大众听到更多不同的声音。


访 谈:陈为

来 源:正和岛(ID:zhenghedao)

文字翻译机构:他山石

问:中美贸易战接下来会朝什么方向发展?这场贸易战将如何影响这两个国家以及世界?


泰勒:我不知道如何区分我脑海中所恐惧、期待和希望的。但回想起来,美国和其它地区的反贸易运动也曾风行一时。例如,在上世纪70年代和80年代,美国也强硬地认为,与日本的贸易是不公平而且具有破坏性的;在上世纪90年代末和本世纪初,世界各地的城市也都出现了反全球化的抗议活动。这种情况似乎经常发生,即当一场贸易战即将打响时,人们会采取一些较小的行动来限制贸易,但是显而易见,贸易限制具有特定而高昂的成本。做个比喻,限制贸易有点像触碰一个通电的栅栏,大多数人首先是震惊,然后退缩。就我个人而言,我希望任何贸易战都是短暂的、小规模的。贸易要寻求为两国创造双赢局面的途径; 对于每个人来说,贸易战的结局通常都是两败俱伤。

I don’t know how to separate in my mind what I fear and what I expectand what I hope! But when I think back, there have been other times whenanti-trade movements in the US and elsewhere have been popular. For example, in the 1970s and 1980s there was a strong belief in the US that trade with Japanwas unfair and destructive. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, there were anti-globalization protests in cities all over the world. What often seems to happen is that when it seems like a trade war might be starting, and certain smaller actions are taken to limit trade, it then becomes very clear thatlimiting trade has specific and large costs. Limiting trade is a little like touching an electrified fence: after doing it, most people feel the shock and back away. I hope that any trade war is short and small. Trade is about finding ways to create win-win scenarios for both countries; trade wars usually end upas lose-lose scenarios for everyone.

问:你如何看待中国近些年的经济发展?有人认为中国或在本世纪成为世界上最强大的国家,你怎么看?


泰勒:中国近40年来的经济增长是世界经济史上最令人惊叹的事件之一。在50年后,甚至100年后,经济学家和历史学家们都将继续讨论和撰写这方面的文章。中国肯定会很快成为世界上最大的经济体——从某些方面来看,它已经是了。但最强大的国家和最大的经济体的含义是不同的。未来几十年,中国人均GDP仍将远远低于美国和西欧等高收入国家。国力没有一个简单的公式,它涉及到外交、科技,甚至是一个国家被他国信任或赞赏的程度。

China’s economic growth in the last 40 years is one of the most amazing events in world economic history. Economists and historians will still betalking and writing about it in 50 years, and in 100 years. China will certainly become the largest economy in the world very soon—by some measures,it already is. But the most powerful country is a different question from the biggest economy. On a per person basis, per capita GDP is going to be muchlower in China than in high-income countries like the US and western Europe fordecades to come. Power doesn’t have a simple formula. It involves diplomacy,technology, and even the extent to which a country is trusted or admired byothers.

问:在你看来,中国过去40年高速发展的原因是什么?


泰勒:经济增长有一个基本的公式,它有四个要素:对实物资本的投资、需要更多人力资本的工人(技能和教育)、新技术,以及在创新、创业和努力工作的情况下,将前面三种要素结合在一起的情形。中国经济发展的早期阶段主要是依靠大量的实物资本投资,以及改变对创业和就业的激励方式。但在过去的几十年里,正不断朝着另一个方向转变,即更多的增长来自于人力资本、新创新和新技术。

There’s a basic formula for economic growth. It has four ingredients:investment in physical capital, workers with more human capital (that is, skilland education), new technology, and mixing these first three ingredients together in a situation where there are incentives for innovation,entrepreneurship, and hard work. The early stages of China’s economic development focused mostly on high levels of investment in physical capital andchanging the incentives for entrepreneurship and work. But in the last coupleof decades, there is an ongoing shift toward more growth coming from humancapital and new innovation and technology.

问:美国人对中国的高速发展是欢迎还是焦虑?


泰勒:我想大多数美国人两种感觉都有。经常能听到美国人羡慕地谈论中国建设城市的速度有多快、高铁系统有多发达。


但也有一些担心,我觉得这也属于正常。假设你生活在中国的一个城市,尽管你自己的城市也运转良好,但附近一个城市的人口和经济产出增长非常非常快。你会猜想那个城市是如何做到的,并担心这个城市的增长会不会影响到你的城市,让它发生变化并增加一些成本。

I think most Americans have both feelings. It’s common to hear Americanstalk admiringly of how quickly China has built its cities or its train system. 


