Mead2020年文章:中国是真正的亚洲病夫

胡景北翻译的Mead在2020年2月3日《华尔街日报》上发表的文章

(译者注1:此文作者Walter Russell Mead是位于美国纽约州的Bard College的国际关系学教授。原文发表于《华尔街日报》2020年2月3日。我国政府随后因为此文而驱逐了该报驻华记者。译者抱着“奇文共欣赏,疑义相与析”的好奇态度翻译此文供中文读者了解和评判。英文原文附在译文后。胡景北 2020年2月21日)

(译者注2:各段前的编号为译者所加。)

中国是真正的亚洲病夫

—-中国金融市场甚至比它的野生动物市场更加危险

1 威武的中共巨龙本星期一直很收敛,原因很明显:动物和人之间传染的蝙蝠病毒在作祟。中国当局正在努力控制疫情并恢复经济。长期以来,世界已经习惯地把中国崛起视为势不可挡的事情。然而,世界现在发现,没有任何事情,甚至包括北京的权力,可以能认为是确定无疑的。

2 我们不知道新的冠状病毒有多危险。有迹象表明,中国当局仍在设法掩盖问题的真实程度,现在看来,新冠病毒似乎比埃博拉或SARS等疾病的病原体更具传染性,但致命性要低得多。当然,部分专家认为SARS和冠状病毒的传染性大致相同。

3 中国对这场危机的最初反应并不值得好评。 武汉政府是秘密和自私的。国家主管部门做出了强力回应,但目前看来效果不佳。中国的城市和工厂正在关闭;病毒继续传播。我们希望中国能够成功地遏制这场流行病并治疗患病者。但是中国迄今为止的作为已经动摇了国内外对中国共产党的信心。美国拒绝最近访华的非公民入境。北京对此很抱怨。但北京的抱怨不能掩盖这样一个事实,那就是:使这一流行病传播得如此遥远如此迅速的决定都是在武汉和北京做出的。

4 一些专家预测,这次流行病最可能的经济后果将是中国经济增长率在今年第一季度出现短暂而急剧的下降,但会随着疫情的缓和而恢复。它的最重要长期结果应当是全球公司在其供应链中“去中国化”趋势的强化。持续的公共卫生忧虑和新的贸易战危险叠加,让供应链的多元化开始变得明智。

5 类似冠状病毒及其前身(例如SARS,埃博拉和MERS)流行的事件考验我们的制度,迫使我们思考过去无法想象的问题。如果出现像埃博拉那样致命又像冠状病毒那样迅速传播的疾病,美国应当如何应对?我们需要建立什么样的国家和国际制度来最大程度地减少发生这种大灾难的可能性?

6 疫情也迫使我们思考地缘政治和经济的大框架。疫情造成的中国经济增长问题已经导致金融市场动荡不安、大宗商品价格下跌。我们希望这些问题很快过去。但是,(也许是为了应对流行病,但更可能是在大规模金融崩溃之后),如果中国经济甚至更慢的增长延续到更长时期,世界将会发生什么?这种事态发展对中国的政治稳定、中国看待世界其他国家的态度以及对全球力量平衡的影响如何?

7 从长远来看,中国的金融市场很可能比中国的野生动物市场更加危险。鉴于国家主导的贷款在数十年来累计而成的巨大成本,地方官员与当地银行互相勾结形成的大规模的渎职行为,高耸的房地产泡沫以及巨大的工业产能过剩,对任何一个国家来说,中国已经到达大规模经济修正的临界点。因此,一个小小的初始火星,也可能导致毁灭所有繁荣的巨大火灾,因为所有虚假的价值,虚高的期望和错配的资产都会爆炸。我们远远不知道,如果真是这样,中国的监管机构和决策者是否具备将损害最小化的技术能力或政治权威,尤其是因为这样的火灾将给那些有政治权力的人的财富造成巨大损失。

8 我们不知道何时、更不知道中国是否会发生如此大规模的灾难,但是地缘政治和国际关系的学生(更不用说商业领袖和投资者)得记住,中国的实力虽然令人印象深刻,但仍然脆弱。致命性更强的病毒或金融市场崩溃的蔓延可能随时改变中国的经济和政治前景。

