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卫星照片:全球最繁忙的国际机场

April 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Via 天涯-贴图专区

1哈兹菲尔德-杰克逊亚特兰大国际机场 Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport 92,365,860 ATL/KATL


2北京首都国际机场 Beijing Capital International Airport 77,403,668 PEK/ZBAA


3 伦敦希思路机场 London Heathrow Airport 69,433,565 LHR/EGLL


4芝加哥奥黑尔国际机场 O’Hare International Airport 66,561,023 ORD/KORD


5日本羽田国际机场 Tokyo International Airport 62,263,025 HND/RJTT


6 洛杉矶国际机场 Los Angeles International Airport 61,848,449 LAX/KLAX


7巴黎-夏尔?戴高乐机场 Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport 60,970,551 CDG/LFPG


8达拉斯-沃思堡国际机场 Dallas Fort Worth International Airport 57,806,152 DFW/KDFW


9德国法兰克福国际机场 Frankfurt Airport 56,436,255 FRA/EDDF


10香港国际机场 Hong Kong International Airport 53,314,213 HKG/VHHH


11丹佛国际机场 Denver International Airport 52,699,298 DEN/KDEN


12印尼苏加诺-哈达国际机场 Soekarno-Hatta International Airport 52,446,618 CGK/WIII


13阿联酋迪拜国际机场 Dubai International Airport 50,977,960 DXB/OMDB


14荷兰史基浦机场 Amsterdam Schiphol Airport 49,754,910 AMS/EHAM


15西班牙马德里-巴拉哈斯机场 Madrid Barajas Airport 49,644,302 MAD/LEMD


16泰国素万那普机场 Suvarnabhumi Airport 47,910,744 BKK/VTBS


17纽约约翰?菲茨杰拉德?肯尼迪国际机场 John F. Kennedy International Airport 47,854,283 JFK/KJFK


18新加坡樟宜机场 Singapore Changi Airport 46,543,845 SIN/WSSS


19拉斯维加斯麦卡伦国际机场 McCarran International Airport 41,479,572 LAS/KLAS


20上海浦东国际机场 Shanghai Pudong International Airport 41,450,211 PVG/ZSPD

  21旧金山国际机场 San Francisco International Airport 40,907,389 SFO/KSFO


22菲尼克斯天港国际机场 Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport 40,565,677 PHX/KPHX


23休斯顿乔治?布什洲际机场 George Bush Intercontinental Airport 40,170,844 IAH/KIAH


24夏洛特/道格拉斯国际机场 Charlotte Douglas International Airport 39,043,708 CLT/KCLT


25迈阿密国际机场 Miami International Airport 38,314,389 MIA/KMIA

  26德国慕尼黑机场 Munich Airport 37,763,701 MUC/EDDM


27马来西亚吉隆坡国际机场 Kuala Lumpur International Airport 37,670,586 KUL/WMKK


28意大利罗马-菲乌米奇诺机场 Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport 37,651,222 FCO/LIRF


29土耳其阿塔蒂尔克国际机场 Atatürk International Airport 37,398,221 IST/LTBA


30 澳大利亚悉尼金斯福德?史密斯国际机场 Sydney Airport 36,022,614 SYD/YSSY

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Categories: Travel Tags: , ,

Argentina’s oil nationalisation and Brazilian interest rates

April 20, 2012 Leave a comment

IMF raises $320 billion in an effort to boost rescue firepower

April 19, 2012 Leave a comment

CFA Institute Financial NewsBrief

via IMF raises $320 billion in an effort to boost rescue firepower.

Timothy Geithner, U.S. treasury secretary, arrives for the start of a meeting of the Financial Stability Oversite Council in Washington April 3, 2012. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

WASHINGTON | Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:40am EDT

(Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday it had raised $320 billion so far in a bid to boost its firepower to deal with the euro zone debt crisis, with Poland and Switzerland joining the effort.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said she had received commitments of $34 billion on Wednesday, including $8 billion from Poland and “a substantial amount” from Switzerland.

“Ensuring that the Fund has sufficient resources to tackle crises and to promote global economic stability is in the interests of all our members,” she said in a statement.

Lagarde is hoping to secure at least $400 billion in commitments from finance officials from around the globe, who meet this week in Washington under the auspices of the Group of 20 nations and the IMF and World Bank.

The issue has taken on new urgency given increased borrowing costs in Spain and Italy that have reignited fears the euro zone crisis could flare again, and that the fallout could imperil the global economic recovery.

The United States has declined to provide fresh funds, saying it had done its part by ensuring dollar liquidity for banks in Europe, but it threw its weight behind the fundraising effort on Wednesday.

“We’re actually very supportive of that process and we’ll be very supportive of it this week,” U.S. Treasury Timothy Geithner said, avoiding past rhetoric about Europe needing to do more first to erect its own financial firewall.

Europe had already said it would provide about $200 billion to the IMF and Japan pledged $60 billion on Tuesday, becoming the first non-European nation to make a commitment.

Sweden said it would commit $10 billion and increase the amount to $14.7 billion later, while Denmark said it would give $7 billion. Norway pledged about $9.3 billion.

The effort to expand the IMF’s coffers is expected to dominate a meeting of G20 finance officials over dinner on Thursday and during the day on Friday. It will also be front and center at the IMF’s semi-annual session on Saturday.

Speaking at the Brookings Institution, Geithner said the commitments that had already flowed in should make it apparent to financial markets that the fund can bulk up quickly when necessary, a prospect that could ease crisis-related jitters.

He said it was a positive that the IMF could raise money quickly to “cushion if necessary the effects of European trauma” on the economies of other nations.

HOPING FOR A DEAL

While Europe has won some praise for actions it has taken to build up its own defenses to keep its debt troubles contained, the IMF warned this week that the crisis was still the single greatest threat to the world economy.

“Solving the issues in Europe is not about a firewall, it’s about decisions that will be taken in Europe over a sustained period of time; and it’s European actions that will be decisive here as opposed to outside money,” Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney told a news conference.

