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亿万富翁寄望道德革命破解贫富差距难题

Lauren Silva Laughlin 2013年10月08日

美国堡垒投资集团投资总监迈克•诺沃格拉茨认为,CEO们需要进行一场“道德革命”,摆脱“股东价值”的镣铐,在股东、客户和员工之间找到平衡,借此实现更合理的财富分配。

    2007年堡垒投资集团(Fortress Investment Group)上市时,(公司投资总监)迈克•诺沃格拉茨和这家对冲基金的其他负责人立即成为了亿万富翁。和华尔街众多超级富豪一样,他们的财富(部分源于宽松的货币政策)已成为政客和活动人士的批评目标。

    最近的统计数据再次在美国引发了一场关于收入不平等的讨论。正如最近《纽约时报》(New York Times)所指,2012年某个时候,有1,760万户家庭吃不饱。美国人口调查局(The Census Bureau)最近报告,有15%或4,650万美国人生活贫困。而《经济学家》(Economist)的报道显示,富人在美国国民收入中的占比已达到创纪录的19.3%,超过了2007年和1929年。

    日前,诺沃格拉茨就相关问题接受《财富》杂志(Fortune)采访时没有像很多华尔街人士那样用套话回应,而是非常坦诚地讨论了如何通过调整政策来缩小收入差距,CEO们在思考自身企业时需要如何进行一场“道德革命”,以及赚大钱为什么不一定被看成资本主义。

    沃尔玛(Wal-Mart)是美国最大的雇主,但它的很多员工却要依赖某种形式的政府补贴来维持生活。您认为,美国怎么到了今天这个地步?

    这是全球化和科技快速发展的结果。1989年时发达世界只有约5亿人口。然后,柏林墙倒了,中国开始对外开放。接下来的25年里,发达世界人口从5亿增长到了30亿。

    劳动力供应增加拉低了工资,智力资本成本大幅上升。比如,马克•扎克伯格这样的人。他想出了一个可扩展的点子,推广至整个世界。这个点子价值连城。

    延生阅读:金融危机过后,美国有钱人更有钱了

    从很多方面,这种财富的分化总是会发生,不管是哪个党派当政。自从20世纪80年代以来,无论是共和党、还是民主党当政,美国的基尼指数(反映一个国家经济不平等程度的指数)都处于单边走势。变化如此之快,很多人,也许连我们的政治体系都没能跟上。政府有责任去做并有可能做的事是,关注这些大趋势,关注它们对社会的影响。这是我们希望生活的环境吗?这是我们希望生活的国家吗?

    许多人会说,过去25年,沃尔玛借国际趋势大赚其钱,这方面无人能出其右。你会因为正在发生的这一切指责沃尔玛这类公司吗?你认为他们贪婪吗?

    是的,是的。沃尔玛今年会赚150亿美元。这家公司49%的股权由山姆•沃尔顿的继承人和信托持有。他们有130万员工,人均时薪约12美元。因此,一个全职员工每周工作40个小时,赚的钱还不够维持生计。而且,美国纳税人每年还要为这些工资单补贴15亿美元左右。沃尔顿家族的资产净值已超过1,300亿美元。这里感觉有些不对劲,是不是?

    如果只听最后两句,把沃尔玛换成堡垒投资集团,我会认为你刚才说的是你自己和你的合伙人们。你们可能没有1,300亿美元,但你们都是亿万富翁。有什么不同吗?

    我不是要跟有钱人找茬。我认为,我们的第一要务不是盯着收入不平等问题,而是要确保更多的工薪族能自己养活自己。华尔街从业人员,包括我们自己在内,我们所处的行业利润率很高,薪资也非常高。我们的行业正处于全球化的十字路口。在美国,我们有很大的竞争优势,美国作为全球金融中心的历史悠久。我们有很多机会实战学习投资和承担风险。当然,假以时日这一优势必将消失,但短期内不会。因此,我们能给所有员工非常好的薪酬。

    Mike Novogratz and the other principals of hedge fund Fortress Investment Group (FIG) became instant billionaires when the company went public in 2007. Like many other uber-rich on Wall Street, their wealth, some of it created by loose monetary policy, has become the target of criticism from politicians and activists.

    Recent statistics have renewed the debate about income inequality in the U.S. As referenced recently in the New York Times, 17.6 million households did not have enough to eat at some point in 2012. The Census Bureau recently reported that 15% of Americans, or 46.5 million people, live in poverty. But, according to the Economist, the share of national income flowing to the rich is at a record high of 19.3%, ahead of both 2007 and 1929.

    Breaking from typical canned responses given by many on Wall Street, Novogratz offers a candid interview with Fortune about how policy can change to close the income gap, how CEOs need to have a "moral revolution" when thinking about their businesses, and how making oodles of money isn't always considered capitalism.

    Many people at the country's biggest employer -- Wal-Mart -- are on some sort of government support. In your opinion, how did this country get to where it is now?

    It's the powerful combination of globalization and technology. In 1989, there were roughly 500 million people who constituted the developed world. Then the Berlin wall fell, and China opened up. Over the next 25 years, the developed world would go from 500 million to 3 billion.

    Labor supply increased, driving down wages, and the cost of intellectual capital went way up. So you look at a guy like Mark Zuckerberg. He developed a scalable idea that can go to the entire world. His single idea was very valuable.

    MORE: The rich got a lot richer since the financial crisis

    In a lot of ways, this divergence of wealth was going to happen no matter who was at the watch. The Gini index [a measure of a country's inequality] has been on a one-way trend since the '80s through both Republican and Democratic regimes. Change is happening so fast, many people and maybe our political system just can't keep up. What the government has a responsibility to do -- and has the possibility of doing -- is looking at these mega-trends and looking at what this does to our communities. Is this the environment that we want to live in? Is this the country we want to live in?

    Many would argue that Wal-Mart is the quintessential company that exploited global trends over the last 25 years. Do you blame the likes of Wal-Mart for what is happening? Do you think they are being greedy?

    Yes and yes. Wal-Mart (WMT) will make $15 billion this year. 49% is owned by the heirs and trusts of Sam Walton. They have 1.3 million workers who on average make around $12 an hour. So a full time employee, someone who works 40 hours a week doesn't make a living wage. And the U.S. taxpayer subsidizes that wage bill with an estimated $1.5 billion a year. The family has net worth of over $130 billion. Something doesn't feel right there, does it?

    If I looked at only those last two sentences, and replaced Wal-Mart with Fortress, I'd think that you were talking about yourself and your partners. You might not have $130 billion, but you're all billionaires. How is this different?

    My issue isn't with people making money. I really think our first priority is to focus less on inequality and more on making sure the working class can support themselves. Wall Street employees, including ours, are in an industry with large margins and a very inflated pay scale. Our industry sits at the crossroads of globalization. We have a huge competitive advantage here in the U.S. which has a long history of being at the center of global finance. We have the training grounds of investing and risk taking. I am sure in time, that advantage will disappear but not in the near future. So we are in a position to pay all our employees extremely well.

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