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财政大臣谈英国经济前景

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译者:arb
发布:2017-05-15 20:17:43 挑错

The chancellor is convinced that its liberal model can survive Brexit

财政大臣坚信自由模式可助英国度过脱欧难关

Jan 14th 2017

TO FLY in one of the Royal Air Force planes that ferry ministers about the world is to experience a corner of old, imperial Britain. Under a framed black-and-white picture of Balmoral Castle, uniformed pursers serve afternoon tea. A neat pile of tweed blankets sits in a basket, the seats and carpet are a faded royal blue and the wooden trim bears the queen’s cipher (“EIIR”) in swirly letters. A photo of the plane somewhere in the Middle East illustrates the safety leaflets. Like the inside of Downing Street, it has the grand-shabby air of a posh hotel that has seen better days. The jet shudders and creaks through the air: Downton Abbey with jet engines attached.

乘坐一架载着大臣们的皇家空军飞机周游世界是为了体验古老大英帝国的一个角落。一块带框的黑白色的巴尔莫勒尔堡油画下,身着制服的乘务长奉上了下午茶。一摞整洁的花呢毛毯摆放在篮子里,宝蓝色的座位和地毯已褪了色,木制装饰物上涡旋字母刻着女王的记号(“E||R”).一张中东某地的飞机照片成了安全手册的插图。就象唐宁街内一样,飞机内部犹如历尽繁华的高档酒店,颇具雄伟古旧之风。飞机在震颤中穿云破雾,发出吱吱嘎嘎的响声,俨然一座装上了引擎的唐顿庄园。

Such were Bagehot’s impressions on January 9th when he accompanied Philip Hammond, the chancellor of the exchequer, back from a visit to Dublin. Another was the plane’s symbolism of Britain’s reinvention over the past four decades; its shaping of the remnants of empire into a new economic role. Remnants like its merchant banks and insurance houses, universities, language, vast soft power and trusted legal system, which it successfully parlayed into specialisations in services and high-end manufacturing. From Margaret Thatcher onwards, governments of left and right strived for the right conditions: an open and flexible labour market, low inflation, a liberal regulatory regime, modest taxes and tariffs. Britain’s prosperity was built on imperial traces, memories and networks that live on, and span the globe.

这就是1月9日白芝浩陪同从都柏林访问归来的英国财政大臣菲力浦·哈蒙德时所留下的印象。另一个印象就是飞机的象征意义,它象征过去40年英国的重造,从帝国残余到经济新角色的华丽转身。商业银行、保险公司、大学、语言、巨大的软实力及其可以依赖的法律制度,借此帝国残余,专业的服务业和高端的制造业形成了。从撒切尔夫人以来,历界政府,不管偏左还是偏右,都在努力创造正确的条件:开放的、灵活的劳动力市场,低通涨,宽松的监管制度,适度的税收。英国的繁荣建立于帝国已然存在并横跨全球的的帝国遗迹、记忆和网络上。

Of that Mr Hammond has more experience than most. Before entering politics he exported medical equipment and consulting services to Asia, Latin America and Africa. He has been foreign secretary. As chancellor he is travelling the world proclaiming that Britain’s liberal business model can survive Brexit. Visiting Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates recently, he says he found investors still enticed by its legal, financial, business and professional services, as well as plain familiarity: “They know the UK, they’ve got homes here, they feel comfortable.”

对于这些,哈蒙德先生比大多数人的感受更深,从政前,他曾向亚洲、拉美和非洲出口过医疗器械,提供过咨询服务,做过外交大臣。他以大臣身份周游世界并宣布,英国的自由商业模式可以帮英国度过脱欧难关。最近,他访问科威科、卡塔尔和阿联酋时表示,他发现投资者依然为熟悉的环境以及英国法制、金融、商业和专业服务所吸引,“他们了解英国,他们在这里像是回到了家,感觉自在。”

Brexit, he says, demands two main things from policymakers. First: limit the damage. In a rebuke to his more gung-ho cabinet colleagues he warns: “If our businesses are cut off from those [European] supply chains, it isn’t necessarily the case that tomorrow they’ll stop producing axle parts and start making, I don’t know, high-end suitcases for the Korean market.” Building new markets is slow, hard work. “You don’t just wake up one morning and say: ‘I think I’ll take the Chinese market today.’ You build. You build your product’s presence, your business presence, your networks, your distribution capability, confidence in your brand. It all takes time.” Hence the urgent need for clarity about Brexit. He compares British firms to patients in hospital: whether the news is good or bad, they want to know it. Hence, too, his fiscal policy. In November he ditched a plan to reach a surplus by 2020, giving himself room to cushion any shocks (though not this year, he says, if GDP growth hits the projected 1.4%).

