我以为这个事情他们关注得差不多了,但显然并没有。 看来前几次经济危机给大家留下了过于深刻的印象。 病急乱投医,他们竟然开始怀念起凯恩斯了。 全篇就差直接点名哈耶克了,阴阳怪气我还是服 economist。

  • A new macroeconomic era is emerging. What will it look like?

A great rebalancing between governments and central banks is under way


Oct 6th 2022

For months there has been turmoil in financial markets and growing evidence of stress in the world economy. You might think that these are just the normal signs of a bear market and a coming recession. But, as our special report this week lays out, they also mark the painful emergence of a new regime in the world economy—a shift that may be as consequential as the rise of Keynesianism after the second world war, and the pivot to free markets and globalisation in the 1990s. This new era holds the promise that the rich world might escape the low-growth trap of the 2010s and tackle big problems such as ageing and climate change. But it also brings acute dangers, from financial chaos to broken central banks and out-of-control public spending.

近几个月以来,经济市场在动荡,越来越多的证据表明世界经济面临压力。你可能会觉得这是熊市的正常信号,经济衰退说来就来。但是,正如我们在本周的特别报告中指出的,这些现象是世界经济新常态的痛苦的先兆,(严重到什么程度呢?)它会导致凯恩斯主义(Keynesianism)在二战之后首次抬头(轮椅巨人表示你不是要 make American great again 吗?投基建啊,社会主义走起来。),(同时预示着)自 20 世纪 90 年代开始的自由市场和全球化浪潮发生转向。这个新纪元(era)将有望让发达国家逃离自 21 世纪第一个十年以来的低增长陷阱,并且有望解决重大问题,包括老龄化和气候变化(这种级别的问题)。但它同时带来了尖锐的风险,涉及从摧毁央行的经济混乱到公共支出失控(这些诸多问题)。

The ructions in the markets are of a magnitude not seen for a generation. Global inflation is in double digits for the first time in nearly 40 years. Having been slow to respond, the Federal Reserve is now cranking up interest rates at the fastest pace since the 1980s, while the dollar is at its strongest for two decades, causing chaos outside America. If you have an investment portfolio or a pension, this year has been gruesome. Global shares have dropped by 25% in dollar terms, the worst year since at least the 1980s, and government bonds are on course for their worst year since 1949. Alongside some $40trn of losses there is a queasy sense that the world order is being upended as globalisation heads into retreat and the energy system is fractured after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

我们这一代人还没有见过如此大规模的市场骚动。全球通胀水平在近 40 年来首次达到了 2 位数。一直以拖沓著称的美联储正在以 20 世纪 80 年代以来最快的速度进行加息,而由于美元已经强势了 20 多年,这导致美国之外一片哀嚎。如果你有投资证券或买养老基金的话,今年一定有点脊背发凉。全球股市以美元计跌了 25%,是自 20 世界 80 世代以来的最差年份,政府债更是达到了自 1949 年以来的最差表现。除了近 40 万亿美元的损失之外,更加令人不安的是这样一种空气,世界秩序正在遭到颠覆,全球巨头从各个领域撤退,能源系统也在俄罗斯入侵乌克兰之后遭到破坏。

All this marks a definitive end to the age of economic placidity in the 2010s. After the global financial crisis of 2007-09 the performance of rich economies assumed a feeble pattern. Investment by private firms was subdued, even at those making monster profits, while governments did not take up the slack: the public capital stock actually shrank around the world, as a share of gdp, in the decade after Lehman Brothers collapsed. Economic growth was sluggish and inflation was low. With the private and public sectors doing little to stimulate more activity, central banks became the only game in town. They held interest rates at rock-bottom levels and bought huge volumes of bonds at any sign of trouble, extending their reach ever further into the economy. On the eve of the pandemic central banks in America, Europe and Japan owned a staggering $15trn of financial assets.

全部这些迹象表明,世界经济从 21 世纪第一个十年以来的安宁日子已经走到尽头。从 07-09 年世界金融危机开始,发达国家经济一直处于疲软的模式中。私人公司的投资受到抑制,不管它创造利润的能力有多变态(它们的投资都受到抑制),而政府也没有提供补足:在世界范围内,在雷曼兄弟崩溃后的十年时间里,以 GDP 计,公共资金的股票占比事实上是缩小的。经济增长停滞,一直处于低通胀水平。由于私人和公共部门没有(为经济)注入更多的刺激(流动性或者投资什么的),央行成了全村唯一的希望(only game in town)。他们(央行)将利率保持在瓶颈位置,一遇到任何风吹草动都是大量地买股票,将自己的触手伸到经济的各个角落。在新冠疫情期间,美国、欧洲和日本央行持有的经济资产达到了惊人的 15 万亿美元。

The extraordinary challenge of the pandemic led to extraordinary actions which helped unleash today’s inflation: wild government stimulus and bail-outs, temporarily skewed patterns of consumer demand and lockdown-induced supply-chain tangles. That inflationary impulse has since been turbocharged by the energy crunch as Russia, one of the largest exporters of fossil fuels along with Saudi Arabia, has isolated itself from its markets in the West. Faced with a serious inflation problem the Fed has already raised rates from a maximum of 0.25% to 3.25% and is expected to take them to 4.5% by early 2023. Globally, most monetary authorities are tightening too.

