2009年9月16日 星期三

麥克·摩爾:資本主義「砸窗搶劫」?

Mark Weisbrot
sinoera @ yeeyan 翻譯
guardian.co.uk
2009年9月9日
麥克·摩爾 (Micheal Moore) 的新片:《資本主義:一個愛情故事》 (Capitalism: A Love Story)在威尼斯電影節上演了。摩爾從哪個角度闡釋現在的金融危機呢?他又是怎樣鞭撻資本主義呢?

《資本主義:一個愛情故事》官方網站: http://www.capitalismalovestory.com/

20多年前我第一次遇到麥克·摩爾(Michael Moore)時,他正在密歇根州安阿伯市的一間教室裡給幾十人放映一部半成品紀錄片。該影片讓人感覺即滑稽又辛酸並傳達了一種強烈的信息。當時製作電影的設備非常昂貴,所以他第二次以房子抵押貸款,從志趣相投的當地人借錢來進行這次成功性很小的冒險。儘管都喜歡這部紀錄片,可我們還是認為如果有幾千人來看這部片子,他就夠幸運了。

但是紀錄片《羅傑和我》取得了巨大成功,摩爾成為美國最有影響力的紀錄片製片人,該片講述的是美國汽車工業毀滅的人力成本和不合理性。二十年後,他拍攝出最激進的作品,當我在世界上歷史最悠久的威尼斯電影節看到這部電影時,它正受到狂熱的追捧。

俗語說:或者指責受害者或者指責體制。摩爾呼籲指責體制,並取得了巨大的成功。

這部影片顛覆性地以描述真實銀行劫匪的片斷——在其搶劫過程中被監控攝像機拍攝下來——開篇,在伊基·波普(Iggy Pop)「路易路易」的配樂中(為該片特製的版本)劫匪不斷掠奪贓物。接下來劫匪道德上的同類金融業的巨頭與其政治上的保護者馬上就要出場了。

摩爾的鏡頭巧妙地記錄下來以房地產泡沫破碎「為食」的「公寓禿鷹」,還有那些以公司名義為員工購買人壽保險,在他們夭折後賺取巨額保險賠償的公司,這其中包括沃爾瑪和雅麥基銀行。這些殘忍的金融衍生品卻有迷人的名字「死佃農」保險--這真實地說明了一切。但《資本主義:一個愛情故事》不只是揭露美國經濟骯髒的一面。

摩爾有著更大的目標:他質疑整個美式資本主義的激勵結構,道德觀和政治經濟是否適合整個人類。在歐洲或是在發展中國家裡這看起來似乎不是那麼激進,因為歐洲絕大多數國家在後二戰時代有過至少稱他們自己稱為社會主義者的政府,在絕大多數發展中國家中社會主義思想很受大眾歡迎,但是在美國這種想法能引起大眾的注意幾乎是前所未有的。

但不必為欣賞這部電影而成為一名革命者。實際上可以把它看作是社會民主論文,把弗蘭克林羅斯福提議的第二權力法案——一個經濟權利法案,主張「所有的人」都有權「從事能維持生活的工作」,「擁有住宅」,「享有醫療保健」,「獲得教育」——作為它的改革計劃。在片中羅斯福在1944年提出這個現在已經被遺忘的計劃。

像其以前的影片一樣,摩爾把失去家園和工作的受害者的不幸和悲傷與滑稽戲劇和二十世紀五十年代的卡通片段結合起來,並在需要時加入冷靜清醒的旁白。同時影片中也出現了勝利,比如當工人們佔領在芝加哥的工廠時他們奪回了應得的報酬。

作為在智庫世界裡工作的經濟學家,我不得不欣賞這部作品。他把這個經濟故事講得很清楚。為什麼摩爾的父親能以一個汽車工人的收入買房子養活一家人,並在退休後還有退休金?而為什麼在今天生產力得到極大提高的經濟中,這卻不可能?答案並不複雜:在戰後時代的前期,工人們分享了生產力增長帶來的收益;但是從1973年開始,絕大部分工人幾乎一點都不能從中受益了(生產力的增長也已經慢了下來)。摩爾也解釋了結構的改變,比如羅納德·裡根(Ronald Reagan)把工會和勞工關係帶回到19世紀,結果導致了美國歷史上最大規模的收入向社會上層的重新分配。(摩爾甚至用帶數據的圖形和圖表來支持他的主要觀點)

從經濟的角度看,唯一沒有提及的是過去十年股票市場和房地產市場的泡沫。與上次一樣,現在的經濟衰退主要是由巨大的資產泡沫破碎引起的——2006年8萬億的房地產泡沫以及2000—2002年間相同規模的股票市場泡沫。絕大多數的媒體都沒有真正理解這部分內容。資產泡沫和資本主義與生俱來,既然這是一部關於資本主義和當下大衰退的電影,所以在當中出現關於資產泡沫的內容是吸引人的。但是我不會拿大多數經濟學家和新聞媒體都不理解、也不怎麼討論的東西來過分責怪摩爾--也不想在這裡繼續討論。畢竟這只是一部電影而不是教科書。

摩爾還有一點贏得了我的支持--正確的事實和數字。強調這一點是因為摩爾的上一部紀錄片《精神病人》中,儘管摩爾對事實十分仔細,但是仍舊被CNN攻擊被保險行業污蔑。兩者都質疑它的正確性,但都以失敗而歸。一名前保險公司企業宣傳副主席同時也是試圖質疑《精神病人》備忘錄的作者最近在比爾·莫亞的節目中承認,摩爾的電影正中要害。

這部新影片也瞄準了可能造成現在大蕭條的大人物:阿蘭·格林斯潘(Alan Greenspan),羅伯特·魯賓(Robert Rubin),拉裡·薩默斯(Larry Summers)(他們三人1999年得意洋洋地登上時代雜誌封面,當時的題目是「拯救全世界三巨頭」)和提姆·蓋特納(Tim Geithner)。來自高盛的魯賓幫助解除了對金融行業的管制,並因此在花旗銀行發財。來自學術界的薩默斯也從這個放鬆監管,政府擔保的「賭場」賺了數百萬美元,「賭場」是在他時任克林頓政府財政部部長時形成的。追蹤由迅速發展的,寄生蟲似的,在裡根,老布什,克林頓和小布什任期內逐漸獲得強大的政治支持的金融產業所造成的巨大破壞,我們有理由說這是兩黨的恥辱。

與這個貪婪時代相比,讓人感覺溫暖的是喬納斯·索爾克,他於1955年發現了治療脊髓灰質炎的疫苗,從這個嚴重的常常是致命的疾病的魔爪下挽救了數以百萬計的人。但他拒絕通過對此申請專利而變得富有。他只想盡可能提供這些疫苗。「你能取得太陽的專利權嗎?」他問道。被問到耶穌對資本主義是什麼看法時,底特律天主教主教回答說,上帝是不會想加入到這樣的體制之中。這些都是摩爾精心設計的情節使得民主社會主義價值觀變為地道美國式的東西。做到這一點很難,但是如果有人做到的話,一定是這位來自美國中心地帶—中西部的男孩,就像加裡森·凱勒(Garrison Keillor )寫到的那樣,「傻瓜坐在高台,而聰明人坐在出口附近的暗處」。作為一個弗林特汽車工人的孩子,摩爾沒有忘記他應站在那一邊。二十年後,並未被名聲和成功而改變多少。