Carney, who also heads the global Financial Stability Board, said the G20 had yet to reach a consensus on how to proceed.

Like the United States, Canada has ruled out putting more money into the IMF. “Really, the Europeans need to step up to the plate much more than they have,” Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told reporters in Toronto.

But Canada seemed increasingly isolated.

In Mexico, Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade sounded an optimistic note about a deal for more IMF money. He said commitments made by Japan, Sweden and Denmark were a sign of good progress – a potentially significant comment because Mexico, as this year’s G20 chair, has a chance to shape not only the agenda but the outcome of this week’s talks.

“It creates a good environment for the meeting,” Meade said of money pledges.

Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, predicted in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday that a deal would be reached this week.

A number of emerging market economies, including China, Russia and Brazil have been cautious about providing more money to the IMF. They want commitments the new resources will be accompanied by more voting power at the global lender.

In a report on global financial stability, the IMF offered advice for Europe: set a course for fiscal union to match the existing monetary union so that unified policy can be passed that works equally for members and makes it harder for financial markets to single out the weakest for attack.

“European authorities need to provide investors with a clear vision of where monetary union is going, because the answer to this is more and better Europe, not less Europe,” IMF financial counselor Jose Vinals said as he issued the report.

The IMF urged central supervision of European banks. It also suggested that the European Union should consider injecting public capital into banks – a tactic the United States employed in 2008 when its banking system was at risk of collapse.

(Additional reporting by Stella Dawson and Rachelle Younglai in Washington, Krista Hughes in Puerto Vallarta and Louise Egan in Ottawa; Editing by Dan Grebler and Peter Cooney)

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , ,

未来吃什么?

April 19, 2012 Leave a comment

FT中文网专栏_《中外对话》

via 未来吃什么?.

到2050年,世界人口将新增25亿(相当于中国和印度当下人口的总和),我们怎样才能养活这么多人?联合国估计,我们必须将目前的食物产量翻一番才能满足需求;各国政府也宣称,应该采用新技术并避免浪费。但无论如何节约,世界长期饥饿人口已经达到了10亿;未开垦土地寥寥无几;气候变化加大了很多地区农业生产的难度;海洋鱼类过度捕捞;世界许多地区水资源短缺愈演愈烈。

五十年前,当世界人口只有如今的大约一半时,人类曾希望用所谓的“绿色革命”阻止迫在眉睫的粮食危机。杂交种子和化肥使用量的猛增取得了一些效果,但人类也付出了沉重的生态代价。与父辈相比,我们的粮食产量将近翻了一番,但对地表和地下水的消耗却增长了两倍。

食品、农业和水利等领域的技术专家必须找到新的方法,让从前很难或者根本不可能发展农业的地方成为我们的粮仓。或许我们需要重新思考应该如何使用土地和水资源。全新一代的尖端农民、奇特食品及精彩创意也应运而生。

藻类

怎样才能在大量减少耕地使用的前提下生产出更多可以养活人类的食物?要做到这点其实十分简单——只要我们将精力转向商业化的藻类养殖。藻类是一种单细胞生物,结构并不复杂,在海洋里、污水中以及其他粮食作物无法存活的环境中都能快速生长繁殖。多家大型航空公司和海运集团都在研究使用海藻油的可能性,精明的清洁能源投资者更是将钱源源不断地投入这项尚处在发展初期的技术之中。

藻类养殖的回报极高:据科学家估算,在最理想条件下,商业藻类养殖每英亩(约合4050平方米)可产出5000到10000加仑(大约22730到 45460公升)海藻油;而相比之下,用玉米等粮食作物生产生物乙醇每英亩产量只有350加仑(约合1590公升)。另外,藻类还可以用作动物饲料和肥料。用海藻油替代美国市面上全部生物乙醇需要占用大约二百英亩(8000多平方公里)沙漠,但正如亚利桑那州立大学教授马克·爱德华兹所说,这也意味着将腾出4000万英亩(约合162000平方千米)的农田和每年几百万加仑的灌溉水用来为人类生产粮食。

虽然处在食物链的底部,但海带等藻类一直以来就是日本和中国餐桌上的佳肴,并且已经用作肥料、土壤改良剂和动物饲料。爱德华兹说:“藻类大的如海带、巨藻,小的只有显微镜才能观测到;它们能固定大气中的二氧化碳并提供脂肪、油类和糖分。自然界无论是小虾还是蓝鲸都以它们为食。藻类是所有生命的基础,也是人类未来的依靠。”

人造肉

这种东西看起来像肉,摸起来像肉,也的确是肉,只不过不是从喘气儿的活体动物身上取下来的。相反,人造肉是利用干细胞在大型容器中“人工培养”出来的。

科学家认为,寻找肉类的替代品十分重要。因为在中国等快速发展的新兴经济体,人们的饮食习惯正向西方靠拢,这使政府和农民不得不砍伐森林以开发新的农场。目前有将近四分之一的可耕地用于养牛,另有四分之一用于种植动物饲料。在美国,牲畜饲料在全部谷物生产中所占的比重已经达到将近七成。

目前,大部分人造肉的研究都是在欧洲进行的,其中荷兰和英国的科学家已经成功地在实验室中利用干细胞培养出可以食用的组织结构。不过,虽然首个用人造肉制成的汉堡明年便有望问世,但它的味道可能会令人大失所望。肉类的颜色和口味分别来自血液和脂肪。虽然研究人员已经找出了能做出血液和脂肪的干细胞,但真正制成人造血液和脂肪还是一项漫长、复杂而昂贵的工作。

即便如此,研究证明人造肉在环境方面的益处是普通肉类无法比拟的,其生产过程中所需的水、能量和土地都更少。另外,在大规模农场饲养以及生长激素和抗生素的使用已经饱受质疑之时,人造肉却几乎不涉及任何道德争议。

新型粮食作物

很少有人听说过黎志康这个名字,但这位中国植物育种专家很可能将作为本世纪最重要的人物之一而永载史册。在中国农业科学院和菲律宾国际水稻研究所工作12年之后,黎志康和他的科研团队去年开发出了“绿色超级稻”。经验证,这一系列稻种不仅产量更高,而且更耐旱、耐涝、耐盐,还更能抗虫害、抗病。