9现在许多人担心冠状病毒将成为全球大流行病。中国经济崩溃的后果将和这次冠状病毒流行同样不可遏制地传播到全世界。世界各地的大宗商品价格将暴跌,供应链将断裂,几乎没有任何金融机构能够逃脱这种连锁反应。中国和其他地区的经济复苏可能很慢,但社会和政治后果可能非常严重。

10 如果北京的地缘政治影响因此而缩小,中国危机的全世界后果可能令人惊讶。 如果美国唯一可能的大国竞争对手退出游戏,一些人可能会期待单极世界的回归。 然而,在美国政治世界中,孤立而不是参与可能会突如其来。如果中国的挑战逐渐消失,许多美国人可能认为美国能够安全地降低其对全球事务的承诺。

11 到目前为止,二十一世纪一直是黑天鹅的时代。从9/11到特朗普当选总统再到英国脱欧,低概率但高影响力的事件重塑了世界秩序。这个时代还没有结束,黑天鹅还会再来,冠状病毒流行病不可能是在中国出现的最后一只黑天鹅。(全文完)

 “夜话”2020年第5期, 2020年2月21日

英文原文—Original Texts

China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia

Its financial markets may be even more dangerous

than its wildlife markets.

By Walter Russell Mead

Feb. 3, 2020 6:47 pm ET

https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-is-the-real-sick-man-of-asia-11580773677?mod=trending_now_pos2. Retrieved Feb. 20, 2020

(Note of Chinese Translator: Numbers preceding paragraphs are added by Chinese translator.)

1 The mighty Chinese juggernaut has been humbled this week, apparently by a species-hopping bat virus. While Chinese authorities struggle to control the epidemic and restart their economy, a world that has grown accustomed to contemplating China’s inexorable rise was reminded that nothing, not even Beijing’s power, can be taken for granted.

2 We do not know how dangerous the new coronavirus will be. There are signs that Chinese authorities are still trying to conceal the true scale of the problem, but at this point the virus appears to be more contagious but considerably less deadly than the pathogens behind diseases such as Ebola or SARS—though some experts say SARS and coronavirus are about equally contagious.

3 China’s initial response to the crisis was less than impressive. The Wuhan government was secretive and self-serving; national authorities responded vigorously but, it currently appears, ineffectively. China’s cities and factories are shutting down; the virus continues to spread. We can hope that authorities succeed in containing the epidemic and treating its victims, but the performance to date has shaken confidence in the Chinese Communist Party at home and abroad. Complaints in Beijing about the U.S. refusing entry to noncitizens who recently spent time in China cannot hide the reality that the decisions that allowed the epidemic to spread as far and as fast as it did were all made in Wuhan and Beijing.

4 The likeliest economic consequence of the coronavirus epidemic, forecasters expect, will be a short and sharp fall in Chinese economic growth rates during the first quarter, recovering as the disease fades. The most important longer-term outcome would appear to be a strengthening of a trend for global companies to “de-Sinicize” their supply chains. Add the continuing public health worries to the threat of new trade wars, and supply-chain diversification begins to look prudent.

5 Events like the coronavirus epidemic, and its predecessors—such as SARS, Ebola and MERS—test our systems and force us to think about the unthinkable. If there were a disease as deadly as Ebola and as fast-spreading as coronavirus, how should the U.S. respond? What national and international systems need to be in place to minimize the chance of catastrophe on this scale?

6 Epidemics also lead us to think about geopolitical and economic hypotheticals. We have seen financial markets shudder and commodity prices fall in the face of what hopefully will be a short-lived disturbance in China’s economic growth. What would happen if—perhaps in response to an epidemic, but more likely following a massive financial collapse—China’s economy were to suffer a long period of even slower growth? What would be the impact of such developments on China’s political stability, on its attitude toward the rest of the world, and to the global balance of power?

