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美国如何才能在贸易上“取胜中国”?

更新时间:2016/2/1 9:23:30 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

So What Would It Mean to ‘Beat China’ on Trade?
美国如何才能在贸易上“取胜中国”?

If you were Donald Trump, you would probably summarize the academic paper’s finding as follows: China is beating us.

如果你是唐纳德·特朗普(Donald Trump),你可能会用这样一句话总结各种学术研究的成果:中国正在打垮我们。

A new working paper from the economists David Autor, David Dorn and Gordon Hanson argues that trade with China is having persistent, negative effects on parts of the American labor market. Research from the same authors, published in 2013, found that the American workers most exposed to Chinese trade have experienced material declines in wages, higher unemployment and an increased likelihood of receiving government benefits like disability payments.

戴维·奥特(David Autor)、戴维·多恩(David Dorn) 和戈登·汉森 (Gordon Hanson)新近发表的一份研究报告称,与中国的贸易正在给美国部分劳动力市场带来持续的负面影响。这几位作者于2013年发表的另一份研究报告显示,在最容易受到中国贸易影响的一些行业,美国工人工资出现实质性下降,失业率更高,接受残疾人补助等政府福利的几率更高。

“The idea that trade competition with China has hurt various workers and communities is nothing new and extremely well known to people and voters in those communities,” said Jared Bernstein, an economist at the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “Just because Donald Trump says it doesn’t mean it isn’t true.”

“与中国的贸易竞争给各类工人和社区带来伤害,不是什么新鲜观点,对于这些社区的人和选民来说,这种观念已经深入人心,”预算与政策重点中心(Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)经济学家杰瑞德·伯恩斯坦(Jared Bernstein)说。“不能因为唐纳德·特朗普也这么说,就觉得是不对的。”

But Mr. Bernstein has historically been in the minority within the economics profession on this issue. Because trade increases overall global economic output, economists have generally thought workers who lost their jobs because of imports would move fairly rapidly into other, expanding economic sectors. Any dislocation would be minor relative to the benefits, they said.

不过,在这个问题上,伯恩斯坦的观点过去在经济学界并非主流。因为贸易会增加全球整体经济输出,所以经济学家们普遍认为,因所在行业进口增多而失去工作的工人,会很快进入其他行业,最终会扩大各个经济部门的规模。他们觉得,相比于整体的获益,任何局部的扰动都是不足道的。

Now, some minds are changing. The process of labor market adjustment is “gummier than anybody realized,” said Mr. Hanson, a professor at the University of California at San Diego. The persistent negative effects of Chinese trade on much of the American labor market have “toppled much of the received wisdom about the impact of trade on labor markets,” Mr. Hanson wrote with his co-authors, especially the “consensus that trade could be strongly redistributive in theory but was relatively benign in practice.”

现在,一些人的观念正在发生改变。劳动力市场调整的过程“比任何人想象得都复杂难缠”,加州大学圣迭戈分校(University of California at San Diego)教授汉森说道。中国贸易对很多美国劳动力市场造成持续的负面影响,已经推翻了“之前公认的许多有关贸易对劳动力市场影响的常识”,汉森与其他两位共同作者在论文中写道,尤其是“这样一种共识——即从理论上讲,贸易有极强的再分配性,但在实践中,这种特点相对有些不痛不痒”。

In fairness to the economics profession, that consensus emerged mostly because workers actually did adjust more easily to trade in the past. Global trade soared in the four decades after World War II without apparent negative effects on labor markets in rich countries. But most of this trade was between rich countries, and exposing Ohio workers to competition with Ontario workers wasn’t that much different from the competition they always had with Michigan workers.

为经济学界说句公道话,当时之所以有那种共识,主要是因为过去工人们的确更容易随着贸易情况变化做出调整。二战结束之后的四十年,全球贸易剧增并没有给富裕国家的劳动力市场带来明显的负面影响。但这些贸易主要是在富裕国家之间展开,让俄亥俄州的工人与多伦多的工人展开竞争,和他们一直与密歇根工人之间存在的竞争相比,没有太大差别。

As Mr. Gordon and his co-authors describe, the rise of trade with China since 1991 increasingly exposed American workers to competition from those who would work for much less, causing particular problems for lower-skilled workers.