黎志康没有使用转基因技术,而是与来自16个国家的上百名研究院和农民合作,完全采用传统育种技术将250多个稻种杂交选优。

这种能大幅度增加亚洲地区粮食产量、多养活1亿人的绿色超级稻几年之内即将正式推向市场。但对于其他作物来说,更好的植物育种——无论是否使用转基因技术——也将是提高产量的关键。

然而在过去的20年中,大部分研究经费都用在了转基因技术上。农用化学产业当初承诺,经他们改造的粮食作物不仅富含维生素、酵素或者健康脂肪酸,并且有很好的耐旱性,能减少碳排放。虽然我们有望看到能制造人类疫苗的香蕉、成熟期更短的鱼和具有抗病性的牛,但“养活世界”的承诺仍远未实现。

去年,全球转基因作物种植面积超过3.5亿英亩(约合140多万平方公里)——占全球耕地面积约10%,是德国、法国、英国国土面积的总和;但玉米、油菜及大豆占据了其中大部分,而这三种作物的产出大多用作动物饲料。

沙漠绿化

世界上有很多地区受干旱之苦,唯一邻近的水源就是海洋。我们能不能开发一种技术,让智利、加利福尼亚、秘鲁和中东这样的沿海沙漠利用海水实现绿化呢?

英国发明家查理·佩顿就有这样一个设想:用广阔的“海水温室” 种粮发电。他的计划很简单:在自然界的水循环中,海水经阳光加热后蒸发,冷却后形成云,之后再以雨的形式回到地表。佩顿的设计采取了类似的结构。在这里,炙热的沙漠空气在进入温室后首先冷却,再经海水加湿。潮湿的空气在滋润温室中的农作物之后,将穿过一个蒸发装置。当遇到一组装有冷海水的冷却管时,空气中的水汽凝结成淡水,由工作人员统一收集。使用这种方法生产的淡水是温室作物需水量的五倍,因此可以将一部分温室中产生的淡水用于当地其他作物的灌溉。

海水温室已经被证明行之有效,而且今年就会有一个由挪威政府支持的大型试点项目在约旦亚喀巴附近上马。“撒哈拉森林计划”将综合利用不同的技术种植粮食和生物能源作物,将于2015年正式开始运行。

除此之外,还有许多新技术正在开发当中,它们将使人类得以在极端环境中种植粮食。或许其中最简单却最具雄心的项目就是筹划已久的“非洲绿色长城”计划了。这片长条状的森林宽15公里,长7775公里,自西非的塞内加尔一直延伸到东非的吉布提。参与该计划的非洲11国表示,“绿色长城”将有助于阻止撒哈拉沙漠向南扩展,减缓土壤退化,降低风速,促进雨水下渗,并创造出适宜种植水果、蔬菜和其他作物的小气候。

昆虫

在欧洲或是美国大多数餐厅的菜单上,像蝗虫、蚱蜢、蜘蛛、黄蜂、蠕虫、蚂蚁和甲壳虫这样的东西是难得一见的;但在非洲、拉丁美洲和亚洲,人们食用的昆虫多达1400种。随着食品价格的上涨和世界范围内土地供应紧张,英国等地建立食用昆虫养殖场的日子也不远了。

养殖昆虫的优点不仅在于昆虫是一种高蛋白、低脂肪、低胆固醇、高钙高铁的食物,还因为昆虫养殖场占地很小。从环境角度看,传统养殖场同样不能和它相提并论。昆虫将植物转化为可食用肉质的速度比发育周期最短的家畜还要快;它们释放的温室气体更少;无论喂它们纸张、水藻还是工业废料,它们都能茁壮成长。

一直积极寻求大范围推广食用昆虫养殖的联合国和欧盟都十分推崇这种“微型家畜”的种种优点。荷兰政府正在研究如何建立昆虫养殖场。但出于对西方人神经质的照顾,他们要求研究人员看看能否单独提取昆虫蛋白。

与此同时,欧盟向其成员国提供300万欧元资金推广昆虫在餐饮中的使用,并要求食品标准监管机构研究昆虫作为膳食补充的可能性。

注:本文经环境网站“中外对话”授权发表。“中外对话”(http://www.chinadialogue.cn/)是一个致力于环境问题的中英双语网站,总部位于伦敦,是一个独立的非营利性组织。本文原载英国《卫报》:http://www.guardian.co.uk/ 版权所有©卫报新闻传媒有限公司 2012 翻译:李杨

欧元区走出危机的关键

April 19, 2012 Leave a comment

FT中文网专栏_马丁·沃尔夫

via 欧元区走出危机的关键.

欧元区在解决危机的道路上走了多远?比较乐观的回答是,欧元区已经把自己从心脏病发作中解救出来,但是仍需度过一段艰难的康复期,病情复发的几率很大。欧元区必须采取能够防止未来危机再现的体制,但是这个任务也没有完成。不过欧元区争取到了时间。现在最主要的问题是,欧元区对这段时间的利用有多充分。

可以说,解决危机的关键一步是就危机的本质达成一致。这个问题已经取得了进展,至少经济学家已经达成共识。人们普遍接受的观点是,当前危机的根本问题是如何实现国际收支平衡。确实,国际收支平衡在欧元区比在任何没有处于货币联盟之下的经济体都更加重要。慕尼黑CESifo研究所的汉斯-韦尔纳•辛恩(Hans-Werner Sinn)已经花了很多精力解释这个问题。按他的话说,“欧洲货币联盟(European Monetary Union, EMU)正在经历严重的内部收支平衡危机,在某些重要的方面,这类似于布雷顿森林体系(Bretton Woods System)在崩溃前几年面临的危机。”CESifo论坛在2012年1月出版了一期特刊,专门讨论这个话题。3月,布鲁塞尔智库Bruegel发表了一篇影响重大的文章《欧元区的急刹车》(Sudden stops in the euro area)。3月底,德国央行(Bundesbank)行长延斯•魏德曼(Jens Weidmann)在伦敦发表题为“欧洲再平衡”的演说,探讨了这个问题。