摩爾最後的這部電影是對美國醫療系統驚人的控訴,是對醫療改革爭論極好的介紹。這可能就是剛剛開始膨脹的憤怒和醒悟的前奏。

國會預算辦公室計劃整個明年官方失業率將會保持在接近10%。但是如果把未充分就業(包括非自願兼職),勞動力失業和其他未統計失業的人數包括在內的話將看到這個數字的兩倍。即使經濟將很快開始復甦,但在很長的時間內這種復甦也不能如我們的預期。所以不論是在美國還是在其他地方,這部電影都不會缺少觀眾。

預告片:

2009年7月17日 星期五

A Growing Problem - Race, Class and Obesity Among American Women

Mary Ferguson
Diversity or Division?
Race, Class and America at the Millennium
New York University

The United States is facing a new epidemic. More than half of all Americans are overweight or obese and the percentages are most shocking for women of color.

African-American, American Indian and Hispanic-American women have the highest risk of becoming overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Only one minority group, Asian Americans, has a lower rate of obesity than the general population.

In fact, the results of a national study released in 1996 show that more than half of all African-American and Hispanic women in the United States are already above what is considered a healthy body weight.
Related Story: Eating Disorders

Why does weight matter? Because overweight and physical inactivity now account for more than 300,000 premature deaths each year, according to Jeffrey P. Koplan, director of the CDC. "Obesity is an epidemic and it should be taken as seriously as any infectious disease epidemic," he said in a recent press release.

37% of African-American women are obese; 33% of Mexican-American Women are obese; 24% of Caucasian women are obese

The statistics are startling. Sixty-six percent of African-American women are overweight and 37 percent are technically obese, meaning that they are 30 percent above ideal body weight. The figures for Mexican-American women are similar: 66 percent overweight and 33 percent obese. For Caucasian women, the figures are slightly lower with 49 percent considered overweight and 24 percent, obese.

And why the prevalence of obesity among minority women? In the past, researchers have focused on health differences between African Americans and Caucasians using race as the major determinant. But as the rate of obesity has skyrocketed in women of all races, scientists began to realize that they had to look at other factors, such as education and socioeconomic level, to determine the cause and develop intervention plans.

"People don't like to think about the idea that one is identified by social class or social stratification," Dr. Nancy Adler explained. Adler is the director of the John T. and Catherine D. MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Socioeconomic Status and Health, which was formed in 1997 to study the connection between health and socioeconomic status.

Recent research shows that social class measured by income and education can be more powerful than genetics in predicting future health problems, including obesity.

"It's tied more to general economic disparities," Dr. James Hill said when asked about the differences in overweight between African-American and Caucasian women. Hill, one of the country's leading authorities on obesity, pointed to the similarity in the obesity rate of African-American and Caucasian men.

While researchers have studied combinations of all of these factors, statistics for the number of lower class, lower educational level white women that are affected by obesity are hard to find. Despite the recent flurry of published articles on obesity, Tim Hensley, a health communications specialist with the CDC, said that not all of the angles have been covered yet. The poor, uneducated white women seem to be an ignored group when it comes to obesity research.

Race, gender and socioeconomic status all play a part in the genetics versus environment debate. It is too complicated to say it is just one cause. The Journal of the American Medical Association devoted its entire Oct. 27 issue to the subject of obesity in the United States. One article stated that heritability studies have shown that 70 percent of body weight can be tied to genetics.
Recent research shows that social class measured by income and education can be more powerful than genetics in predicting future health problems, including obesity.

However, genetics alone cannot account for the 50 percent increase in the percentage of Americans that are obese and the doubling of the number of overweight children in the past two decades.

"Genes don't make us obese. They allow us to be obese," said Hill, who also is director of the Center of Human Nutrition at Colorado Health Sciences University. It is the lifestyle that an individual who is susceptible to obesity chooses that will most affect her propensity to becoming overweight.

Dr. Elissa Epel of the University of California at San Francisco has noticed that scientists are "recognizing the importance of uncoupling race and social class" in their research.

Epel studies the correlation between stress and fat distribution determined by the presence of growth hormone and has found that individuals with the lowest levels of education have the lowest levels of growth hormone making them more likely to gain weight.

"The more growth hormone you have, the less you tend to be obese," she said. While genetics play some part in the amount of growth hormone that one's body produces, Epel has found that stress is a major factor.

"Being of low social status can put someone under chronic stress," she said. "People with less education tend to have jobs with a lot of responsibility and less control." She explained that a head of a company may experience a high level of job related stress but would have more choices and control over the situation and that, in turn, alleviates stress overall. A day laborer, however, has little control over the stress of daily life.

Epel said that the stress of life at low educational and socioeconomic levels is a direct cause of obesity.

Once labeled an epidemic, obesity must be dealt with on an individual as well as a societal level. Education, prevention and methods of controlling body weight must all be targeted to the specific populations involved.

Hill blames the American environment for the alarming rates of obesity. "Everywhere we go, it encourages people to eat," Hill exclaimed disgustedly during a telephone interview. "We are the most sedentary generation ever. We don't get a lot of physical activity. Our physiology isn't set up to maintain a normal weight under these circumstances."

A controlled body weight is a matter of balancing the energy that is taken into the body, food or drink, with the level of energy expended by the body in the form of physical activity or exercise. This seemingly simple equation is complicated by the fact that more than 25 percent of women are not active at all. African Americans and Hispanics are more likely than whites to be physically inactive, and people at a lower socioeconomic level exercise less than wealthier individuals.

More than a third of African-American women report no leisure-time physical activity.

"A lot of minority women can't relate to the word 'leisure-time,'" Dr. Amy Eyler, a researcher at the School of Public Health in St. Louis, Mo., said in an interview with Reuters. "And when you ask them about it they say, 'I don't have any.'"

Eyler found that physical activity was less common among women across the racial lines who live in rural areas, smoked and had lower levels of education.

Some researchers also point a finger at the profitable fast food restaurants that tend to target minority consumers.

"Fast foods can be singled out as a villain because they're an obvious villain. What they're doing is giving us food, which is generally low in energy and high in fat, and they're giving it to us in these huge portions," Hill exclaimed, but he stressed that they were not the only culprits in the fattening of Americans.

The hurdles for minorities and especially the poor are enormous. They are more likely to have limited access to health care and insurance coverage, and often suffer from poor nutrition. Some recent immigrants have the added burden of language barriers that make negotiating the U.S. health system impossible.

In addition, African-American women report less pressure to be thin than their white counterparts and tend to be less self-conscious about how much they weigh.

Koplan of the CDC suggests that the entire community must play a role to help the increasing number of overweight Americans. He recommends that doctors counsel patients at annual exams, workplaces offer healthy meals, companies install on-site gyms, schools improve their physical education classes, and cities create safe public spaces for walking. Also, parents should encourage their children to play outdoors instead of spending time in front of the television or computer.
"We may be too late to do anything about it. The question we need to ask ourselves is can we turn it around before everyone susceptible is obese."

