经济学人:消失的美好时代
日期:2012-03-07 10:49

(单词翻译:单击)

NOW almost five years old, the economic crisis rumbles on. In order to assess how much economic progress it has undone, The Economist has constructed a measure of lost time for hard-hit countries. It shows that Greece’s economic clock has been turned back furthest: it has been rewound by over 12 years. Elsewhere in the euro area, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain have lost seven years or more. Britain, the first country forced to rescue a credit-crunched bank, has lost eight years. America, where the trouble started, has lost ten (see left-hand chart).
经济危机与我们的如影相伴已经有5年时间了。为了了解它对经济发展造成的损失有多大,《经济学人》建立了一个衡量标准来显示那些经济危机严重的国家浪费了多少时间。我们可以看到希腊的经济退步最多:倒退了12年。欧洲的其他国家,爱尔兰、意大利、比利时和西班牙倒退了至少7年。英国,这第一个被迫向丧失偿还贷款信誉的银行伸援手的国家,经济也倒退了8年。美国,这一危机的始作俑者,倒退了10年(可见左边图表)。


Our clock uses seven indicators of economic health, which fall into three broad categories. Household wealth and its main components, financial-asset prices and property prices, are in the first group. Measures of annual output and private consumption are in the second category. Real wages and unemployment make up the third. A simple average of how much time has been lost in each of these categories produces our overall measure.
我们的这个度量表用到了经济健康发展的7个指标,可以分成三大类。家庭财富和其重要组成部分,金融资产和房产价格作为家庭财富的主要组成部分,算在第一组里。年产出和私人消费的分配时第二类。工资和失业人数是第三类。对三类损失的时间之和进行简单平均,就得出了我们总体的结论。
Stockmarkets give some of the starkest results. American equities lost a quarter of their value in the month after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008. Shares are an important component of households’ pension-fund wealth, and in that month alone five years of gains were eradicated. The main indices have improved markedly since then: the S&P 500 is back to around 90% of its peak value. But they were at these levels back in the late 1990s, too, so some investors will have made no capital gains in 13 years. Greek stocks were higher in 1992 than today: 20 years have been wiped away.
股市更是将一些结果赤裸裸地摆在我们面前。美国股票市值在雷曼兄弟2008年9月垮台之后的一个月下降了25%。股票是当时家庭养老基金的重要组成部分,而在那一个月里,近五年的积蓄毁于一旦。从那以后,各大主要指数得到明显提高:标准普尔指数回到了其峰值的90%,但也只是达到了20世纪90年代末的水平,所以一些投资商将在未来13年内将没有资本收益。希腊股票1992年的市值要远比现在高:20年的时间就这么白白被抹去了。


Recent performance is actually quite good from a historical perspective: five years on from both Wall Street’s 1929 crash and Japan’s 1989 asset bust, equities were at just 50% of their peak values in real terms. But history also offers a warning: it took 25 years for American stocks to regain their 1929 highs and Japanese stocks have never made it back to their peak.
从历史角度看最近的市场表现其实已经算不错了:在1929年华尔街危机和1989年日本的资产泡沫破裂后的5年,股票实值都只能达到峰值的一半。但是历史也发出警告:美国股市花了25年才重返1929年的高点,而日本股市却永远回不去了。
House prices have gone backwards, too. The average American homeowner is living in 2001, judging by inflation-adjusted property values. Britain has suffered less dramatic drops in house prices, but has still lost seven years. The costs of this lost time are huge: British households’ property wealth, in today’s prices, is around £500 billion ($785 billion) short of its peak; American households have lost a whopping $9.2 trillion.
房价也走下坡路了。扣除通胀因素,一般的美国房主还像是生活在2001年。英国的房价下滑倒没有那么严重,不过也倒退了7年。倒退这几年的代价是惨重的:英国有房居民的房产价值,以现如今的价格来看,比峰值时少了5000亿英镑(7850亿美元);美国则丧失了庞大的92000亿美元。
How quickly economies make up lost time will depend on where they have ceded ground. Some indicators may bounce back quickly: share prices are forward-looking measures of expected returns that are constantly being reassessed. Just as they can crash down they can jump back up, boosting wealth.
经济恢复的快慢取决于它们在哪里反弹。一些指标可能会迅速反弹:股票价值就是对期望回报率不断地重新评估的前瞻性标尺。它们可以摔倒,也就能爬起来,继续向前。