在金融危机发生之前的快乐年度里,私人资本自由流动,尤其是流入了南欧国家。希腊、葡萄牙和西班牙的经常账户赤字为GDP的10%甚至更多。这提供了大量资金供私营部门、公共部门甚至二者同时进行超支挥霍。这种经济上的繁荣还导致外部竞争力大幅削弱。

随后私人资本流入“戛然而止”。正如Bruegel的文章中所言,私人资本中断发生了三次:第一次在2008年全球经济危机期间(影响了希腊和爱尔兰),第二次在2010年春季(影响了希腊、爱尔兰和葡萄牙),第三次发生于2011年下半年(影响了意大利、葡萄牙和西班牙)。在某些情况下,事情并不只是资本流入中断这么简单。爱尔兰出现了大规模资本外逃。当然,一旦资本不再流入私营部门,经济活动便发生崩塌,财政状况急剧恶化。

欧元区对这种跨境融资的中断措手不及:人们认为这种情况不可能发生。一旦资本流动中断,欧元区只有两个选择:从外部强制被市场拒之门外的国家接受调整,或者动用官方资源为这些国家提供融资。欧元区选择了后者。欧洲央行(ECB)成了最主要的融资渠道,扮演着银行最后贷款人的角色。欧洲央行俨然变成“欧洲货币基金组织”(European Monetary Fund)(见图表)。

那么应该采取什么措施呢?魏德曼描述自己的立场是“典型的德国立场”,即:“赤字国家必须进行调整。它们必须解决结构性问题。它们必须降低国内需求。它们必须加强竞争力、提高出口。”

那么,盈余国家同时又该做些什么?在这一点上,魏德曼讲得很明确:“有时,这意味着要通过‘折中’来实现再平衡,也就是说要降低德国等盈余国家的竞争力。其隐含意味是,赤字国家和盈余国家需要共同做出调整。但问题是,我们得问问自己:‘这种做法将把我们带往何方?’如果我们放弃了来之不易的竞争力,欧洲如何致胜?要取得成功,全欧洲必须变得更富有活力、更富于创新,进一步提高生产力。”

可惜,这段话混淆了生产力和竞争力的区别。但二者是有明显差异的,例如,美国比中国生产力高,但是竞争力低。外部竞争力是相对的。此外,就全球而言,调整也必须由世界各国分担。魏德曼明白这一点,他说:“当然,随着赤字国家的调整,盈余国家最后会受到影响。”问题是,分担的机制是什么?

欧元区的外部竞争力取决于汇率,但汇率并不是政策上的可变量。欧元区的每个成员只能进行一对一的比拼,提高相对于其他国家的竞争力。本世纪头十年德国就是这么做的。现在的情况必须反过来。高盛(Goldman Sachs)在两份优秀的研究报告(《如何实现财政均衡和对外均衡》(Achieving fiscal and external balance),3月15日和22日发表)中,探讨了这意味着什么。其结论是,为实现可持续的外部收支状况,葡萄牙实际汇率需要下降35%,希腊下降30%,西班牙下降20%,意大利下降10-15%,爱尔兰的汇率现在具有竞争力。这样的调整意味着,核心国家的汇率上升将被抵消。此外,欧元区平均通胀率为2%,即使竞争力弱的国家通胀率保持在零水平,实施这些调整也要花一段时间:葡萄牙和希腊要用15年,西班牙10年,意大利5至10年。这同时意味着欧元区其他国家的年通胀率高达4%。

这样的内部调整会自然而然地发生吗?或许会。目前欧洲央行正在实施扩张政策。同时,德国的银行肯定愿意在国内更多地放贷。德国国内的信贷扩张将大有助益。但是假设上述情况没有发生,那么今天饱受紧缩之苦的欧元区将陷入长期的需求疲软之中。结果可能导致欧元区净出口出现大幅波动。对于世界其他国家而言,这将是以邻为壑的政策,在困难时期是不能容忍的。如果欧元区在奉行此类政策的同时,还要求外部国家通过向国际货币基金组织(IMF)提供额外资源来增加对欧元区处于困境中的成员国的资助,无异于火上浇油。外部国家应该直截了当地拒绝。它们应该坚持,只有在欧元区内部展开双重调整的前提下,才能施予额外支持。

好消息是,人们正在就国际收支失衡在危机中扮演的角色达成一致。坏消息是,欧元区尚未认同竞争力必然是相对的。一旦欧元区认同了这一观点,那么复元之路不管多么艰难,至少将会明晰起来。

译者/倪卫国

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,

“泛欧认同感”难以打造

April 19, 2012 Leave a comment

作者:英国《金融时报》专栏作家 吉迪恩•拉赫曼

意大利学者马西莫•德•阿泽利奥(Massimo d’Azeglio)在1861年意大利统一后说道:“我们已经创造了意大利,现在我们必须创造意大利人了。”当代欧盟(EU)政界人士面临现代版的“阿泽利奥困境”:他们已经创造了欧盟,现在他们必须创造欧洲人了。

构建集体认同感通常需要几代人时间。但欧洲政客们已经没有充裕的时间了。如果不能让5亿左右的欧盟民众对欧洲产生更强烈的情感、更少地以自己国家为重,他们或许无法采取必要的步骤挽救欧元。

大多数分析师认为,欧元要想生存下去,必须得到以下支持:规模远超现在的欧洲联邦预算、共同债务(即发行欧元共同债券)以及更强有力的中央政府。欧洲不必立即出台这些举措,但有必要尽快制定行动方向。然而,公众对此类举措的支持却难觅踪影。德国纳税人对于向南欧国家转移更多资金的想法缺乏热情。希腊和西班牙选民似乎远未准备好让欧盟制定他们国家的预算。让“欧洲”运行起来所需的欧洲认同感还不够强烈。而如果没有这种认同感,欧盟就好比一座根基浅薄的建筑物,却试图抵御政治和经济地震。