But there is some worry, too, which seems natural to me. Imagine that you are living in a city in China, and although your city is doing just fine, anearby city has extremely rapid growth in population and economic output. You would wonder what is happening in that other city, and be concerned that the growth of that other city might in some way create changes and costs for yourcity.

问: “后发优势”和“后发劣势”这两个经济概念,你认为哪个更重要?中国经济学家杨小凯所说的“后发劣势”(经济学家沃森提出,英文为“Curse To The Late Comer”),指的是发展中国家模仿发达国家的技术,而忽略模仿发达国家的制度,短期效果较好,长期则有较大隐患,甚至可能失败。你觉得中国会面临这个问题吗?


泰勒:“后发优势”是一个著名的术语,来自于20世纪60年代早期的一篇经济学研究论文。它指出,当一个国家贫穷的时候,可以通过向高收入国家销售产品获益,也可以利用其它地方已经掌握的技术来获益。但后发的劣势是国家收入较低,低收入往往和较差的教育、健康、环保、旅游、休闲条件伴生。两相对比,“后发劣势”更为重要。


当我理解关于“后发劣势”的争论时,一个共同的话题是,中国经济的增长伴随着大量能源和原材料的使用,但能源和原材料并非取之不尽、用之不竭的,同时也存在环境成本。“劣势”的说法是正确的,中国不能总是以同样的方式保持增长。中国未来的经济增长源需要与过去的增长源有所不同。但这并不是中国独有的情况,对于每个国家来说,经济增长都是一个不断转型和变化的过程。

The advantages of backwardness, of course, is a famous term from an economics research paper written back in the early 1960s. It pointed out that when a country is poor it can benefit by selling to countries with higher incomes, and also by using technology already developed in other places. But the disadvantage of backwardness is that a country has lower income, which isoften combined with lower levels of education, health, environmental protection, ability to travel and relax, and other nice things. The disadvantages of backwardness are more important.


As I understand the arguments about a “latecomer curse,” a common topicwas that although China’s economy had grown with large use of energy and raw materials, it was hard to keep having ever-more energy and ever-more rawmaterials—and there were environmental costs as well. The “curse” argument iscorrect in saying that China could not keep growing in exactly the same way.The sources of China’s growth in the future need to be different from the pastsources of growth. But this is not unusual. For every country, economic growth involves an ongoing process of transformation and change.


In which areas should China improve if the nation wants to pursuelong-term, steady development?

问:中国想要获得长期、稳定地发展,应该在哪些方面有所改进?


泰勒:我要指出三个方面。首先,中国需要“重新平衡”其经济(正如经济学家所说),使其增长基于更高水平的国内消费,而不是更高的出口或实物资本投资水平。其次,中国已经成功地建立了一套教育体系,让每个人都能接受九年义务教育,但现在它需要实现的目标是让几乎所有人都接受十二年教育——同时也要让更多的学生上大学。第三,中国的金融体系仍需要发展。稳健的金融体系既鼓励冒险又能限制冒险。但中国的一些银行贷款和企业债券借贷业务似乎为人们的担忧提供了理由。

I’d point to three areas. First, China needs to “rebalance” its economy(as the economists say) so that its growth that is based on higher levels ofdomestic consumption, rather than higher levels of exports or physical capitalinvestment. Second, China has successfully created an educational system thatgets everyone through nine years of school, but it now needs to aim at getting almost everyone through 12 years of school—and more students attending college, too. Third, China’s financial system still needs to develop. A sturdy financial system both encourages and places limits on risk-taking. But some of China’s bank lending and corporate bond borrowing seem to offer reasons for concern.

问:很多国家会陷入“中等收入陷阱”,中国该如何防范?


泰勒:如果你把经济规模(GDP)除以人口数,中国现在大约是美国水平的25%。中国经济势头强劲,只要国家继续实行必要的改革,我预计它将以强劲的速度继续增长。在20或30年内,中等收入陷阱也许会成为一个问题,但我不认为这是中国经济在短期或中期的问题。

If you take the size of the economy (GDP) and divide by population, China is now at about 25% of the US level. China’s economy has strong momentum,and as long as the country keeps embracing the needed changes, I expect it will continue growing at a strong pace. In 20 or 30 years, maybe the middle-income trap will emerge as a problem, but I don’t see it as a problem for China’s economy in the short-term or the medium-term.

问:中国在哪些方面可以向美国学习? 你认为乔布斯、马斯克这样的卓越企业家为什么能在美国产生而非其他国家?


