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外交事务:北京共识的终结

外交事务:北京共识的终结

http://tinyurl.com/y9sraty

原文:FR: The End of the Beijing Consensus
译文:外交事务:北京共识的终结
中国的威权主义增长模式还能延续吗?

发布时间:2010年2月4日
作者:姚洋
译者:SoapSalesman,@xiaomi2020,@Freeman7777

概要:
北京当局正在推行的保增长举措正在损害人们的经济和政治权利。为了政权能够维持下去,中国政府将不得不开始允许普通公民参与到政治过程中去。

作者简介:姚洋是北京大学国家发展研究所的副主任,北京大学经济研究中心主任。

自从中国从1978年开始经济改革,每年的经济增长率都在10%左右,现在其人均GDP是30年前的12倍。许多分析家认为中国的经济的成功要归因于它非常规的经济政策──混合型所有制,基本的财产所有权,以及政府的大力干预的综合。时代杂志前外文编辑约拿·C·拉莫给它起名为:北京共识。

但是实际上,过去的三十年里,中国经济准确无误的朝着新古典经济学理论的市场信条迈进,强调谨慎的财政政策、经济开放、私有化、自由市场、和保护私有产权。北京极度小心地维持着财政平衡,压低通货膨胀。纯粹的再分配计划被限制到最小,中央政府的经济调配主要局限于基础设施开支。总体税收负担(计算方法:税收收入与GDP相除得到的比例)在20%到25%之间。这个国家引进外资排名世界第二。在国内,80%的国有企业都已经私有化或者成为上市公司。从经典的民主观点来看,由于中共缺乏执政合法性,因此它被迫去不断提高中国公民的生活水平,用这种表现来赢得合法性。到目前为止,此策略是成功的。但是它开始露出山穷水尽的迹象:收入的失衡不断加剧,此策略也制造出了内部和外部的不平衡。

不出意料,中共的自由市场政策已经在中国导致了巨大的收入不平均。总体基尼系数(用于衡量经济是否平等的指标,零为绝对平等,1为绝对不平等)于2008年达到了0.47,和美国相同。更让人头疼的是,中国的城镇居民收入是农村的3倍半,是世界上城乡差距最大的。

那么,中国政府是怎样一边实践新古典经济学的原理,一边自诩以马克思主义为意识形态基础的呢?答案是:30年来中国由一个中性政府来统治的──这是一个(与利益集团)分离的,没有(利益集团倾向型性方面)偏见的政体,当不同的社会、政治团体发生利益冲突时,保持中立的姿态。这并非意味着北京当局一心为公。相反,这个政府经常掠夺公民。但是这种掠夺是“不问身份的”,北京当局总体上不在乎选择哪些社会、政治团体作为他们的猎物──和其他许多威权政府不同,其他政府只会保护一些特定的社会团体、政治团体,任其自肥。结果就是:中国政府比其他威权政体更精于推行发展经济的政策。

由于在经济发展收入增长之外,中国人民开始提出更多要求,中共单单将经济发展作为良方来遏制、安抚社会不满的招数将变得越来越困难。
 
过去三十年来,中共有意地采取了有利于某些特定地区和群体的政策,来促进他们的改革和经济发展。这也有助于中性的中共政府不会永久的和某些团体或地区结盟。中国如何融入世界就是一个好例子:70年代末,美国为了对抗苏联霸权,试图把中国拉入其阵营。中国很快抓住了这个机会。但是早期的”对外开放“政策在国内引起了不满:一些经济特区如深圳,享有充裕的特惠待遇,引起其他地区的嫉妒。此外,中共的出口导向型增长模式要求北京拥抱非平衡的发展策略,鼓励东部沿海地区快速发展,却忽视了内地。如今,中国几乎90%的出口依旧来自沿海九省。

中国2001年加入WTO是深思熟虑的一步棋。在入世之前,人们普遍认为中国在许多领域将经历痛苦的结构和政策转型。虽然如此,中央政府实际上还是加快了和WTO成员的谈判。尽管加入WTO给农业和零售业带来了沉重负担,入世推进了中国出口,那些担心副作用的人们被证明是多虑了。从2002年到2007年,中国出口每年增长29%,是90年代平均出口额的两倍。

