That capitalism has been shown, in practice, to be endemically flawed should come as no surprise. That is the nature of mankind. What is more important is that history, notably the history of the world after the second world war, has demonstrated beyond dispute that every other system of economic organisation is far worse. So capitalism both deserves to survive, and will survive, just as it did after the even greater economic disaster of the 1930s.

But there is another lesson of the 1930s. It is that although capitalism survives it is capable of retreating behind a protectionist shell, at great cost to global prosperity. This is a real danger today. The 「Buy American」 provisions in President Barack Obama’s fiscal boost are an ominous sign. The impulse to resort to protection when economic hardship suddenly strikes is, of course, always present. But there is today a dangerous new factor which magnifies the threat. The leaders of some of America’s largest corporations have already joined up with organised labour (the AFL-CIO) to urge Congress to impose tariffs against imports from countries (such as China, for example) which are understandably unwilling to bear the heavy costs of an obligation to curb their carbon dioxide emissions. There is considerable support in Europe, notably within the European Commission and in France, for a similar approach.
但上世紀30年代還有一個教訓:儘管資本主義倖存了下來,但它會縮進一個保護主義的殼裡,讓全球繁榮付出了慘重代價。目前這是一種真切存在的危險。美國總統歐巴馬(Barack Obama)財政刺激方案中的買美國貨條款就是一個不祥之兆。自然,當經濟困厄驟然來襲之際,人們總會產生一種求助於保護主義的衝動。但目前存在一種 危險的新因素,加大了這種威脅。美國一些大企業領袖已聯合有組織的工人(美國勞工聯合會產業工會聯合會,AFL-CIO),敦促國會對來自相關國家(如中國)的進口商品加徵關稅,這些國家不願承擔限制本國二氧化碳排放的沉重成本,這也是可以理解的。類似的做法在歐洲頗受支持,尤其是在歐盟委員會(EC) 內部和法國。

It is essential, both in the US and in Europe, that this is resolutely rejected. The first and most important requirement for the future of capitalism is the preservation of globalisation, and the massive benefits it confers on mankind, in particular in the developing world. There are, inevitably, costs of globalisation; but they are hugely outweighed by the benefits. So resistance to protection, whatever arguments may be used in its favour, must be rigorously maintained. Nor is this an exclusively economic argument. It is a moral imperative, as well. Moreover, a trade war with China could well have unpredictable, and potentially highly damaging, political consequences.
美國和歐洲必須堅決放棄這種做法。要保障資本主義的未來,首要條件是維護全球化,及其給人類(尤其是發展中國家)帶來的巨大利益。全球化必然有代價,但其 利益遠遠超過了代價。因此,無論保護主義的支持者可能/出哪些有利於自己的論點,我們都必須堅定地抵制保護主義。這不只是一種經濟上的主張,在道義上也勢 在必行。此外,與中國進行貿易戰,很可能造成無法預測、可能極具破壞力的政治後果。

But will capitalism need to change in the future? Again, the lesson of history is that the answer is 「not really」. The economic cycle is endemic and inescapable, and everyone (with the exception of prime minister Gordon Brown) has always known this. What the current crisis does underline, however, is that a cyclical downturn associated with a collapse of the banking system is by an order of magnitude worse than a normal cyclical downturn.

So there does need to be a change to the banking system. In a nutshell, we need to return, in all major financial centres, to the separation of commercial banking from investment banking that was enforced in the US under the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act, until it was repealed by President Bill Clinton in the 1990s. This is all the more important since we now live in an age in which the acquisition of wealth appears to count for more than reputation.
因此,銀行體系的確需要變革。簡言之,我們必須在所有主要金融中心重新施行商業銀行與投資銀行業務分離的做法。根據1933年的《格拉斯斯蒂格爾法 案》(Glass-Steagall Act),美國過去一直實行這種做法,直到上世紀90年代該國總統柯林頓(Bill Clinton)廢止了這一法案。既然我們如今生活在發財致富似乎比名譽更重要的時代,這一點就顯得更加重要。

Achieving this will not be easy or popular in banking circles, but it can be done. We have time to get it right: this is not firefighting, but fireproofing.





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