泰勒:中国或许可以看看那些经过时间检验还相当成功的美国机构和行业,看看是否有值得借鉴的地方。例如,世界上许多顶尖的学院和大学都在美国。美国拥有一些世界上最大的金融市场,这些金融市场为世界各地人民所用。美国有许多世界领先的物流公司、邮政行业。美国经济有一个悠久的传统,那就是许多公司由小公司开始起步,而其中少数会成长为全国性乃至全球性巨头。


基于创造发明开创公司的观念在美国历史上有着深厚的渊源。当欧洲人在北美洲定居时,那时候的情形是有大量的土地和自然资源,但劳动力相对较少。因此,通过创新和使用机器来减少对劳动力的需求很有价值。大约240年前, 《美利坚合众国宪法》就要求新的美国政府将建立一个国家专利局。美国历史上就表达了让新公司成长的意愿,即使这样意味着上一代企业将面临困难甚至破产。

China might want to look at some US institutions and industries that have been fairly successful over time and see if there are lessons to be learned. For example, many of the world’s top colleges and universities are inthe US. The US has some of the world’s largest financial markets, used bypeople all over the world. The US has a number of the world’s leading companiesin logistics, the business of delivering goods and services. The US economy hasa long tradition that many small companies get started, and a few grow intonational and even global giants.


The idea of starting companies based on inventions has deep roots in US history. When Europeans were settling in North America, a common situation wasthat land and natural resources were plentiful, but there was comparatively little labor. Thus, finding innovations and machines that reduced the need forlabor was quite valuable. When the Constitution of the United States was written about 240 years ago, it actually included a requirement that the brand-new US government would establish a national patent office.  The US has shown a willingness over itshistory to allow new companies to grow, even when it means hardship or evenbankruptcy for the previous generation of companies.

问:有哪些中国公司或企业家让你印象深刻,为什么?


泰勒:这个问题有很明显的选择,中国有像阿里巴巴(Alibaba)、百度(Baidu)和腾讯(Tencent)这样的中国知名企业。我一直对海尔公司印象深刻。事实上,我的办公室里有一个海尔冰箱,它可以让我的健怡可乐保持低温。海尔似乎将对高质量的追求与其不断改进技术的努力结合在了一起。但我最欣赏的是那些经营小公司、尝试与众不同的人。他们中只有少数人会取得成功,但他们创造的工作岗位,以及所积累的知识和经验,对于保持经济的向前发展至关重要。举个例子,几个月前,我遇到了Emotech公司的创始人,这家公司正在开发人机界面,他们试图创造出一种机器人个人助手,这种个人助手可以通过动作和灯光,以人的方式来表达情感。在后续的中国之行中,我希望见到一些经营中小企业的人,而不仅仅是那些知名大公司的经营者。

There are obvious choices of highly prominent Chinese companies like Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent. I’ve always been impressed by Haier; in fact, I have a small Haier refrigerator in my office to keep my supply of Diet Cokecold. Haier seems to combine high-quality manufacturing with an ongoing push toimprove its technology.


But what I admire most are those people running smaller companies and trying something really different. Only a few of them will succeed in a bigway, but the jobs they create, and the knowledge and experience they build, is so important in keeping the economy moving forward. As one example, a few months ago I met the founder of Emotech, a company which is working on the human-robot interface, trying to create robotic personal assistants which show emotion in a physical way, with motion and lights.  On future visits to China, I hope to meet some people running smaller and medium-sized businesses, not just the well-known giant firms.

问:你如何看待中国数量庞大的国企?他们该如何改革?


泰勒:许多国家都有国有公司。举个例子,20世纪70年代英国经济的10%是国有企业,任何国有企业的问题是如何在没有竞争的情况下激励效率和创新。例如,政府将公司的效率与其他国家的同行业的公司进行比较,或要求公司随着时间的推移增加服务和降低价格,或允许私营公司与国有企业竞争。当然,如果国有企业一出现亏损,政府就给予补贴,那么对这些公司的激励效果就会降低。在中国,许多国有企业,尤其是小型国有企业,已经向私有制转变。我预计这一转变将随着时间的推移而持续。

Many countries have had companies that are state-owned. As one example,about 10% of the economy of the United Kingdom was state-owned companies in the 1970s.  The problem with any state-ownedcompany is how to provide incentives for efficiency and innovation if there isno competition. For example, the government to compare the efficiency of thecompany to firms from the same industry in other countries, or require that thecompany expand service and reduce prices over time, or allow private firms tocompete with the state-owned firm. Of course, if government subsidizes state-owned firms whenever they make losses, the incentives for these firms to improve are reduced. In China, many state-owned firms, especially the smaller ones, have already shifted to private ownership. I expect that shift will gradually continue over time.

问:除了面临市场不确定性,中国企业家还必须处理复杂的政府-企业关系。你如何看待这些挑战?


