哈佛法学院教授论金融危机处理中的行政法问题

政府在危机处理中的行为多大程度上得法院审查通过?在美国,这个问题对金融危机处理而言极为重要。政府行为需受司法机关制约又是民主社会的基石;然而,如果政府行为必须时时处处经法院审查,那些在危机受害者、乃至未曾受益者、甚至希望发国难财者必将通过去法院诉讼反对政府的危机处理措施,有些情况下会令政府错失良机。两者如何平衡?

Adrian Vermeule教授近来的哈佛法律评论发表文章Our Schmittian Administrative Law 专门论述行政法中的盲点和半盲点(或黑洞与灰洞,原文black holes and grey holes)。Adrian Vermeule教授认为,美国行政法中事实上存在许多盲点和半盲点。这些盲点和半盲点的存在非但不可避免,而且不能消除。用德国思想家施密特的话来说,政府面对危机、进行处理的时候,这些盲点和半盲点–内在于自由民主政治体制中、并无法消除的弱点–就显明出来。

原文见这里http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1126726

Low Oil Price is Good News for China (低油价是好消息)

低油价是好消息

《金融时报》16日刊登新闻《低油价才是问题》,说全球股市在油面上打滑了——石油也许是本周三股市恢复慢镜头崩盘的关键催化剂。国内新闻也跟风,例如《中国经济网》刊登评论《油价持续跌也会出问题》,不加分析地附和《金融时报》,显示出某些中国新闻媒体素质的低下。

低油价对英美金融机构是问题,对中国是好消息。油价下跌使得英美金融业失去稳定的获利途径,对英美金融业而言是问题。对中国而言,油价下跌使国内制造业成本降低,从而有利于开拓欧美之外的国际市场;低油价有利于增加国内市场需求;更重要的是,低油价还使困扰中国的通货膨胀消弭于无形。对中国而言,何来油价下跌”有问题“之说?

《金融时报》没有提到的是,低油价(以及原料价格降低)不仅是金融机构的问题,而且是美国经济面对的大问题:因为低油价,美国现在再也无法通过美元贬值的方式脱身了。

相关:

Can the US inflate out of crisis this time?(危机可否通过美元贬值解决?)

中国经济前景蠡测

美国经济下滑和美元贬值,一般被经济学家认为将会导致中国出口下降和通货膨胀加剧。但近来的世界原油、钢材等初级产品价格的下跌却无疑会改变上述预期:初级产品价格的下降(见desjardins研究报告),将会有利于中国加工业,带来中国出口增加的持续,进而减少通货膨胀。冒昧地说:短期内尽管中国经济会受累全球金融危机,长期来看它却会给中国发展带来持续的动力。

Great Crash? (中国经济大崩溃?)

Brian Klein tells us a “Great Crash” is approaching China. He differs sharply from both George Soros and  Niall Ferguson, who regard US be markedly weakened and China steadily strengthened by the current financial crisis. Brian Klein reminds us that China has a much bigger reliance on foreign markets than what is normally reported, and the shrinking governmental construction in the post-Olympic era will limit the domestic consumption volume to fill the vacuum left by the foreign export markets. Consequently, the financial crisis–causing the foreign markets shrink and the domestic investments drop–will drag Chinese economy down to a deep pit.

Is There a Great Crash Approaching China? Or shall we ask, without the US export market will China survive the financial crisis?

My intuition is China will survive. No matter how the financial crisis is going to be handled, foreign financial institutions will need a place for profit-making investments. Given the record of their investments in the past, it is hard for them to find a better place. Indeed, if there be a single place in the middle of this unprecedented financial turmoil  that investors still have confidence to pour their money in, it would be China.These investments will fill in the vacuum left by the Olympic construction budget. As for the foreign export markets, India, Europe, Africa and Latin America will likely have a big increase to make up the shrinking US market. China will survive simply because of its productivity and expanding export markets outside of the US one.

A warning of “Great Crash” of economy will not stop the future investors–most of whom are desperate now, but will soon start to consider their next step–from moving to their last resort. Their haunting fear rather lies in the political instability–a political “Great Crash.”  Collectively, these investors need to make sure there is no such “Great Crash”, and in the coming years they will have to invest much more on China’s better governance.

Related posts: Chimerica时代的终结?

行动还是干等?——美国金融危机现状观察

一个和尚从另外两个和尚那里抢水,一口气喝光,然后便有耐心地盘腿坐下,等这两个和尚下山去打水;两个刚遭了抢的,当然不愿意傻乎乎打了水再倒一次霉,于是也盘腿坐下;于是大家一起铁了心干等。这就是目前美国有关各方面对金融危机的态度。

3 monks

显而易见,损失已经产生,保尔森提交国会的法案是解决谁来承担多少损失的方案。金融界不断呼吁、报纸上连篇累牍的“如果不行动损失会更大”云云,其实是要求美国政府代表全体纳税人来承担金融界造成的损失。国会议员的反对派票则是常识性反应:纳税人当然会损失,但金融界为什么不能自己内部解决呢?

