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[克魯曼專欄]愛爾蘭明鏡 (原文載於10/03/07)

作者:首領八奇│2010-04-12 18:27:09│贊助:0│人氣:433
Everyone has a theory about the financial crisis. These theories range from the absurd to the plausible — from claims that liberal Democrats somehow forced banks to lend to the undeserving poor (even though Republicans controlled Congress) to the belief that exotic financial instruments fostered confusion and fraud. But what do we really know?


每個人對這場金融危機都有一套自己的理論,這些理論有的唬濫至極,有的確有可能。從聲稱自由派民主黨人強迫銀行(雖然國會是由共和黨控制)把錢借給不值得救助之窮人,到相信新的金融投資工具培養出困惑與詐欺。可是我們真的知道原因嗎?


Well, in a way the sheer scale of the crisis — the way it affected much, though not all, of the world — is helpful, for research if nothing else. We can look at countries that avoided the worst, like Canada, and ask what they did right — such as limiting leverage, protecting consumers and, above all, avoiding getting caught up in an ideology that denies any need for regulation. We can also look at countries whose financial institutions and policies seemed very different from those in the United States, yet which cracked up just as badly, and try to discern common causes.


這場危機的規模,幾乎席捲了大部分的國家,這點起碼可以幫助我們研究出些東西。我們可以查看那些避開最糟結果的國家如加拿大,看看他們做了哪些正確抉擇,例如限制金融杠桿、保護消費者,還有最重要的,沒有落入反對任何管制的意識形態中。我們也可以瞧瞧那些金融機構與政策看來都和美國大不相同,卻一樣都落人笑柄的國家,試著找出兩者的共同原因。


So let’s talk about Ireland.


所以,就來談談愛爾蘭吧。


As a new research paper by the Irish economists Gregory Connor, Thomas Flavin and Brian O’Kelly points out, “Almost all the apparent causal factors of the U.S. crisis are missing in the Irish case,” and vice versa. Yet the shape of Ireland’s crisis was very similar: a huge real estate bubble — prices rose more in Dublin than in Los Angeles or Miami — followed by a severe banking bust that was contained only via an expensive bailout.


根據愛爾蘭經學家康納、佛萊文、歐克里最新的研究論文指出,「幾乎所有導致美國危機的明顯原因,都未在愛爾蘭出現。」反之亦然。可是愛爾蘭的危機看起來又跟美國很像:龐大的房地產泡沫(都柏林的房價攀升甚至超過洛杉磯和邁阿密),還有要藉由高昂緊急財政支援來控制的嚴重銀行危機。


Ireland had none of the American right’s favorite villains: there was no Community Reinvestment Act, no Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. More surprising, perhaps, was the unimportance of exotic finance: Ireland’s bust wasn’t a tale of collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps; it was an old-fashioned, plain-vanilla case of excess, in which banks made big loans to questionable borrowers, and taxpayers ended up holding the bag.


愛爾蘭也沒有美國右派喜歡怪罪的大壞蛋:沒有社區再投資法案,沒有房利美,也沒有房地美。可能更讓人訝異的,是新的金融投資工具在愛爾蘭也無足輕重:愛爾蘭的衰退不是篇什麼擔保債權憑證啊,信用違約交換的故事。而是關於基本金融商品超量,於是銀行放貸給不佳的借款者,最終納稅人要掏腰包的傳統老梗。


So what did we have in common? The authors of the new study suggest four “ ‘deep’ causal factors.”


那麼我們到底有何共通處?報告的作者提出四個「深層原因」。


First, there was irrational exuberance: in both countries buyers and lenders convinced themselves that real estate prices, although sky-high by historical standards, would continue to rise.


首先,都有非理性繁榮:兩個國家的購屋者和貸款者都深信,雖然價格已遠超過歷史標準,但房價只會升不會跌。


Second, there was a huge inflow of cheap money. In America’s case, much of the cheap money came from China; in Ireland’s case, it came mainly from the rest of the euro zone, where Germany became a gigantic capital exporter.


其次,都有大批便宜資金流入。美國方面,大筆便宜資金由中國流入。愛爾蘭方面,主要是來自其他的歐元區,其中德國是超大的資金輸出國。


Third, key players had an incentive to take big risks, because it was heads they win, tails someone else loses. In Ireland this moral hazard was largely personal: “Rogue-bank heads retired with their large fortunes intact.” There was a lot of this in the United States, too: as Harvard’s Lucian Bebchuk and others have pointed out, top executives at failed U.S. financial companies received billions in “performance related” pay before their firms went belly-up.