In one effort at obesity prevention, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has selected four centers across the United States to test and develop programs to help African-American girls, ages 8 to 10, to catch them before they form bad food and exercise habits.

Celeste Durant has found a way to reach African-American and Hispanic women in the Denver area. She successfully marketed her idea for a show on health for minorities to a new cable station, Colours- Television for All People. The first half-hour segment of "Being Well" will air in May addressing the connection between nutrition, stress, weight and overall health.

"The purpose is to help our viewers lead a more healthy lifestyle," Durant explained. "We're trying to do another approach that makes it more human."

On the first show a nutritionist will suggest ways to make the traditional African-American diet- heavy in fat and salt- healthier.

"All of us begin to go back to the foods that we were raised with," Durant, who is African-American, said.

Durant has pitched her idea for a health show targeting African Americans for years to networks including BET with no success. Because of the small black population in Denver, she changed the format to include both Hispanics and African Americans. She noted that the two minority groups have a number of the same health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and breast cancer.

Congress provided $5 million in funding to the CDC to research the alarming increases in obesity in 2000. A CDC report released in March confirmed that overall, African Americans and Hispanics, as well as most minority groups, engage in more health-risk behaviors and take fewer preventive health care measures than whites.

The report breaks down health behaviors of racial or ethnic groups by state but not by gender. Interestingly, the figures vary widely within racial groups depending on state of residence, socioeconomic class and education level.

But Hill emphasized that the problem of obesity affects everyone.

"There is such a high prevalence that we have obesity in every group," he said of the numbers that are predicted to keep growing. "This is not something that just affects the poor."

"We may be too late to do anything about it," Hill said. "The question we need to ask ourselves is can we turn it around before everyone susceptible is obese." Unlike the campaigns against smoking, public health campaigns about obesity are much more complicated.

When it comes to changing behaviors, Hill said, "It's easier to do it or not to do it-not to modify it."

Women currently represent 51 percent of the U.S. population. According to the National Women's Health Information Center, they make the majority of the health care decisions and are more likely to provide care for their own families.

There are more than 36 million women of racial or ethnic minority backgrounds in the United States, a number which is expected to increase dramatically by 2050, when racial minorities will account for almost half of the U.S. population.

Obesity, second only to tobacco as the leading cause of premature deaths, disproportionally affects women of color and women of lower socioeconomic classes.

While efforts have begun to prevent obesity and deal with the rapidly increasing cases of obesity-related diseases, the results for this mounting health crisis for women are still a long way off.

"It's late in the game," Hill warned, "and we don't have a game plan."

New report documents "food deserts" in US cities

Christine White
Institute for Food and Development Policy - Food First
(http://www.foodfirst.org)
July 9, 2009

Food deserts – a term used for communities that have limited access to affordable and nutritious food - are real places and they are affecting the health of millions of Americans. Found in both rural areas and urban clusters, food deserts are defined by their distances from large grocery stores and other supermarkets selling a variety of fresh produce and healthy food options. Deserts primarily form around low-income populations where families live on tight budgets and lack a reliable means of transportation.

In recent years there has been a growing concern over the health and dietary intake within food desert communities. Many studies have shown a strong relationship between access to full-service grocery stores and poor diets. And it’s no secret that obesity and other health-related diseases are on the rise and one of our nation’s most severe public health challenges.

With these concerns and bleak national health statistics in mind, the USDA conducted a one-year study on food deserts, their characteristics, causes and possible policy solutions. Researchers identified the location of supermarkets and grocery stores in the US, examined households without vehicles and specific socio-economic populations (2000 consensus), and reviewed national level data questions of household food adequacy and access. The study was recently published in June 2009 and its findings have sparked some serious conversations about food deserts and their implications on our nation’s health.

Here are a few of the USDA findings from the June 2009 report:

2.3 million (2.2%) of all U.S. households live more than a mile from a supermarket and do not have access to a vehicle
3.4 million (3.2%) of all U.S. households live between .5 to a mile and do not have access to a vehicle
4.4% of households in rural areas live more than 1 mile from the supermarket AND do not have access to a vehicle.
22% - Percent of households in low income urban areas living 1/2 to 1 mile from a supermarket with no access to a vehicle.
2001 survey found that nearly 6 percent of U.S. households did not always have food due to access related problems.

All in all the USDA study was unable to determine a causal relationship between food access and diet - but this should in no way discredit the existence of food deserts – it only changes the discussion. Now, more than ever, it’s important to look at communities and their food environment as a whole. We must not only consider the limited access to healthy food options in these areas, but also their availability to fast food chains and convenience stores. Our nation’s food deserts are overwhelmed by golden arches and the like – and over access to bad food is as much a problem as under-access to healthy options. The dynamics of food deserts are complex, and solutions won’t be easy - but they are achievable solutions and will be a critical step in changing the way America eats.

2009年7月11日 星期六

New Book:The Global Fight for Climate Justice

- Anticapitalist Responses to Global Warming and Environmental Destruction
edited by Ian Angus


As capitalism continues with business as usual, climate change is fast expanding the gap between rich and poor between and within nations, and imposing unparalleled suffering on those least able to protect themselves.

In The Global Fight for Climate Justice, anticapitalist activists from five continents offer radical answers to the most important questions of our time:

*

Why is capitalism destroying the conditions that make life on Earth possible?
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How can we stop the destruction before it is too late?

In 46 essays on topics ranging from the food crisis to carbon trading to perspectives from indigenous peoples, they make a compelling case that saving the world from climate catastrophe will require much more than tinkering with technology or taxes. Only radical social change can prevent irreversible damage to the earth and civilization.

edited by Ian Angus
Ian Angus, who wrote several of the articles in this book and selected the others from a wide range of authors and movements, is one of the world’s best-known ecosocialist activists. He is editor of the online journal Climate and Capitalism, which has been described as "the most reliable single source of information and strategic insights for climate justice."

Ian is also Associate Editor of Socialist Voice, an Advisory Editor of Socialist Resistance, and a founding member of the Ecosocialist International Network. He lives in Ontario, Canada.

Advance Praise
“The most reliable single source of information and strategic insights for climate justice is Climate and Capitalism, the website Ian Angus edits, and it is a tribute to the movement’s development that demand has arisen for this book.”— Patrick Bond, director of Centre for Civil Society, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

“Essential reading for everyone who is serious about confronting the climate emergency.” —Emma Murphy, co-editor, Green Left Weekly

"We need to move beyond capitalism to an ecosocialist system. Creating such a future will demand intense political struggle. This book is an essential tool for that struggle, and I commend it to all who are serious about creating a liveable future for humanity." —Derek Wall, former Principal Male speaker, Green Party of England and Wales

“At last, an absolutely indispensable guide to the debate on climate change, a sourcebook that makes the case for anti-capitalist action as the only effective way to stop global warming. Of course the powers-that-be don’t agree — after all, who else is responsible for the current crisis? But we all need The Global Fight for Climate Justice if we are to fight for a liveable world.” —Joel Kovel, author of The Enemy of Nature and founding member of the Ecosocialist International Network

“A wonderful collection of articles from across the word by climate change activists. From governmental leaders such as Evo Morales to trade unionists like Tony Kearns this book will inform, excite and energise those who see the need to fight both the impact of climate change and the political systems that have produced it.” —Jane Kelly, editor (with Sheila Malone) Ecosocialism or Barbarism

“‘Socialism or Barbarism’ is no longer (if it ever was) an abstract theoretical proposition. This comprehensive collection of essays focused upon the climate and food crises, the responses of capital and socialist alternatives, draws upon both global social movements and leading advocates of an alternative to barbarism to demonstrate that the choice before us is an immediate one, not one to be put off to the future.” —Michael A. Lebowitz, author of Build it Now: Socialism for the 21st Century and Beyond CAPITAL: Marx's Political Economy of the Working Class.
About the Authors
Ian Angus, one of the world’s best-known ecosocialist activists, is editor of the online journal Climate and Capitalism.