哈佛知名破产法教授Elizabeth Warren给出了更加清晰的质疑。她认为金融危机不是仅仅因为金融市场环境的一时恶化而已,而肇始于政府疏于管制房屋贷款市场–金融业毫无节制的贪婪利用了该市场基本规则的缺位推出高风险次贷产品,并将风险转嫁给普通人。如果这是实情,现在纳税人出7000亿美元帮金融机构渡过危机对问题解决来说就是杯水车薪,因为从次贷开始暴露的劣质金融资产可能多达数万亿美元;甚至是南辕北辙,因为现在把有限的资源拿来给几家金融机构,只会浪费了本可以投入解决实质问题的有限资源。

Warren教授的分析为不少法学家赞同,但她对国会方案的彻底反对意见却不为旁人欢迎。例如在今天晚上法学院举办的研讨中,除Warren之外,其他三位大牌教授——证券法教授Howell Jackon、 证券法教授Hal Scott和公司法教授Lucian Bebchuk——都同意国会的方案,当然各有保留意见。讨论过程中,Bebchuk对方案的经济分析一语道出国会方案背后的算计:7000亿美元方案之所以能对解决多达数万亿美元的问题资产奏效,是因为这些问题资产的损失有两方承担,即银行和贷款人;7000亿只须帮助银行一方,贷款人一方将会加倍工作承担其余的损失。这个经济分析倒是更增加了Warren意见的分量。

(研讨会见:The Financial Crisis: Causes and Cures

普通纳税人就是遭算计的贷款人,他们当然不愿意看着银行被政府注资安然无恙,而自己却得加倍工作、横遭白眼还可能随时破产。与其如此,不如现在逼着这些银行吐出过去赚得钱来共同渡过难关。纳税人能有的手段,就是投票反对那些支持法案的国会议员;议员众目睽睽之下自然不敢鲁莽,于是只好投票反对法案。于是形成现在“干等”的局面。究竟谁可以打破僵局?变数很多,还不好判断。

延伸阅读:

“And now we face the Mother of All Bailouts—a government purchase of dangerous financial instruments based on subprime mortgages, taking speculators off the hook and leaving taxpayers with the bill. Once
again, the story is that we must do this because otherwise the worldwide financial system will crumble. And once again, the blame falls on subprime lending and the culture of deregulation that fostered it.

Lost in the headlines are the families who signed their names to subprime mortgages, not knowing or caring that the pieces of paper they signed would become one of the cards in the house of cards that now threatens the U.S. economy. No less visible are the people who have lost jobs as the economy reverses, the students who can’t pay for college without taking on ruinous loans and the millions of families who turned to credit cards and payday loans as they have been caught in the squeeze between declining wages and skyrocketing costs. They are casualties of a financial system that saw them not as customers, but as prey.”

— Elizabeth Warren in an op-ed entitled, “Who will bail out American Families?” published in the Chicago Tribune on September 22, 2008.

Chimerica时代的终结?

Chimerica时代的终结? (The End of Chimerica?)

(newest posts on this topic: Niall Ferguson, “Team ‘Chimerica’”)

弗格森教授用Chimerica 来描述中美经济事实上的一体化,可谓形象生动。 Chimerica 的运作方式是美国负责消费、中国负责生产。简单化地说,就是中国的生产企业赚了钱,除了拿来投资扩大再生产,就借给美国金融机构;美国金融机构有了钱,就放贷给私人买房,钱太多,只好大大咧咧地放出去;美国金融机构不怕收不回来,因为反正还有钱再从中国进来;美国私人有房子这样的不动产,自然放心消费;美国人放心消费,吸纳了中国扩大生产后出口的产品。

Chimerica 方式现在行不通了,因为爆发了金融危机。美国金融机构在国内的贷款眼看收回无望,海外的钱也不再源源不断流进来了;美国私人抵押贷款购买的房产被金融机构大量收回;因为失去房产,带来美国消费大大下降;消费的减少,势必带来中国生产的下降。金融危机是不是已经带来了Chimerica 时代的终结?

金融危机当头,美国政商两界现在都在讨论解决方案。无论何种问题的解决,都会对中国经济产生深远影响。解决方式无非有二,就是政府放任不管让金融业破产,或者政府找到钱弥补金融业的亏空让它继续运营下去。没有谁会想要听任美国金融业破产,因为大家直接间接都拥有美国金融资产,破产会让所有人都受损失。所谓探讨问题解决方案,说白了只是谁得承担必要的损失而已。

尽管国会里、媒体上到处在讨论,各种方案曾出不穷,从这两天的情况看,由政府发行更多国债以抒缓流动性紧张是唯一得到政商两界认真对待的解决方案。这就是说,金融机构会像以往一样得到更多的钱,只不过这些钱不再是直接流入的海外现金,而是美国政府先拿到海外现金,再从口袋里掏出来给金融机构。如果这个方案得到实施,美国金融机构将面临盈利的巨大压力——这些钱所产生的利润不仅得得支付国债利息,还得弥补过去的亏空。要投资到哪里才能获得这么多的盈利?