对那些目前不得不努力“创造欧洲人”的人而言,“创造意大利人”的困难值得引以为戒。在统一逾150年之后,意大利实力强大的反对党北方联盟(Northern League)还发起运动要把意大利变成一个更为松散的联邦制国家,甚至要分裂这个国家。

北方联盟党魁翁贝托•博西(Umberto Bossi)上周被迫辞职,但其政党赖以壮大的紧张形势依然没有改变。意大利南部仍比北部穷困得多。一些人辩称,意大利南部经济相对停滞不前,在一定程度上是因为与生产力更高的北部一同深陷于一个货币联盟之内。与此同时,意大利北部的许多纳税人对于把税收资金转移给南部感到强烈不满,并对南部地区的腐败问题深恶痛绝。

与意大利一样,欧洲也存在南北分化问题,较为富裕的北部国家和经济落后的南部国家民众彼此间的不满情绪日益增长。政客们必须设法说服他们克服分歧,让他们认识到大家都是欧洲人。

但是“创造欧洲人”要比创造意大利人难得多:必须在一个语言和文化差异根深蒂固的庞大地区塑造认同感。

所有国家建立者都知道,拥有共同的国家叙事和语言是创立一个国家的关键要素。控制教育体系非常关键。1861年,每40个意大利人中仅有1人会说意大利语。这种状况后来通过教育调整了过来。但就目前而言,教育依然牢牢掌握在欧盟27个成员国的手中。欧盟内部没有共同的课程表——更不用说以一种共同的语言讲课。

在最近举行的欧盟峰会上,德国提议的财政规则得以通过,德国总理安格拉•默克尔(Angela Merkel)所属党派基督教民主联盟(Christian Democratic Union)的议会领袖沃尔克•考德尔(Volker Kauder)兴奋地表示:“现在欧洲开始说德语了。”但不管是从字面上还是从隐喻意义上来说,事实都并非如此。宣称欧洲南部国家已经吸收了德国的经济“稳定文化”还为时尚早。实际上,在欧洲许多地区,德语教学是在滑坡的,尽管有报道称,随着欧洲南部国家的失业者考虑移民德国,这些国家对德国课程的需求目前有所上升。

如果欧洲真的希望其所有民众都学习一种语言,那么英语才是上选。但提议让英语成为法国学校里的教学语言,只会是一种新式而搞笑的政治自杀。

话虽如此,但一些专家认为,他们在当前法国总统大选中发现了“泛欧认同感”成型的充满希望的迹象:德国方面宣布,默克尔将与尼古拉•萨科齐(Nicolas Sarkozy)并肩作战。但这种观点很快就与萨科齐早先关于引进德国成功模式的竞选宣言一起烟消云散。

萨科齐主要竞争对手弗朗索瓦•奥朗德(François Hollande)在勒布尔热为竞选发表的演讲中,处处提到法国历史上从克列孟梭(Clemenceau)到加缪(Camus)之类的伟人。这些文化底蕴为演讲增色不少,并增加了感染力和历史感。欧盟几乎没有这些东西。

实际上,随着法国大选的推进,辩论中的国家主义色彩变得更加浓厚。坚信必须加强欧洲一体化的欧盟当局,反而不得不倾听奥朗德誓言将“重新谈判”欧盟的新财政协议,以及萨科齐威胁要让法国退出欧盟的人员自由流动协定。希腊下月的选举也可能出现民族主义论调大幅升温的情况,尤其是在最近一名领取养老金的老人自杀之后——他在议会门前自杀,留下遗书指责希腊政客们是卖国贼,把希腊卖给了外国人,这一事件令世人震惊。

在危机和战争期间或许能够造就集体认同感,但当前危机非但没有“创造欧洲人”,反而还鼓励欧盟民众重新回到历史更为悠久、更为根深蒂固的国家认同感之中。

译者/何黎

Comments on ‘World Perspectives 2012’

April 19, 2012 Leave a comment

by Admin uk

The following are some comments on the IMT’s World Pespectives Document 2012 and concern the section on China. The comments in red are by Heiko Khoo. Below are some general comments by Mick Brooks.
In the past, China provided relief to a world economy facing stagnation and slump. China can no longer do this. The Chinese economy, although still maintaining high levels of growth, is showing signs of faltering. This has serious social and political implications. Marxists understand that the rapid growth of the Chinese economy in the last period enormously strengthened the working class. The Chinese ruling clique avoided a social explosion because the constant growth of the productive forces gave people hope of future improvement. But now all the contradictions are coming to the surface.

The argument that China’s economy is faltering is based on assertion not evidence. Why are the rulers of China called “the Chinese ruling clique”? A Communist Party and bureaucracy runs the country would be one possible argument, another would be that it is run by the bourgeoisie. The latter is the position adopted by the IMT in 2006, so how did the Chinese bourgeoisie now become a “ruling clique” ?

The avoidance of “a social explosion” in the past is said to be caused by “the constant growth of the productive forces” it is thereby being asserted that that has somehow come to an end. Yet there is not a shred of evidence for this claim as we shall see.

After a long period of very rapid growth, China shows signs of slowing down. For three straight quarters (January through to September 2011), year-on-year growth slowed, as the government, concerned about rising levels of inflation, restricted lending and raised interest rates. The problem arises from the fact that U.S. and European demand for Chinese goods has weakened.

What signs of ‘slowing down’ are these? What level of decline do the IMT leadership expect for China? The 12th Five Year plan predicts 7 percent growth over 5 years, and the latest government work report forecasts 7.5% in 2012 does the IMT have an alternative prediction? If so what is this prediction based on? Any why were all the IMT’s previous predictions about Chinese economic decline wrong? Surely one has to investigate why one gets things wrong?

The main problem is that the fast-growing economies of Asia have to sell their goods on the world market. China still has a relatively high rate of growth. Its industries are still churning out a mass of cheap commodities. But China must export to continue to produce. Where is the market for these commodities if the economies of the USA and Europe are in a slump?