Hugo Blanco has been a leader of the indigenous peasant movement in Peru since the Land or Death uprising in the 1960s. He publishes the newspaper La Lucha Indígena.


Patrick Bond
is director of the Centre for Civil Society at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. His most recent book is Looting Africa: The Economics of Exploitation.

Simon Butler writes for Green Left Weekly and maintains Climate Change Social Change, an ecosocialist blog.

Fidel Castro led the Cuban revolution and was the Cuba’s head of state from 1960 until he retired in 2007.

Nicole Colson writes for Socialist Worker, the newspaper of the US-based International Socialist Organization.

Kamala Emanuel is a climate activist and a member of the Socialist Alliance in Perth, Australia.

John Bellamy Foster is editor of Monthly Review and the author of many books, including Marx’s Ecology (2000) and The Ecological Revolution (2009).

Robb Johnson is a UK-based singer-songwriter.

Tony Kearns is Senior Deputy General Secretary of the Communication Workers Union in the U.K.

Joel Kovel is the author of The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World? and a founding member of the Ecosocialist International Network.

Juan Esteban Lazo Hernandez is Vice-President of Cuba’s Council of State and a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba.

Larry Lohmann is the author of Carbon Trading: A Critical Conversation on Climate Change, Privatization and Power.

Michael Löwy, who co-wrote the first Ecosocialist Manifesto in 2001, is a supporter of the Fourth International in France.

José Ramón Machado Ventura, who fought with Fidel Castro in the guerrilla war in the 1950s, is first vice president of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers .


Liam Mac Uaid
is an editor of Socialist Resistance magazine.

Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, is the first indigenous head of state in Latin America.

Anne Petermann and Orin Langelle are Executive Director and Co-Director/Strategist of Global Justice Ecology Project.

Andrew Simms is the author of Ecological Debt: Global Warming and the Wealth of Nations, and policy director of the UK-based New Economics Foundation.

Kevin Smith is the author of The Carbon Neutral Myth: Offset Indulgences for your Climate Sins.

Sean Thompson is a supporter of Green Left, the anti-capitalist current in the Green Party of England and Wales.

Terry Townsend is a member of Socialist Alliance and Managing Editor of Links: International Journal of Socialist Renewal.

David Travis works with sustainable agriculture, community economics and alternative land tenure systems. He is currently developing a perennial agriculture project in North Carolina, USA.

Daniel Tanuro, a certified agriculturalist and ecosocialist environmentalist, is a supporter of the Fourth International in Belgium.

Derek Wall is a founder of the Ecosocialist International Network and a former principal speaker for the Green Party of England and Wales.

Chris Williams is a physics and chemistry teacher in New York City. He writes for International Socialist Review.

----- ***** -----
Introduction
Ian Angus

In this book, anticapitalist activists from around the world offer radical answers to two of the most important questions of our time:
  • Why is capitalism destroying the conditions that make life on earth possible?
  • How can we stop the destruction before it is too late?
The authors disagree on many things. Some are Marxists, some are not; some proudly call themselves ecosocialists and others see no need for that label; some are members of political parties and some reject traditional forms of political activity. Even among those who consider themselves Marxists or ecosocialists there are differing views on to build a movement, what social forces can change the world, what technologies and policies should be supported or condemned.

But they all agree that solving the climate crisis of the 21st century, saving the world from climate catastrophe, will require much more than tinkering with technology or economic policy, the solutions promoted by capitalist politicians and most of the green establishment.

As John Bellamy Foster wrote in his recent book, The Ecological Revolution: “We have reached a turning point in the human relation to the earth: all hope for the future of this relationship is now either revolutionary or it is false.”

The climate emergency exposes the present social order’s deepest contradictions: unstoppable thirst for wealth and material growth that can only be obtained by condemning billions of people to poverty, while simultaneously undermining of the very conditions of human existence.

This system, as Karl Marx said, is like a vengeful god that demands human sacrifices before it deigns to bless its worshippers.

And now, when their god has taken us to the edge of global catastrophe, the system’s faithful acolytes insist that only minor repairs are needed, that everything will be all right if we just rejig the tax code, or let corporations trade pollution credits, or have fewer babies.

In contrast, the essays and manifestos in this book argue that the climate crisis involves profound issues of political, economic and social justice, issues that cannot be resolved without equally profound changes in the political, economic and social systems that are causing the crisis. They expose the profound injustice that makes the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people suffer for the crimes of the richest nations and the biggest corporations.

They insist that we must view global warming as an issue of oppression, exploitation and injustice, and that we must focus our fight on winning climate justice — for the global south, for indigenous peoples, for workers and farmers around the world.

Marx famously wrote that philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways but the task is to change it. That statement is often misunderstood. It wasn’t just a call to move from discussion to action — Marx was also saying that we can’t properly understand the world unless we work to change it.

For that reason, it’s important to point out that the authors of this book aren’t ivory tower theorists: every one of them is actively involved in building movements to stop climate change, to change the world. So the articles in this book aren’t abstract meditations: they are products of the authors’ concrete experiences in building movements against global warming and environmental destruction. The authors aren’t passive observers: they are partisans who don’t hesitate to declare their outrage at ecological vandalism and their determination to stop the vandals.

Our task is to change the world. This book is a contribution to that task.

Banks buying back TARP warrants at a discount

Ronald D. Orol
MarketWatch
Jul 10, 2009
Ronald D. Orol is a MarketWatch reporter, based in Washington.
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- A panel that oversees the $700 billion bank bailout package said Friday that financial institutions buying out warrants they gave the government in exchange for capital injections are now buying back those stakes at well below their fair value.

The Congressional Oversight Panel, which is charged with overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, said in a report that a group of 11 small banks that have repurchased government warrants in exchange for taxpayer-funded assistance, have bought-out the stakes at 66% of their face value.

The oversight panel, which employed three Harvard University valuation experts to conduct the analysis, said taxpayers would have received $10 million more had the warrants been sold back to the banks at their face value.

The report argues that liquidity discounts are a key factor for why the warrants were purchased at such low prices. Should a similar discount be a major factor for warrant repurchases at larger institutions buying out government stakes, the shortfall to taxpayers could be as much as $2.7 billion, the report said.

A group of 32 financial firms, including 10 large financial institutions, paid $70.2 billion to buy out preferred shares Treasury received when they received financial assistance. These buyouts have made the firms eligible to buy back the warrants the government received along with the preferred shares.

