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衰退与萧条 【中英对照翻译】

作者:乔治·弗里德曼 / George Friedman

消息来源:Geopolitical Futures.com

翻译:wzhang

简评 / PR: Roberts

简评:

数百万人感染,十余万死亡,除了这些触目惊心的数字,中共病毒还将给人类社会造成多大的危害?疫苗依旧遥遥无期,也许在疫苗问世之前,全世界的经济活动都可能停滞不前。回顾历史,第一次世界大战过后欧洲满目苍夷,战争夺走了大量青壮劳力的生命,世界格局因此改变,也为日后的大萧条埋下祸根。当下的危机与历史何其相似,虽然人员伤亡不及一战,但是全世界已经有超过十亿人口无法正常工作。几天前原油价格的崩塌宣告经济衰退已经是无可否认的事实,不论我们是否会再次陷入大萧条,国际秩序的变革已经在所难免。

Recession & Depression

衰退与萧条

A recession is an essential part of the business cycle. Among other things it culls the weaker businesses and redistributes capital and labor for better uses. It is painful but necessary and it ends as it began, as a function of a healthy economy. Depressions are not economic events; they are the result of exogenous forces such as wars or disease.

衰退是商业周期中的必要环节。其最重要的作用就是剔除脆弱的企业并更加合理的重新分配资本和人力。作为健康经济体的一部分,衰退的过程周而复始,痛苦但是必须。大萧条不是经济事件,而是外力作用的结果,例如战争或疾病。

Depressions are not a necessary culling but a byproduct of the savage destruction of these external forces, which not only disrupt but destroy vast parts of humanity and decency, along with the economy.

大萧条不是一个优胜略汰的过程,而是外部因素野蛮破坏下的附产品,它不光扰乱经济,还将大部分人性和礼仪一并摧毁。

Therefore, the question of whether we are now in a depression or recession is not an academic question but the single most important question that humanity faces. We will recover from a recession. We will recover from a depression as well, but it will take much longer and involve far more pain.

因此,我们目前面对的是衰退还是大萧条?这不只是一个学术问题,而是人类面临的最严峻考验。我们能从衰退中恢复;我们亦能从萧条中恢复,但这个过程更漫长更痛苦。

Depressions are economic events not created by economic forces. Therefore, measuring the depth of a depression by economic measures alone is insufficient. The measure of a depression is the extent to which it will destroy the hopes and dreams of a generation, making what had been in easy reach inconceivably far away, and taking successful people and reducing them to penury. Like many things, the face of depression is readily recognized even if it is difficult to quantify. Among other things, if for example an economy were to contract by 30 percent, recovering from that by, say, a 4 percent growth rate would not be a triumph but a confirmation that we would be beginning to climb out of depression.

大萧条是由非经济因素造成的经济事件。因此,单纯的经济手段不足以估量萧条的严重性。大萧条在某种程度上摧毁一代人的希望和梦想,将原本触手可及的事物变得遥不可及,使原本成功的人们陷入窘境。与许多事物一样,大萧条的征兆往往在无法量化的时候就已经清晰可见。此外,假设一个经济体经历了30%的萎缩之后,4%的增长并不是胜利,而是开始复苏,爬出萧条深渊的信号。

The United States emerged from its last depression in World War II, so it has been almost a century since we have experienced one, and the one that we experienced arose from war and was solved by war. World War I created a massive depression in most of Europe. Germany was particularly savaged by the Treaty of Versailles, but Britain, Russia and Poland were also wrecked in different ways. The cause of the depression was that over four years at least 20 million Europeans, for the most part the next generation, had died. For four years the economy was focused on building weapons and ammunition. Shell-shocked soldiers came home to shell-shocked nations, an industrial plan irrelevant to anything but war, and the thanks of their fellow citizens. They did not come back to the futures they had imagined, but then those who did not go to war had their futures shattered as well.

美国从二战开始走出大萧条的阴影,这场始于战争而又止与战争的大萧条距离我们已经接近百年之久。第一次世界大战给大部分欧洲造成了大范围的萧条。凡尔赛条约对待德国尤其粗暴,但在不同层面给英国,俄国和波兰造成了严重伤害。四年近2000万人的死亡是造成这场萧条的主要原因,而且其中绝大多数是年轻人。四年之中的经济着重于制造武器和弹药。被炮火蹂躏后的士兵回到被炮火蹂躏后的故乡,面对的只有战争为主的工业计划和同胞的感激,他们并没有获得想象中的未来。那些没有参战的人们的希望也破碎了。

Economists like to point to periods during the 1920s when the economy grew, but sporadic growth does nothing to affect my definition of depression. The term “lost generation” came about to refer to the cynical intellectuals who arose in the 1920s, but it more accurately describes, for example, the soldier who had hoped to own a shoe store but now found himself in a country where shoes were no longer bought but only mended.