非常时期(新冠)使用非常手段,导致了现在非凡的通胀:政府刺激和纾困政策临时改变了消费需要的习惯,并且由于隔离导致了供应链的混乱。而俄罗斯的能源危机则给通胀装上了涡轮增压,要知道俄罗斯是与沙特阿拉伯齐名的全球最大化石能源出口国,而俄罗斯掐断了它与西方市场的联系。(这个话不要脸,明明是西方“制裁”人家)为了应对严重的通胀问题,美联储已经将利率提升了 0.25 个百分点,达到了 3.25%,(甚至)预计于 2023 年初加息到 4.5%。在全球范围内,大多数货币权威机构都在收紧货币政策。

What on earth comes next? One immediate fear is of a blow-up, as a financial system that has become habituated to low rates wakes up to the soaring cost of borrowing. Although one mid-sized lender, Credit Suisse, is under pressure, it is unlikely that banks will become a big problem: most have bigger safety buffers than in the past. Instead the dangers lie elsewhere, in a new-look financial system that relies less on banks and more on fluid markets and technology. The good news is that your deposits are not about to go up in smoke. The bad news is that this system for financing firms and consumers is opaque and hypersensitive to losses.

事情还会怎么样呢?眼前最害怕的是泡沫破裂,一个已经习惯了低利率的经济系统,一觉醒来面临高企的融资成本。虽然一家中等规模的贷款商,Credit Suisse,正处于压力之中,但银行们不太会发生更严重的问题:它们中的多数有着比以往更大的安全缓冲区。相反的,危险可能在其他地方发生,因为新型的经济系统对银行的依赖更少,而更多地依靠市场的流动性和科技水平。好消息是你的存款不会凭空蒸发。但问题是对于经济公司和消费者来说,这个系统过于不透明并且对损失非常敏感。

You can already see this in the credit markets. As firms that buy debt shy away from risk, the interest rate on mortgages and junk bonds is soaring. The market for “leveraged loans” used to finance corporate buy-outs has seized up—if Elon Musk buys Twitter the resulting debts may become a big problem. Meanwhile investment funds, including pension schemes, face losses on the portfolios of illiquid assets they have accumulated. Parts of the plumbing could stop working. The Treasury market has become more erratic (see Buttonwood) while European energy firms have faced crushing collateral calls on their hedges. Britain’s bond market has been thrown into chaos by obscure derivatives bets made by its pension funds.

这些事情已经在信用市场发生了。由于公司发债时厌恶风险,导致按揭和垃圾股的利息涨到了天上。用于公司收购的杠杆贷款市场已经被叫停,如果 Elon Musk 收购 Twitter 成功,那么因此生成的债务将成为一个巨大的问题。同样的,投资基金(包括养老基金)面临他们收集的流动性资产的亏损。部分管道甚至停止工作。(这啥意思?)国债市场更不规则,欧洲的能源公司面临崩盘导致的抵押物对冲要求(collateral calls on their hedges)。英国的债券市场就是因为养老基金的金融衍生品而陷入混乱。

If markets stop working smoothly, impeding the flow of credit or threatening contagion, central banks may step in: already the Bank of England has done a u-turn and started buying bonds again, cutting against its simultaneous commitment to raise rates. The related belief that central banks will not have the resolve to follow through on their tough talk is behind the other big fear: that the world will return to the 1970s, with rampant inflation. In one sense this is alarmist and over the top. Most forecasters reckon inflation in America will fall from the present 8% to 4% in 2023 as energy price-rises ebb and higher rates bite. Yet while the odds of inflation going to 20% are tiny, there is a glaring question about whether governments and central banks will ever bring it back down to 2%.