Banks that received financial assistance as part of TARP were required to give the government warrants for the future purchase of some of their common shares. Warrants are the right to buy common shares of a company at a set price at some point in the future.

The report said, however, that the Treasury may have other goals with the repurchases that supersede maximizing taxpayer returns.

"Treasury has said that it wants to allow banks to operate again without TARP assistance as soon as they are strong enough to do so," it said.

However, some large financial institutions believe that the government is asking too much, not too little, for the warrants.

Treasury and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!jpm/quotes/nls/jpm (JPM 32.34, -1.28, -3.81%) have been unable to agree on a price for the warrants, prompting J.P. Morgan to take steps to waive its rights to them, according to company spokesman Joe Evangelisti. That process allows the government to auction them in the public markets, said Evangelisti.

"Treasury turned down our price," said Evangelisti. "That enables Treasury to auction the warrants."

J.P. Morgan provided a valuation for the warrants that Treasury rejected as too low, Evangelisti said. "We support the process," Evangelisti said.

The oversight panel's report said the panel is exploring the possibility that Treasury consider selling the TARP warrants in an open, public auction -- an alternative that could possibly give taxpayers a better valuation for the stakes.

"This has the benefit of stopping any speculation about whether Treasury has been too tough or too easy on the banks that want to repurchase their own warrants. It also permits the banks to bid for their own warrants -- in direct competition with outsiders," the report said.

Should TARP be repaid?
The report also raises the question of whether banks should be repaying TARP funds at all at this stage in the economic recovery. The C.O.P.'s next report will examine this question.

"Any exit from the TARP system implicates an important policy question: If the banks give up federal support prematurely, will the economy suffer as a result? The panel has not reached a consensus on whether it is wise policy to release banks from the TARP program at this time, but our June report on the bank stress tests raised key questions about whether we know enough about the banks' overall health," the report said.

Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Warren chairs the panel, which has five members including AFL-CIO General Council Damon Silvers; Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Tex.; and former GOP senator John Sununu.

The panel also urged the Treasury to make the process for repayments as transparent as possible.

"As always, it is critical that Treasury make the process -- the reason for its decisions, the way it arrives at its figures, and the exit strategy from or future use of the TARP -- absolutely transparent. If it fails to do so, the credibility of the decisions it makes and its stewardship of the TARP will be in jeopardy," the report said.

As of June 30, the Treasury has received roughly $6.7 billion in dividend payments from TARP-funded financial institutions, according to a GAO report Thursday.

The dividend funds have been allocated to pay down the national debt, but legislation under consideration on Capitol Hill would use some of the revenues from those funds to help revitalize neighborhoods and create affordable housing.

The new GM

Joe Kishore
wsws.org
11 July 2009

The “new” General Motors exited bankruptcy court on Friday. With the help of the courts, and under the direction of the Obama administration, the company has shed nearly $130 billion in liabilities and created the framework for a vast increase in the exploitation of its workers.

The speed of the bankruptcy proceedings is remarkable. GM passed through the entire process is less than six weeks. One analyst called it “unprecedented, unbelievable, breathtaking.”

Bankruptcy court Judge Robert Gerber brushed aside a series of objections from retirees who will see their health care eliminated, along with asbestos and accident victims and other unsecured creditors. With the potentially profitable assets sold to the new GM, these obligations, along with a number of unwanted brands, will languish in bankruptcy court as part of the “old” GM.

The whole process was a travesty of legality and due process, demonstrating that when Wall Street wants something done, every institution of the American state snaps into line. The bankruptcy courts are supposedly a mechanism for mediating the different claims of various “stakeholders.” In the event, the court served as a rubber stamp for decisions that had already been made. The wealthy investors and banks will recover 100 percent of their investments in GM debt, while workers and other claimants will end up with nothing.

The new GM is born out of a process of social devastation. The company will shed 27,000 more jobs in the US, bringing its total US workforce to 64,000. Thirty years ago the company employed over 618,000 in the US. At the beginning of last year, it employed 110,000.

An additional 14 plants will be closed, along with some 2,000 dealerships. GM is also shutting plants in Canada, bringing the total workforce there to 7,000, down from 20,000 in 2005.

The “new” company emerges from the rubble of closed factories and dealerships and the impoverishment of working class communities that depended on auto employment to fund schools, hospitals and other basic services, as well as the blighted lives of hundreds of thousands of workers and retirees.

As part of a deal negotiated with the United Auto Workers, workers who retain their jobs will have their wages frozen. A no-strike pledge through 2015 agreed by the UAW will facilitate further job, wage and benefit cuts, without the inconvenience of a contract vote. The company aims to replace all older workers with new-hires making $14 an hour.

In an indication of things to come, CEO Fritz Henderson declared Friday that he would employ the “intensity, decisiveness and speed” of the bankruptcy process and transfer it “to the day-to-day operations of the new company.”

UAW retirees, who have already seen their dental and optical benefits eliminated, will face sharp cuts in health care, enforced by the UAW. The UAW-run health care trust—the Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA)—will own 17.5 percent of the new GM. Its assets will be insufficient to cover benefits owed to UAW retirees, but the UAW executives hope to grow rich from the 17.5 percent of stock in the new company they will control.

More than 50,000 retirees who are members of the International Union of Electrical Workers and other non-UAW organizations face the immediate elimination of their health care, as they are not covered by the VEBA.

Vast swaths of the country will be affected. Half the plant shutdowns will take place in the state of Michigan, which already has the country’s highest unemployment rate at over 14 percent. Ohio (with a 10.8 percent jobless rate) will see plants close in Columbus, Parma, and Mansfield. Other communities facing plant closures include Spring Hill, Tennessee; Fredericksburg, Virginia; Jacksonville, Florida; Wilmington Delaware; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Massena, New York.

The downsizing of GM—along with Chrysler, which exited bankruptcy last month—will ripple throughout the auto parts industry and other industries, producing a wave of bankruptcies, plant closures, layoffs and wage cuts.

Smaller towns and cities will be devastated by the closure of 1,900 dealerships, which will mean the elimination of about 100,000 jobs, including dependent businesses.

The restructuring of General Motors and Chrysler is the direct outcome of the policy of the Obama administration, the tool of the most powerful sections of the financial elite. The government conditioned loans to the automaker on securing this result, making explicit its demands for massive concessions from auto workers. Everything has been tailored to the interests of Wall Street, which was determined to transform the former auto giants into much smaller, but highly profitable, enterprises.

The government will now own 60 percent of GM, but the administration has repeatedly made clear that it has no intention of playing any role in the day-to-day management of the company. This will be left to Henderson and the new chairman, Edward Whitacre, former CEO of AT&T, who was handpicked by the Obama administration’s auto task force. The Wall Street Journal quoted Karl Rove, former advisor to George W. Bush, calling Whitacre “very tough”—i.e., very dedicated to the interests of Wall Street.

The administration has said it hopes to quickly sell off its shares to private investors, who are set to make a killing.

The UAW played the critical role in carrying through the plans of Wall Street and the Obama administration. Prior to both the Chrysler and the GM bankruptcies, the UAW agreed to historic concessions, which it pushed through by arguing that the only alternative was the complete liquidation of the companies.