经济学家喜欢强调1920年代经济增长的年份,但是零星的经济增长并不影响我对于大萧条的定义。“迷失”的一代通常指1920年代愤世嫉俗的知识分子,但是它更准确的描述了当时的士兵,他们梦想着拥有一间鞋店,却发现自己脚下的世界只有补鞋,没有买鞋。

This was not unique to any one country, save the United States, which fought for only a year and came home to a country able to produce the engines of war and the men who manned them, and all the food that could be imagined. For the most part their dreams were kept alive, for a while. But the persistence of the European depression meant that the U.S. could not resume its role as exporter. Instead, Europeans who had jobs at lower wages than the Americans undersold American products in the U.S. Washington’s response was a tariff on European goods that changed the structure of global trade, and added the United States to the list of casualties. I won’t trouble you with the details of the American depression. One of the characteristics of the greatest generation was that, having gone through the depression, they saw World War II as their great hope.

这不是某个国家独有的现象,美国除外。美国人仅进行了一年的战斗,就回到了一个拥有能够生产战争引擎,和驾驭引擎的士兵以及出产任何食品的国家,大多数美国人的梦想没有熄灭。但是欧洲萧条的持续意味着美国无法恢复其作为出口国的角色。相反,廉价的欧洲商品侵蚀了美国市场。华盛顿随后对欧洲征收的关税改变了国际贸易的结构,同时给美国造成了损害。我无意对美国大萧条进行赘述。经历这场大萧条,视第二次世界大战为希望,成为了这代人的众多特征之一。

Depressions become a political event. There are those who do well in such times and want to preserve the depression. There are others too rich or poor to know that there is a depression underway. And there are those politicians who either invoke ancient ideology irrelevant to the moment, pretending to know what to do and figuring that no one will notice that they don’t, and a few who know that in a crisis the people will rally to those who actually care and plan.

大萧条也为政治所用。有些人在这样的时代过的不错并希望维持现状。有些富人和穷人意识不到萧条的来临。有些政治家援引过时的古老意识形态,假装知道该怎么做并且明白人们并不清楚他们一无所知。还有一些人,他们知道在危机中人们会团结在真正有能力的人周围。

One of these latter politicians was Lenin. Russia was utterly shattered. The leaders didn’t care. Lenin did and knew what to do. He famously said that you can’t make a pie without breaking the crust. To speed things up, he ordered bakeries to bake only crusts for breaking, forgetting the pie. But there was little to be done with Russia.

列宁就是这些政客之一。俄国在战火摧残下体无完肤,在位者并不在乎,列宁却知道该做什么。他常说有失才有得。然而欲速则不达,他的所作所为只有失,鲜有得。但是这些与俄国没有太多关系。

In Germany, a leader emerged who recognized that unemployment was the heart of the problem and presented fascism as the solution, along with something vital: someone to blame. He nationalized the economy while leaving business in place, and nominated the Jews as the villains, to wild applause.

德国,一个领袖脱颖而出,他意识到失业率才是问题根源所在,并将法西斯主义和替罪羊作为解药。他一边将经济国有化,一边在群众面前将犹太人树为仇寇。

These are the people who come out of depressions.

这些是从大萧条中走出来的人。

The successful are monsters; the decent can’t control the forces that depressions unleash. Roosevelt’s New Deal helped some but didn’t change the reality. World War II offered the greatest stimulus package of all time. Depressions create desperate people hungry for everything - above all, some hope for a future. Hitler and Lenin were one kind of leader; Roosevelt and the other European leaders were another kind. In the end, the solution was not found by the Federal Reserve but the military.

成功者就像怪兽,普通人无法控制大萧条的冲击。罗斯福新政帮助了少数人但是无法改变现实。第二次世界大战提供了有史以来最大的经济刺激方案。萧条造成的绝望让人们渴望一切,最重要的是,他们对未来充满了希望。希特勒和列宁是独特的领导者,罗斯福和其他欧洲领导则是另一类领导者。最终,找到解决方案的是军队而不是美联储。

World War II did not end the depression, save for in the United States. Europe was once again in depression. China and Japan were ruined. When I was a child, the words “Made in Japan” brought laughter and the expectation of cheap and trashy goods. The solution came because the Americans feared the Soviets and created aid packages for allies and the right to sell cheap goods to the U.S. The skilled workers of Eurasia were either led into a generational depression by the Soviets or into recovery by the Americans. Again, depressions and the possibility of war went hand in hand.

