For the Love of Money
By SAM POLK January 30, 2014
IN my last year on Wall Street my bonus was $3.6 million — and I was angry because it wasn’t big enough. I was 30 years old, had no children to raise, no debts to pay, no philanthropic goal in mind. I wanted more money for exactly the same reason an alcoholic needs another drink: I was addicted.
Eight years earlier, I’d walked onto the trading floor at Credit Suisse First Boston to begin my summer internship. I already knew I wanted to be rich, but when I started out I had a different idea about what wealth meant. I’d come to Wall Street after reading in the book “Liar’s Poker” how Michael Lewis earned a $225,000 bonus after just two years of work on a trading floor. That seemed like a fortune. Every January and February, I think about that time, because these are the months when bonuses are decided and distributed, when fortunes are made.
早在八年前，我就步入瑞士信贷第一波士顿银行（Credit Suisse First Boston，简称CSFB），开始了我的暑期实习生涯。我知道自己想要变得富有，然而，当我开始为此努力时，我对财富的意义有了不一样的理解。我是在读 了《说谎者的扑克牌》(Liar’s Poker)这本书后来到华尔街的，书中描述了迈克尔·刘易斯(Michael Lewis)是如何仅仅凭借交易大厅里的两年打拼，就挣得了22.5万美元的奖金。这看起来是一大笔钱。每年的1月和2月，我都会想起那段日子，因为这是 决定和分发奖金的日子，是挣大钱的日子。
I’d learned about the importance of being rich from my dad. He was a modern-day Willy Loman, a salesman with huge dreams that never seemed to materialize. “Imagine what life will be like,” he’d say, “when I make a million dollars.” While he dreamed of selling a screenplay, in reality he sold kitchen cabinets. And not that well. We sometimes lived paycheck to paycheck off my mom’s nurse-practitioner salary.
我从父亲那里了解到了成为富人的重要性。他是当代的威利·罗曼(Willy Loman)，是一名有着远大梦想却似乎从未将其变为现实的销售员。他说，“想想当我赚到100万美元时，生活会是什么样儿。”他梦想着能卖电影剧本，可 是现实里，他在卖橱柜。而且生意不怎么样。我们不时要靠母亲做执业护理师的收入勉强度日。
Dad believed money would solve all his problems. At 22, so did I. When I walked onto that trading floor for the first time and saw the glowing flat-screen TVs, high-tech computer monitors and phone turrets with enough dials, knobs and buttons to make it seem like the cockpit of a fighter plane, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. It looked as if the traders were playing a video game inside a spaceship; if you won this video game, you became what I most wanted to be — rich.
父亲相信，钱能解决他所有的问题。22岁时，我也这么认为了。当我第一次走进交易大厅，看着闪闪发亮的平板电视、高科技的电脑显示器和布满拨号键 和各式按钮、看上去就像战斗机驾驶舱的那种电话时，我就知道，我这辈子究竟想要做什么了。那场景就好像交易员正在太空船里玩电子游戏；如果你能赢 得这场游戏，你就会变成我最渴望变成的人——富人。
IT was a miracle I’d made it to Wall Street at all. While I was competitive and ambitious — a wrestler at Columbia University — I was also a daily drinker and pot smoker and a regular user of cocaine, Ritalin and ecstasy. I had a propensity for self-destruction that had resulted in my getting suspended from Columbia for burglary, arrested twice and fired from an Internet company for fistfighting. I learned about rage from my dad, too. I can still see his red, contorted face as he charged toward me. I’d lied my way into the C.S.F.B. internship by omitting my transgressions from my résumé and was determined not to blow what seemed a final chance. The only thing as important to me as that internship was my girlfriend, a starter on the Columbia volleyball team. But even though I was in love with her, when I got drunk I’d sometimes end up with other women.
我能进入华尔街完全就是个奇迹。当我还是哥伦比亚大学(Columbia University)的摔跤运动员时，就争强好胜、野心勃勃，我每天都喝酒、吸大麻，还定期吸食可卡因、利他林和摇头丸。我有自毁倾向，这导致了我因为 盗窃被哥伦比亚大学暂停了学业，我还因为和人打架被捕过两次，因为同样理由被一家互联网公司给开除过。我从父亲那里了解了愤怒。我依然能回想起他 冲向我时，那张通红、扭曲的脸。我在简历里抹去了自己的过失，靠谎言获得了CSFB的实习职位，我下定决心，不能错失这个似乎是我最后一次机会的 机会。唯一一件和实习职位同等重要的大事是我的女友，她是哥伦比亚大学排球队的新人。不过，即使在和她恋爱时，假如喝醉了，有时我也会和别的女人 搞在一起。
Three weeks into my internship she wisely dumped me. I don’t like who you’ve become, she said. I couldn’t blame her, but I was so devastated that I couldn’t get out of bed. In desperation, I called a counselor whom I had reluctantly seen a few times before and asked for help.
She helped me see that I was using alcohol and drugs to blunt the powerlessness I felt as a kid and suggested I give them up. That began some of the hardest months of my life. Without the alcohol and drugs in my system, I felt like my chest had been cracked open, exposing my heart to air. The counselor said that my abuse of drugs and alcohol was a symptom of an underlying problem — a “spiritual malady,” she called it. C.S.F.B. didn’t offer me a full-time job, and I returned, distraught, to Columbia for senior year.
她使我明白了，我在利用酒精和毒品来削弱我孩提时的无力感，她建议我放弃这些东西。我由此开始了一生中最难熬的一段日子。由于生活里没了酒精和毒 品，我感觉就像自己的胸膛被剖开了，心都被暴露在外。辅导员说，我滥用毒品和酒精，这只是一个深层问题的表象——她说这是一种“精神痼疾”。 CSFB没给我提供全职工作，我心烦意乱地回到了哥伦比亚大学，继续最后一年的学业。
After graduation, I got a job at Bank of America, by the grace of a managing director willing to take a chance on a kid who had called him every day for three weeks. With a year of sobriety under my belt, I was sharp, cleareyed and hard-working. At the end of my first year I was thrilled to receive a $40,000 bonus. For the first time in my life, I didn’t have to check my balance before I withdrew money. But a week later, a trader who was only four years my senior got hired away by C.S.F.B. for $900,000. After my initial envious shock — his haul was 22 times the size of my bonus — I grew excited at how much money was available.
毕业后，我给美国银行(Bank of America)的一名执行董事连续不断地连打了三周的电话，蒙他开恩，给了我这个毛头小子一个机会，我在那里谋得了一份工作。经过一年的冷静沉淀，我变 得头脑清晰、目光敏锐、工作卖力。第一年工作结束时，我激动地收到了4万美元的奖金。生平第一次，我不需要在取钱之前查自己的余额。不过一周后， 一名只比我入行早四年的交易员被CSFB挖走时，拿到了90万美元。这笔钱相当于我奖金的22倍，一开始，我是既妒忌又惊讶，然而一想到这个行业 能挣这么多的钱，我就变得兴奋不已。
Over the next few years I worked like a maniac and began to move up the Wall Street ladder. I became a bond and credit default swap trader, one of the more lucrative roles in the business. Just four years after I started at Bank of America, Citibank offered me a “1.75 by 2” which means $1.75 million per year for two years, and I used it to get a promotion. I started dating a pretty blonde and rented a loft apartment on Bond Street for $6,000 a month.