他说,英国脱欧对政策制定者提出了两项要求,一是控制住对英国的破坏性,在反驳其更具雄心的内阁同僚时他警告说:“如果我们的公司断绝了与欧洲供应链的关系,他们明天不一定就非要停止生产轮轴零件并开始为韩国市场生产我不了解的高端手提箱。”开发新市场缓慢而艰辛。“你不可能一大早醒来就说‘我今天要去占领中国市场’”,你要建立这样的市场,展示你的产品,展示你的企业,建立你的销售网络,提高你的分销能力,建立你的品牌信任,这都需时日。”因此最迫切的工作是要把脱欧这件事分析清楚。他把英国的公司比作医院的病人,不论消息是好是坏,他们都想知道结果。他的财政政策也是如此。11月份,他放弃了一项旨在2020年实现顺差的计划,以防意外发生时(他说,不一定是今年,如果GDP增长达到预定的1.4%)有一些回旋余地。

Fasten your seat belts

So far, so “Spreadsheet Phil” (the chancellor has a reputation for dour competence). But he becomes exuberant on turning to the government’s second Brexit-related job: building new sources of growth. He says Britain is better than Germany at moving fast to grab new opportunities—“We accept that things can change quickly”—citing London’s success since 2002 at luring international firms put off New York by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which tightened America’s corporate governance rules. What would a similar British coup look like now? Here he waxes optimistic about biotechnology, synthetic technology (creating new industrial materials) and “fintech” (where Britain’s deep capital markets give it an edge even over Silicon Valley, he argues). He is sceptical about the claim by Andy Haldane, the Bank of England’s chief economist, that 15m British jobs could be lost to robots. The costs of capital may rise, making human labour more competitive; firms and individuals adapt and find new work (“Didn’t we have this discussion…20 years ago about shorthand typists?”). In any case, “If anywhere in Europe is going to get [a Google-type technology giant], culturally the UK is in the best position.”

请系紧安全带

至此,展示给我们的都非常“电子表格菲尔”式(这位大臣以不苟言笑著称)。可谈及政府涉及脱欧的第二项工作他却异常兴奋,这项工作就是构建经济增长的新资源,他说,在快速移动的情况下抓机会的能力,英国强于德国,“我们承认情况瞬息万变”,他引用了伦敦的成功经验,2002,美国为强化公司治理,实施了萨班斯-奥克斯利法案,伦敦成功地说服一些跨国公司从纽约搬到伦敦,现在英国又将怎样旧戏重演,现在他对生物技术、合成技术(创造出新的工业原料)和“金融技术”(他认为,英国深厚的资本市场使其优势超过了硅谷)越来越感到乐观。他对英格兰银行首席经济学家安迪·海尔戴因关于“英国1500万就业机会将被机器人取代”的论断表示怀疑。资本成本可能会上升,人力劳动竞争更激烈,公司和个人都要适应环境变化并寻找新的工种(20年前,我们不是讨论过速记员这种职业吗?)。不管怎样,如果欧洲某地将成长起一个象谷歌一样的商业巨人,从文化上来说,英国最有可能。”

Your columnist was struck by the contrast with Theresa May. Ask the prime minister to name the country’s economic strengths and she will probably mention the same things as her chancellor. But the two differ drastically on the costs they attach to them. For Mrs May, the dislocation caused by a freewheeling labour market, the excesses associated with deregulation, the rift between services-rich boomtowns and forgotten, post-industrial regions put their very legitimacy and sustainability in question. In a speech on January 8th she argued that the Brexit vote was about much more than EU membership: it was a rejection of “laissez-faire liberalism”. Mr Hammond recognises no such crux: “Where’s the evidence for the assertion that the Brexit vote was saying something about this or that or the other? It was saying something about Britain’s membership of the European Union.” For him, those costs can be fixed with the right policies, like better skills provision and the economic integration of two London-sized agglomerations: the English north and the Midlands.

把他与特蕾莎·梅做一个比较,笔者震动很大。要首相说一说英国的经济优势,她说的内容可能和大臣大致一样,但两位还是有着明显的不同,不同之处就在于他们认为付出的成本不一样。对于梅来说,因无所作为而造成的人力市场供需错位,因监管不力带来的生产过剩,服务业发达的新兴城镇与偏远的后工业时代地区间的巨大差异,使其合法性和可持续性成了问题。1月8日的一次演讲中,他表示,脱欧公投远不是做不做欧盟成员的问题,它是对自由放任的自由主义说不。哈蒙德先生没有认识到这些症结:“说脱欧公投是这、是那、是其他,这种说法的证据何在?公投不就是英国在欧盟中的成员成员国问题吗。”对他来说,脱欧的成本可通过正确的政策而固定,比如,更好的技术准备,两倍于伦敦的都市群的经济融合,这个都市群包括英国北部和米德兰。

This gap is about more than the differences between the job of chancellor and that of prime minister. It is part of a grand debate that Britain is having, without noticing, on the basic transaction at the heart of its post-imperial business model: more disruption (industrial, cultural, social) in return for more prosperity. Current arguments over immigration, integration, student visas, industrial policy, high pay (the Labour Party is flirting with the idea of a maximum wage) and, of course, Brexit are all ways of probing this. Perhaps it would help to acknowledge this fact more openly. Because one day, in spring 2019, Britain is due formally to leave the EU. It will have Brexited. The question, about which Mr Hammond has clearly thought more than most, will be: what now?

他们之间的这种分歧不是首相和大臣两个职位的不同引起的,这是英国大辩论的一部分,这场正在进行的大辩论不径而来、论证的中心内容是处于英国后工业时代核心的基本行业问题:要想发展得更快,就要打破得更多(包括行业的、文化的、社会的)。当前讨论的问题包括移民、融合、学生签证、行业政策、高工资(工党正在考虑设定最高工资),当然,脱欧是探讨这些问题的方法,也许,这将有助于更公开地承认事实。因为2019年春天的某一日,英国将正式脱离欧盟,那里英国已经完成脱欧。哈蒙德先生不知想了多少遍的问题是,现在怎么办?


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