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昕容对话诺奖得主菲尔普斯:中国经济将很快从低谷中恢复

2019-04-06 11:47:34  来源:中国金融商报     编辑:翟晓燕

对·话

埃德蒙·菲尔普斯(Edmund Phelps),2006年诺贝尔经济学奖获得者、美国哥伦比亚大学教授、就业与增长理论的著名代表人物,被誉为“现代宏观经济学的缔造者”和“影响经济学进程最重要的人物”之一。菲尔普斯教授最重要的贡献在于经济增长理论。他继罗伯特·索洛之后,对经济增长的动态最优化路径进行了分析,提出了著名的“经济增长黄金律”,从而正式确立了经济增长理论。1981年47岁时当选为美国科学院院士,2000年荣获美国经济协会杰出会员称号。

菲尔普斯教授今年已经86岁高龄,长期关注中国经济发展和中美关系,也是中国的常客。今年3月,他在参加完中国发展高层论坛之后,接受了哥伦比亚大学校友、容言创新传媒创始人谷昕容的独家专访,就中美两国经济走势、人工智能、创新创业等问题发表了看法。

核心观点

关于中美贸易争端:贸易战有望得以平息,也许某些特定问题争端还会继续加剧,但双方可以在相当程度上达成一致。

关于美国经济周期逆转:短期的经济刺激政策效益减退,在投资减少以及降低财政赤字的要求下,经济一定会出现一段时间衰退。

关于中国经济放缓:中国经济将很快从最近的放缓中恢复过来。中国至少有潜力在未来几年里拥有一个非常好的发展前景,因为中国经济拥有内在的活力和创新力。

关于人工智能:人工智能可能是一个劳动密集型产业,不会造成永久失业。人工智能将使生产力上升的同时降低工资率。

以下为谷昕容与菲尔普斯教授的对话中英文版。

1. Grace GU:I still remember last year at the Columbia-Tsinghua Economy Conference when the news of trade war just broke out on the same day. One year has passed, what’s your observation of the impacts of the trade war on the economic and social development for both China and the US?

谷昕容:我还记得去年这个时候在哥大与清华的年度经济峰会上,当天凌晨刚好爆出美国将对中国进口商品加征关税的消息,“中美贸易战”就此爆发。一年过去了,您认为这场贸易战对中国和美国的经济和社会发展都产生了什么影响?

Phelps:We were all scared back then and with good reason.But I think there's a widespread hope the widespread expectation that the two countries will get together and reach an agreement about trade, an agreement that may not make either country very happy, but I guess there's a hope that trade war will subside. Maybe some particular issues will continue to fester, and there will be no agreement on those, but looks like there will be a substantial degree of agreement.

菲尔普斯:那时我们都很恐惧,而且恐惧的理由很充分。但我认为,人们普遍希望两国能够团结起来,就贸易问题达成协议。协议可能不会让其中任何一个国家感到非常高兴,但是我想这场贸易战有希望得以平息。也许某些特定的问题争端会继续加剧,在这些问题上不会达成一致,但是看起来双方还是可以在相当程度上达成一致性。

2. Grace GU: Many economists say the American economy is already on the late curve after ten years of recovering. What do you think?

谷昕容:许多经济学家说,美国经济在经历了十年复苏繁荣后已经处于这一轮经济增长周期的末端,对此您怎么看?

Phelps:I feel fairly certain about that.

The US government took extraordinary and unsustainable steps to boost business investment, but it wasn't very successful. It didn't have a big effect. And now the trouble is with the investing took place after the initial investments took place in response to the increased profitability of investment, thanks to the tax cuts, after those investments have occurred, what's next?

There's the law of diminishing returns. One of the most, maybe economics has some laws that are not very good, but the law of diminishing returns is a great law. And it tells us, if you keep on adding to some input, like the capital stock, the return to that investment will begin to diminish and diminish and diminish. I think that's one of the problems with the State of the American economy. It took some extraordinary temporary effects to give the economy to a shot in the arm, but that's not sustainable.

And we have huge fiscal deficits. So eventually somebody is going to have the courage to eliminate this huge fiscal deficit. And then when that happens, there will be temporarily a drop of an investment activity. So this mirror the opposite of what Trump did, there'll be some anti-Trump who does just the opposite. And so we have a little recession. After we've moved away from the boom, and we've come to something normal then once a politician say, hey, we can't go on with these deficits forever, and then we're going to have a little recession after that.