接下来的几年里，我像疯子一样地工作，开始在华尔街的梯队里青云直上。我成了一名债券和信用违约掉期交易员，这是业内最挣钱的职位之一。我在美国 银行工作了仅仅四年后，花旗银行(Citibank)给我提供了“1.75X2”的职位，意思是我将在两年里获得每年175万美元的酬劳，我靠着 这个升了职。我开始和一名美丽的金发美女约会，在邦德街租了一间带阁楼的公寓，月租金为6000美元。
I felt so important. At 25, I could go to any restaurant in Manhattan — Per Se, Le Bernardin — just by picking up the phone and calling one of my brokers, who ingratiate themselves to traders by entertaining with unlimited expense accounts. I could be second row at the Knicks-Lakers game just by hinting to a broker I might be interested in going. The satisfaction wasn’t just about the money. It was about the power. Because of how smart and successful I was, it was someone else’s job to make me happy.
我感觉自己太了不起了。在25岁的年纪，我只要抓起电话，跟我的经纪人之一打个招呼，就可以去曼哈顿的任何一家餐厅——比如Per Se和Le Bernardin——就餐，这些经纪人用不封顶的娱乐款项来讨好交易员。我只需向经纪人暗示一下，自己或许对尼克斯队(Knicks)对湖人队 (Lakers)的比赛感兴趣，就能坐在现场的第二排。其中的满足感不仅和钱有关，还和权力有关。因为我如此聪明、如此成功，所以，理应由别人来 讨我开心。
Still, I was nagged by envy. On a trading desk everyone sits together, from interns to managing directors. When the guy next to you makes $10 million, $1 million or $2 million doesn’t look so sweet. Nonetheless, I was thrilled with my progress.
My counselor didn’t share my elation. She said I might be using money the same way I’d used drugs and alcohol — to make myself feel powerful — and that maybe it would benefit me to stop focusing on accumulating more and instead focus on healing my inner wound. “Inner wound”? I thought that was going a little far and went to work for a hedge fund.
Now, working elbow to elbow with billionaires, I was a giant fireball of greed. I’d think about how my colleagues could buy Micronesia if they wanted to, or become mayor of New York City. They didn’t just have money; they had power — power beyond getting a table at Le Bernardin. Senators came to their offices. They were royalty.
现在，我和亿万富翁一起并肩共事，我成了一个精力充沛、贪婪无比的家伙。我会琢磨，假使我的同事愿意的话，他们会如何买下密克罗尼西亚，或者成为 纽约市的市长。他们不仅是有钱而已；他们还有权——那是超出在Le Bernardin订到一张桌子的权力。参议员们会到这些富翁的办公室去。他们是皇族。
I wanted a billion dollars. It’s staggering to think that in the course of five years, I’d gone from being thrilled at my first bonus — $40,000 — to being disappointed when, my second year at the hedge fund, I was paid “only” $1.5 million.
But in the end, it was actually my absurdly wealthy bosses who helped me see the limitations of unlimited wealth. I was in a meeting with one of them, and a few other traders, and they were talking about the new hedge-fund regulations. Most everyone on Wall Street thought they were a bad idea. “But isn’t it better for the system as a whole?” I asked. The room went quiet, and my boss shot me a withering look. I remember his saying, “I don’t have the brain capacity to think about the system as a whole. All I’m concerned with is how this affects our company.”
不过最终，其实是我那些富得离谱的老板们，帮我看到了无尽财富的局限。我当时正在和他们中的一人及其他几名交易员开会，他们在谈论新的对冲基金规 定。几乎华尔街的每个人都认为这是一个糟糕的主意。我问道，“可是总的来说，它对这个系统更有好处，不是吗？”整个房间都安静下来，我的老板严厉 地白了我一眼。我记得他说，“我的脑力不足以让我从整体层面思考这个系统。我关心的只是，新规则会怎样影响我们的公司。”
I felt as if I’d been punched in the gut. He was afraid of losing money, despite all that he had.
From that moment on, I started to see Wall Street with new eyes. I noticed the vitriol that traders directed at the government for limiting bonuses after the crash. I heard the fury in their voices at the mention of higher taxes. These traders despised anything or anyone that threatened their bonuses. Ever see what a drug addict is like when he’s used up his junk? He’ll do anything — walk 20 miles in the snow, rob a grandma — to get a fix. Wall Street was like that. In the months before bonuses were handed out, the trading floor started to feel like a neighborhood in “The Wire” when the heroin runs out.
从那一刻起，我开始以新的眼光看待华尔街。我注意到了金融危机之后，交易员因为政府限制奖金发放，对政府进行了尖酸的批评。每当提到加税，我能从 他们的语调里听出愤懑之情。这些交易员对威胁他们奖金的任何事或任何人都不假辞色。你有没有见过吸毒者毒品用尽时的样子？他会用尽一切手段——比 如冒雪走上20英里，抢老奶奶的钱——就为了能来上一针。华尔街就和吸毒者的情况一样。在发放奖金前的几个月里，交易大厅开始让人感觉就像《火 线》(The Wire)里没有了海洛因的街区一样。
I’d always looked enviously at the people who earned more than I did; now, for the first time, I was embarrassed for them, and for me. I made in a single year more than my mom made her whole life. I knew that wasn’t fair; that wasn’t right. Yes, I was sharp, good with numbers. I had marketable talents. But in the end I didn’t really do anything. I was a derivatives trader, and it occurred to me the world would hardly change at all if credit derivatives ceased to exist. Not so nurse practitioners. What had seemed normal now seemed deeply distorted.
我总是满怀妒忌地看着那些比我赚得多的人；现在，我第一次为他们、为我自己感到羞愧。我一年挣的钱比我母亲一辈子挣的钱还多。我知道这不公平；这 不对。是的，我思维敏捷、长于计算。我有市场欢迎的那种才华。然而，到了最后，我并未真正地干过任何事。我是一名衍生产品交易员，对我来说，如果 信用衍生品不复存在，这个世界几乎不会有任何变化。跟执业护理师差远了。以前觉得很平常的事情，现在看来是极为扭曲的。
I had recently finished Taylor Branch’s three-volume series on the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement, and the image of the Freedom Riders stepping out of their bus into an infuriated mob had seared itself into my mind. I’d told myself that if I’d been alive in the ‘60s, I would have been on that bus.
我最近拜读了泰勒·布兰奇(Taylor Branch)写牧师小马丁·路德·金博士(Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.)和民权运动的三卷本著作，“自由乘车者”(Freedom Riders)从大巴上下来，走进愤怒的暴民中的场景，深深地印入了我了脑海。我对自己说，如果我活在上世纪60年代，我也会在那辆车上。
But I was lying to myself. There were plenty of injustices out there — rampant poverty, swelling prison populations, a sexual-assault epidemic, an obesity crisis. Not only was I not helping to fix any problems in the world, but I was profiting from them. During the market crash in 2008, I’d made a ton of money by shorting the derivatives of risky companies. As the world crumbled, I profited. I’d seen the crash coming, but instead of trying to help the people it would hurt the most — people who didn’t have a million dollars in the bank — I’d made money off it. I don’t like who you’ve become, my girlfriend had said years earlier. She was right then, and she was still right. Only now, I didn’t like who I’d become either.