中国增长奇迹留下了不稳定因素。然而,其他发展中国家也深受”中等收入陷阱“之苦。当一个国家的人均GDP达到3000到8000美元之间时,经济发展开始停滞,收入不平等开始增长,社会冲突开始爆发。中国已经进入了这个阶段,陷阱的预警征兆已无法忽视。

最近的几年,政府对经济的干预加强。最显著的是目前的四万亿(合5860亿美元)经济刺激计划。在政府投资的帮助下,2009年中国的GDP增长率达到将近9%,赢得掌声一片。但是长期来看,这可能导致中国经济效率降低,国进民退,使中国经济窒息。

目前的经济高度依赖外需,使得中国和主要贸易伙伴摩擦不断。GDP的52%由储蓄构成,消费降到历史新低。大多数先进民主国家政府在资本性投资上的支出不超过政府收入的8%,在中国此数字却高达近50%。作为国民收入之一的居民收入正在下降,使得经济扩张的同时,百姓却感到变穷了。中国人开始希望从经济发展中得到更多好处,中共单独使用经济发展来遏制、安抚社会不满的老药方开始失灵。

尽管坐拥无上权力,又有近期的经济发展成绩单,中共还是周期性的遇到了来自公民的反抗。1976年4月5日的天安门事件,是中共建政后第一次自发的民主运动。1989年的64运动,和大量的后续的抗议证明中国人民在政府无法满足愿望的时候,非常希望能组织反抗。国际社会对中国国内事件的关注也非常重要。现在,中国已经变成了一个主要的全球性强权,却忽然间开始担心自己在国际舞台上的合法性。

中国政府一直在努力管理如此广泛的不满。为了达到这个目的他们提供了各种各样的”镇痛药“,包括了快速的在群众中解决掉动乱的早期预兆,比如为下岗职工提供再就业中心,允许劳动力自由流动来降低地区间的不平衡,以及最近旨在提升农村的基础设施、医保,农村教育等的“新农村运动”。

但是,想要用这些措施来压制强势的利益集团,阻止他们影响政府,怕是勉为其难了。虽然私营企业一直都承认:和官府合作才能赚大钱,但并不是只有他们才做此想。政府本身,其裙带网络,和国有企业快速的形成了强大的排他性利益集团。在某种意义上来说,中国的地方政府的行为和公司相似:不像在先进民主国家中,政府获得的重要授权就是要重新分配收入,提高国民的平均福利,中国的地方政府只是在追求经济利益。

更重要的是,北京当局持续提升GDP增长的努力将不可避免的的会侵犯到人民的经济、政治权利。例如,在一些城市,蛮横的土地征收仍然盛行,政府密切的监视着互联网,工会被压制,工人们不得不承受长工时和不安全的工作条件。中国公民面对这些侵犯不会一直保持沉默,他们的不满最终会变成间歇性的抗争。不用多久,让普通公民参与到政治过程中来的某种形式的政治转型将成为不可或缺的。

过去30年的改革大多数都是对迫在眉睫的危机所做出的回应。日益广泛的反抗和经济不平衡现在正在将中国推向另一巨大的险境。强大的、享有特权的利益集团和重商的地方政府正在阻止经济增长带来的好处在全社会范围内平均分配,这将使得共产党的战略──用经济增长换取人民对其绝对权力的同意──成为徒劳。

在象美国这样的先进民主国家中,一个开放的和包容的政治过程通常会制衡各个利益集团的权力。事实上,这正是公正政府的必要条件——平衡不同社会群体的需求。如果适当的民主制度就位,以相互牵制大多数的强势集团,那么一个更加开放的中国政府依然可以保持中立。但是最终,如果中国共产党希望鼓励经济发展,保持社会稳定,在更多的民主化之外不存在第二条道路。