正如戈登及另两位共同作者所讲,自1991年以来美国与中国之间的贸易不断增加,使得美国工人越来越多地面临来自中国工人的竞争,后者愿意以低得多的薪资工作,这给对技能要求比较低的工种带来一些特殊问题。

There is also a damaging trade imbalance. The rise of Chinese exports would not have had such negative effects on the American labor market if it had been offset by a commensurate rise of Chinese imports. More exports to China would have created American jobs, both in exporting industries and in the sectors that support those industries, making it easier for displaced workers to find new jobs.

同时还存在一种颇具破坏力的贸易不平衡。如果中国从美国进口商品的数量也相应地增多,中国的出口就不会对美国劳动力市场带来如此多的负面影响。对中国的出口增多,可以给美国创造就业机会,不管是在出口行业,还是支持这些行业发展的其他行业,这样失业工人就更容易找到新的工作。

Instead, China has run a persistent trade surplus. What that really means is that Chinese consumers save much of their income from export industries instead of using it to consume imports. This is one of the major “global imbalances” identified by Ben Bernanke, the former Fed chief, as a driver of both high unemployment and asset price bubbles in the United States.

相反,中国却一直保持贸易顺差。这实际上意味着,中国消费者把从出口行业得到的相当一部分收入存了起来,而不是去购买进口商品。这就是前美联储主席本·伯南克(Ben Bernanke)提出的“全球不平衡”的主要表现之一,他认为这种不平衡是美国出现高失业率和资产价格泡沫的驱动因素。

The big question is what to do about any of this, and it’s a lot easier to find common ground about the problem than the solution.

关键问题是如何应对,就问题达成共识容易,找到解决途径却要难得多。

Mr. Trump says he will “beat China,” whatever that means. This month, in a meeting with The New York Times editorial board, he floated the idea of a 45 percent tariff on Chinese imports and then denied he had ever suggested such a move.

特朗普说他会“打败中国”,虽然我并不清楚这句话确切指什么。本月与《纽约时报》社论版会面时,他曾抛出这样一个建议——对从中国进口的商品征收45%的关税,接着他又否认自己曾有这样的提议。

Mr. Bernstein has advocated provisions in international agreements that punish countries for manipulating their currencies, as China did for years, depressing the value of its currency to help its manufacturers undercut other countries on price. But while such rules would help level the playing field in the future, they wouldn’t do much today because China’s currency is no longer overly weak, Mr. Bernstein said.

伯恩斯坦曾倡议在国际协议中设一些条款,对某些国家做出惩罚,这类国家操纵本国货币,使其贬值,以使其制造业产品价格比其他国家更具优势,多年来中国就是这么做的。但伯恩斯坦表示,尽管这类措施有助于在未来打造公平的竞争环境,但它们在眼下起不了太大作用,因为中国的货币已经不像过去那样过于疲软。

Dean Baker, an economist who I find usually agrees with Mr. Bernstein on trade matters, told me the opposite: that China’s currency is still too weak, held down by huge investments in American bonds held by the Chinese central bank. If they sold those bonds, he said, China’s currency would strengthen, American manufacturers would be in a better position to compete, and the trade deficit would shrink.

经济学家迪安·贝克(Dean Baker)向我讲述了相反的观点,尽管我觉得通常这两位在贸易问题上的观点比较一致。贝克认为中国的货币仍然过于疲软,因为中国中央银行握有大量美国债券,对人民币升值有所牵制。他表示,如果他们出售这些债券,中国的货币就会走强,美国制造业将处于更有利的竞争地位,贸易逆差就会缩小。

Mr. Bernanke told me last year that trade imbalances are a problem that can’t be dealt with through formulaic rules and are instead a matter for international diplomacy. That is, we must urge countries that are running persistent and unjustified trade deficits to stop it.

伯南克去年曾经对我讲道,贸易不平衡无法通过公式化的规则解决,而是需要诉诸国际外交。也就是说,我们必须敦促那些一直维持不公平贸易逆差的国家结束这种状况。

Mr. Hanson expressed skepticism that any public policy tools would be effective in combating the imbalance of trade because the exact source of the imbalance is a “puzzle,” much of it far removed from what you would traditionally think of as trade policy. For example, he argued that the one-child policy perpetuated the trade imbalance by driving Chinese workers to save instead of consuming, as they know they will enter old age without many children to support them.

汉森对此表示怀疑,因为他觉得没什么公共政策手段能有效对抗贸易不平衡,因为不平衡的确切根源是一个“谜”,而远非人们习惯上认为的,是外交政策所导致。比如,他认为一胎政策就是贸易不平衡持续存在的一个原因,它使中国工人更倾向于储蓄而非消费,因为他们知道自己将来进入老年的时候没有多个子女可以赡养他们。

“The problem is not trade liberalization,” he said. “Trade is going to lead to the reallocation of workers across sectors, generating income growth for the world as a whole, even if you have distributional effects along the way. The problem is that labor market adjustment is too slow.”

