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美媒:从廉价油画看,中国无法拯救美国
(博讯北京时间2008年12月29日 转载)
    
    美媒:从廉价油画看,中国无法拯救美国
     (博讯 boxun.com)

    
    哈佛大学著名英裔历史学家弗格森把世界最重要经济引擎称之为“中美共生体”(Chimerica):中国的储蓄者与生产者和美国的借贷者与消费者之间,构成有30年历史的伙伴关系。
    
    正是因为中国愿意把从对美出口赚到的钱来投资美元和财政债券,美国利率才得以保持低位,美国人才有钱从中国买鞋、平板电视和画,以及在美国买房。美国人然后抵押这些房子进行更多消费——因此,我们收入没增加却能享受财富。
    
    我不知道在全美酒店的房间里挂着的那些油画中,有多少是中国深圳的大芬村生产的。我不知道作为世界著名的“艺术品和名画仿制品批量生产中心”的大芬村,有没有受到美国房市泡沫破裂的冲击。不过,我应该想到。
    
    大芬美术产业协会副会长周晓鸿向香港《星期日南华早报》表示,“美国的房主和酒店通常是大芬作品的最大消费者。美国建造的房子越多,就有越多的墙壁需要我们的画。在西方房市破产之后,我们的业务被冻结了。”
    
    大芬只是构成当今“世界最重要经济引擎”的百万中美企业之中的一员——哈佛大学著名英裔历史学家弗格森(Niall Ferguson),把这个经济引擎称之为“中美共生体”(Chimerica):中国的储蓄者与生产者和美国的借贷者与消费者之间,构成这种事实上的伙伴关系。这种有着30年历史的伙伴关系,将因为目前的经济危机而面临根本重构,而且全球经济体也因此大受影响。
    
    毕竟,正是因为中国愿意把从对美出口赚到的钱,投资美元和财政债券,美国利率才得以保持低位,美国人才有钱从中国买鞋、平板电视和画,以及在美国买房。美国人然后抵押这些房子进行更多消费——因此,我们收入没增加却能享受财富。
    
    这种分工不仅滋养了我们各自的经济,而且也塑造了我们的政治。它令历任美国政府(特别是现届政府)得以告诉美国人:“你们可以同时拥有大炮和黄油(即军事与经济发展并重),可以拥有免首付且免费两年的次贷、不断提高的消费和两场战争,无须加税!”它就是这样运作的,不过它终究不行了。
    
    摩根斯坦利亚洲主席罗奇表示,如今全球失业率暴增,“世界历史上最过分扩张的消费者”再也买不起那么多中国出口品了,我们需要多存钱、多投资、少消费,把我们大部分的信用卡扔掉,以摆脱这场危机。
    
    但要这样的话,我们需要中国拿走我们丢弃的信用卡,发给中国民众,让他们能购买更多中国生产的东西,购买更多来自世界各地的进口品,这也许是中国可以维持8%经济增长率的惟一途径。
    
    
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    Op-Ed Columnist
    
    China to the Rescue? Not!
    I had no idea that many of those oil paintings that hang in hotel rooms and starter homes across America are actually produced by just one Chinese village, Dafen, north of Hong Kong. And I had no idea that Dafen’s artist colony — the world’s leading center for mass-produced artwork and knockoffs of masterpieces — had been devastated by the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble. I should have, though.
    
    “American property owners and hotels were usually the biggest consumers of Dafen’s works,” Zhou Xiaohong, deputy head of the Art Industry Association of Dafen, told Hong Kong’s Sunday Morning Post. “The more houses built in the United States, the more walls that needed our paintings. Now our business has frozen following the crash of the Western property market.”
    
    Dafen is just one of a million Chinese and American enterprises that constitute the most important economic engine in the world today — what historian Niall Ferguson calls “Chimerica,” the de facto partnership between Chinese savers and producers and U.S. spenders and borrowers. That 30-year-old partnership is about to undergo a radical restructuring as a result of the current economic crisis, and the global economy will be highly impacted by the outcome.
    
    After all, it was China’s willingness to hold the dollars and Treasury bills it had earned from exporting to America that helped keep U.S. interest rates low, giving Americans the money they needed to keep buying shoes, flat-screen TVs and paintings from China, as well as homes in America. Americans then borrowed against those homes to consume even more — one reason we enjoyed rising wealth without rising incomes.
    
    This division of labor not only nourished our respective economies, but also shaped our politics. It enabled China’s ruling Communist Party to say to its people: “We will guarantee you ever-higher standards of living and in return you will stay out of politics and let us rule.” So China’s leaders could enjoy double-digit growth without political reform. And it enabled successive U.S. administrations, particularly the current one, to tell Americans: “You can have guns and butter — subprime mortgages with nothing down and nothing to pay for two years, ever-higher consumption and two wars, without tax increases!”
    
    It all worked — until it didn’t.
    
    With unemployment now soaring across the U.S., said Stephen Roach, the chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia, Americans — “the most over-extended consumer in world history” — can no longer buy so many Chinese exports. We need to save more, invest more, consume less and throw out most of our credit cards to bail ourselves out of this crisis.
    
    But as that happens, we need China to take our discarded credit cards and distribute them to its own people so they can buy more of what China produces and more imports from the rest of the world. That’s the only way Beijing can sustain the minimum 8 percent growth it needs to maintain the political bargain between China’s leaders and led — not to mention pick up some of the slack in the global economy from America’s slowdown.
    
    However, if I’ve learned one thing here, it’s just how hard doing that will be. China’s whole system and culture nourish saving, not spending, and changing that will require a huge “cultural and structural” shift, said Fred Hu, chairman for Greater China for Goldman Sachs.
    
    In China, for instance, to buy a home you have to put at least 20 percent down, and the average is 40 percent. If you try to walk away from the mortgage, the bank will come after your personal assets. Moreover, China can’t just shift production from the U.S. market to its own consumers. Not many Chinese villagers want to buy $400 tennis shoes or Christmas tree ornaments.
    
    Also, China has no real Social Security, health insurance or unemployment insurance. Without that social safety net, it’s hard to see how Chinese don’t end up saving most of their stimulus. “You open up the newspaper every day and you hear about this factory shutting down or that supplier going belly up,” said Willie Fung, whose company, Top Form International, is the world’s leading bra maker. “You can never be too careful in this financial climate.”
    
    As such, “the world should not have a false hope that China can cushion the global downturn,” by stimulating its domestic demand in a big way, said Frank Gong, head of China research for JPMorgan Chase. “The best thing China can do is keep its own economy stable.”
    
    It’s good advice. China is not going to rescue us or the world economy. We’re going to have to get out of this crisis the old-fashioned way: by digging inside ourselves and getting back to basics — improving U.S. productivity, saving more, studying harder and inventing more stuff to export. The days of phony prosperity — I borrow cheap money from China to build a house and then borrow on that house to buy cheap paintings from China to decorate my walls and everybody is a winner — are over. _(博讯自由发稿区发稿) (博讯 boxun.com)
(本文只代表作者或者发稿团体的观点、立场)

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