第二次世界大战并没有结束萧条,美国除外。欧洲再次陷入萧条,中国日本遭到毁灭。我小时候,“日本制造”是廉价劣质的代名词而被耻笑。美国为了扶持盟国对抗苏联而向日本提供援助并接受这些廉价商品。亚欧大陆的劳动力自此走上了被苏联压迫和被美国扶持的不同道路。萧条和战争再次并存。

The coronavirus crisis has similarities to war. The state mobilizes the people heedless of consequences. The workforce, or a large part of it, is diverted from its work. Schools are closed. Most of all, we are afraid. Even the question of how the virus began has hints of retaliation assigned to it. The enemy is death, in this case from the virus. We duck and cover, and in a war, the rule is that there is no price too high to be paid for victory.

冠状病毒与战争相似。国家无视后果的驱使着人民。大多数劳动者被迫无法工作。学校关闭。最重要的是,人们的恐惧。甚至病毒的起源问题也暗示着报复。我们的敌人是病毒造成的死亡。我们躲藏,我们掩护,在战争里,为了胜利不惜代价。

But victory in war and victory against the coronavirus are very different. This leads us to ask what victory in this case should look like. The virus should go away, on its own or from a vaccine. And the world should return to what it was. Yet the problem of war and depression is that the world doesn’t go back to what it was. It is very different, and in its mildest form it causes the survivors to change their dreams — but most important they will still have dreams. They will not have to abandon their right to dreams.

但是战争的胜利和抗击新冠病毒的胜利是非常不同的。这让我们不禁要问,这场战争中怎样才算胜利?病毒自然褪去或被疫苗打败?世界恢复原样?然而战争和大萧条让世界永远无法恢复如初。这是非常不同的,它以最温和的形式让幸存者改变他们的梦想,但最重要的是他们仍然会有梦想。他们不必放弃梦想的权利。

So those are the questions of the moment:

  • First, will the virus be defeated or go away? If it remains, will we accept the permanence of the new disease or will we conduct a war that will transform the world in unknown ways?
  • Second, is this like the depression after World War I, a global crisis? We Americans do not control how the world will react to the choice we have made, and decisions by Canada or Italy could affect how we live.

当下的问题是:

  • 第一,病毒是否会被打败或者自然褪去?如果它仍然存在,我们是否会接受这种新疾病的持久存在,还是会进行一场以未知方式改变世界的战争?
  • 第二,这会第一次世界大战后的大萧条一样吗?我们美国人不仅无法控制世界对我们的选择的反应,其他国家的决定也会影响我们的生活。

For what it is worth, I don’t think we have reached the depression point. I don’t think the numbers show it yet, and the despair of depression is not here yet. But some part of the world may have reached that point, and depression spreads its claws. The urgency on vaccines and openings I think reflects a sense of fear of reaching the breaking point, but as I have written in my book about the United States, we are a uniquely inventive people, and this is in the end a technical problem. Still, it is useful to bear in mind the past.

就目前的状况而言,我认为我们还没走到大萧条的地步。从数字上来看,大萧条的绝望尚未到来。但是在某些地区,大萧条已经虎视眈眈。对疫苗和重启经济的急迫需求反映出人们对不断接近的临界点的恐惧。但是,如我在书中所说,美国是拥有独一无二创造性的国家,当前的危机归根结底是一个科技难题。然而,我们应当以史为鉴。

When we look at the first half of the 20th century, the economy was a prisoner of war, and contrary to the histories of the time, it was not economic theory that defined things.

But the political systems made the decision on the price to be paid, and the price was enormous in terms of death. In all of this equation, the dark reality is that solving this without accepting death will be difficult — unless the medical profession has an emergency mode.

当我们回首20世纪的前50年,经济成为了战争的囚徒。与当时的历史相反,定义事务的不再是经济理论,而是政治制度决定需要付出的代,就死亡而言,代价是巨大的。所有的问题之中,残酷的现实是,在不接受死亡的前提下解决问题是非常困难的, 除非药物学家们能够快马加鞭。

【喜马拉雅战鹰团】Edited by:【Himalaya Hawk Squad】