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美国人应该为中国经济规模很快超过美国而骄傲
2017-03-09 12:37:19 来源: 作者:Geoff Colvin 【 】 浏览:95次 评论:0
美国人应该为中国经济规模很快超过美国而骄傲

美国经济迟早会被赶超,但美国在这个过程中为世界的繁荣做出了贡献。

        在人们对美国的伟大之处(或者如一些人所说,美国正在消失的伟大之处)、低迷的经济增长以及可能正在减弱的全球影响力倍感焦虑之际,有一种观点大家应该没怎么见到过:那就是美国经济很快就不会居全球之首了,而且美国人对此应该感到骄傲。
根据普华永道的最新研究,中国的经济规模将在2030年之前(也许远早于这个时候)超过美国,印度也将在2050年以前超越美国。这些研究者猜测,届时美国经济规模将排在第三位,而第四名可能是印尼。
中国、印度、美国和印尼。大家从中看出些端倪了吗?明天的各国GDP排名就是今天的各国人口排名。
这个事实说明了一个重要问题。那就是GDP毕竟只是人口乘以生产率。长期以来,美国以全球排名第三的人口支撑全球最大经济体的原因就是美国的人工和资本生产率一直远高于中国或印度。如今,那就是其他国家的生产率正在逼近美国,这将产生深远影响。中国和印度的劳动生产率比美国还差得远,但显而易见,要在GDP上超越美国,中印的生产率并不需要达到美国的水平。二者的人口是美国的四倍,所以其生产率只需要达到美国的四分之一即可。目前中印正在做的就是这个。
美国人为什么要对此感到骄傲呢?因为这是我们的期望,而且有这样的期望是正确的。1950年,也就是新中国成立一年后,中国的经济规模实际上是日本的149%。但到了1977年,也就是中国开始改革开放前一年,日本经济已经遥遥领先,比当时的中国经济规模大63%。美国的民主党和共和党政府都一直在实施鼓励中国放开经济的政策。我们认为这对我们有利,事实也一直如此。它也给中国人民带来了巨大好处。世界银行的数据显示,中国的市场化改革已经让8亿人摆脱了贫困。
印度经济一直受制度所困,直到1991年才因危机而被迫开放。这也是在美国的鼓励之下。同样的,世界银行的数据显示,数亿最贫困的印度人从中受益。
当然,美国的政策并非中印经济转型的唯一原因或主要原因。但我们为此付出了努力,而且中印经济确实转了型。由此产生的一个结果就是各国的生产率差距缩小。这样,人口和经济规模更为一致,全球贫困程度也急剧下降。
这一趋势不大可能很快停止。也就是说,美国迟早会变成全球第三。对此美国人很难感到欢欣鼓舞。但几十年来,我们一直在为世界经济的繁荣做着自己的贡献。
 
In this time of intense angst about America’s greatness (or, as some argue, loss of it), weak economic growth, and perhaps waning U.S. influence in the world, here’s a perspective you won’t hear much: America’s economy will not be the world’s largest for much longer, and that’s something for Americans to be proud of.
In yesterday’s note I fleetingly mentioned a new study by PriceWaterhouse Coopers forecasting that China’s economy will be bigger than America’s before 2030 (maybe well before then) and India’s will also be bigger before 2050. The U.S. will rank third, and in fourth place, the researchers speculated, could be Indonesia.
China, India, the U.S., Indonesia—do you notice anything about that list? Tomorrow’s ranking of countries by GDP is today’s ranking by population.
That fact tells us something important. GDP, after all, is just population times productivity. The U.S. has long been the No. 1 economy with the No. 3 population because the productivity of our labor and capital has been so enormously greater than productivity in China or India. What’s happening, simple yet profound, is that other countries are catching up to our productivity. China and India still have a very long way to go, but obviously they needn’t match us to exceed our GDP; with populations over four times ours, they only need to achieve one-quarter of our productivity. That’s what they’re in the process of doing.
Why should we Americans be proud of that? Because this is what we wanted, and we were right to want it. In 1950, the year after Mao’s communist revolution, China’s economy was actually 49% bigger than Japan’s. But by 1977, the year before Deng Xiaoping famously released China from doctrinaire communism, Japan’s economy had rocketed ahead to be 63% bigger than China’s withering economy. U.S. policy under administrations of both parties had consistently been to encourage China to liberalize its economy. We figured it would be good for us, and it has been. It has also been stunningly good for the Chinese people, 800 million of whom, according to the World Bank, have been lifted out of poverty by China’s market-based reforms.
India’s economy was being strangled by socialism until a crisis forced it to open up in 1991, again with U.S. encouragement, and again, hundreds of millions of the country’s poorest have benefited, according to the World Bank.
Of course U.S. policy was not the only factor or the main factor in the transformation of these economies. But we tried to help it happen, and it happened. One result is that differences in national productivity are diminishing, so that population and GDP more nearly align, and the world is dramatically less poor.
That trend is unlikely to stop anytime soon, which means we will indeed be No. 3 sooner or later. America will have a hard time celebrating that development. But it’s an inevitable part of the more prosperous world we’ve been working toward for decades.

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