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The Ideas Column: the return of get rich slow

The Ideas Column: the return of get rich slow

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想一夜暴富很难TheIdeasColumn:thereturnofgetrichslow作者:英国《金融时报》投资编辑詹姆斯•麦金托什Inthelate1990s,asthedotcombubblemadeitcheapandeasytoraisefunds,anyonewhofollowedthemoneywasbecomin ...
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想一夜暴富很难 The Ideas Column: the return of get rich slow
作者:英国《金融时报》投资编辑 詹姆斯•麦金托什



In the late 1990s, as the dotcom bubble made it cheap and easy to raise funds, anyone who followed the money was becoming an entrepreneur. Even within companies, the place to be was the dotcom division. Chief executives were throwing money at the new technology.

上世纪90年代末,随着互联网泡沫让融资变得既便宜又便捷,任何一个跟着金钱走的人都会变成企业家。即便在企业内部,理想去处也是互联网部门。首席执行官们都不断把钱投向新科技。

With an almost perfect lack of foresight, I moved out of dotcommery and into traditional newspaper journalism. That gave me a great vantage point from which to observe my friends, and some former colleagues, become entrepreneurs.

几乎毫无先见之明的我离开了互联网行业,进入传统的报纸新闻业。这让我得以从一个绝佳角度,看着我的朋友们和一些前同事变成企业家。

Whether they made money or not came down to timing: if they sold before March 2000, they became obscenely rich. If not, they went back to the corporate world or consultancy. Only one of them built a sustainable online business.

他们赚钱与否归结于对时机的把握:在2000年3月之前卖掉企业的人,后来都富得流油。没出手的人,都回到了企业界或咨询行业。只有一个人创建了可持续的互联网业务。

In academic speak, the bubble reduced, or eliminated, financial frictions while it lasted. Translated, that means that someone wanting to start a business did not have to waste months begging cash from friends and family or filling in small-business plans for bank computer systems to reject.

用学术界的话来说,互联网泡沫在没有破灭之前减少或消除了金融摩擦。翻译过来的意思是,希望创业的人无需花费数月向朋友和家人借钱,或填写一个又一个的小企业计划,到头来全都被银行电脑系统拒绝。

The credit bubble that ended in 2007 was less extreme, and focused on debt rather than equity, but had much the same effect: it made it easier to raise money. In both cases investors turned off their risk radar and frittered away untold billions of dollars.

2007年破灭的信贷泡沫则不那么极端。这场泡沫集中在债务领域,而非股票,但效果大体一样:它让筹资变得更容易。在这两场泡沫中,投资者都关闭了风险雷达,浪费了无数资金。

But while the good times rolled, the economy did well. As Alberto Martin and Jaume Ventura of Barcelona’s Centre for Research in International Economics point out*, cutting financial frictions in the credit bubble meant more efficient deployment of investment, expanding the economy.

但在光景好时,经济表现良好。正如巴塞罗那的国际经济学研究中心(Centre for Research in International Economics)的阿尔韦托•马丁(Alberto Martin)和豪梅•本图拉(Jaume Ventura)指出的那样*,信贷泡沫期间减少金融摩擦,意味着更高效的投资配置,从而促进经济发展。

It was based on pulling value forward from the future, acting just as a pyramid scheme does. People who got rich were, in effect, seizing the value of future savings.

这基于从未来预支价值,就像金字塔骗局(pyramid scheme)那样。实际上,发财的人们攫取的是未来储蓄的价值。

Intriguingly, Martin and Ventura created a model for government intervention designed to prolong the bubble in order to avoid the pain of a bust. Their policy prescription suggested government subsidies, funded via sovereign debt, would make a profit for taxpayers, while keeping the economy on track.