菲尔普斯:我对此相当肯定。美国政府采取了非同寻常的、不可持续的措施来促进商业投资,但并不是很成功,作用不是很大。

现在的问题是,由于减税,最初的投资是为了提高投资的回报率而进行的,在这些投资发生之后,下一步该如何呢?

经济学中有个很好的规律叫做收益递减规律。最重要的一点,也许经济学有一些有争议的定律,但收益递减是个非常有效的规律。它告诉我们,其他投入固定不变时,连续地增加某一种投入,所新增的投资回报最终会不断减少。我认为这是美国经济状况的问题之一。经济突然启动需要一些特别的暂时的刺激手段,但这是不可持续的。

而且我们有巨大的财政赤字。因此,最终会有人有勇气站出来消除如此巨大的财政赤字。然后,当这种情况发生时,投资活动将暂时减少。这些与特朗普总统所做的恰恰相反,会有一些反对特朗普政策的人做相反的事情,所以就会出现衰退。当我们从繁荣中走出来后,我们又恢复了正常状态,此时一旦有一位政治家说,我们不能永远维持这些财政赤字,在那之后经济就会发生一点衰退。

Phelps:I'm very pessimistic. I'm very skeptical about the near term future of the American economy. I think productivity has stopped growing since 1968, 50 years ago.

This loss of productivity growth was only interrupted by the creation of the internet between 1995 and 2002 or so, over those years, productivity growth return to a much higher rate.But after 2002 or so, the rate of growth of productivity by some measures went right back to the very slow numbers that we had seen since 1968.

So this is a long time now, 51 years. And it's hard to believe that productivity growth is going to pick up significantly in the near future. That's my judgment. I imagine it's a judgment of a lot of economists, but it could be a misjudgment.It could be that.

With artificial intelligence developing rapidly, productivity growth will recover, maybe not back to where it was in the late 1950s and early 1960s, but maybe it will recover to a significant degree. That's a possibility.

Artificial intelligence appears to be largely labor intensive. So it's it appears that it's going to drive instead of pulling up wage rates along with productivity, it will push wage rates down while productivity is rising. So in that case, the country will see it has productivity growth again. But a lot of people will be very unhappy to see their wages rates contracting.

菲尔普斯:我很悲观,我对美国经济的近期前景持怀疑态度。我想,从一些衡量生产力增长的指标来看,美国经济的生产效率在1968年之后就已经停止增长。

这种生产力增长的停滞只是在互联网的兴起之时,也就是1995年至2002年期间被打断,生产力增长得以恢复到一个更高的速度。但是在大约2002年之后,从一些衡量指标来看,生产力又回到了自1968年以来我们所看到的非常缓慢的数字。

所以这是很长的一段时间,有51年了。而且,我们很难相信生产率的增长在不久的将来会显著提高。这是我目前的判断,我想也是很多经济学家的判断,但是这也可能是错误的判断。

也许,随着人工智能的快速发展,生产力的增长会恢复,也许不会回到20世纪50年代末和60年代初的水平, 但也许它会在很大程度上恢复,存在这样的可能性。

人工智能看起来将会是劳动密集型的产业。因此,它似乎将不会推动工资水平随着生产率的提高而提高,相反地,它将使生产率上升的同时降低工资率。因此,在这种情况下,这样的国家将再次看到生产力的增长。但是很多人会非常不高兴,因为他们的工资率在下降。

3. Grace GU: What do you think artificial intelligence will transform our lives? Will people lose their jobs?

谷昕容:您认为人工智能将如何改变人们的生活?很多人将会因此失去工作吧?

Phelps:Well, no, they won't all lose their jobs, that’s first of all. And secondly, when someone loses a job, that doesn't mean that it's permanent. He or she may be able to get a job elsewhere.

So, in very simple terms, I usually think of it this way, that this artificial intelligence will cause an immediate loss of employment and continue to cause loss of over the future. But those people who lose their jobs this year will move to Texas, where employment conditions are better, and they will try to in some degree succeed in finding a different kind of job. If there's a lot of people pour into Texas, they will lower the wage rates that employers have to pay. And so in this way, the employment of these people will gradually recover. The trouble is that next year there is going to be a new round of job losses, they'll move to Texas too. So this gets to be a complicated process.

But I feel totally secure and saying that in the long run, we're not going to have a permanent body of unemployment decade, after decade after decade because as long as companies are open for business, they will be willing to hire people at reduced wage rates beyond the number that they would have been willing to hire anywhere even at the higher wage.