“问题不在于贸易自由化,”他说。“贸易会促使工人在各个行业流动,在整体上增加整个世界的收入,即便这个过程中存在一些分配效应。真正的问题在于劳动力市场的调整太慢。”

As such, Mr. Hanson calls for changes in our own economy: reforms to labor, housing and safety-net policy that would make it easier and less painful for workers to move to new regions and switch to new industries — whether such moves were necessitated by global trade or any other economic shifts.

因此汉森呼吁让美国经济自身有所改变:改革劳动力市场,改革住房与安全保障政策,使工人在搬到新的地区或转入新行业时更加容易,少经受一些痛苦,不管这些转换是由全球贸易引起,还是其他经济转型带来的。

But Mr. Baker argued there are more opportunities to use the diplomatic channels identified by Mr. Bernanke to make trade with China less harmful to American workers. He noted that currency manipulation and the trade deficit are existing items on the American diplomatic agenda with China; the question is how high they rank, and what issues American officials really care about winning on.

贝克坚持认为,通过使用伯南克所说外交渠道降低与中国的贸易对美国工人的负面影响,更加可行。他指出,操纵货币和贸易逆差是美中之间长期存在的外交议题;问题在于美国官员对这些问题有多重视,他们真正想在哪些议题上赢得胜利。

“We have a list of things,” he said. “We want you to respect Bill Gates’s copyrights, we want you to respect patents, Goldman Sachs wants more access. There’s a list, and currency is on it.”

“我们有一堆的事需要与中国协商,”他说。“我们想让它尊重比尔·盖茨的软件版权,我们想让他们尊重专利,高盛(Goldman Sachs)希望能有在中国投资更多领域。我们有这样一个事项清单,货币问题就位列其中。”

Hmm. If the problem is we’ve been botching our negotiations with China by focusing on the wrong things, I can think of a candidate who’s been saying something similar to that. Like the reform conservatives before them, trade-skeptical economists can be added to the list of policy thinkers who are hearing from the Trump campaign a policy message they’ve long promoted, coming from a messenger they don’t like, expressed in terms they’d rather not be associated with.

嗯。如果问题只是我们选错了核心议题,搞砸了与中国的谈判,我会想到有一位总统候选人也一直在发表类似言论。就像之前的改革保守派人士一样,对贸易持怀疑态度的经济学家们也可以被加入那类政策研究者的名单,他们听到特朗普在竞选过程中发出一项政策信息,这恰恰是他们一直以来在宣传的观念,但它是从一个他们不喜欢的人口中讲出来,而且他们不想跟那人用的那些词扯上关系。

“Characterizing it as ‘us versus China’ is inflammatory, jingoistic, if you like, racist,” Mr. Baker said. “A lot of the companies doing the exporting are U.S. companies. So it’s not China, it’s our companies. Walmart has low-cost supply chains throughout China.” So, for that matter, did Mr. Trump’s apparel line.

“把它简单归结成‘我们对阵中国’是很有煽动性的,是沙文主义,甚至可以说是种族主义,”贝克说。“从中国向美国出口商品的有很多都是美国公司。所以这个对手不是中国,是我们的公司。沃尔玛在整个中国都建立起了低成本供应链。”说到这一点,特朗普的服装品牌也是从中国进口的。

Yet Mr. Baker still endorses the idea that a frank negotiation that puts the weight on the right issues could improve American workers’ trading position with China.

不过,贝克依然支持这样一种观点,即就正确的议题着力进行坦诚的协商,可以改善美国工人在美中贸易中所处的不利地位。

“The question is, what exactly is he telling China?” Mr. Baker said, regarding a hypothetical Trump presidency. “It would have to be part of a give and take; it’s going to be about priorities. It might mean giving up on certain priorities. So in that sense he could do it, but it’s not a question of beating them up; he’d have to give things up.”

“问题是,他到底会对中国说什么?”贝克说,他假设特朗普当上了总统。“这肯定是一个有所得有所失的过程;需要确定优先事项,可能意味着要放弃某些优先事项。所以从这个意义上说,他能做到自己所说的,但这不是打不打垮中国的问题;因为他也必须放弃一些东西。”

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