相关链接:
Bruce J. Dickson:谁对“北京共识”满意?中国的裙带共产主义
http://docs.google.com/View?id=dg5pc3d3_42gv9xzs3f

南方周末
姚洋:中国高速经济增长的由来(之一)
http://www.ccer.edu.cn/cn/ReadNews.asp?NewsID=9227
姚洋:中国高速经济增长的由来(之二)
http://www.ccer.edu.cn/cn/ReadNews.asp?NewsID=9228
姚洋:中国高速经济增长的由来(之三)
http://www.ccer.edu.cn/cn/ReadNews.asp?NewsID=9275
姚洋:中国高速经济增长的由来(之四)
http://www.ccer.edu.cn/cn/ReadNews.asp?NewsID=9312
姚洋:中国高速经济增长的由来(之五)
http://old.ccer.edu.cn/cn/ReadNews.asp?NewsID=9364
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Since China began undertaking economic reforms in 1978, its economy has grown at a rate of nearly ten percent a year, and its per-capita GDP is now twelve times greater than it was three decades ago. Many analysts attribute the country's economic success to its unconventional approach to economic policy -- a combination of mixed ownership, basic property rights, and heavy government intervention. Time magazine's former foreign editor, Joshua Cooper Ramo, has even given it a name: the Beijing consensus.

But, in fact, over the last 30 years, the Chinese economy has moved unmistakably toward the market doctrines of neoclassical economics, with an emphasis on prudent fiscal policy, economic openness, privatization, market liberalization, and the protection of private property. Beijing has been extremely cautious in maintaining a balanced budget and keeping inflation down. Purely redistributive programs have been kept to a minimum, and central government transfers have been primarily limited to infrastructure spending. The overall tax burden (measured by the ratio of tax revenue to GDP) is in the range of 20 to 25 percent. The country is the world's second-largest recipient of foreign direct investment, and domestically, more than 80 percent of its state-owned enterprises have been released to private hands or transformed into publicly listed companies. Since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) lacks legitimacy in the classic democratic sense, it has been forced to seek performance-based legitimacy instead, by continuously improving the living standards of Chinese citizens. So far, this strategy has succeeded, but there are signs that it will not last because of the growing income inequality and the internal and external imbalances it has created.

The CCP's free-market policies have, predictably, led to major income disparities in China. The overall Gini coefficient -- a measure of economic inequality in which zero equals perfect equality and one absolute inequality -- reached 0.47 in 2008, the same level as in the United States. More disturbing, Chinese city dwellers are now earning three and a half times as much as their fellow citizens in the countryside, the highest urban-rural income gap in the world.

How, then, has the Chinese government been able to adopt the principles of neoclassical economics while still claiming Marxism as its ideological anchor? The answer is that China has for three decades been ruled by a disinterested government -- a detached, unbiased regime that takes a neutral stance when conflicts of interest arise among different social and political groups. This does not mean that Beijing has been devoid of self-interest. On the contrary, the state is often predatory toward citizens, but its predation is "identity-blind" in the sense that Beijing does not generally care about the social and political status of its chosen prey -- unlike many governments elsewhere that act to protect and enrich specific social or political groups. As a consequence, the Chinese government has been more likely than other authoritarian regimes to adopt growth-enhancing policies.

For the last 30 years, the CCP has intentionally adopted policies favoring specific groups or regions to promote reform and economic growth. It has helped that the disinterested CCP government was not permanently beholden to certain groups or regions. China's integration into the world economy is a case in point. At the end of the 1970s, the United States was eager to bring China into its camp as a buffer against Soviet hegemony, and China quickly grasped the opportunity. Yet that early adoption of an "open-door" policy gave rise to domestic resistance: special economic zones, such as Shenzhen, enjoyed an abundance of preferential treatments that other parts of the country envied. Moreover, the CCP's export-led growth model required that Beijing embrace an unbalanced development strategy that encouraged rapid growth on the country's east coast while neglecting the interior; today, nearly 90 percent of China's exports still come from the nine coastal provinces.