菲尔普斯:不,他们不会全都失业的,这是第一点。第二,当某人失业时,并不意味着这是永久性的,他可能在别处找到一份工作。

所以我认为,人工智能的应用可能会导致一些人一下子失去工作,并在未来继续给社会造成失业。但是,那些今年失业的人可能会搬到德克萨斯州,那里的就业条件更好,他们将在那里设法找到一份不同的工作。如果有很多人涌入德克萨斯州,他们会降低雇主必须支付的工资水平。这样,这些人的就业将逐步恢复。问题是,明年将是新一轮的失业,那些失业的人们也会搬到德克萨斯州去。

因此,这将是一个复杂的过程,但我感到完全不用担心,从长远来看,我们不会有永久性的失业,因为只要有新公司经营,他们就会愿意以更低的工资来雇佣员工。

4. Grace GU: China’s economy is slowing down and some foreign reports say China will most likely see a soft landing in the 2nd half of this year. What’s your observation?

谷昕容:中国经济增速持续放缓,有些分析人士认为,中国经济很有可能在今年下半年实现“软着陆”,您的观察是?

Phelps:I agree there's been a slowdown of the Chinese economy. I don't think it's widely agreed that slowing down is going to continue.

I’ve only been here a week during this visit, but I must say I do have a sense, I sense there is so much optimism. It has the potential to have some very good years ahead.

I asked myself what was special about the countries that had good rates of recovery from the global financial crisis? Was it that some countries had applied a lot of fiscal stimulus? Or was it that the monetary authorities lowered interest rates?

I found that the countries that recovered at the fastest rate were not countries that had fiscal stimulus in the form of tax cuts. And that was not obvious from the data countries that had easy money, monetary stimulus, did better than the others. So what was it? Well, in the back of my mind, I thought, I'll bet it's a kind of energy and vitality, what I called dynamism. So we did the statistical test with dynamism. Perfect! The more dynamic the country as measured by its previous performance, 10-15 years earlier, the more dynamic the economy is, it had by far the fastest recoveries.

Now I think China is like that. It’s a country in which the people are eager to move forward, eager to, maybe not take a big chance, but they're not rich yet, but take a small chance. And so it's partly on the basis of that study I did that I think that China will quickly recover from the recent slowdown.

菲尔普斯:我承认中国经济增速出现放缓,但是我想并不是普遍认为中国经济将会持续减速。

这次访问中国我只来了一个星期,但我必须说我确实感受到周围都充满乐观积极的精神。我认为中国至少有潜力在未来几年里拥有一个非常好的发展前景。

我曾经问自己一个问题,那些从全球金融危机中恢复良好的国家,他们有什么特别之处?是不是因为这些国家实施了大量的财政刺激政策?或者是因为货币当局降低了利率?但我发现,恢复速度最快的国家并不是以减税形式实施财政刺激的国家。从数据上看,并不能明显说明哪一个国家的宽松货币政策做得比其他国家更好。那是什么原因呢?我想,我敢打赌这是一种能量和活力,我称之为经济动能。我们将这个动力指标加入进行统计测试。很完美!根据以往10-15年的经济表现,一个国家的内在活力越大,复苏就越快。

我认为中国就是这样一种经济体。中国是一个人民都渴望前进的国家,很多人还不是很富裕,他们渴望抓住机遇,不一定是很大的机会,也可能只是一些小的机会。因此,基于我所做的研究,我认为中国经济将很快从最近的放缓中恢复过来。

China has achieved this remarkable opening, and it's great that many Chinese want to have more opening. I can understand that.

I think it's time now to start talking about innovation and entrepreneurship. That's what China needs. It’s already been moving in that direction, but it needs to do a whole of all that, every day creating things, testing things, trying them out, developing them, marketing them. That should be on the minds of everybody or most of everybody every day. If China can do that, people will flourish.

中国实现了这一非同寻常的开放,许多中国人希望有更多的开放,这非常好,我能理解。

但我想此时我们可以更多地讨论创新和创业的话题,这是中国需要的。中国已经朝着这个方向发展了,但需要全体参与进来,每天都需要创造新的事物,去不断地测试、尝试、开发、营销这些新的产品和模式,这应该是每个人或大多数人每天都想要做的事情。如果中国能做到这一点,人民就会兴旺发达。

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