但我其实是在骗自己。世上的不平事有的是——极端贫困、监狱人口膨胀、性侵事件泛滥、肥胖危机。我不仅没在帮助解决这其中的任何问题，而且还在从 中牟利。2008年市场崩盘时，通过卖空高风险公司的衍生品，我赚了一大笔钱。全世界都在破产，我却在赚钱。我眼看着危机一步步逼近，却没有帮助 可能受到最大打击的人们——那些银行账户里没有100万美元的人——我还利用危机赚钱。我女朋友几年前对我说，我不喜欢现在的你。她说对了，她一 直都是对的。只不过现在，我也不喜欢那时的我了。
Wealth addiction was described by the late sociologist and playwright Philip Slater in a 1980 book, but addiction researchers have paid the concept little attention. Like alcoholics driving drunk, wealth addiction imperils everyone. Wealth addicts are, more than anybody, specifically responsible for the ever widening rift that is tearing apart our once great country. Wealth addicts are responsible for the vast and toxic disparity between the rich and the poor and the annihilation of the middle class. Only a wealth addict would feel justified in receiving $14 million in compensation — including an $8.5 million bonus — as the McDonald’s C.E.O., Don Thompson, did in 2012, while his company then published a brochure for its work force on how to survive on their low wages. Only a wealth addict would earn hundreds of millions as a hedge-fund manager, and then lobby to maintain a tax loophole that gave him a lower tax rate than his secretary.
已故的社会学家、剧作家菲利普·斯莱特(Philip Slater)在1980年的一本书中描述了对财富上瘾的症状，但是上瘾的研究者们很少关注这个概念。就像醉酒驾车的嗜酒者一样，财瘾患者对所有人都是一 种危害。与其他人相比，财瘾患者尤其应该为目前出现的裂痕负责。这种裂痕正不断扩大，让我们曾经伟大的国家陷入分裂。对于富人和穷人之间的巨大而 有害的鸿沟，以及中产阶级的毁灭，财瘾者也应该负责。只有对财富上瘾的人才会觉得1400万美元的工资合情合理——包括850万美元的奖金——这 是麦当劳的首席执行官唐·汤普森(Don Thompson)在2012年拿到的数目，当时他的公司为员工印制了一本手册，告诉他们如何靠低工资生存下去。只有对财富上瘾的对冲基金经理才会怀揣数 亿美元的收入，然后为了让一个税法漏洞继续存在而到处游说，因为这个漏洞让他需要缴纳的税率低于他的秘书。
DESPITE my realizations, it was incredibly difficult to leave. I was terrified of running out of money and of forgoing future bonuses. More than anything, I was afraid that five or 10 years down the road, I’d feel like an idiot for walking away from my one chance to be really important. What made it harder was that people thought I was crazy for thinking about leaving. In 2010, in a final paroxysm of my withering addiction, I demanded $8 million instead of $3.6 million. My bosses said they’d raise my bonus if I agreed to stay several more years. Instead, I walked away.
尽管经历了彻悟，但离开这一切仍非易事。一想到钱越花越少，还有要放弃未来的奖金，我就感到害怕。我最害怕的是，五到10年之后，我会因为放弃了 一个成为真正的重要人物的机会而懊悔不已。人们都觉得离开的想法是发疯，这愈发让我难以下定决心。2010年，我已经逐渐减轻的财瘾最后发作了一 次，我要求获得800万美元的奖金，而不是360万美元。我的老板说，如果我再留下来工作几年，他们会提高我的奖金。但我还是离开了。
The first year was really hard. I went through what I can only describe as withdrawal — waking up at nights panicked about running out of money, scouring the headlines to see which of my old co-workers had gotten promoted. Over time it got easier — I started to realize that I had enough money, and if I needed to make more, I could. But my wealth addiction still hasn’t gone completely away. Sometimes I still buy lottery tickets.
In the three years since I left, I’ve married, spoken in jails and juvenile detention centers about getting sober, taught a writing class to girls in the foster system, and started a nonprofit called Groceryships to help poor families struggling with obesity and food addiction. I am much happier. I feel as if I’m making a real contribution. And as time passes, the distortion lessens. I see Wall Street’s mantra — “We’re smarter and work harder than everyone else, so we deserve all this money” — for what it is: the rationalization of addicts. From a distance I can see what I couldn’t see then — that Wall Street is a toxic culture that encourages the grandiosity of people who are desperately trying to feel powerful.
在我辞职后的三年里，我结了婚，在监狱和青少年拘留中心进行过戒酒戒毒的演讲，给领养系统里的女孩子们开设了写作课，启动了一个叫做 Groceryships的非营利项目，帮助为肥胖症和贪食症所折磨的穷人家庭。我比以前快乐多了。我感到自己好像真正做出了贡献。随着时间的流 逝，扭曲感减轻了。我看到了华尔街念的那本经——我们比其他人聪明、勤奋，所以这些钱是我们应得的——背后的真相：对上瘾者的合理化。距离让我明 白了我当时体会不到的东西——华尔街是一种有毒的文化，助长了那些不顾一切地想要感到强大的人的自大感。
I was lucky. My experience with drugs and alcohol allowed me to recognize my pursuit of wealth as an addiction. The years of work I did with my counselor helped me heal the parts of myself that felt damaged and inadequate, so that I had enough of a core sense of self to walk away.
Dozens of different types of 12-step support groups — including Clutterers Anonymous and On-Line Gamers Anonymous — exist to help addicts of various types, yet there is no Wealth Addicts Anonymous. Why not? Because our culture supports and even lauds the addiction. Look at the magazine covers in any newsstand, plastered with the faces of celebrities and C.E.O.’s; the superrich are our cultural gods. I hope we all confront our part in enabling wealth addicts to exert so much influence over our country.
有几十种不同类型的12步互助小组——包括匿名戒除杂乱协会(Clutterers Anonymous)和匿名戒除网瘾协会(On-Line Gamers Anonymous)——正在帮助各种类型的成瘾者，然而目前仍然没有匿名财富成瘾者协会。为什么呢？因为我们的文化鼓励、甚至是赞赏这种瘾。看看任何一 个报摊上的杂志封面吧，都是名人和CEO们的醒目头像，超级富豪在我们的文化中是神一般的存在。我希望，我们都能正视这个事实：财瘾之所以能对我 们国家产生如此大影响，我们每个人都有责任。
I generally think that if one is rich and believes they have “enough,” they are not a wealth addict. On Wall Street, in my experience, that sense of “enough” is rare. The money guy doing a job he complains about for yet another year so he can add $2 million to his $20 million bank account seems like an addict.