Other indicators are more sluggish. Measures of output tend to crawl, not jump. One such measure, nominal GDP, is a vital metric of governments’ debt sustainability. Since debts are set at past values, growth and inflation tend to make the burden of borrowing more manageable; a shrinking economy makes the problem worse. There are 14 countries that have gone back in time, according to the nominal GDP indicator. This group includes eight members of the European Union, all of which have to repay their debts from an eroded tax base. Portugal and Spain have been sucked back to 2008 on this measure; Ireland was richer in 2006.
另外一些指数就有些迟滞了。产出的走势是爬行的,而不是跳跃的。名义国民生产总值,这个指数就是对国家债务可持续性的重要度量工具。由于债务是以过去的值作为基准,借贷增加和通货膨胀会使借款的负担更容易得到控制;不过经济的下滑会使问题更严重。根据名义国民生产总值来看,有14个国家经济出现倒退,其中包括欧盟的8个成员国,这些国家需要靠不健全的计税基数来偿还贷款。葡萄牙和西班牙退回到2008年;爱尔兰则稍好于2006年。
A different measure of GDP is needed to see how well consumers are doing. Inflation needs to be stripped out since it is higher output, not higher prices, that make people better off. Population growth also needs to be taken into account, since living standards are best measured on a per-person basis. Measured by real GDP per person a third of the 184 countries the IMF collects data for are poorer than they were in 2007. These 61 countries have each lost at least five years.
我们需要用GDP的另一种衡量方式来评判消费者的生活水平。因为是高产出,而不是高物价才让百姓生活更好,所以我们应该剔除通货膨胀因素。人口增长也需要放入考虑范围之内,因为生活水平在个人基础上才能得到很好的体现。实际人均国民生产总值显示,世界货币基金组织在184个国家采集的数据中有三分之一都比在2007年的情况要差。这61个国家每个都退后了至少5年。
The type and location of the economies still underwater on this measure are striking (see right chart). The EU has done very badly: 22 of its 27 members have lost time. Of the G7 group of large economies, only Germany has not gone backwards. The Caribbean and eastern Europe also have their fair share of submerged countries. Asia has performed much more strongly.
以这一标准衡量所显现出经济体们的不同表现和地域差别是惊人的(可见右边图表)。欧盟的表现极其差劲:27个成员国中的22个经济都有倒退现象。经济大国组成的七国集团中,只有德国经济没有退步。加勒比海地区和东欧也在退步国家之列。只有亚洲的表现很优异。
Our labour-market indicators provide more estimates of lost time. The OECD, a think-tank, publishes wage data for 25 rich countries. In ten of them real wages were lower in 2010 than previously, with four years lost on average by those that went backwards. Workers in Greece and Hungary had lost six years, with pay below its 2004 level.
我们的劳动力市场指标提供了更多表现经济倒退的数据。智囊团——经济合作与发展组织公布了25个发达国家的工资数据。其中的十个国家2010年的实际工资要比之前低,相当于平均倒退了4年。希腊和匈牙利的工人的工资倒退了6年,低于2004年的水平。
Unlike income and GDP, there is no reason why unemployment statistics should improve year on year. But many advanced countries had managed to reduce joblessness to new lows in the years before 2007. The crisis blew all those gains away. In America the unemployment rate stands at 8.3% of the labour force, its 1983 level. In Britain it is at its worst for 17 years. In the euro area job prospects diverge hugely: unemployment is falling in Germany but Greece, Ireland and Portugal have joblessness rates not seen since the early 1990s (see bottom chart).
收入和国民生产总值是逐年攀升,而失业率却没有得到改善的理由。虽然许多发达国家设法将失业率降低到2007年之前的新低,但经济危机让这些努力前功尽弃。在美国,失业率占到了劳动力的8.3%,相当于1983年的水平。在英国,则是17年最差劲水平。在欧元区,就业前景差距很大:德国的失业率下降,但在希腊、爱尔兰和葡萄牙,失业率都创下了20世纪90年代以来的新高(可见底部图表)。
These measures are the most worrying of all. Growth will reset the economic clock, providing new jobs and the resources to pay down debts. The IMF predicts that in three years Italy will be the only G7 country with real GDP lower than in 2007. Within this group, America, which is already growing again, is in a better position than Britain, which is not. But periods of unemployment scar workers even after economies have crawled back to health. For some, the time lost to the crisis will never be recovered.
这些度量标准是最让人担忧的。发展将会通过提供工作岗位和资源还清债务,来重置经济周期。世界货币基金组织预计三年后,意大利将是七国集团中唯一一个实际国民生产总值低于2007年水平的国家。在这个集团中,经济已经重返发展轨道的美国会比英国更占优势。但是失业的时间即使在经济恢复后仍会给工人们造成损失。对于一些国家来说,经济危机给经济倒退带来的创伤将永远不会抚平。

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重点单词
  • perspectiven. 远景,看法,透视 adj. 透视的
  • previouslyadv. 先前,在此之前
  • measuredadj. 量过的,慎重的,基于标准的,有韵律的 动词me
  • constructedvt. 构造,建造;创立,构筑;搭建(construct
  • prospectsn. 预期;前景;潜在顾客;远景展望
  • tendv. 趋向,易于,照料,护理
  • divergev. 分歧
  • advancedadj. 高级的,先进的
  • sluggishadj. 懒惰的,迟钝的,无精打采的
  • propertyn. 财产,所有物,性质,地产,道具