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Has finance been fixed?

金融得到修缮了吗?

The world has not learned the lessons ofthe financial crisis

世界并未从金融危机中吸取教训

Banks are safer, but too much of what hasgone wrong since 2008 could happen again

银行更加安全,但2008年以来出现的许多问题可能再次发生



WHEN historians gaze back at the early 21st century, they will identify two seismic shocks. The first was the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001, the second the global financial crisis, which boiled over ten years ago this month with the collapse of Lehman Brothers. September 11th led to wars, Lehman’s bankruptcy to an economic and political reckoning. Just as the fighting continues, so the reckoning is far from over.

当历史学家回顾二十一世纪初时,他们将发现两次地震式冲击。第一次是2001年9月11日发生的恐怖袭击,第二次是十年前的这个时候爆发的全球金融危机,雷曼兄弟公司随之倒闭。911事件导致战争,雷曼兄弟破产带来经济和政治报应。斗争仍在继续,报应远未结束。

Lehman failed after losing money on toxic loans and securities linked to America’s property market. Its bankruptcy unleashed chaos. Trade fell in every country on which the World Trade Organisation reports. Credit supplied to the real economy fell, by perhaps $2trn in America alone. To limit their indebtedness, governments resorted to austerity. Having exhausted the scope to cut interest rates, central bankers turned to quantitative easing (creating money to buy bonds).

雷曼兄弟在与美国房地产相关的坏账和证券方面遭受损失后破产,由此引发乱局。世贸组织在报告中提到的所有国家都出现贸易下滑,供应给实体经济的信贷锐减,仅美国就可能减少了2万亿美元。各国政府为了限制债务而采取紧缩政策,各国央行已没有削减利率的余地,于是付诸于量化宽松(创造货币来购买债券)。



A better test is whether the likelihood and size of crises can be reduced. On that, the news is both good and bad.

更好的检验标准是能否减小危机爆发的可能性和规模,这方面喜忧参半。

First, the good. Banks must now fund themselves with more equity and less debt. They depend less on trading to make money and on short-term wholesale borrowing to finance their activities. Even in Europe, where few banks make large profits, the system as a whole is stronger than it was. Regulators have beefed up their oversight, especially of the largest institutions that are too big to fail. On both sides of the Atlantic banks are subject to regular stress tests and must submit plans for their own orderly demise. Derivatives markets of the type that felled AIG, an insurer, are smaller and safer. Revamped pay policies should prevent a repeat of the injustice of bankers taking public money while pocketing huge pay-packets—in 2009 staff at the five biggest banks trousered $114bn.

先说好的方面。现在银行必须增加净资产和减少债务,减少?#35272;到?#26131;来获利,减少依靠短期批发借款?#27425;?#25345;经营活动。即使在很少有银行利润丰厚的欧洲,整个银行体?#24403;?#20197;往更加坚固。监管机构加强了监管力度,尤其对太大而不能倒的大型机构。大西洋两岸的银行定期接受压力测试,它们必须提交有序破产计划书。曾经导致保险公司AIG(美国国际集团)破产的那种衍生品市场变得更小更安全。修改的薪酬政策应避免再次上演银行家拿公款中饱私囊的不义之举:2009年,五家最大银行的职员捞取了1140亿美元。

Yet many lessons have gone unlearned. Take, for example, policymakers’ mistakes in the aftermath of the crisis. The state had no choice but to stand behind failing banks, but it took the ill-judged decision to all but abandon insolvent households. Perhaps 9m Americans lost their homes in the recession; unemployment rose by over 8m. While households paid down debt, consumer spending was ravaged.

然而,很多教?#24471;?#26377;被吸取。例如:危机爆发后决策者所犯的错。国家别无选择只能拯救破产的银行,但做出欠妥的决策,几乎抛弃了无力偿还债务的家庭。在那场经济衰退中,可能有900万美国人失去住房;新增失业人口超过800万。虽然美国家庭偿还了债务,但消费性开支?#29616;?#19979;滑。

It has taken fully ten years for the countervailing economic stimulus to restore America’s economy to health. Many of Europe’s economies still suffer from weak aggregate demand. Fiscal and monetary policy could have done more, sooner, to bring about recovery. They were held back by mostly misplaced concerns about government debt and inflation. The fact that this failing is not more widely acknowledged augurs badly for the policy response next time.

补偿性经济刺激用了整整十年才使美国经济恢复健康,许多欧洲经济仍受到总需求疲软的困扰。财政和货币政策本可以更好更快地使经济?#27492;眨?#20294;政府债务和通货膨胀引起大部?#27835;?#35859;的担忧,使这些政策受到阻挠。这种过错没有得到广泛的?#40092;叮?#23545;于下次对策来说不是个好兆头。

Stagnation has, inevitably, fed populism. And, by looking for scapegoats and simplistic solutions that punish them, populism has made it harder to confront the real long-term problems that the crisis exposed. Three stand out: housing, offshore dollar finance and the euro.

经济萧条不可避免地滋生出民粹思潮。通过寻找替罪羊和简单的?#22836;?#26041;案,民粹使人们更难以应对危机暴露出的真正长远问题。三个突出问题:房地产、离岸美元资产、欧元。

To share divine

分享神圣



The rise of nationalism also hinders Europe from solving the euro’s structural problems. The crisis showed how a country’s banks and its government are intertwined: the state struggles to borrow enough to support the banks, which are dragged down by the falling value of government debt. This “doom loop” remains mostly intact. Until Europe shares more risks across national borders—whether through financial markets, deposit guarantees or fiscal policy—the future of the single currency will remain in doubt. A chaotic collapse of the euro would make the crisis of 2008 look like a picnic.

民族主义的兴起也阻碍着欧洲解决欧元的结构性问题。这场危机展现出一国的银行和政府是如何紧密相连的:国家奋力借钱去帮助银行,银行因政府债务贬值而受连累,这种?#23736;蛟搜?#29615;”?#20004;?#26410;被打破。除非欧洲分担更多的跨境风险,例如金融市场、存款担保、财政政策,否则单一货币的未来仍受到质疑。如果欧元?#35272;?#24341;发混乱,那么2008年那场危机只能算是小打小闹。

Policymakers have made the economy safer, but they still have plenty of lessons to learn. And fracturing geopolitics make globalised finance even harder to deal with. A decade after Lehman failed, finance has a worrying amount to fix.

决策层已经使经济变得更加安全,但还有很多教训值得吸取。四?#27835;辶训?#22320;缘政治使全球金融更加难以应对。雷曼公司倒闭十年后的今天,金融的修缮工作任重而道远。