A further illustration of the UAW’s integration into corporate management is its choice for its allotted slot on the new GM board of directors. The UAW selected Stephen Girsky, a former Wall Street analyst for Morgan Stanley and a former advisor to GM’s previous CEO, Rick Wagoner. Girsky will advocate the most ruthless attacks on UAW members in order to boost the company’s stock price and the cut that goes to the UAW executives.

The bankruptcy of General Motors, once the pinnacle of American manufacturing, is a stunning expression of the protracted and precipitous decline of American capitalism. The economic crisis that has overcome world capitalism is rooted in the decay of American capitalism. But the crisis precipitated by the money-mad speculation and fraud of the US financial elite has only increased its domination over the political system and every other official institution in the country.

The banks, utilizing the services of the Obama administration, are exploiting the crisis of their own making to plunder the national treasury and carry through a further dismantling of unprofitable industries, in order to divert even greater resources to the enrichment of the American financial aristocracy.

At the heart of this process is an assault on the living standards of the working class without historical precedent.

To oppose this attack, workers require a new strategy. They must break with the UAW and form independent rank-and-file committees to oppose the united front of the Obama administration, Wall Street, the auto bosses and the UAW, and fight to defend their jobs and living standards.

These committees should work for the unity of all sections of auto workers and the entire working class and prepare actions to demand the reopening of the plants, the restoration of wages and benefits and the ripping up of sellout contracts and government diktats. Plant occupations, strikes and mass demonstrations should be called in cities affected by the GM and Chrysler bankruptcies and the shutdown of parts plants and dealerships.

What is above all necessary is a political response based on a socialist perspective. There can be no resolution to the crisis in auto that defends the basic interests of the working class outside a complete transformation of social relations in the United States and around the world.

The financial dictatorship of the banks must be broken, through their nationalization and transformation into public utilities under the democratic control of the working population. The auto companies themselves must be turned into public entities, run under the democratic control of the working class. Only on this basis can the economy be developed to meet the needs of the people, rather than private profit.

To carry out this program, workers need their own political party. The Socialist Equality Party urges all auto workers throughout the US and internationally to contact the SEP. We make a special appeal to workers in the Midwest to attend a special conference on July 25 to discuss a new political perspective for the working class.

2009年7月3日 星期五

U.S. loses equivalent of every job created in decade

Alia McMullen
Financial Post
July 02, 2009

An unemployed man who lives in a camper van on Venice Beach in Los Angeles on June 19, 2009. The U.S. unemployment rate has risen to 9.5% after more than 400,000 jobs were lost during the month

The U.S. economy has lost the equivalent of every job created in the past nine years.

All job growth since the final year of the dot-com bubble, its recovery from the bust, and the ensuing six years of consumer-driven boom is now gone, leading some economists to fear an outright decline in wages will be next. Others believe the United States is on track for a painful "jobless recovery."

"This is the only recession since the Great Depression to wipe out all jobs growth from the previous business cycle, a testament both to the enormity of the current crisis and to the extreme weakness of jobs growth over the business cycle from 2000 to 2007," said Heidi Shierholz, an economist at Washington-based think tank The Economic Policy Institute. "It is apparent that, despite the substantial positive impact of the February recovery package, the economy's dramatic deterioration from November to March was even greater than anticipated."

Non-farm employment fell for the 18th consecutive month in June, dropping by a worse-than-expected 467,000, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures showed Thursday. The decline marked the longest run of job destruction in the post World War II period.

Since the recession began in December 2007, the jobs market has shrunk by 6.5 million positions, pushing the unemployment rate up 4.6 percentage points to 9.5% -- the highest rate since 1981. Nine million part-time workers are in want of full-time jobs, and a record 29% of unemployed have been jobless for more than six months.

Derek Holt, vice-president economics at Scotia Capital said the U.S. unemployment rate would likely eclipse the 10.8% record set during the early 1980s recession.

"This has become, without question, the worst ever post-war pace of job market downsizing in the U.S. economy," Mr. Holt said.

He said unemployment would weigh on an economic recovery by restraining consumer spending. It would also cause further concerns about credit quality and retail bank revenue growth.

A homeless in Los Angels

The employment market's problems do not end at job losses. Earnings are under pressure. Average hourly earnings rose an annualized 0.7% in the past three months -- the smallest gain since records began in 1964. The annual change in hourly earnings slipped to a rise of 2.7% from 3% the previous month.

"Wages will soon be falling outright, a classic deflation signal," said Ian Shepherdson, the chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics.

Compounding problems, average hours worked fell further in June to be down 0.8% to a cyclical low of 33 hours a week. The average workweek has shrunk 8.2% since the start of the recession, placing added pressure on household cash flows. It also means employers will be slow to hire because there is ample room to increase work hours.

Sal Guatieri, an economist at BMO Capital Markets, said the conditions increasingly pointed to what is known as a "jobless recovery," where economic growth returns without a corresponding rise in employment.

He said the decline in work hours could weigh on gross domestic product in the second and third quarters, and could cause GDP to come in worse than predicted. BMO has forecast the U.S. economy to contract by an annualized 2.9% in the second quarter and remain flat in the third quarter.

The dispirited outlook for the United States will have a direct impact on Canadian jobs by keeping business conditions weak. Dale Orr of Dale Orr Economic Insight said Canada's unemployment rate would likely peak near 10% in early 2010, up from 8.4% now. "I do not expect solid reductions in the unemployment rate until 2012," he said.

There was one positive in the U.S. employment report: the pace of job losses in June remained lower than the massive declines of winter, when a record 741,000 jobs were lost in January alone. Even so, it was the first increase in the number of job losses in five months. A large part of the decline in June was due to a 49,000 drop in government employment, mostly due to layoffs of temporary workers hired to prepare the 2010 Census.

But Wednesday's rise in the purchasing managers index, which reflected expansion for a second consecutive month, suggested better employment conditions ahead.

"Historically, firms will wait for production to expand for a few months before they start adding to payrolls," said Stéfane Marion, the chief economist at National Bank Financial. "This development suggests a much better tone to labour markets by this fall."

2009年5月7日 星期四

從飢餓中大撈一筆

—— 貿易自由化的騙局與糧食危機
兩岸犇報編輯部編譯
台灣《兩岸犇報》
2009 5月號
5月4日

倒行逆施的糧食體系
全球糧價上漲的風暴已經席捲了平民百姓、政府和媒體。小麥的價格在2007年的基礎上增長了130%;僅在去年(2008年)第一季亞洲的糧價就翻了一倍;由於食用油、水果、蔬菜、乳製品和肉類等的價格連續攀升,使得消耗量反而有所下降。從海地到喀麥隆再到孟加拉,已經不斷出現了示威以抗議無力承受的物價。由於畏懼出現政治騷動,世界各國領導人呼籲更多的糧食援助,並投入更多的資金和技術以促進農業生產。當糧食出口國閉關自守以確保國內市場的同時,其他國家卻被迫到處搶購。是價格炒作嗎?不是;是糧食短缺嗎?也不盡然。事實上,我們正處於一種結構崩塌的狀態,這是30年來的新自由全球化所導致的結果。

