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Leader_The quiet but substantial successes of Abenomics

来源:FT中文网    2017-05-12 05:31

        When a policy is applied for more than four years, and consistently fails to produce the intended result, it is tempting to declare it a failure. Critics of Japan’s economic stimulus declare exactly that. They are wrong. So-called Abenomics has not failed, and it should be sustained, not abandoned.        一旦一项政策实施了超过4年,又一直未能实现预期结果,人们很容易会宣称它失败了。日本经济刺激政策的批评者正是这样做的。但他们错了。所谓的“安倍经济学”(Abenomics)并没有失败,应该继续推进,而不是放弃。
        Critics of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic policy, which aims to combine monetary and fiscal stimulus with structural economic reforms, make a simple case. Abenomics began in the spring of 2013. It was supposed to revive growth and end two decades of on-and-off deflation.        日本首相安倍晋三(Shinzo Abe)的经济政策旨在推行货币和财政刺激的同时,施行结构性经济改革。批评者们的理由很简单。安倍经济学于2013年春天开始实施,本应该恢复增长,并终结20年中不时出现的通缩。
        Four years later, the Bank of Japan’s preferred measure of inflation is up by 0.1 per cent on a year ago. It follows, the critics say, that the medicine has not worked.        4年过去了,日本央行(BoJ)首选的通胀指标较一年前上涨了0.1%。因此批评者称这剂药方没起作用。
        It has indeed proved hard to ignite inflation in Japan. Since the financial crisis, low inflation has been a problem everywhere, from the US to the eurozone to the UK. But the simple diagnosis of failure ignores how much Abenomics has achieved, the difficult backdrop to these achievements, and the reality that the stimulus was much smaller than its critics imagine.        事实证明,刺激日本通胀确实很难。自金融危机以来,低通胀一直是一个世界性难题,无论是美国、欧元区、还是英国。但简单一句政策失败的诊断,忽视了安倍经济学取得的诸多成绩,这些成就背后艰难的大环境,以及刺激规模比批评者以为的小得多的事实。
        Growth, running at an annualised 1.2 per cent, has been well above Japan’s underlying rate every year save 2014. The unemployment level is at a 22-year low of 2.8 per cent — and that figure understates how tight Japan’s jobs market has become.        如今,日本的年化经济增长率达1.2%,远远超过除2014年以外历年的潜在增长率。失业率仅2.8%,为22年来的低点,而这一数字仍低估了当下日本就业市场有多么紧张。
        Every shop and restaurant in Tokyo seems to have a “positions vacant” sign, and many are scrapping 24-hour opening to save labour. Yamato Transport, the country’s largest logistics company, is raising prices for the first time in 27 years in a deliberate attempt to cut volumes to a level its network can handle. Rather than cutting costs, chief executives spend their time working out how to hire and retain staff.        东京所有的商店和餐厅似乎都挂着“招人”的标志,很多店取消了24小时营业以节省劳动力。日本最大的物流公司大和运输株式会社(Yamato Transport)27年来首次上调价格,刻意把运输量降至其物流网可以承受的水平。老板们想的不再是削减成本,而是如何招人和留住员工。
        After more than two decades when labour was cheap and abundant, Japanese companies are finding ways to cut back, reducing their lavish service standards rather than raising prices. But this can only go so far. Japan is primed for inflation.        在享受了20年多年既便宜又充足的劳动力后,如今日本企业正想办法转向,降低其过高的服务标准,而不是涨价。但他们已做到极限了。日本已经为通胀做好了准备。
        The struggles of the stimulus must also be weighed against the global economic backdrop. The plunge in 2014 in commodity prices, followed by the 2015 slowdown in emerging markets, leading to a sharp appreciation of the yen, were a terrible environment in which to generate inflation. Only with the election of Donald Trump as US president, and the subsequent rally in the yen above ¥110 to the dollar, is the global economy once again a support.        刺激政策经历的挑战也必须在全球经济的大环境下进行衡量。2014年大宗商品价格跳水,紧接着2015年新兴市场增长放缓(导致日元急剧升值),这种环境对于希望刺激通胀的经济体来说是艰难的。只有在唐纳德•特朗普(Donald Trump)当选美国总统,以及随后日元兑美元汇率上涨至110日元兑1美元以上时,全球经济才再次起到支持作用。
        Of all the obstacles to success, the worst was self-inflicted: a 2014 rise in consumption tax from 5 to 8 per cent. In theory, Abenomics involved a fiscal stimulus. In reality, this only ever happened for a brief time, in 2013. Over the past four years, Japan has significantly tightened fiscal policy. The predictable result was to halt momentum towards higher prices.        安倍经济学遭遇的种种障碍中,最大障碍恰好是自己造成的:2014年消费税从5%上调至8%。理论上,安倍经济学包括了财政刺激政策。可事实上,财政刺激只在2013年实施了短暂一段时间。过去4年,日本显著收紧了财政政策。可预见的后果是制止了物价上涨的势头。
        Recently, the Abe government has realised its mistake and loosened the purse strings a little. It should continue to do so, ignoring foolish and arbitrary fiscal targets, until inflation finally does pick up. There have been policy failures over the past four years, but they all involved too little Abenomics, not too much.        最近,安倍政府意识到了自己的错误,稍稍放松了银根。它应该继续这么做,不去理睬愚蠢而任性的财政目标,直到通胀水平最终回升为止。过去4年的确有一些政策失败了,但这全是因为安倍经济学实施得太少,而不是太过。
        To break Japan’s deflationary mindset for good may take several more years. Workers are slow to demand higher pay and employers are reluctant to offer it. But that does not mean the effort to restore inflation has failed. Rather, it has made significant progress, in a difficult environment, where the policy’s champions often failed to act when needed. The prize is a revived Japanese economy.        想要彻底打破日本的通缩心态,可能还需要耗费数年。日本工人在要求涨薪方面较为迟缓,雇主也不愿涨薪。但这并不意味着恢复通胀的努力失败了。事实是,日本在艰难的环境下(该政策的拥护者常常没能在必要时采取行动)已经取得了显著进展。奖励就是日本经济的复苏。

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