China's accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001 was also a calculated move. Before accession, it was widely believed that China would have to endure painful structural adjustment policies in many sectors in order to join the WTO. Even so, the central government actually accelerated negotiations with the organization's members. Despite the burdens it placed on the agriculture and retailing sectors, accession boosted China's exports, proving wrong those who worried about its effects. Between 2002 and 2007, Chinese exports grew by an annual rate of 29 percent, double the average rate during the 1990s.

China's astronomic growth has left it in a precarious situation, however. Other developing countries have suffered from the so-called middle-income trap -- a situation that often arises when a country's per-capita GDP reaches the range of $3,000 to $8,000, the economy stops growing, income inequality increases, and social conflicts erupt. China has entered this range, and the warning signs of a trap loom large.

In the last several years, government involvement in the economy has increased -- most notably with the current four-trillion-yuan ($586 billion) stimulus plan. Government investment helped China reach a GDP growth rate of nearly nine percent in 2009, which many applaud; but in the long run, it could suffocate the Chinese economy by reducing efficiency and crowding out more vibrant private investment.

The economy currently depends heavily on external demand, creating friction among major trading partners. Savings account for 52 percent of GDP, and consumption has dropped to a historic low. Whereas governments in most advanced democracies spend less than eight percent of government revenue on capital investment, this figure is close to 50 percent in China. And residential income as a share of national income is declining, making the average citizen feel poorer while the economy expands. As the Chinese people demand more than economic gains as their income increases, it will become increasingly difficult for the CCP to contain or discourage social discontent by administering the medicine of economic growth alone.

Despite its absolute power and recent track record of delivering economic growth, the CCP has still periodically faced resistance from citizens. The Tiananmen incident of April 5, 1976, the first spontaneous democratic movement in PRC history, the June 4 movement of 1989, and numerous subsequent protests proved that the Chinese people are quite willing to stage organized resistance when their needs are not met by the state. International monitoring of China's domestic affairs has also played an important role; now that it has emerged as a major global power, China is suddenly concerned about its legitimacy on the international stage.

The Chinese government generally tries to manage such popular discontent by providing various "pain relievers," including programs that quickly address early signs of unrest in the population, such as reemployment centers for unemployed workers, migration programs aimed at lowering regional disparities, and the recent "new countryside movement" to improve infrastructure, health care, and education in rural areas.

Those measures, however, may be too weak to discourage the emergence of powerful interest groups seeking to influence the government. Although private businesses have long recognized the importance of cultivating the government for larger profits, they are not alone. The government itself, its cronies, and state-controlled enterprises are quickly forming strong and exclusive interest groups. In a sense, local governments in China behave like corporations: unlike in advanced democracies, where one of the key mandates of the government is to redistribute income to improve the average citizen's welfare, local governments in China simply pursue economic gain.

More important, Beijing's ongoing efforts to promote GDP growth will inevitably result in infringements on people's economic and political rights. For example, arbitrary land acquisitions are still prevalent in some cities, the government closely monitors the Internet, labor unions are suppressed, and workers have to endure long hours and unsafe conditions. Chinese citizens will not remain silent in the face of these infringements, and their discontent will inevitably lead to periodic resistance. Before long, some form of explicit political transition that allows ordinary citizens to take part in the political process will be necessary.

The reforms carried out over the last 30 years have mostly been responses to imminent crises. Popular resistance and economic imbalances are now moving China toward another major crisis. Strong and privileged interest groups and commercialized local governments are blocking equal distribution of the benefits of economic growth throughout society, thereby rendering futile the CCP's strategy of trading economic growth for people's consent to its absolute rule.

An open and inclusive political process has generally checked the power of interest groups in advanced democracies such as the United States. Indeed, this is precisely the mandate of a disinterested government -- to balance the demands of different social groups. A more open Chinese government could still remain disinterested if the right democratic institutions were put in place to keep the most powerful groups at bay. But ultimately, there is no alternative to greater democratization if the CCP wishes to encourage economic growth and maintain social stability.
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