I recently got an email from a hedge-fund trader who said that though he was making millions every year, he felt trapped and empty, but couldn’t summon the courage to leave. I believe there are others out there. Maybe we can form a group and confront our addiction together. And if you identify with what I’ve written, but are reticent to leave, then take a small step in the right direction. Let’s create a fund, where everyone agrees to put, say, 25 percent of their annual bonuses into it, and we’ll use that to help some of the people who actually need the money that we’ve been so rabidly chasing. Together, maybe we can make a real contribution to the world.
我最近收到了一名对冲基金交易员的邮件。他说，尽管每年赚几百万美元，他还是感到压抑和空虚，但却无法鼓足勇气离职。我相信，还有许多这样的人。 也许我们可以组成一个团体，共同面对我们的瘾。如果你认同我的文章，但又不愿辞职，那么，至少往正确的方向上迈出一小步吧。让我们建立一家基金， 人人都把年终奖的25%之类的放进去，我们就可以利用这笔钱，帮助一些真正需要我们狂热追逐的这些钱的人们。团结起来，我们说不定可以为世界做点 真正的贡献。
Sam Polk is a former hedge-fund trader and the founder of the nonprofit Groceryships.
Copyright © 2013 The New York Times Company. All rights reserved.
Paranoia of the Plutocrats
By PAUL KRUGMAN January 28, 2014
Rising inequality has obvious economic costs: stagnant wages despite rising productivity, rising debt that makes us more vulnerable to financial crisis. It also has big social and human costs. There is, for example, strong evidence that high inequality leads to worse health and higher mortality.
But there’s more. Extreme inequality, it turns out, creates a class of people who are alarmingly detached from reality — and simultaneously gives these people great power.
The example many are buzzing about right now is the billionaire investor Tom Perkins, a founding member of the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. In a letter to the editor of The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Perkins lamented public criticism of the “one percent” — and compared such criticism to Nazi attacks on the Jews, suggesting that we are on the road to another Kristallnacht.
眼下的一个例子引起了很多人的议论，他就是身家亿万的投资人汤姆·珀金斯(Tom Perkins)，风险投资公司KPCB凯鹏华盈(Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers)的创始成员之一。在写给《华尔街日报》(Wall Street Journal)编辑的一封信中，帕金斯哀叹“百分之一”的人所遭受的公众批判——并把这些批判跟纳粹对犹太人的攻击相提并论，暗示我们正走在通往又一个 “水晶之夜”(Kristallnacht)的路上。
You may say that this is just one crazy guy and wonder why The Journal would publish such a thing. But Mr. Perkins isn’t that much of an outlier. He isn’t even the first finance titan to compare advocates of progressive taxation to Nazis. Back in 2010 Stephen Schwarzman, the chairman and chief executive of the Blackstone Group, declared that proposals to eliminate tax loopholes for hedge fund and private-equity managers were “like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.”
你可能会说，只有他才这么疯吧，不知道为什么《华尔街日报》会刊登这样的东西。但帕金斯并不是唯一的特例。他甚至不是第一个把累进税支持者比喻为 纳粹的金融巨头。早在2010年，黑石集团(Blackstone Group)董事长兼首席执行官斯蒂芬·施瓦茨曼(Stephen Schwarzman)就声称，提议堵住对冲和私募基金经理的税收漏洞，就如同“希特勒1939年入侵波兰”。
And there are a number of other plutocrats who manage to keep Hitler out of their remarks but who nonetheless hold, and loudly express, political and economic views that combine paranoia and megalomania in equal measure.
I know that sounds strong. But look at all the speeches and opinion pieces by Wall Streeters accusing President Obama — who has never done anything more than say the obvious, that some bankers behaved badly — of demonizing and persecuting the rich. And look at how many of those making these accusations also made the ludicrously self-centered claim that their hurt feelings (as opposed to things like household debt and premature fiscal austerity) were the main thing holding the economy back.
我知道这么说不太温和。但看看华尔街指责奥巴马总统妖魔化和迫害富人的各种发言和文章吧。奥巴马只不过说了一些明摆着的事实，即有些银行家举止不 当。再看看这些指责他的人中，有多少提出过自我中心得离谱的说法，说他们受到的感情伤害才是阻碍经济发展的主要原因，而不是家庭债务和过早实施财 政紧缩之类的事情。
Now, just to be clear, the very rich, and those on Wall Street in particular, are in fact doing worse under Mr. Obama than they would have if Mitt Romney had won in 2012. Between the partial rollback of the Bush tax cuts and the tax hike that partly pays for health reform, tax rates on the 1 percent have gone more or less back to pre-Reagan levels. Also, financial reformers have won some surprising victories over the past year, and this is bad news for wheeler-dealers whose wealth comes largely from exploiting weak regulation. So you can make the case that the 1 percent have lost some important policy battles.
那么，要说清楚的一点是，如果米特·罗姆尼(Mitt Romney)在2012年获胜，极富阶层，尤其是华尔街那些人，实际上会比现在在奥巴马任内的获利多。随着布什减税政策的部分取消，以及为支付医疗改革 而进行的大幅加税，1%阶层的税率已或多或少回到了前里根时代的水平。同时，在过去一年里，金融改革派也取得了一些令人大为意外的胜利。对那些基 本上靠监管薄弱聚敛财富的投机钻营者而言，这可是个坏消息。因此，可以证明，那1%的人输掉了一些重要的政策之战。
But every group finds itself facing criticism, and ends up on the losing side of policy disputes, somewhere along the way; that’s democracy. The question is what happens next. Normal people take it in stride; even if they’re angry and bitter over political setbacks, they don’t cry persecution, compare their critics to Nazis and insist that the world revolves around their hurt feelings. But the rich are different from you and me.
And yes, that’s partly because they have more money, and the power that goes with it. They can and all too often do surround themselves with courtiers who tell them what they want to hear and never, ever, tell them they’re being foolish. They’re accustomed to being treated with deference, not just by the people they hire but by politicians who want their campaign contributions. And so they are shocked to discover that money can’t buy everything, can’t insulate them from all adversity.
的确，这部分是因为他们有更多财富，随之也就有了更多权力。他们有吸引一群阿谀奉承的人围在自己身边的能力，很多时候的确就是这样。这些人会说他 们想听的话，但从不告诉他们，他们有多愚蠢。他们习惯了被尊重，不仅是来自自己雇佣的员工的尊重，还有那些想让他们捐助自己竞选的政客的尊重。因 此，当发现钱无法买到一切，无法让自己远离逆境时，他们很是震惊。
I also suspect that today’s Masters of the Universe are insecure about the nature of their success. We’re not talking captains of industry here, men who make stuff. We are, instead, talking about wheeler-dealers, men who push money around and get rich by skimming some off the top as it sloshes by. They may boast that they are job creators, the people who make the economy work, but are they really adding value? Many of us doubt it — and so, I suspect, do some of the wealthy themselves, a form of self-doubt that causes them to lash out even more furiously at their critics.
