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商业 - 金融

由新兴市场代表出任IMF总裁如何?

Duff McDonald 2011年05月24日

让我们直面这一点吧,国际货币基金组织中的很多大国近年来在财政审慎方面都难称典范。现在是时候在欧洲和美国以外地区寻找一位领导人了。

    如果你经常关注市场评论,就知道这些评论说什么的都有。有的充当拉拉队,比如First Albany的休•约翰逊过去就是这样。有的则是知识分子型,像《格兰特利率观察家》(Grant's Interest Rate Observer)的詹姆斯•格兰特。格兰特错的时候和对的时候一样多,但不管怎样他的观点都值得一读。

    还有的是开出猛药的拯救者(格兰特当然也属于此列)。我最喜欢的当属里昂证券(CLSA)《贪婪与恐惧》(Greed & Fear)简报的撰稿人克里斯托弗•伍德,这位前记者以华尔街罕见的叙述笔法写作。不仅将新闻置入相应的背景之中,还会在必要时加入引人入胜的情节。他的最新著作是什么——在多米尼克•斯特劳斯-卡恩沸沸扬扬的辞职后,国际货币基金组织(International Monetary Fund)的新任总裁不应来自西方发达国家,而应来自那些将很快成为成为发达国家债主的国家。

    伍德的原话如下:“《贪婪与恐惧》必须承认,卡恩在重塑国际货币基金组织方面是非常成功的,他利用近期西方的金融危机,对早已失去存在理由的国际货币基金组织进行重新定位。不过,近期事件令《贪婪与恐惧》不能忽视同样突出的利益冲突,即在国际货币基金组织积极参与协商欧洲地区颇为敏感的救助计划之时,由下届法国总统热门候选人掌舵国际货币基金组织可能存在的利益冲突。现实是在可预见的未来,国际货币基金组织的救助对象可能主要是债台高筑的西方。仅凭这个原因,让来自新兴市场的代表出任该机构总裁就意义重大。”

    瞧,我不是富有自我批判精神的美国人。我只是几年前才向星条旗宣誓效忠,因为和爱人结婚变成了一名美国人。但伍德是对的——不管美国,还是其欧洲盟友,眼下都没有资格教导世界其他地区如何管理财政问题。

    据报道,法国财长克里斯汀•拉嘉德是取代卡恩的热门人选。我想这是因为法国长期以来的经济强国地位。戈登•布朗也表示希望一试。当然,这是基于当前英国经济碰巧表现强劲。

    德国总理默克尔认为,下一任国际货币基金组织总裁应是欧洲人(其他很多欧洲人也这么想。多出人意料啊!) 这当然是因为欧洲已用事实展现出他们知道如何管好自己的事务,包括欧元以及希腊、葡萄牙和爱尔兰等赖账人。嗨——别误解我的意思。我可以理解非理性繁荣的后果,但肯定不会支持提名那些“败家子”出任国际货币基金组织总裁一职。20世纪50年代以来担任国际货币基金组织总裁的有一位比利时人,一位荷兰人,几位瑞典人,数位法国人,一位德国人,一位西班牙人和一些美国人。

    巴西如何?或者是一些经济实力较强的非洲国家呢?还是说他们根本就只能匍匐于我们的挥霍无度?说得更直白一点,中国呢?中国人民银行行长周小川认为,应考虑来自新兴市场的候选人。你可以看到蒂姆•盖特纳和美国总统奥巴马整天都在发表强硬的美元言论,这全是因为他们正面临被中国经济增长赶超的悲哀境地,后者不存在房地产泡沫。什么是真相?在主要经济体中,中国是全球少数在2007/2008年未自食其言的国家之一。那么,在目前这样的时候,向东方学习有什么不好呢?

    If you make a habit of reading market commentators, you know that they come in a number of forms. First, there are the cheerleaders. Hugh Johnson of First Albany used to serve this purpose. Second, the intellectuals. James Grant of Grant's Interest Rate Observer comes to mind. He's been wrong as often as he's been right, but he's a damn good read in either case.

    Third, the deliverers of harsh medicine. (Grant is also included in this category, of course.) My favorite of all: Christopher Wood, author of the Greed & Fear newsletter for Asia-Pacific brokerage CLSA. Wood, a former journalist, writes with a narrative flair that's perennially lacking on Wall Street. Not only does he put the news in proper context, he also suggests good storylines when they're needed. His latest? That in the wake of Dominique Strauss-Kahn's scandalous resignation, the new head of the International Monetary Fund shouldn't come from one of the West's "developed" nations, but from one of the countries likely to be one of our lenders in the near future.

    I'll let Wood say it for himself: "GREED & fear has to admit that Dominique Strauss-Kahn has proved extraordinarily successful in re-inventing the IMF by using the recent financial crisis in the West to re-invent the role of the IMF, an institution which had outlived its raison d'être. Still recent events have reminded GREED & fear of the equally extraordinary conflict of interest posed by a leading French presidential candidate heading the IMF at a time when the institution has been so heavily involved in negotiating politically sensitive bailouts in the European periphery. The reality is that for the foreseeable future IMF bailouts are likely to be taking place primarily in the debt-infested West. For that reason alone it makes sense for the head of the institution to hail from the 'emerging' world."

    Look, I'm no self-hating American. I just became one a few years back after marrying the love of my life and pledging allegiance to the flag. But Wood is right -- neither the U.S. nor its European pals is in any position to lecture the rest of the world on how to manage one's finances these days.

    Christine Lagarde, the finance minister of France, is reportedly the leading candidate to take DSK's post. I assume that's because France is such a perennial economic powerhouse. Gordon Brown also says he wants a chance at that action. Based, of course, on the fact that Britain is hitting on all economic cylinders these days.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel thinks the next president of the IMF should be European. (As do a number of other Europeans. Quelle surprise!) That is, of course, because Europe has so demonstratively shown that they know how to manage their own affairs, including the Euro and the welshers known as the Greeks, the Portugese, and the Irish. Hey – don't get me wrong, I can understand the aftermath of irrational exuberance when I see it, but I certainly don't normally run around nominating people who drained the community coffers as head of the finance committee. Since the 1950s, we've had a Belgian, a Dutchman, a few Swedes, a handful of Frenchmen, a German, a Spaniard, and some Americans.

    What about Brazil? Or some of the stronger African states? Or are they just kneeling at the feet of our wisdom of profligacy? More to the point, what about someone from China? Zhou Xiaochaun, head of the People's Bank of China, thinks that candidates from the emerging world should be considered. You can watch Tim Geithner and President Obama talk the strong talk about our currency all day long, but you know it's all because they're faced with the sad state of being outflanked by a Chinese economic engine that didn't overdose on bogus real estate assets. Truth? Among major powers, the Chinese are pretty much the only ones in the world who didn't choke on their own crap in 2007/2008. So what would be so bad about some Eastern learning at a time like this?

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