7 China’s financial markets are probably more dangerous in the long run than China’s wildlife markets. Given the accumulated costs of decades of state-driven lending, massive malfeasance by local officials in cahoots with local banks, a towering property bubble, and vast industrial overcapacity, China is as ripe as a country can be for a massive economic correction. Even a small initial shock could lead to a massive bonfire of the vanities as all the false values, inflated expectations and misallocated assets implode. If that comes, it is far from clear that China’s regulators and decision makers have the technical skills or the political authority to minimize the damage—especially since that would involve enormous losses to the wealth of the politically connected.

8 We cannot know when or even if a catastrophe of this scale will take place, but students of geopolitics and international affairs—not to mention business leaders and investors—need to bear in mind that China’s power, impressive as it is, remains brittle. A deadlier virus or a financial-market contagion could transform China’s economic and political outlook at any time.

9 Many now fear the coronavirus will become a global pandemic. The consequences of a Chinese economic meltdown would travel with the same sweeping inexorability. Commodity prices around the world would slump, supply chains would break down, and few financial institutions anywhere could escape the knock-on consequences. Recovery in China and elsewhere could be slow, and the social and political effects could be dramatic.

10 If Beijing’s geopolitical footprint shrank as a result, the global consequences might also be surprising. Some would expect a return of unipolarity if the only possible great-power rival to the U.S. were to withdraw from the game. Yet in the world of American politics, isolation rather than engagement might surge to the fore. If the China challenge fades, many Americans are likely to assume that the U.S. can safely reduce its global commitments.

11 So far, the 21st century has been an age of black swans. From 9/11 to President Trump’s election and Brexit, low-probability, high-impact events have reshaped the world order. That age isn’t over, and of the black swans still to arrive, the coronavirus epidemic is unlikely to be the last to materialize in China.

“Mead2020年文章:中国是真正的亚洲病夫”的79个回复

  1. 尊敬的胡教授:
    您好
    晚辈有一拙议,标题如此之译结合全文,其实并非信达雅,反而颇具宣传口特色哗众取宠之意味,非常不建议您中文原标题照搬某处,容易被误会。原文意想表达”中国市场实为亚洲之痛处”而并非”亚洲病夫”,文中所言诸多问题都是事实,但是行文偏口语化,不知背后原因

    1. 四宮かぐや:
      您好!谢谢您对我的持续关注,特别谢谢您的留言!
      您的意见非常好!事实上,我也考虑过其它译法,网友亦有建议。但我最后还是采用官方对此文标题的翻译。我在随后的一篇夜话“我为什么翻译米德的文章”中,对我选择的标题译法做了一点说明。当然,无论我的译法本身,还是我的说明,都是一面之词。我了解和欣赏您的意见。同时,这篇译文已经成为历史,我也不准备改变对标题和基本内容的译法。
      尽管如此,我非常谢谢您!‘我的感觉是,大家早迟应当接受英语中的这种常见的表达方式。
      再一次祝您身体健康!
      胡景北

  2. 看了今天人民日报的报道,中国政府把美国几家报社的驻华记者的记者证也吊销了,感觉这次反击很刚,孰是孰非不做评价,小孩讲对错,大人看爱恨,政治的事不太懂。很有兴趣华尔街日报说了啥,搜了一会儿原文,有幸看到了这篇文章。作者辛苦了,文章写的很好,观点平和亲切在理。微信文章被封一事,我申请解封了一下,希望腾讯能把枪口抬高一寸,避免误伤吧,结果如何听天由命了。说两点看法(或者希望):
    1.希望胡老健康长寿。我90后,今年参加工作3年了,国家兴亡匹夫有责,像胡老这种饱学之士,尚出来发声的人,不多了。今天有幸认识了一位。人固一死,我觉得您做的事,很有价值,启迪民智,以后您肯定会由于各种原因不做这事了,但还是希望您能坚持久一点。人老不太为经济所困,尚能发挥余热,很稀少很珍贵。
    2.沉舟侧畔千帆过,病树前头万木春。人类的兴衰,文明的进步,不随一事一人一国影响,石器文明,农耕文明,机械文明,人类一直在进步。作为个体,虽然做好自己就行了,但如果能影响启迪身边人,就最好了。生物学上来说,物种由种群构成,种群基因的优良也直接影响物种的属性。