2007年全球農民所生產的糧食高達到23億噸,創了歷史的新高點,比前年足足增長了4%。自1961年以來,雖然世界人口增加了1倍,但糧食產量卻也增加了3 倍。沒錯,糧食存量確實降到30年來的最低水位,但是生產的糧食卻足夠養活所有的人。問題在於,糧食不能分配到需要的人的手裏。人類所直接消費掉的糧食未達到世界糧食產量的一半,大部分的穀物被用來喂養牲口和製造生質能源。事實上,通過這些冷冰冰的數字後面,你會發現我們的糧食體系根本上就有問題︰我們把那些用來滋養人類和維持生計的糧食變成了投機炒作和討價還價的商品。現在,個在邏輯上倒行逆施的制度已經到了頭,我們所面對的是一個把投資者的利潤看得比人民的糧食需求還重要的體制。

饑餓降臨,人們絕望
那些真正掌控世界糧食體系並有責任避免危機出現的決策者,一再重彈一些老掉牙的藉口來解釋當前的糧食危機:如果不是把原因推給乾旱或其他影響糧食收成的氣候因素,就是把責任怪罪到中國大陸和印度人民吃得比過去更多更好而不斷提高糧食需求,又或者歸罪於農地被大量用來生產生質能源等等。當然這些都是問題,但它們絕非是造成當前糧食危機最主要的因素。這些糧食決策者所極力掩蓋的事實是,導致今天的糧食危機的根本性因素其實是自上個世紀50年代以來大力推行的“綠色革命”,以及自70年代以來世界銀行(WB)及世界貨幣基金組織 (IMF)在貧窮國家實行的自由貿易(FAT)和結構調整政策(SAP)雙重作用的結果。隨著90年代世界貿易組織(WTO)的建立,及近來雙邊自由貿易與投資協定( Bilateral free trade and investment agreements)的出現,貧窮國家被迫向跨國農業公司、投機商和那些補貼糧食出口的富有國家(如美國)開放自己的國內市場和出讓土地。貧窮國家肥沃的土地上,生產的不再是滿足當地市場需要的糧食,轉而為西方的大超市生產各種熱帶經濟作物,如咖啡、鳳梨等。今天,發展中國家中約有70%的國家全靠進口滿足糧食需求。據估計,全世界有8.45 億人口正在挨餓,80%是小農。

因此,可以說,農業政策已經與滿足人們的糧食需求這個最基本的目標脫軌了。饑餓降臨,人們絕望。聯合國糧食規劃署估計近來糧價的上漲將導致另外1億人挨餓。多年來世界銀行和世界貨幣基金組織一再向各國宣稱,一個開放的市場能為其糧食生產和分配提供最有效的體系。然而今天,世界上的窮國卻被迫跟那些正洋洋自得的投機者和貿易商一起競標糧食。為避開股市衰退和信貸緊縮,對沖基金和其他來源的熱錢投入數十億美元到糧食市場,導致糧食庫存對窮人來說根本遙不可及。據統計,投資基金控制了全球最大的小麥貿易市場的 50-60%;投入在買空賣空的大米和小麥期貨市場的投機資金,從2000年的50億美元增加到2007年的1750億美元。

如今,形勢十分嚴峻。幾十年前的海地還是一個自給自足的稻米生產國,但是為了取得外國貸款,特別是1994年IMF的一攬子融資條件被迫開放市場。美國廉價大米 (因為政府補貼和行賄)趁機大量傾銷海地,使得當地生產的大米徹底被淘汰。去年迄今,國際米價上漲了50%,海地的普通老百姓根本吃不起,因而不斷有人上街遊行,甚至冒著生命危險乘船偷渡到美國。在西非從毛利塔尼亞到布吉納法索,糧食抗議層出不窮。這些地方的稻米生產被結構調整方案和糧食援助傾銷所摧毀,致使當地居民任由國際市場擺佈。在亞洲,即便就在去年,世界銀行還不斷向菲律賓人民保證,國際市場可以完全供應他們的糧食需求,沒有必要自行生產稻米。然而現在,菲律賓政府卻幾近絕望:供應國內的糧食補貼幾乎耗盡,而國際市場糧價的飆升使之無能力進口足夠的糧食。

在糧食危機中大撈一筆
誰從全球糧食體系受益或受害,已經真相現大白。糧食生產的基本要素是土壤,但是糧食工業體系卻染上化學肥料的毒癮,為了維持糧食收益不惜侵蝕土壤,它必須吸食越來越多的毒品才能活下去。在當前糧食供應緊縮的情況下,那些控制著全球化肥市場的少數財團正可以予取予求。例如,控制著全球大部分磷肥和鉀肥供應的美國“嘉吉集團”(Cargill’s Mosaic Corporation),從2006年以來每年獲益成倍數成長。世界上最大的鉀肥生產商,加拿大的 Potash Cirporation 每年盈餘超過10億美元。儘管化肥的獲利可觀,但對於像嘉吉這樣的跨國財團而言,這只能算是副業,它更大的利潤源於全球的農產品貿易,並與其他大公司聯合壟斷了主要市場。2008年4月14日,嘉吉宣佈 2008年第一季的農產品貿易盈利比去年同期增長86%。事實上,所有的糧食貿易商去年得盈餘都創歷史新高。邦奇集團2007年第四季的盈餘增加了 2.45億美元,比去年同期增長77%。世界第二大糧食貿易公司ADM,2007年的上報盈餘達22億美元,增長了65%。亞洲主要的糧食貿易公司泰國的卜蜂公司2008年的收入是2007年的237%。

: 全球幾家最大的穀物商利潤增長情況表:

公司

2007年盈餘

(百萬/美元)

2006 年增長的百分比 (%)

嘉吉 (Cargill 美國)

2,340

36%

ADM (美國)

2,200

67%

康尼格拉集團 (美國)

764

30%

邦奇 (美國)

738

49%

來寶集團 (新加坡)

258

92%

丸紅株式會社 (日本)

90

43%


此外,本身也是糧食貿易商的大型糧食加工集團也有不少進帳。雀巢公司2007年全球的銷售和營利漲了7%,聯合利華 (Unilever) 也差不多。糧食貿易公司也沒有虧待零售商,英國的特速購(Tesco)超市自2007年盈利創紀錄地上漲了12.3%,其他主要零售商如法國的家樂福和美國的沃爾瑪的糧食銷售也是他們利潤攀升的主要因素。就連控制了1/3的墨西哥糧食銷售的沃爾瑪墨西哥分公司,在2008年第一季的利潤也增長了11%,與此同時墨西哥人卻因為吃不起玉米餅而上街抗議。

全球糧食鏈中幾乎所有的玩家都在糧食危機中大撈一筆。種子和農化公司的表現也很亮眼,世界上最大的種子公司孟山都(Monsanto)2007年總利潤上升了44%;第二大公司杜邦2007年經營種子盈利上漲了19%;作為最大的農藥生產廠和第三大種子公司的先正達 (Syngenta)2008年第一季盈餘增長了28%。這種創紀錄的利潤與這些跨國公司正在炮製的、非一次性暴利的供需失衡無關,相反的,這些中間商人從全球化的糧食體系獲利,反映出一種極端的權力。糧食貿易公司正通過它的全球營運,密切的介入支配當前糧食體系的貿易規範,並緊緊地掌控著市場以及更為複雜的金融體系,藉以將糧食危機轉化為賺錢機會。不管多麼昂貴,人們總得吃飯。