泰勒:美国公司也一直在抱怨与政府的关系! 经济学家有句老话:“政府应该掌舵,而不是划桨。”这意味着,尽管政府可以划定包括监管和税收在内的总体方向,但企业必须掌握自身运营的具体细节。如果政府试图介入细节,有时一个企业所能做的就是限制它的参与和从这个项目或产品中退出。


大多数美国企业家都非常愿意遵守政府的规定,但他们也会抱怨这些规则似乎不够明确或简单。他们需要花费大量的时间和精力来了解他们需要做什么、怎么做才是遵循规则。即使这样,他们有时也不确定他们是否真的成功地遵循了规则。也会有抱怨说,政府系统并不总是表现良好:例如,学校没有给工人提供正确的教育和技能,或者应该改善道路、铁路和交通系统。

US companies complain about their relations with government all the time, too! There’s an old saying among economists that “government should steer, not row.” It means that although government can offer overalldirections, including regulations and taxes, businesses need to be the ones that run the specific details of their own operations. If government is trying to get involved in details, sometimes all a business can do is try to limit itsinvolvement and draw back from a certain project or product.


Most American entrepreneurs are perfectly willing to follow governmentrules, but they complain that the rules often do not seem clear or simple. As a result, entrepreneurs complain that it takes a lot of time and energy just to figure out what is needed to follow the rules—and even then, they may sometimes feel uncertain as to whether they have actually succeeded in following the rule.  Other complaints are that broader government systems are not always performing well: for example, that schools are not providing workers with the right education and skills, or that roads,railways, and transportation systems should be improved.

问:今年是中国改革开放40年,你对下一轮与改革相关的政府政策有什么期望吗?哪几方面需要突破性改革?



泰勒:在世界经济中,中国仍是中等收入国家。从中等收入国家向高收入国家转变所需的步骤与中国在过去40年里已经采取的步骤一样繁多。我不确定下一轮的政策改革会是什么样子,但为了保持中国的快速增长,目前的政策需大幅变化。


过去几年中国政府的一大重点是金融业改革,我也觉得这非常重要。美国和世界经济在2008-2009年大衰退期间经历的许多问题都来自金融领域。在中国,银行、保险公司和证券公司的监管正在发生变化。中国人民银行在如何实施货币和信贷政策方面一直在发展。全球经验中的一个重要教训是,当一个经济体的任何一个领域借贷和信贷量大幅上升时,要密切关注,有时这是一个危险的信号。

China is still a middle-income country in the world economy. The steps that are needed to move from middle-income to upper-income are just as large asthe steps that China has already been taking during the last four decades. I’m not sure what the next round of policy reforms will look like, but to continue China’s fast pace of growth, the ongoing policy changes will need to be large, too.


One big emphasis of China’s government in the last few years has been the need for reform of the financial sector, and this seems important to me, too.  Many of the problems that the US and the world economy experienced during the Great Recession of 2008-2009 emerged from the financial sector. In China, there are changes underway in the regulation of banks, insurance companies, and securities firms. The People’s Bank of China has been evolvingin how it carries out monetary and credit policies.  One important lesson from global experienceis to pay close attention when the amount of borrowing and credit risesdramatically in any given area of an economy, because sometimes it is a danger sign.

问:最近,阿尔伯特·爱因斯坦(Albert Einstein)写于一百年前的一份对中国人的评估报告被披露:他形容中国人“勤奋、肮脏、迟钝”,你对中国人的印象如何?(注:爱因斯坦于20世纪20年代访问中国,当时中国的发展远远落后于西方世界,因为中国还没有加入工业革命。因此,他的观点是可以理解的。)


泰勒:早在19世纪,一位伟大的英国经济学家和哲学家约翰·斯图亚特·穆勒(John Stuart Mill)就注意到,在他那个时代,许多英国人认为爱尔兰人懒惰、醉醺醺的。但穆勒注意到,当这些爱尔兰人移民到美国时,他们似乎突然变得勤奋而富有。穆勒观察到,人们的行为方式往往取决于他们所处的环境。我非常喜欢见到中国人民,但无论我走到哪里,我都喜欢与那些想与我分享趣事并乐意和我交谈的人见面。无论我走到哪里,我都尽量避开那些刻薄、不友善的人。

Back in the 19th century, a great English economist and philosopher named John Stuart Mill noticed that many English people of his time viewed the people ofIreland as lazy and drunk. But Mill noticed that when those same Irish people emigrated to the United States, they suddenly seemed to become hard-working and productive. Mill observed that the way in which people act is often determinedby the situation in which they find themselves. I have very much enjoyed theChinese people I have met. But everywhere I go, I enjoyed meeting people whowant to share my interests and want to talk with me. And everywhere I go, I tryto avoid people who are mean and unkind.


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