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搭政策顺风车:为什么说德国是欧元区最大的受益者

Pavlos Eleftheriadis 2014年10月24日

牛津大学曼斯菲尔德学院法律副教授兼研究员帕尔沃斯•埃莱夫塞里亚迪斯认为,以弱小邻邦利益受损为代价,德国成了欧元区政策最大的长期受益者。

    不是每个成员国都有同样的机会进行调整。正如我日前在为《外交》杂志(Foreign Affairs) 撰写的文章(《少数人治理不当:寡头如何毁了希腊》‘Misrule of the Few: How the Oligarchs Ruined Greece’)所讲的一样,加入欧盟并未改善弱小成员的经济体系。实际上可能使它们陷入了更糟的状况。

    希腊、爱尔兰、葡萄牙和西班牙加入欧盟后开放了边境,将自身置于贸易、移民和金融的新浪潮冲击之下。与其他成员国竞争注定会带来“创造性破坏”,即那些不能进行国际化竞争、效率低下的企业将关门歇业。为了避免短期困境,这些外围经济体将获得大笔欧盟资金补偿。这些资金本应用于国内经济的重组。但事情发展完全出人意料。

    这些资金增强了资金管理者的实力。大多数欧盟外围经济体中缺乏强有力的行政机构,有的只是国内政治阶层。在制衡机制较差的小国中,这种影响是彻底的。这些资金就像是“天然的资源诅咒”。由于这些资金不是通过税收得来的,要求国内对其支出负责似乎是多此一举。

    欧元区一创立,这种状况就恶化了。随着欧洲央行(ECB)将视线转向他处,西班牙、葡萄牙、爱尔兰和希腊不仅通过廉价易得的信贷创造出了资产泡沫(其他成员国也出现这种情况),还创建了受政治驱使的不透明银行体系。因此,廉价信贷阻碍了改革,并且损害了所有外围经济体的制度。

    欧元区成员国将这些资金用于无度的投资,使得任人唯亲更加有利可图,为政治腐败提供新的温床,强化了本已存在的等级制度。如果欧元区所有成员国都同样强大,如果它们都曾拥有出色且独立的银行监管机构、有力的司法体系和强大的内部问责机制,或许这些事情就不会发生。但是,它们的确发生了。

    西班牙银行Bankia in Spain、爱尔兰银行Allied Irish in Ireland和希腊银行Proton in Greece的失败就是明证。特别是在希腊,欧盟准备救援,但希腊政治体系一直受一小撮寡头左右,他们非法占据电视频道25年。通过逃避有效的监管,为达到其自身目的而掌控新闻与评论,他们在政治和商业生活中占据主导地位,削弱了政治阶层的整体可信度。欧洲央行、国际货币基金组织(International Monetary Fund)和欧盟委员会(European Commission)的拯救协议并没有触及他们的特权。

    在一些欧元区成员国中,欧元的主要作用就是导致了经济崩溃、不平等加剧和腐败泛滥。这并非孤立的国内经济失败的结果,而是造成外围经济体整体轰然失败的欧洲集体决策的产物。对于“更紧密联盟”的不懈追求使得欧盟机构忽视了这一联盟的质量问题。现在,是时候做出改变了。除非欧洲能够从欧元区深处消除这些不公平,否则危机不会结束。(财富中文网)

    本文作者帕尔沃斯•埃莱夫塞里亚迪斯是牛津大学(Oxford University)曼斯菲尔德学院(Mansfield College)的法律副教授和研究员。

    Not everyone had the same chance to adjust. As I argue in my recent article for Foreign Affairs (‘Misrule of the Few: How the Oligarchs Ruined Greece’, ) membership in the European Union has not improved the institutions of the weaker members. It has actually made them worse.

    When they joined the EU, Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain opened their borders and exposed themselves to new waves of trade, immigration and finance. Competition with other member states was meant to bring about ‘creative destruction,’ whereby inefficient firms – i.e. those who could not compete internationally – would go out of business. In order to avoid short-term hardships, the peripheral economies were set to receive large sums of EU funds by way of compensation. These funds were supposed to be invested in restructuring the domestic economies. But this happened very imperfectly.

    The funds strengthened those who administered them. In the absence of a strong civil service in most of the peripheral EU members, these were simply the local political classes. In small societies with weak checks and balances, the effect was transformative. This money operated as a ‘natural resources curse’. Since the money was not the result of taxation, domestic accountability for its spending was seen to be an unnecessary luxury.

    This situation was made worse once the Eurozone was created. With the ECB looking away, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Greece built not only asset bubbles with cheap and easy credit (which happened elsewhere) but also opaque and politically driven banking systems. As a result, cheap credit impeded reform and damaged institutions in all the countries of the periphery.

    Membership in the Eurozone directed funds to wasteful investment, made cronyism exceptionally profitable, provided new incentives for political corruption and strengthened already existing hierarchies. If all the members of the Eurozone were equally strong, if they all had, for example, an outstanding and independent banking regulator, a powerful judiciary and strong internal mechanisms of accountability, perhaps these things would not have happened. Yet, they did happen.

    The examples of the failed banks, Bankia in Spain, Allied Irish in Ireland, and Proton in Greece speak for themselves. In Greece, in particular, the EU has stood by while the political system has been undermined by a small group of oligarchs who have illegally occupied television frequencies for 25 years. By escaping any effective regulation and controlling news and commentary for their own purposes, they have dominated political and business life and undermined the credibility of the political class in its entirety. The bailout deal with the ECB, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission has not touched their privileges.

    In some of the members of the Eurozone the main legacy of the Euro is economic implosion, rising inequality and widespread corruption. This is not the result of isolated domestic failures. It is a result of collective European decision-making that misfired spectacularly throughout the periphery. The relentless pursuit of an ‘ever closer union’ made EU institutions neglect the question of the quality of this union. It is time to change course. Unless Europe addresses the deep unfairness at the heart of the Eurozone, the crisis is not going to end.

    PavlosEleftheriadis is Associate Professor of Law and a Fellow of Mansfield College at Oxford University.

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