Now we are told China’s growth is still “relatively high”. It has actually experienced the fastest and longest growth rate of any country in history, and this counts as “relatively high” in IMT speak. But let us not forget that this was all “in the past” according to paragraph 148 of World Perspectives 2012.

Now we are told ‘a mass of cheap commodities’ can’t be sold. Where have they been sold during the greatest fall in world output since the 1930s? We are told “China must export to continue to produce” do the leadership of the IMT not read anything?

One example will suffice to negate this nonsense. The Chinese automobile industry (a mass of cheap commodities remember?) is now by far the largest in the world. It produced 18.4 million units in 2011. Let us not mention, airplanes, ships, high-speed trains, computers, hardly items generally found in the pound shop!

Desperately the IMT asks “where is the market” if not in Europe and the USA? This is absurd, the Chinese buy their own goods, the state buys goods, and Europe and the USA are not the only places that buy things.

Part of the nature of economic crisis is that shifts in economic weight take place within it and because of it. For example the shift to the USA as the centre of the world economy took place in the inter-war years and even during the Great Depression and World War Two.

As John W. Schoen, Senior Producer at the msnbc.com new site commented in September 2011:

· “Policymakers in China, the world’s third largest economy behind the U.S. and EU, face their own set of tough choices. Rapid growth rate has fuelled inflation that is running at a double-digit rate, according to analysts — much higher than official targets. To contain inflation, Beijing has raised interest rates five times and lifted banks’ reserve requirements nine times since October [2010]. If it clamps down too hard, though, a deeper economic slowdown could reverse China’s efforts to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.

What sort of source is this? John W. Schoen Senior Producer at msnbc.com, what makes his statement valid or noteworthy? It is that it fits the Chinese economic doomsday scenario mythology that the IMT want to peddle! It is not based on any facts, inflation in double digits did you bother to check? The learned man at msnbc starts with “If” China “clamps down” (on what?) it “could reverse” efforts to lift hundreds of millions out of poverty”. Does he mean it could reverse the fact that China has lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty? Or “reverse efforts”? What evidence is presented for this “If” it “could” scenario? Nothing.

Anyone who studies China knows that poverty reduction has massively escalated since 2011, with a vast extension of low cost housing, (the biggest public sector housing programme in human history) a vast extension of welfare, pensions, social insurance and health care provision, and wages have risen dramatically. So how exactly is this reversing efforts to lift hundreds of millions out of poverty? This is simply rubbish.

“China is also coping with a banking hangover of its own, after years of massive government lending for expansion of state-owned enterprises and infrastructure upgrades.

What is this banking hangover? “lending for expansion of state enterprises and infrastucture” i.e. in the expansion of the public sector and infrastructure and services that promotes economic growth and development. Why the quote? Because the IMT can’t be bothered to find out the facts themselves, so they rely upon an amateur pundit from MSNBC.

“‘There is a two-tier system within China and I think the lending that’s taking place and the percentage of nonperforming loans is now at a level that is disturbing,’ David McAlvany, chief executive at McAlvany Financial Group told CNBC. ‘Ultimately, (China’s banks) will have to see some comeuppance’.” [Recession’s second act would be worse than the first, http://bottomline.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/09/22/7900826-recessions-second-act-would-be-worse-than-the-first, By John W. Schoen, Senior Producer, September 22, 2011]

Now for the double whammy quote, someone from some “Financial Group” is dragged in to tell CNBC, “I think” … China will get its “comeuppance” how exactly is this quote supposed to enlighten Marxists about Chinese political economy and the laws of motion which govern it? This remains unexplained.

The Chinese authorities revealed they had not understood the full extent of the crisis that broke out in 2008 in the advanced capitalist countries. They saw it as a recession that would soon be over and they implemented polices accordingly. In 2008, the US$586 billion stimulus package was introduced with the aim of keeping buoyant the Chinese economy, creating greater internal demand as export markets shrank. This, however, came at a price, with a significant increase in central government public debt. Chinese public debt grew very slowly in the past, from zero percent of GDP in 1978 to around 7 percent by 1997, to just under 20 percent in 2003. But as a consequence of the public spending in the face of the world crisis of capitalism, it shot up to 37 percent in 2010.

The stimulus package was the largest programme of state intervention since the Chinese revolution in 1949. It can hardly be characterised as lacking boldness. The cited figures on public debt are not presented in a way that provides any meaning. Public debt if it is invested in goods, services and infrastructure for the masses is surely a good thing? How exactly does the IMT envisage public debt under their concept of socialist economic expansion?

As The Global Post reported (July 8, 2011):

“China’s banks have been engaging in risky ‘off balance sheet’ lending somewhat reminiscent of Enron’s shenanigans. Last week, Beijing released a national audit revealing that local governments owe an estimated $1.65 trillion in outstanding loans. This week, Moody’s has indicated that the problem is significantly worse, by as much as $540 billion. And that’s only local government debt. It doesn’t include the central government’s huge obligations, or those of banks that are essentially guaranteed by Beijing. Even for a miracle economy like China’s, that’s a lot of debt.”

“A lot of debt” says the “Global Post” so? What is the significance of all this for Marxist analysis of Chinese political economy? Silence…

In the same article, Victor Shih, a U.S.-based expert on China’s economy, in answering the question “How much debt does China have?”, explained the following:

“That depends on what you include. Large sectors of the Chinese economy are owned by the government. The debt of these state-owned enterprises is what’s called a ‘contingent liability’ — ultimately it’s the responsibility of the government. If you count all of these liabilities, then you get to an extremely high number, something like 150 percent of the Chinese gross domestic product, or more.

“A more restricted definition is debt that’s owed by either the central or local governments. That is about 80 percent of China’s GDP.”

Whichever way one looks at it, in massively increasing public spending, China has upped its level of public debt significantly. For now it has provided stimulus and allowed the economy to maintain high levels of growth. But this cannot go on forever. China’s debt is still low compared to that of countries like Japan, the USA and many European countries, but it is going up. So long as China’s economy keeps growing it can finance this level of debt, but if there is any significant slowdown then all the contradictions of the situation will come to the surface.