我还怀疑，如今的金融界巨头对自己的成功的本质缺乏自信。我们在这里说的不是制造产品的行业大佬。相反，我们说的是那些投机钻营者，他们把钱倒来 倒去，靠着每次倒手时从中揩一点油水致富。他们或许会吹嘘说自己创造了就业，让经济运转了起来，但他们真的在创造价值吗？我们很多人对此表示怀疑 ——因此，我怀疑，一些富人自己也怀疑，正是他们自己的那种自我怀疑导致他们更猛烈的抨击批评者。
Anyway, we’ve been here before. It’s impossible to read screeds like those of Mr. Perkins or Mr. Schwarzman without thinking of F.D.R.’s famous 1936 Madison Square Garden speech, in which he spoke of the hatred he faced from the forces of “organized money,” and declared, “I welcome their hatred.”
President Obama has not, unfortunately, done nearly as much as F.D.R. to earn the hatred of the undeserving rich. But he has done more than many progressives give him credit for — and like F.D.R., both he and progressives in general should welcome that hatred, because it’s a sign that they’re doing something right.
Copyright © 2013 The New York Times Company. All rights reserved.
The Populist Imperative
By PAUL KRUGMAN January 25, 2014
“The outstanding faults of the economic society in which we live are its failure to provide for full employment and its arbitrary and inequitable distribution of wealth and incomes.”
John Maynard Keynes wrote that in 1936, but it applies to our own time, too. And, in a better world, our leaders would be doing all they could to address both faults.
这段话是约翰·梅纳德·凯恩斯(John Maynard Keynes)1936年写下的，不过也适用于我们今天所处的时代。在更理想的世界里，我们的领导人应当竭尽所能地克服这两大缺点。
Unfortunately, the world we actually live in falls far short of that ideal. In fact, we should count ourselves lucky when leaders confront even one of our two great economic failures. If, as has been widely reported, President Obama devotes much of his State of the Union address to inequality, everyone should be cheering him on.
They won’t, of course. Instead, he will face two kinds of sniping. The usual suspects on the right will, as always when questions of income distribution comes up, shriek “Class warfare!” But there will also be seemingly more sober voices arguing that he has picked the wrong target, that jobs, not inequality, should be at the top of his agenda.
Here’s why they’re wrong.
First of all, jobs and inequality are closely linked if not identical issues. There’s a pretty good although not ironclad case that soaring inequality helped set the stage for our economic crisis, and that the highly unequal distribution of income since the crisis has perpetuated the slump, especially by making it hard for families in debt to work their way out.
Moreover, there’s an even stronger case to be made that high unemployment — by destroying workers’ bargaining power — has become a major source of rising inequality and stagnating incomes even for those lucky enough to have jobs.
Beyond that, as a political matter, inequality and macroeconomic policy are already inseparably linked. It has been obvious for a long time that the deficit obsession that has exerted such a destructive effect on policy these past few years isn’t really driven by worries about the federal debt. It is, instead, mainly an effort to use debt fears to scare and bully the nation into slashing social programs — especially programs that help the poor. For example, two-thirds of the spending cuts proposed last year by Representative Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, would have come at the expense of lower-income families.
还有，政治上，贫富不均与宏观经济政策已密不可分。很早以前就显露出，对赤字的痴迷在过去几年间极大地破坏了政策议程 ，而这种痴迷实际上并非源于联邦债务方面的忧虑。实际上，它主要是为了，利用债务焦虑来将美国坑蒙拐骗到大幅削减社会福利的道路上，尤其是对穷人施以援手 的那些福利。比方说，众议院预算委员会(House Budget Committee)主席保罗·瑞安(Paul Ryan)去年提出的开支削减计划中，三分之二要让低收入家庭付出代价。
The flip side of this attempt to use fiscal scare tactics to worsen inequality is that highlighting concerns about inequality can translate into pushback against job-destroying austerity, too.
But the most important reason for Mr. Obama to focus on inequality is political realism. Like it or not, the simple fact is that Americans “get” inequality; macroeconomics, not so much.
There’s an enduring myth among the punditocracy that populism doesn’t sell, that Americans don’t care about the gap between the rich and everyone else. It’s not true. Yes, we’re a nation that admires rather than resents success, but most people are nonetheless disturbed by the extreme disparities of our Second Gilded Age. A new Pew poll finds an overwhelming majority of Americans — and 45 percent of Republicans! — supporting government action to reduce inequality, with a smaller but still substantial majority favoring taxing the rich to aid the poor. And this is true even though most Americans don’t realize just how unequally wealth really is distributed.
在政治评论家中，长期存在这样一种认识：民粹主义并不吸引人，美国人并不关心富人和普通人之间的差距。这种认识是错误的。的确，美国是一个崇尚成 功的国家，不是一个憎恶成功的国家，但看到“第二次镀金时代”(Second Gilded Age)极端的不平等，多数人仍然会感到不安。皮尤(Pew)最近的一项民调显示，绝大多数的美国人（以及高达45%的共和党人）支持政府采取行动遏制不 平等；尽管比例较小，但仍属于大多数的民众支持向富人征税接济穷人。以上情形都是真实存在的，尽管多数美国人还没有意识到财富的分配到底有多么不 平等。
By contrast, it’s very hard to communicate even the most basic truths of macroeconomics, like the need to run deficits to support employment in bad times. You can argue that Mr. Obama should have tried harder to get these ideas across; many economists cringed when he began echoing Republican rhetoric about the need for the federal government to tighten its belt along with America’s families. But, even if he had tried, it’s doubtful that he would have succeeded.
相比之下，关于宏观经济最基本的真相，传达起来也十分困难，比如在经济不好时需要通过财政赤字来支撑就业。你可以说奥巴马本来应该更努力地传播这 些观念——当他开始呼应共和党的论调，说联邦政府需要像美国家庭一样勒紧裤腰带之时，许多经济学家都极为难堪。然而即使奥巴马尝试了，他是否能成 功也颇值得怀疑。
Consider what happened in 1936. F.D.R. had just won a smashing re-election victory, largely because of the success of his deficit-spending policies. It’s often forgotten now, but his first term was marked by rapid economic recovery and sharply falling unemployment. But the public remained wedded to economic orthodoxy: by a more than 2-to-1 majority, voters surveyed by Gallup just after the election called for a balanced budget. And F.D.R., unfortunately, listened; his attempt to balance the budget soon plunged America back into recession.
请考虑一下1936年发生的事，富兰克林·D·罗斯福刚刚以巨大优势赢得连任，胜选的原因很大程度上在于他靠赤字支出的政策。现在人们常常会忘记 这一点，但在罗斯福的第一个任期，经济快速复苏，失业率也急剧下降。但是公众仍然固执地坚持着经济学的正统理论。在大选之后，盖洛普 (Gallup)调查了选民的意见，多数受访者呼吁要平衡预算，支持和反对的比例超过2：1。不幸的是，罗斯福听从了他们的意见，他平衡预算的努 力又很快把美国送回了经济衰退。
The point is that of the two great problems facing the U.S. economy, inequality is the one on which Mr. Obama is most likely to connect with voters. And he should seek that connection with a clear conscience: There’s no shame is acknowledging political reality, as long as you’re trying to do the right thing.
So I hope we’ll hear something about jobs Tuesday night, and some pushback against deficit hysteria. But if we mainly hear about inequality and social justice, that’s O.K.