有趣的是,马丁和本图拉创建了一种ZF干预模式,旨在将泡沫期延长,以避免泡沫破裂的痛苦。他们开出的政策处方表明,通过主权债务融资的ZF补贴可以为纳税人创造利润,同时保持经济继续发展。

In other words, some version of the Bush/Obama stimulus was the right thing to do. This works right up to the point where government debt itself hits crisis, as it already has in the eurozone’s weaker countries.

换句话说,某种形式的布什/奥巴马刺激计划是正确之举。在ZF债务自身遭遇危机之前,这些政策会一直奏效,就像在欧元区较弱国家发生的那样。

Markets reflected the success of the bubble-extension project, but the problem now is that governments are no longer extending the bubble, and the private sector is in no mood to do so.

市场反映出延长泡沫计划的成功,但现在的问题是,ZF不再延长泡沫,而私营部门也不愿这样做。

Hedge funds have cut their borrowings sharply, reducing the amount of liquidity being provided to the financial system. Proprietary trading desks at investment banks (in-house hedge funds) have been shut down. New rules designed to stop the excesses of the 2000s are pushing banks away from riskier lending – again making it harder to raise money in the real economy.

对冲基金大幅削减了借款规模,从而减少了提供给金融体系的流动性规模。投行的自营交易柜台(内部对冲基金)已被关闭。旨在控制本世纪前十年过度行为的新规,正促使银行远离风险更高的贷款业务,这再次加大了实体经济中的融资难度。

The default by Greece and the US austerity programme – whether or not it is implemented – both demonstrated that governments lack the will to continue subsidies.

希腊的违约和美国的紧缩计划——不管是否施行——都表明,ZF缺乏继续提供补贴的意愿。

That means the bubble will finally be allowed to deflate. As it does, the reappearance of financial frictions sucks out capital from the least creditworthy areas of the world. Greece may find it impossible to borrow money except from (increasingly less) friendly governments, but even banks in solvent countries are being hit with tougher terms. These are passed on to their borrowers.

这意味着,泡沫将最终瘪下去。同时,金融摩擦的再次出现将资金从世界上最没有信誉的地区抽走。除了(越来越少的)友好ZF之外,希腊可能发现自己很难再借到资金,但就连有偿付能力国家的银行也正因更严格的条件而受到打击。这些代价都被转嫁到了它们的借款者身上。

Many governments are still gesturing towards the idea of stimulus, even if they can no longer afford it directly.

很多ZF仍对施行刺激计划的想法表示欢迎,尽管它们再也直接负担不起。

Efforts are under way to ensure governments can borrow cheaply, known as “financial repression”. They may not spend the money on stimulus, but the less they spend on interest, the fewer cuts they have to make.

为了确保ZF能够以低廉的成本借款(即所谓的“金融抑制”(financial repression)),相关方面正在做出努力。它们可能不会把钱花在刺激计划方面,但它们花在利息方面的支出越少,它们不得不降息的幅度就越小。

Banks have to hold more government bonds, helping keep borrowing costs down. Insurers are being pushed in a similar direction, and pension funds have been moving into bonds for several years. European governments have announced a clampdown on using derivatives to bet against sovereign debt.

银行必须持有更多ZF债券,以帮助降低借款成本。保险公司也正被推向同样的方向。近几年来,养老基金一直在进军债券领域。欧洲ZF已宣布严禁利用衍生品押注主权债务。

All this ensures financial frictions are low for governments. Unfortunately for would-be entrepreneurs – and the rest of us – it is unlikely to do anything to oil the wheels of the private sector.

对ZF而言,所有这些举措都确保了金融摩擦维持在低水平。不幸的是,对于想要成为企业家的人(以及我们其他人)而言,现在做什么都不可能推动私营部门的发展。

* Theoretical Notes on Bubbles and the Current Crisis, European Central Bank working paper 1348, June 2011

*《有关泡沫和当前危机的理论摘记》(Theoretical Notes on Bubbles and the Current Crisis),欧洲央行(ECB) 1348号工作文件,2011年6月


译者/梁艳裳


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