Ah now it comes! The Marxist theory of Chinese Political economy is:

The debt in China is sustainable provided the economy continues to grow!

Surely you didn’t need to write all these paragraphs just to say one sentence?

The IMT leadership should really try to economise on words, quotes and paragraphs and concentrate on saying something meaningful! So now we are at the starting point…Can China continue to grow? The socialist alternative to capitalism traditionally put by Marxists (and the IMT still claim this title and attempt to apply this method to every other country than China) is to call for “public ownership of the commanding heights of the economy and the banks and a massive programme of public works”. Now anyone who has bothered to read anything other than the magnificent Global Post, MSNBC and CNBC will know this is precisely what is happening in China. But these facts don’t fit into the “official line” of IMT, that China is capitalist. Therefore, according to the IMT, the commanding heights and banks can’t possibly be publicly owned. Therefore the expansion of the economy can’t be called a massive programme of public works! Thus the IMT seeks to change the facts to fit erroneous theories.

Apart from the future financial crisis that all this will provoke in China, there is also the fact that the growth of the economy has generated huge and rising inequality: “communist” China is one of the most unequal countries on earth. A small number have become very rich but the conditions of millions of workers resemble those of Britain in the times of Charles Dickens. This has given rise to unbearable tensions, reflected in a rise of suicides of young workers, strikes and peasant disturbances.

The main source of inequality is the gap between urban and rural, as well as between rich urbanites and poor urbanites, but the wages of workers and the welfare provided by the state have all improved significantly precisely during the Great Recession. Is this not the opposite to the processes in Europe and the USA? And why is this the case?

High rates of growth should not be regarded as a guarantee for social stability. Egypt grew at an average of 5.5 percent since 2003, and in some years the rate of growth was over 7 percent. This rapid growth coincided with the biggest strike wave since World War II and it ended in revolution. There are lessons here for China in the future. The authorities are worried. During the Egyptian revolution, Chinese censors scrubbed “Egypt” from the search engines. China has invested in creating a huge internet police that monitors what people are doing online.

The real surprise is not that there is a huge Internet police, but that the use of broadband Internet in China was developed and rolled out by State Owned companies so fast and universally, there are now over 450 million internet users in China.

They think that if you can stop people from finding out about revolutions in other countries, they can stop people drawing revolutionary conclusions about the situation in China. But the point is that what will lead to revolutionary upsurges in China are the living conditions of Chinese workers and peasants. And no amount of internet police can hide that from the Chinese people.

It is not true that the Chinese state prevents people from finding out about revolutions. The attempt to start a ‘Jasmine revolution’ in China was actually led by counter-revolutionary forces who called a demonstration for “freedom” at Mc Donnalds in central Beijing. But, how can there be a counter-revolution when China is already capitalist? No-one except a few western journalists turned up. Despite Alan Woods claiming China is on the edge of a Jasmine revolution http://www.marxist.com/china-anger-beneath-surface.htm there is not the slightest evidence for this.

Inflation stands above 6 percent, which is high enough in itself, but food price inflation exceeds 13 percent. The purchase of foodstuffs accounts for more than one-third of the monthly spending of the average Chinese consumer. High inflation has persisted despite the government measures. Measures like restricting the amount of money banks can lend and hiking interest rates five times since October 2010 have not had the desired effect.

No sources even worth providing here? I guess simply repeating platitudes from the bbc or the Guardian does not require sourcing, but perhaps its relevance could be explained?

A totalitarian regime resembles a pressure cooker with the safety valve clamped down. It can explode suddenly, without warning. Although it is difficult to get accurate information, the published reports, which understate the real position, suggest that unrest in China has become increasingly frequent. Every year China experiences tens of thousands of strikes, peasant protests and other public disturbances, often linked to anger over official corruption, government abuses and the illegal seizure of land for development.

Why is it difficult to get accurate information, because you do not even make the slightest effort to look for it, as is evidenced by the sources you cite as authorities.

Food prices are of particular concern to the Chinese government, as they directly affect the lives of millions of workers and peasants in the country. The “Communist” Party leaders fear this could cause social unrest as workers suffer the consequences of the price rises. Sharp clashes will inevitably emerge between the ruling economic and political strata and the masses.

The ruling “economic and political strata” you mean the capitalist class? Or have they disappeared from your theory again?

The crisis of the global economy has led to falling profits and investments, a situation that is aggravated by a drying up of credit. This forces many factories to resort to seek unofficial credit at usurious rates of interest. They face a choice of paying these rates or cutting wages. The result is pay cuts or even failure to pay any wages at all.

One minute! How can you forget what your wrote only a few paragraphs ago? Credit has dried up??? Only a few paragraphs before you claimed there has been a massive expansion of credit in China and associated debt, now you claim credit has dried up, how do you come to such statements?

Why does no one notice these glaring contradictions? Where does your data come from? The fact is wages have risen almost universally! The confusion about the “drying up of credit” stems from the denial of a differentiation between private capital and state enterprises. Private enterprises have never been major credit recipients from state banks. Instead state banks transfer private savings into credit for state enterprises.

In November 2011, Guangdong’s acting governor said the province’s exports dropped 9 percent in October from the previous month. Provincial leaders are also contending with widespread protests by farmers over land seizures. Factories are cutting the overtime that workers depend on to supplement their low basic salaries. There have been strikes and demonstrations in car, footwear and computer factories in Shenzhen and Dongguan, two leading export centres in southern Guangdong province.

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences has estimated that there were more than 90,000 “mass incidents” in 2006, with further increases in the following two years. The ruling class is preparing for unrest on a far bigger scale. China increased its domestic security budget by 13.8 percent in 2011, to 624.4bn yuan (£59bn). For the first time in its history China now spends more on the maintenance of internal order than on defence.