假定美国企业的出口和盈利不会显著增长,只有把这些钱投资到新兴市场才可能获得所需要的盈利。这就是说,美国金融机构不能把这些钱当“热钱”——也就是用作投机——因为投机即使利润很高,只能得逞一时,不能长期依赖。既然不能把这些钱当“热钱”,那么以往等待人民币升值为目的的投资中国股市、房地产的模式,今后美国金融机构就不能遵循。用个俗套,今后美国金融机构的投资必须是真正的价值投资、理性投资。

实现真正的价值投资,要求美国政界、商界更多地参与中国事务。对美国而言,仅做贸易已经不足以保障价值投资,深度参与中国市场已箭在弦上。这不会只是美国的一厢情愿。对中国而言,现在还没有任何一个市场可以取代美国——消费力巨大、市场没有壁垒——放弃与美国的经济合作是不可能的;中国要实现经济的升级换代,必须向美国公司购买必需的技术和设备。

Chimerica 时代远未终结,才刚刚开始。

延伸阅读:

弗格森: Chimerica时代即将终结

The End of ‘Chimerica’

哈佛大学教授:华尔街危机并未终结“美国时代”

Question of the Day: About Sanlu Milk Powder, can 160+ milk farmer be involved?

Chinese police earlier this week arrested 2 suspects, who had produced 2 tons of contaminated liquid milk per day for Sanlu Corp. ever since the beginning of 2008.(河北警方批捕“三鹿毒粉”两名疑犯)

Suppose the total amount of contaminated milk powder involved is 10,386 tons (2176+8210, according to the Hebei government), and 8 kg liquid milk produce 1 kg milk powder, there has to be 83,088 tons of contaminated liquid milk produced for Sanlu Corp. It means, if the 2 suspects produced 480 tons (240 days *2 tons), there has to be 160+ such suspects, and they all passed Sanlu’s “strict examination” for the liquid milk.

How can it happen?

Background reading:

Chinese dairy giant recalls milk powder after baby death

Chinese Vocabulary: Internet Commentators Or Wu Mao (网络评论员 或 五毛党)

Chinese Vocabulary: Internet Commentators Or Wu Mao (网络评论员 或 五毛党, in English 50-cent, 5-cent, 5 cent party, 50 cent party, “Wumao Dang”, etc. )

In 2004, the Ministry of Education (MOA) and Communist Youth League jointly issued a guideline on internet censorship. The guideline, addressing all Chinese universities, required them to “recruit more than enough number of internet commentators with trustworthy political backgrounds, abundant knowledge on the internet.” The purpose was to have them “write and publish posts on hot issues to attract student internet users’ viewing or responding, so that the internet discussion would be well guided.”

Very soon the guideline was implemented. Henan Province, for instance, issued a notice to all its local universities, further requiring the universities to train the recruited internet commentators for their job and—in order to have them do a good job—to reward them according to their performance. When the notice reached the local universities, the university authorities added more creative ways to keep the quality of such work. Henan Shangzhuan (a local college in Henan) added that the Party secretaries of its various departments, branches and divisions had to hear reports from them regularly, and these Party secretaries would be evaluated based on their work of guiding internet discusssion.

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DANIEL ROSEN: 人民币为中国消费者而“升”(华尔街日报)

[谁是人民币升值的主要推动者?谁是反对者?如DANIEL ROSEN所言,国有企业/重工业企业/原料进口企业支持升值,而沿海轻工业/出口企业的最大利益是人民币币值保持不变。

但是,DANIEL ROSEN说人民币升值让中国消费者受惠,未免让人怀疑他不够坦诚—-人民币升值并不一定给普通消费者带来直接好处,却可能引发沿海出口导向型企业的失业浪潮,直接让这些企业的工人收入减少、消费水平降低,并进一步导致其产业链的上游企业受损;在人民币升值的情况下,国有企业/重工业企业/原料进口企业会得到巨额收益,但这些收益不一定能转移到普通消费者身上,因为这些企业多半不会降低原材料价格。

国有企业/重工业企业/原料进口企业的亏损有国家补贴,目前并无大的问题。(例如中石油、中石化等,绝无亏损之虞。)得到补贴之后,这些企业出产的原材料产品价格低廉,会给下游中国企业带来出口优势,这些优势则会给中国消费者带来实实在在的利益。在这个意义上,人民币倒是应该为中国消费者而“不升”。]

人民币为中国消费者而“升”

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DANIEL ROSEN

下 中美官员都在为新一轮中美战略经济对话(Strategic Economic Dialogue)做着准备,像过去一样,人民币汇率升值仍将是双方会谈中的一个重要议题。在一些具有历史意义的偶然性因素之中,美国财政部长鲍尔森 (Hank Paulson)在人民币升值问题上可能会无意间得到一个隐形推手的帮助,那就是以美元计价的原材料成本的涨价风潮,而原材料对于中国的经济发展来说至关 重要。
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