再者,市場的關鍵性角色有冒大險的誘因,導因於賭對了他們通吃,賭輸了別人去賠一屁股。愛爾蘭的狀況中,這種道德危機大多發生在個人層面:「騙徒銀行家抱著鉅額財富安然退休」。美國這種事也不少:哈佛的拜恩切克和許多人都指出,一些經營不善的美國金融公司的高階主管,在公司倒閉前領取了幾十億美元的「績效獎金」。


But the most striking similarity between Ireland and America was “regulatory imprudence”: the people charged with keeping banks safe didn’t do their jobs. In Ireland, regulators looked the other way in part because the country was trying to attract foreign business, in part because of cronyism: bankers and property developers had close ties to the ruling party.


不過愛爾蘭和美國之間最引人注目的共同點是「監督不周」:該讓銀行健全營運的人沒有負起責任。愛爾蘭的管制,某些部分看來和美國相當不同。不同之處在於愛爾蘭努力要吸引外國投資,而且還有裙帶主義:銀行家和不動產業者與執政黨之間關係糾纏不清。


There was a lot of that here too, but the bigger issue was ideology. Actually, the authors of the Irish paper get this wrong, stressing the way U.S. politicians celebrated the ideal of homeownership; yes, they made speeches along those lines, but this didn’t have much effect on lenders’ incentives.


美國也是一個樣,不過這裡比較大的問題是意識形態。愛爾蘭學者的研究報告強調美國政界大肆歌誦房屋自有率是災難之源,但其實報告弄錯對象了。不可否認的,這些政客的確鼓吹房屋自有率,可是這對放款人的動機並沒有太多影響。


What really mattered was free-market fundamentalism. This is what led Ronald Reagan to declare that deregulation would solve the problems of thrift institutions — the actual result was huge losses, followed by a gigantic taxpayer bailout — and Alan Greenspan to insist that the proliferation of derivatives had actually strengthened the financial system. It was largely thanks to this ideology that regulators ignored the mounting risks.


真正的大魔王是自由市場的基本教義派信徒。正是這信念讓雷根宣稱廢除管制,可以掃除儲蓄機構的一切問題──實際結果慘不忍睹,花了納稅人大把銀子來補貼銀行。也正是這信念,讓葛林斯潘堅稱大量湧出的衍生性金融商品可以強化金融體系。於是儘管危機不斷浮現,我們還是對警告充耳不聞──感謝這些人的努力。


So what can we learn from the way Ireland had a U.S.-type financial crisis with very different institutions? Mainly, that we have to focus as much on the regulators as on the regulations. By all means, let’s limit both leverage and the use of securitization — which were part of what Canada did right. But such measures won’t matter unless they’re enforced by people who see it as their duty to say no to powerful bankers.


愛爾蘭和美國體系如此不同,卻還是發生了像美國一樣的金融危機,我們可以從中得到什麼啟示?最主要的教訓是我們著重於管制的同時,也必須著重於負責管制的機構。管制上,務必限制金融杠桿的操作及資產證券化,這點加拿大表現十分出色。但光有管制手段沒有用,這些手段一定要由有guts的人來強制執行,而這些人也會堅守職責,勇於對有權有勢的銀行家說不。


That’s why we need an independent agency protecting financial consumers — again, something Canada did right — rather than leaving the job to agencies that have other priorities. And beyond that, we need a sea change in attitudes, a recognition that letting bankers do what they want is a recipe for disaster. If that doesn’t happen, we will have failed to learn from recent history — and we’ll be doomed to repeat it.


這就是為何我們需要獨立的機構來保護金融消費者,而非把這項工作交給付有其他職責的單位──這點加拿大又是一次成功範例。此外,觀念上也必須徹底改變,要知道讓銀行為所欲為是炒出一鍋災難的絕佳配方。如果以上改革都失敗了,那表示我們從歷史上沒學到任何教訓,於是很快的我們就會重蹈覆轍,自我毀滅。
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給我凱特
有看有推, 感謝翻譯 !

04-12 18:52

首領八奇
隔好久喔,我實在太懶了...XD04-13 12:26
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