当市场调节不再顺滑,它会阻碍信用流动或者导致风险传染,这里央行就应该出手了:Bank of England 就刚刚完成 U 型大回转(又支楞起来了),开始继续买入债券,继续和它同时进行的加息活动进行内耗(cutting against)。相关分析认为央行没有决心履行他们的豪言壮语,这是因为他们有更大的顾虑:世界会陷入像 20 世界 70 年代时那样的疯狂通胀。一种观点认为这是对决策层的警告。大多数分析认为受到能源价格上涨趋势放缓和高利率的控制,美国的通胀水平会在 2023 年从现在的 8% 降低到 4%。虽然截至目前为止,通胀水平上涨到 20% 的概率不大,但更醒目的问题是政府和央行能否将控制在 2% 以下。

A moving target


To understand why, look beyond the hurly-burly to the long-term fundamentals. In a big shift from the 2010s, a structural rise in government spending and investment is under way. Ageing citizens will need more health care. Europe and Japan will spend more on defence to counter threats from Russia and China. Climate change and the quest for security will boost state investment in energy, from renewable infrastructure to gas terminals. And geopolitical tensions are leading governments to spend more on industrial policy. Yet even as investment rises, demography will weigh ever more heavily on rich economies. As people get older they save more, and this excess of savings will continue to act to depress the underlying real rate of interest.

为了理解这些事情,需要将视野拉远,从基础的长期混乱的角度(来看待这个事情)。从 21 世纪第一个十年以来,目前有一个很大的变化,就是政府支出和投资开始出现结构性增长。老龄化人口需要更多的健康保障。欧洲和日本需要花费更多的钱来对抗来自俄罗斯和中国的对抗性威胁。气候变化和安全需求会增加能源方面的国家投资,投资范围覆盖从可再生资源到天然气井(的范围)。同时,紧张的地缘政治关系导致政府需要在工业政策上增加支出。然而,即使是在投资增加的条件下,人口结构也是会对富裕国家造成很大的压力。当人越来越老,他们就会储蓄越来越多,这些额外的储蓄会持续压制实际利率。(从这个逻辑上讲,利率是针对流动性的,而不是针对存款的,当然这个想法还很不成熟)

As a result the fundamental trends in the 2020s and 2030s are for bigger government but still-low real interest rates. For central banks this creates an acute dilemma. In order to get inflation down to their targets of roughly 2% they may have to tighten enough to cause a recession. This would incur a high human cost in the form of job losses and trigger a fierce political backlash. Moreover, if the economy deflates and ends up back in the low-growth, low-rate trap of the 2010s, central banks may once again lack enough stimulus tools. The temptation now is to find another way out: to ditch the 2% inflation targets of recent decades and raise them modestly to, say, 4%. That is likely to be on the menu when the Fed begins its next strategy review in 2024.

因此(可以说),在本世纪 20 和 30 年代,(世界经济)的大趋势是更大的政府,再加上持续低迷的实际利率。对于央行来说,这彻底是一个矛盾。为了将通胀水平控制在 2% 左右,他们需要收紧货币政策甚至导致衰退。这会导致失业等生活成本激增,以及残酷的政治反噬。(福利社会之殇)更有甚者,假如经济陷入通缩,最终导致低增长-低利率陷阱,就像 21 世纪第一个十年那样,央行则需要释放足够的刺激工具。当务之急是找到另一条出路,在近十年内将通胀水平限制在 2%,之后进行温和提升到 4%。这很有可能在美联储在 2024 年将要进行的任务列表里。

This brave new world of somewhat higher government spending and somewhat higher inflation would have advantages. In the short run it would mean a less severe recession or none at all. And in the long run it would mean that central banks have more room to cut interest rates in a downturn, reducing the need for bond-buying and bail-outs whenever anything goes wrong, which cause ever-greater distortion of the economy.


Yet it also comes with big dangers. Central banks’ credibility will be damaged: if the goalposts are moved once, why not again? Millions of contracts and investments written on the promise of 2% inflation would be disrupted, while mildly higher inflation would redistribute wealth from creditors to debtors. Meanwhile, the promise of moderately bigger government could easily spiral out of control, if populist politicians make reckless spending pledges or if state investments in energy and industrial policy are poorly executed and morph into bloated vanity projects that drag down productivity.

但这样做的风险也很大。央行的信用会受到损害:如果目标动过一次,那么凭什么不会有第二次?数以百万计的合同和投资是以 2% 的通货膨胀为标的签署的,这些会受到干扰,(具体表现是)高得多的通胀率将债权人的财富转移(抢劫)到欠债人手中。同时,(一开始)适度的大政府能够轻易地失去控制,试想,最受欢迎的政客肆无忌惮地挥霍养老基金,国家在能源和工业政策领域的投资疏于管理,最终沦落到尾大不掉(bloated 浮肿,vanity 空虚)的(面子)工程开始拖垮制造业。

These opportunities and dangers are daunting. But it is time to start weighing them and their implications for citizens and businesses. The biggest mistakes in economics are failures of imagination that reflect an assumption that today’s regime will last for ever. It never does. Change is coming. Get ready.■