Copyright © 2013 The New York Times Company. All rights reserved.
The Undeserving Rich
By PAUL KRUGMAN January 21, 2014
The reality of rising American inequality is stark. Since the late 1970s real wages for the bottom half of the work force have stagnated or fallen, while the incomes of the top 1 percent have nearly quadrupled (and the incomes of the top 0.1 percent have risen even more). While we can and should have a serious debate about what to do about this situation, the simple fact — American capitalism as currently constituted is undermining the foundations of middle-class society — shouldn’t be up for argument.
在美国，贫富差异的现实状况越来越严峻。自上世纪70年代末以来，在下层的那一半劳动力的实际工资停滞不前，甚至还出现下滑，而顶层那1%却上升 了将近三倍（最顶层的0.1%增幅的还要大）。我们可以也应该就如何应对这一局面展开严肃的讨论，然而，有一个浅白的事实是不需要争论的——当前 构建起来的美国资本主义，正在动摇中产阶级社会的根基。
But it is, of course. Partly this reflects Upton Sinclair’s famous dictum: It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it. But it also, I think, reflects distaste for the implications of the numbers, which seem almost like an open invitation to class warfare — or, if you prefer, a demonstration that class warfare is already underway, with the plutocrats on offense.
可是，当然，还是争起来了。这在一定程度上印证了厄普顿·辛克莱(Upton Sinclair)的著名格言：当一个人要靠着对某件事情的不理解来拿薪水时，要让他理解这件事情是很困难的。但我觉得，这同时也反映出，这些数字背后的 含义是多么令人反感，看上去简直就是在挑起阶级战争——或者你可以会觉得，这表明阶级战争已经打响了，进攻方是财阀。
The result has been a determined campaign of statistical obfuscation. At its cruder end this campaign comes close to outright falsification; at its more sophisticated end it involves using fancy footwork to propagate what I think of as the myth of the deserving rich.
For an example of de facto falsification, one need look no further than a recent column by Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal, which first accused President Obama (wrongly) of making a factual error, then proceeded to assert that rising inequality was no big deal, because everyone has been making big gains. Why, incomes for the bottom fifth of the U.S. population have risen 186 percent since 1979!
在歪曲事实方面的例子，看看《华尔街日报》(Wall Street Journal)的布雷·斯蒂芬斯(Bret Stephens)最近的一篇专栏就够了，文章先是（错误地）指责奥巴马总统犯了一个事实性的错误，接着声称贫富差异的加剧没什么大不了，因为每个人都获 得了很大的增长。那就是为什么美国底层的五分之一人口自1979年以来收入增长为186%！
If this sounds wrong to you, it should: that’s a nominal number, not corrected for inflation. You can find the inflation-corrected number in the same Census Bureau table; it shows incomes for the bottom fifth actually falling. Oh, and for the record, at the time of writing this elementary error had not been corrected on The Journal’s website.
如果你觉得这个数字有问题，你是对的：它只是个名义数据，没有排除通胀因素。经过通胀校正的数据，也可以在那份人口普查局(Census Bureau)表格里找到；从中可以看出底层五分之一人口的收入其实是下降的。噢，请注意，截止本文刊出之时，《华尔街日报》网站还没有改正这个低级错 误。
O.K., that’s what crude obfuscation looks like. What about the fancier version?
I’ve noted before that conservatives seem fixated on the notion that poverty is basically the result of character problems among the poor. This may once have had a grain of truth to it, but for the past three decades and more the main obstacle facing the poor has been the lack of jobs paying decent wages. But the myth of the undeserving poor persists, and so does a counterpart myth, that of the deserving rich.
The story goes like this: America’s affluent are affluent because they made the right lifestyle choices. They got themselves good educations, they got and stayed married, and so on. Basically, affluence is a reward for adhering to the Victorian virtues.
What’s wrong with this story? Even on its own terms, it postulates opportunities that don’t exist. For example, how are children of the poor, or even the working class, supposed to get a good education in an era of declining support for and sharply rising tuition at public universities? Even social indicators like family stability are, to an important extent, economic phenomena: nothing takes a toll on family values like lack of employment opportunities.
这个说法有什么问题？即便以它自己的标准，它假设的机会也是不存在的。比如，在一个公立大学的资金支持遭到削减，学费大幅升高的年代，有多少穷人 的孩子，甚至劳动阶层的孩子，能得到良好的教育？连家庭稳定性这样的社会指标，在相当程度上都是一个经济现象：就业机会匮乏对家庭价值观造成的损 害是难以估量的。
But the main thing about this myth is that it misidentifies the winners from growing inequality. White-collar professionals, even if married to each other, are only doing O.K. The big winners are a much smaller group. The Occupy movement popularized the concept of the “1 percent,” which is a good shorthand for the rising elite, but if anything includes too many people: most of the gains of the top 1 percent have in fact gone to an even tinier elite, the top 0.1 percent.
然而这种讹说的主要问题在于，它没能辨清贫富差距加大的真正赢家是谁。白领职场人士，即便是相互结成了夫妻，处境也顶多算过得去。大赢家是一个小 得多的群体。在“占领”运动中流行起来的“1%”这个词，对上升中的精英阶层是一个不错的概括，不过如果非要说的话，它划得范围太大了：顶层这 1%中，有一个更小的群体得到了绝大多数的利益，即最顶层的0.1%。
And who are these lucky few? Mainly they’re executives of some kind, especially, although not only, in finance. You can argue about whether these people deserve to be paid so well, but one thing is clear: They didn’t get where they are simply by being prudent, clean and sober.
So how can the myth of the deserving rich be sustained? Mainly through a strategy of distortion by dilution. You almost never see apologists for inequality willing to talk about the 1 percent, let alone the really big winners. Instead, they talk about the top 20 percent, or at best the top 5 percent. These may sound like innocent choices, but they’re not, because they involve lumping in married lawyers with the wolves of Wall Street. The DiCaprio movie of that name, by the way, is wildly popular with finance types, who cheer on the title character — another clue to the realities of our new Gilded Age.
那为什么理应富有的讹说还能如此坚挺呢？主要是通过一种以稀释为手段的扭曲策略。为贫富差距辩护的人几乎永远不会说那1%，更别提真正的大赢家 了。实际上他们会说上层的20%，顶多说到5%。听起来似乎是个无害的选择，其实不是，因为这里面把已婚律师和华尔街的狼群混为一谈了。顺便说一 句，迪卡普里奥的那个叫《华尔街之狼》的电影在金融圈子里相当受欢迎，主人公的事迹博得了他们的喝彩——这是我们认识新镀金时代现实的又一个线 索。
Again, I know that these realities make some people, not all of them hired guns for the plutocracy, uncomfortable, and they’d prefer to paint a different picture. But even if the facts have a well-known populist bias, they’re still the facts — and they must be faced.
Copyright © 2013 The New York Times Company. All rights reserved.
