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作者: 来源: 日期:2016/8/1 8:30:37

The Rise and Fall of Nations: Ten Rules of Change in the Post-Crisis World’, by Ruchir Sharma





In December 2013 the investment manager Ruchir Sharma was on the road in the Indian states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, interviewing locals in connection with upcoming elections. Everywhere he went, people “would angrily reel off to the exact rupee” the price increases for potatoes, ghee and onions over the past five years, Sharma writes in The Rise and Fall of Nations. “Talk of inflation trumped other pressing issues, such as corruption and unemployment.”

201312月,投资经理鲁奇尔•夏尔马(Ruchir Sharma)在印度中央邦(Madhya Pradesh)和拉贾斯坦邦(Rajasthan)街头,就即将开始的选举采访当地人。夏尔马在《国家的兴衰》(Rise and Fall of Nations)一书中写道,他所到之处,人们都“愤怒地念叨着(过去5年土豆、酥油和洋葱的价格)具体上涨了多少卢比……有关通胀的声音盖过了其他紧迫问题,例如腐败和失业。” 广州图书翻译公司。


Inflation is one of 10 criteria used by Sharma, head of emerging markets and chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley Investment Management in New York, to assess the prospects of nations big and small. It is a problem, he writes, because it kills growth by discouraging saving, raising the cost of capital and contributing to political instability.

夏尔马是摩根士丹利投资管理公司(Morgan Stanley Investment Management)在纽约的新兴市场主管和全球首席策略师。通胀是他用来评估各个国家(不管大小)前景的10个标准之一。他写道,通胀是个问题,因为它会遏制储蓄、提高资金成本并导致政治不稳定,从而扼杀增长。


As Sharma’s insights into Indian onion prices suggest, there is nothing theoretical or abstract about his work. His new book adopts the approach that served him well in his 2012 survey of emerging markets, Breakout Nations, considering the views of village barbers alongside those of presidents as he works out whether the fundamentals of the countries he considers suggest a more bearish or bullish stance. For the most part, it is the former that prevails. Sharma notes that when the global financial crisis struck in 2007, more than 60 nations were growing at rates of at least 7 per cent a year; today, a mere nine countries can make that claim.

正如夏尔马对印度洋葱价格的洞见所显示的那样,他的工作丝毫不涉及高深的理论,也丝毫不抽象。他的新书沿用了2012年,他在写作关于新兴市场的著作《一炮走红的国家》(Breakout Nations)时行之有效的方法,在判断研究对象国的基本面因素意味着更悲观还是更乐观的前景时,既考虑乡间理发师的看法,又考虑企业总裁的意见。他得出,大多数对象国的前景是悲观的。夏尔马指出,2007年全球金融危机爆发时,有60多个国家的年增速达到或超过7%;如今这样的国家只有9个。广州图书翻译公司。


Sharma is particularly bearish about the prospects for China, which performs poorly on the metric of debt. For him this is the most critical factor determining economic performance in the short to medium term: if it grows faster than gross domestic product over a sustained period of time, expect an economic slowdown. Sharma was sounding this warning at least two years ago, well before such fears became fashionable.



Perhaps the most compelling chapter is the one on “good billionaires” and “bad billionaires”. Good billionaires are those who create jobs and products, thus supporting future economic growth — examples include the founders of Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent in China and the Silicon Valley moguls in the US. By contrast, bad billionaires are those who have made their fortunes through political connections and corruption, obtaining licences to natural resources or real estate.



Russia is the face of the bad billionaire model — among its 104 billionaires (the third-largest number after China, with 596, and the US, with 537), 70 per cent of wealth comes from politically connected activities such as oil and gas. Russia is therefore a prime candidate for a backlash against growing inequality. “It is the rise of an entrenched class of bad billionaires in traditionally corruption-prone and unproductive industries that is most likely to choke off growth,” Sharma writes.



Less predictably, Japan comes in for criticism here precisely because of its lack of billionaires. Indeed, the share of GDP held by this class is a mere 2 per cent. “One cannot help but suspect this is a symptom of the economy’s chronic incapacity to create significant wealth,” Sharma notes, suggesting that the failure is a mark of “a corporate and political culture that rewards seniority more than merit and risk taking.” Growth can slow when inequality is very low as well as very high.



India also doesn’t fare particularly well, primarily because of its low rating on Sharma’s fourth metric, which looks at how heavy a hand the government places on the economy. (France, unsurprisingly, turns out to be “the rotund king of this class”.) In India’s case, the pessimism lies in the fact that the government owns about 70 per cent of the banking system.



There are nations whose prospects are less bleak. Sharma is relatively optimistic about the US, because of its deep trade links, strong manufacturing and technology, and good billionaires such as Bill Gates. (On the debit side, the US also has an expensive currency, a high level of debt and the threat of angry populism.) He is also positive about Germany and some of the countries in its economic orbit, such as the Czech Republic and Romania.

还有一些国家的前景不那么黯淡。夏尔马对于美国相对乐观,因为它有深厚的贸易纽带、强大的制造业和科技,还有比尔•盖茨(Bill Gates)等好亿万富翁。(不利方面是,美国也拥有昂贵的货币,债务高企,还面临愤怒民粹主义的威胁。)他还对德国以及在德国经济轨道内的一些国家感到乐观,例如捷克和罗马尼亚。广州图书翻译公司。


All these views are not meant to be written in stone: Sharma believes that long-term forecasting is a fool’s game. But for insights into the forces operating in our world today, The Rise and Fall of Nations is a stimulating and useful guide.



Henny Sender is the FT’s chief correspondent for international finance



The Rise and Fall of Nations: Ten Rules of Change in the Post-Crisis World, by Ruchir Sharma, Allen Lane, RRP£25/W.W. Norton, RRP$27.95, 480 pages

《国家的兴衰:后危机世界的10个变化规律》(The Rise and Fall of Nations: Ten Rules of Change in the Post-Crisis World),鲁奇尔•夏尔马(著);Allen Lane出版社、建议零售价25英镑,诺顿出版社(W.W. Norton)、建议零售价27.95美元;共480