Ah now “the ruling class” make a guest appearance. A round of applause must be due! Are they the same as the “ruling economic and political strata” and the “ruling clique”? And what is their role? Supposedly it is to finance the state apparatus responsible for “internal order”. Note that nowhere have the words “the ruling capitalist class” or the “bourgeoisie” been used. I guess by avoiding the issue of whom the ruling class is you can try to avoid dealing with the minor problem, that the state apparatus is based on public property not private property! But who cares, it is only the fundamentals of Marxist theory and analysis that is at stake? What is this compared to the prestige of the IMT leadership?

Some general comments by Mick Brooks:

Paras 9 & 27: in both these paras it is suggested (i) that credit should be pumped into the economy
in a slump, not a boom, and (ii) that this would work. The impression is given (not spelled out)
that the ruling class sits around in a room, comes to an agreement and then pulls levers to achieve
results. The capitalist class can postpone slumps when they feel like it. They just made a mistake,
that’s all. Though members of the ruling class do occasionally meet up (Mont Pelerin, Davos etc) this
is a fundamental misunderstanding of how capitalism works.

22. Say’s Law is usually paraphrased that every seller brings a buyer to market with them (aggregate
demand = aggregate supply, therefore no overproduction). It was developed in the early nineteenth
century. The efficient markets hypothesis was developed by Eugene Fama in the 1960s. It states that
the price (e.g. of a share) fully reflects all available information. The only thing both theories have
in common is that they are both erroneous. (This is a bit pedantic.) In para 12 the bond markets are
seen reflecting the general anxiety. This is contradicted when it says (para 56) that bond market
attitudes to Italy are a self-fulfilling prophecy i.e. not efficient markets at work.

24. The parasitical service sector. Service sector is not a Marxist concept. Most service sector
workers are not parasitic in any case. They are about 26-27m out of 30m workers in Britain. Are
nurses parasites?

33. Quantitative easing will lead to ‘an explosion of inflation’. Not so far. How long do we have to
wait?

69-70. ‘The EU wouldn’t allow the devaluation of the Drachma after exit from the Euro’ (?). They
would impose tariffs. It’s a legalistic point but the EU is supposed to have a common tariff policy, not
just pick on individual countries. Some in the EU would be glad to see the back of the Greeks. They
don’t fear exports from Greece, even with a devalued currency.

77. ‘The Drachma would lead to a revolutionary situation like Germany in 1923.’ Did hyper-inflation
lead automatically to a revolutionary situation? Wasn’t the preceding history of class struggle in
Germany important? Was Zimbabwe in a pre-revolutionary situation a few years ago? Simplistic,
ridiculous historic comparison.

The main point about this section on Greece is that it takes for granted that it’s all about bailing out
the poor old Greeks (I supposes he gets this from the Economist.). It’s not. It’s about bailing out the
European banks that lent the Greeks money. That’s a fundamental misunderstanding. It means you
get everything upside down. Secondly the preoccupation is with Greece getting bombed out of the
Eurozone. Most Greeks still support the Euro. It’s repudiating the debts that’s the big issue for them.
Default may or may not lead to exit from the Euro.

This is worse than his recent article on Greece, even. It doesn’t mention the political parties in
Greece. It’s all down to the ‘revolutionary youth’. That’s the way they’re going. They are actually
abandoning class analysis and the traditional attitude to the mass organisations.

Despite this emphasis on unorganised youth the document underplays the ‘Occupy’ movement
internationally and the inspiration of Tahrir Square it fed on, which are the real achievements
theyouth have led.

107. Is the attitude of ‘Germany’ rational? Isn’t the German bourgeoisie just pursuing its own
national interests, even though this may produce a catastrophe for everyone? In other words it’s
an instance of the other main obstacle to progress under capitalism, the continued existence of the
nation state.

Eurobonds are not explained at all to the reader.

China. This is very superficial. Just cuttings on the economy strung together. No political analysis.

India. Lumped together with Brazil and China. Really? India’s growth spurt is relatively recent. Is
India’s faster growth because of liberalisation? That is the argument that socialists have to answer.
Brazil’s economic record is far from impressive till it was buoyed up by exports to China over the last
decade.

Pakistan. Nothing much on the PPP ranks, just intrigues at the top.

218-219.The first para suggests a split in Islamist organisations on class lines. This is contradicted in
219. Islamists are all bourgeois at best (like Christian democratic parties in Europe) What about the
Salafists? They are outright reactionary.

228. What is the point of comparison of Egypt with the July days? A premature semi-insurrection led
to the revolutionary movement being driven underground in 1917. None of this has happened in the
Arab spring.

Libya. This is very poor analysis. Was Libya ever a deformed workers’ state? The movement against
Gaddafi was a ‘genuine popular revolution, but…’ Was his overthrow a step forward? How about
imperialist involvement, definitely downplayed here? What are the perspectives?

Syria. Apparently it’s a revolution against Assad. That means it’s progressive, right? But what are its
objectives? What are its chances of success?

249. ‘Democratic bourgeois counter-revolution’ (as well as a revolution?). Where did this concept
come from? This means Syria was a deformed workers’ state. When did it stop being one? Was the
transition completed (para 246)? If so, why were we not told at the time?

Iran. What happened to the pre-revolutionary situation there?

The section on the Arab revolution is the worst in the document, and it’s the most important area
in the world to analyse what happened last year and what are the perspectives for the region in the
future. The Egyptian events are really downplayed in the document – much more important than
Libya or Syria.

Cuba. This is a relatively well-informed section. The economic crisis is down to the collapse of
Stalinism and, more recently, of world capitalism. The collapse of Stalinism was thirty years ago, and
Cuba got over the worst of it a long time ago.

313. Organic crisis. Meaningless. It’s a weasel way of saying ‘final crisis’.

361. This is ridiculous. Of course Germany isn’t going to invade Russia. Who ever thought it would?
Nor is Japan likely to invade China any time soon.

367. The Norwegian massacre ‘shows the contradictions of capitalism’. This is not wrong, just
meaningless unless it’s made concrete.

At the end there is virtually nothing on the social democratic and Stalinist parties. The real
significance of the document is what it doesn’t mention.

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