Enemies of the Poor
By PAUL KRUGMAN January 14, 2014
Suddenly it’s O.K., even mandatory, for politicians with national ambitions to talk about helping the poor. This is easy for Democrats, who can go back to being the party of F.D.R. and L.B.J. It’s much more difficult for Republicans, who are having a hard time shaking their reputation for reverse Robin-Hoodism, for being the party that takes from the poor and gives to the rich.
And the reason that reputation is so hard to shake is that it’s justified. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that right now Republicans are doing all they can to hurt the poor, and they would have inflicted vast additional harm if they had won the 2012 election. Moreover, G.O.P. harshness toward the less fortunate isn’t just a matter of spite (although that’s part of it); it’s deeply rooted in the party’s ideology, which is why recent speeches by leading Republicans declaring that they do too care about the poor have been almost completely devoid of policy specifics.
共和党要甩掉这个帽子之所以如此艰难，是因为它实在是名副其实。共和党人正在竭尽全力地伤害穷人——这个说法并不夸张。如果他们在2012年的选 举中胜出，他们还会施加更大的伤害。此外，共和党对穷人的残酷不光是因为他们内心的恶意（虽然这是部分原因）；它还深深根植于该党的理念之中，这 就是为什么虽然共和党领导人最近在演讲中声称他们真的在乎穷人，但几乎完全举不出具体的政策。
Let’s start with the recent Republican track record.
The most important current policy development in America is the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, a k a Obamacare. Most Republican-controlled states are, however, refusing to implement a key part of the act, the expansion of Medicaid, thereby denying health coverage to almost five million low-income Americans. And the amazing thing is that they’re going to great lengths to block aid to the poor even though letting the aid through would cost almost nothing; nearly all the costs of Medicaid expansion would be paid by Washington.
美国当前最重要的政策是推出了《合理医疗费用法案》(Affordable Care Act)，即奥巴马医改(Obamacare)。然而，共和党控制的大多数的州拒绝实施这个法案的一个关键部分，即扩大联邦医疗补助 (Medicaid)，从而拒绝向500万低收入美国人提供医疗补助。奇怪的是，即使提供这笔补助根本不需要什么成本，他们仍然费尽心机地拒绝让 穷人获得补助；联邦医疗补助扩大带来的几乎所有成本都会由华盛顿支付。
Meanwhile, those Republican-controlled states are slashing unemployment benefits, education financing and more. As I said, it’s not much of an exaggeration to say that the G.O.P. is hurting the poor as much as it can.
What would Republicans have done if they had won the White House in 2012? Much more of the same. Bear in mind that every budget the G.O.P. has offered since it took over the House in 2010 involves savage cuts in Medicaid, food stamps and other antipoverty programs.
Still, can’t Republicans change their approach? The answer, I’m sorry to say, is almost surely no.
First of all, they’re deeply committed to the view that efforts to aid the poor are actually perpetuating poverty, by reducing incentives to work. And to be fair, this view isn’t completely wrong.
True, it’s total nonsense when applied to unemployment insurance. The notion that unemployment is high because we’re “paying people not to work” is a fallacy (no matter how desperate you make the unemployed, their desperation does nothing to create more jobs) wrapped in a falsehood (very few people are choosing to remain unemployed and keep collecting benefit checks).
But our patchwork, uncoordinated system of antipoverty programs does have the effect of penalizing efforts by lower-income households to improve their position: the more they earn, the fewer benefits they can collect. In effect, these households face very high marginal tax rates. A large fraction, in some cases 80 cents or more, of each additional dollar they earn is clawed back by the government.
The question is what we could do to reduce these high effective tax rates. We could simply slash benefits; this would reduce the disincentive to work, but only by intensifying the misery of the poor. And the poor would become less productive as well as more miserable; it’s hard to take advantage of a low marginal tax rate when you’re suffering from poor nutrition and inadequate health care.
Alternatively, we could reduce the rate at which benefits phase out. In fact, one of the unheralded virtues of Obamacare is that it does just that. That is, it doesn’t just improve the lot of the poor; it improves their incentives, because the subsidies families receive for health care fade out gradually with higher income, instead of simply disappearing for anyone too affluent to receive Medicaid. But improving incentives this way means spending more, not less, on the safety net, and taxes on the affluent have to rise to pay for that spending. And it’s hard to imagine any leading Republican being willing to go down that road — or surviving the inevitable primary challenge if he did.
或者，我们可以放满福利金削减的步调。实际上，这就是奥巴马医改众多未曾言明的优点中的一个。就是说，它不仅改善了众多穷人的生活，还增加了他们 的积极性，因为随收入提高而医保福利逐步减少时，这些家庭还能获得补贴，而不是一旦富到不够格领取联邦医疗救助(Medicaid)的时候，就什 么也得不到了。不过，用这种方式来增加积极性意味着，在福利制度上增加开支，而非削减，而且必须用向富人增税的方式来为之承担成本。然而，难以想 象共和党的任何领头人物会愿意走这条路，或是这样做了之后，能在无可避免的初选挑战中赢得胜利。
The point is that a party committed to small government and low taxes on the rich is, more or less necessarily, a party committed to hurting, not helping, the poor.
Will this ever change? Well, Republicans weren’t always like this. In fact, all of our major antipoverty programs — Medicaid, food stamps, the earned-income tax credit — used to have bipartisan support. And maybe someday moderation will return to the G.O.P.
For now, however, Republicans are in a deep sense enemies of America’s poor. And that will remain true no matter how hard the likes of Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio try to convince us otherwise.
不过此时此刻，共和党人与美国穷人为敌，难以自拔。无论保罗·瑞安(Paul Ryan)和马尔科·卢比奥(Marco Rubio)之流如何卖力地想说服我们并非如此，这一点都改变不了。
Copyright © 2013 The New York Times Company. All rights reserved.
Stumbling Toward the Next Crash
By GORDON BROWN December 20, 2013
LONDON — In early October 2008, three weeks after the Lehman Brothers collapse, I met in Paris with leaders of the countries in the euro zone. Oblivious to the global dimension of the financial crisis, they took the view that if there was fallout for Europe, America would be to blame — so it would be for America to fix. I was unable to convince them that half of the bundled subprime-mortgage securities that were about to blow up had landed in Europe and that euro-area banks were, in fact, more highly leveraged than America’s.
伦敦——2008年10月初，雷曼兄弟(Lehman Brothers)倒闭三周之后，我在巴黎与欧元区国家的领导人见了面。他们对这场金融危机的全球性视而不见，而是认为如果欧洲受到波及，那要归咎于美国 ——也就是说解决危机是美国的责任。我无法说服他们，在即将违约的打包销售的次级抵押贷款债券中，有一半被卖到了欧洲，而且实际上，欧元区银行的 杠杆化程度比美国的银行更高。
Despite the subsequent decision of the Group of 20 in 2009 on the need for rules to supervise what is now a globally integrated financial system, world leaders have spent the last five years in retreat, resorting to unilateral actions that have made a mockery of global coordination. Already, we have forgotten the basic lesson of the crash: Global problems need global solutions. And because we failed to learn from the last crisis, the world’s bankers are carrying us toward the next one.
尽管20国集团随后在2009年认定，需要一些规则来监管如今全球一体化的金融系统，但各国的领导人们过去五年都在进行回避，纷纷采取单边行动， 让全球协调成为空话。我们已经忘了从危机中学到的最基本教训：全球性问题需要全球解决方案。而且，由于我们没有从上一次危机中吸取教训，世界各国 的银行家们正把我们推向下一次危机。
The economist David Miles, who sits on the monetary policy committee of the Bank of England, may exaggerate when he forecasts financial crises every seven years, but most of the problems that caused the 2008 crisis — excessive borrowing, shadow banking and reckless lending — have not gone away. Too-big-to-fail banks have not shrunk; they’ve grown bigger. Huge bonuses that encourage reckless risk-taking by bankers remain the norm. Meanwhile, shadow banking — investment and lending services by financial institutions that act like banks, but with less supervision — has expanded in value to $71 trillion, from $59 trillion in 2008.
英国央行(Bank of England)货币政策委员会的经济学家大卫·迈尔斯(David Miles)预测每七年爆发一次金融危机。他的说法可能有些夸张，但是造成2008年危机的大多数问题——过度借贷、影子银行和不顾后果的放贷——现在仍 然存在。大到不能倒的银行规模非但没有缩小，反而增加了。银行家们仍然在巨额奖金的诱惑下不顾一切地承担风险。与此同时，影子银行业务——类似于 银行、但所受监管更少的金融机构从事的投资和贷款服务，这些业务的规模已经从2008年的59万亿美元扩大到了71万亿美元。
Europe’s leaders aren’t the only ones with these blind spots. Emerging-market economies in Asia and Latin America have seen a 20 percent growth in their shadow-banking sectors. After 2009, Asian banks expanded their balance sheets three times faster than the largest global financial institutions, while adding only half as much capital.
In the patterns of borrowing today, we can already detect parallels with the pre-crisis credit boom. We’re seeing the same over-reliance on short-term capital markets that ultimately brought down Northern Rock, Iceland’s banks and Lehman Brothers.
While the internationalization of the renminbi is opening up new opportunities for global investment in China, it is also increasing the exposure of the global economy to any vulnerability in its banking sector. China’s total domestic credit has more than doubled to $23 trillion, from $9 trillion in 2008 — as big an increase as if it had added the entire United States commercial banking sector. Borrowing has risen as a share of China’s national income to more than 200 percent, from 135 percent in 2008. China’s growth of credit is now faster than Japan’s before 1990 and America’s before 2008, with half that growth in the shadow-banking sector. According to Morgan Stanley, corporate debt in China is now equal to the country’s annual income.
尽管人民币的国际化为全球开启了对华投资的新机遇，这也增加了全球经济对中国银行业可能存在的脆弱性的风险敞口。中国的信贷总额已经较2008年 的9万亿美元增加了一倍有余，达到23万亿美元，这个增幅几乎相当于整个美国的商业银行业的规模。信贷在中国国民收入中的比重已经突破200%， 而2008年为135%。中国的信贷增长现在比上世纪90年代之前的日本和2008年以前的美国都快，其中一半的增长来自影子银行业。摩根士丹利 (Morgan Stanley)称，中国的企业负债与中国的年度国民收入相当。
Although sizable foreign reserves make today’s Asia different from the Asia that experienced the 1997 crash in Indonesia, Thailand and South Korea, we are all implicated. If China’s economy were to slow, Asian countries would be doubly hit from the loss of exports and by higher prices. They would face downturns that would feel like depressions.
And China’s banking system may not be Asia’s most vulnerable. Thailand’s financial institutions, for example, appear overdependent on short-term foreign loans; and in India, where 10 percent of bank loans have gone bad or need restructuring, banks will need $19 billion in new capital by 2018.
If the emerging markets of Asia and Latin America are hit by financial turmoil in coming years, will we not turn to one another and ask why we did not act after the last crisis? Instead of retreating into our national silos, we should have seized the opportunity to fix global standards for how much capital banks must hold, how much they can lend against their equity, and how open they are about their liabilities.
如果亚洲和拉丁美洲的新兴市场未来几年受到金融海啸的冲击，我们会不会面面相觑，互相询问，为什么上一次危机之后我们没有采取行动？我们不应该只 是解决自己国家的问题，而是应该抓住机会，制定全球规则：银行必须拥有多少资本；相对于其资本规模，放贷规模能有多大；以及它们应该在多大程度上 披露负债状况。
The Volcker Rule, now approved by American regulators, illustrates the initial boldness and ultimate weakness of our post-2008 response. This element of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law of 2010 forbids deposit-taking banks in the United States from engaging in short-term, proprietary trading. But these practices are still allowed in Europe. Controls are even weaker in Latin America and Asia.
美国监管机构已经批准的“沃尔克规则”(Volcker Rule)，突显了我们在2008年危机后的反应中最初的魄力，以及最终的脆弱。沃尔克规则是2010年的多德-弗兰克(Dodd-Frank)金融改革 法的组成部分，它禁止吸纳存款的美国银行参与短期的自营交易。但是这类操作在欧洲仍被允许。拉美和亚洲的监管则更加脆弱。
International rules are needed for international banks. Without them, as the International Monetary Fund has warned, global banks will evade regulation “by moving operations, changing corporate structures, and redesigning products.”
跨国银行需要国际规则。就像国际货币基金组织(International Monetary Fund)所警告的，如果没有国际规则，跨国银行将“通过转移业务、改变公司结构和重新设计产品来逃避监管”。
When I was chairman of the G-20 summit meeting here in April 2009, our first principle was that future financial crises that started in one continent would affect all continents. That was why we charged the new Global Financial Stability Board with setting global standards and rules.
2009年4月，当我在伦敦担任20国集团峰会主席时，我们的第一个共识就是，未来在一个大陆上发端的金融危机将影响整个世界。这就是为什么我们 要求新的全球金融稳定理事会(Global Financial Stability Board)负责设定全球标准和规则。
Nearly five years on, its chairman, the Bank of England governor Mark Carney, has spoken of “uneven progress” in recapitalizing banks and making them disclose their risks. The G-20 plan for oversight of shadow banking is, as yet, only a plan. While the world’s $600 trillion derivatives market is being regulated with new minimum capital and reporting requirements, global financial regulators must “find a way to collaborate across borders,” Mr. Carney says.
差不多五年过去了，全球金融稳定理事会主席、英国央行行长马克·卡尼(Mark Carney)提及了在银行资本结构调整和风险披露方面“不均衡的进展”。到目前为止，20国集团监管影子银行的计划仍然只是计划。卡尼说，尽管全球规模 达600万亿美元的衍生品市场正在受到监管，要满足新的最低资本和披露要求，全球的金融监管机构必须“找到一种实现跨境合作的方式”。
In short, precisely what world leaders sought to avoid — a global financial free-for-all, enabled by ad hoc, unilateral actions — is what has happened. Political expediency, a failure to think and act globally, and a lack of courage to take on vested interests are pushing us inexorably toward the next crash.
Gordon Brown, a Labour member of the British Parliament, is a former chancellor of the Exchequer and prime minister.
Copyright © 2013 The New York Times Company. All rights reserved.
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