反思糧食政策是當務之急
當前搖搖欲墜的全球金融體系對糧食市場的危害更大,從2007年開始的美國次貸危機讓情況變得更加嚴峻。正如人們所理解的,全球金融體系其實是「國王的新衣」,世界經濟所背負的債務沒人還的起。當前的事實是,不管是IMF,還是世界銀行的當權者,或者是強權國家的領袖,都沒有人願意為瀕臨破產的金融體系採取必要的措施。

糧食危機的核心也在於此:被意識形態所操弄的政治菁英強迫各國開放自由市場,其結果卻讓部分鉅賈、投資和投機商從中牟取暴利。大部分國家已經喪失了自給自足的能力,這種失能通常還伴隨著腐蝕國家和貿易體系的貪污。這一切在在都表明了,新自由主義已經失去它的合法性,今天的糧食危機正是幾十年來貿易自由化的直接結果,我們必須與之全面決裂。現在,必須採取的行動是降低糧價,並把它送到需要的人手裡。同時,我們也要大幅度的改變農業政策,使全球的小農都能擁有土地,並以此為生。農業政策應該更多的關注、支持和保護農民、漁人和其他生產糧食來養家糊口、供應在地市場和城市人口的人,而非只關注和支持商品市場和鉅賈的利益。換言之,我們需要糧食自主:由小農和漁民們自己定義和推動的糧食主權。

全世界反對當前糧食體系的遊行和運動經常是被國家機器、跨國公司與服務其利益的主流媒體暴力地壓制與扭曲。還有一線生機,情況是可以扭轉的。各國政府應該傾聽農民組織對解決當前糧食危機的具體建議,已經有些國家的農業政策開始朝糧食自主轉向,其他國家也開始質疑推動自由貿易的根據。站在全球糧食政策金字塔頂端的新自由主義鷹派已經信用破產,現在由草根民眾發起的糧食主權和土地改革運動是該取代他們的時候,只有這樣才能使人們脫離水深火熱的危機。

(資料來源:"Making a killing from hunger -- We need to overturn food policy, now!" , GRAIN http://www.grain.org/articles/?id=39 )

糧農組織:全球10億人面臨饑荒

BBC中文網
2009年5月6日

聯合國糧食及農業組織總幹事迪烏夫警告說,由於糧食生產不足,今年世界各地將會有10億人面臨饑荒。

迪烏夫與景和組織在法國巴黎舉行了會談,討論金融與經濟危機對發展中國家造成的衝擊。

他在會上呼籲增加農業投資、並且援助農民的收入。

一年前,舉世擔心的是糧食價格高漲,一些貧窮國家還出現了因為糧食價格居高不下所引發的騷亂。

如今雖然在國際市場上糧食價格似乎已經下跌,但是迪烏夫說,發展中國家的糧食價格卻好像沒有任何變化。

迪烏夫表示,現在全球飢餓人口的數目超過了以往。

迪烏夫說,在2009年,由於金融和經濟危機,所以聯合國糧農組織預計會增加1億4百萬的飢餓人口,這使得全球飢餓人口達到了10億人。

他還表示,從來沒有見過世界上會有這麼多的飢餓人口。

糧農組織認為發展中國家的糧食價格沒有下跌的原因是市場價格僵化。該組織呼籲大量增加農業方面的外援。

迪烏夫希望如此能夠增加在運送道路、儲存設施等其他基本建設方面的投資。

另外,經濟專家也還沒有完成金融與經濟危機對發展中國家的衝擊的評估。

發展中國家的貿易和信用交易自然是受到重創,但是最令人擔心的是出外工作的工人寄回家的款項大為減少。

糧農組織說,這個因為勞力市場需求減少而引發出來的問題,不但影響了工資收入的水平、也影響了購買糧食的能力。

2009年4月29日 星期三

How the Swine Flu Exploded

Al Giordano
The Narco News Bulletin
April 29, 2009

US and Mexico authorities claim that neither knew about the “swine flu” outbreak until April 24. But after hundreds of residents of a town in Veracruz, Mexico, came down with its symptoms, the story had already hit the Mexican national press by April 5. The daily La Jornada reported:

Clouds of flies emanate from the rusty lagoons where the Carroll Ranches business tosses the fecal wastes of its pig farms, and the open-air contamination is already generating an epidemic of respiratory infections in the town of La Gloria, in the Perote Valley, according to Town Administrator Bertha Crisóstomo López.

The town has 3,000 inhabitants, hundreds of whom reported severe flu symptoms in March.

CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, reporting from Mexico, has identified a La Gloria child who contracted the first case of identified “swine flu” in February as “patient zero,” five-year-old Edgar Hernández, now a survivor of the disease.

By April 15 – nine days before Mexican federal authorities of the regime of President Felipe Calderon acknowledged any problem at all – the local daily newspaper, Marcha, reported that a company called Carroll Ranches was “the cause of the epidemic.”

La Jornada columnist Julio Hernández López connects the corporate dots to explain how the Virginia-based Smithfield Farms came to Mexico: In 1985, Smithfield Farms received what was, at the time, the most expensive fine in history – $12.6 million – for violating the US Clean Water Act at its pig facilities near the Pagan River in Smithfield, Virginia, a tributary that flows into the Chesapeake Bay. The company, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dumped hog waste into the river.

It was a case in which US environmental law succeeded in forcing a polluter, Smithfield Farms, to construct a sewage treatment plant at that facility after decades of using the river as a mega-toilet. But “free trade” opened a path for Smithfield Farms to simply move its harmful practices next door into Mexico so that it could evade the tougher US regulators.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect on January 1, 1994. That very same year Smithfield Farms opened the “Carroll Ranches” in the Mexican state of Veracruz through a new subsidiary corporation, “Agroindustrias de México.”

Unlike what law enforcers forced upon Smithfield Farms in the US, the new Mexican facility – processing 800,000 pigs into bacon and other products per year – does not have a sewage treatment plant.

According to Rolling Stone magazine, Smithfield slaughters an estimated 27 million hogs a year to produce more than six billion pounds of packaged pork products. (The Veracruz facility thus constitutes about three percent of its total production.)

Reporter Jeff Teitz reported in 2006 on the conditions in Smithfield’s US facilities (remember: what you are about to read describes conditions that are more sanitary and regulated than those in Mexico):

Smithfield’s pigs live by the hundreds or thousands in warehouse-like barns, in rows of wall-to-wall pens. Sows are artificially inseminated and fed and delivered of their piglets in cages so small they cannot turn around. Forty fully grown 250-pound male hogs often occupy a pen the size of a tiny apartment. They trample each other to death. There is no sunlight, straw, fresh air or earth. The floors are slatted to allow excrement to fall into a catchment pit under the pens, but many things besides excrement can wind up in the pits: afterbirths, piglets accidentally crushed by their mothers, old batteries, broken bottles of insecticide, antibiotic syringes, stillborn pigs—anything small enough to fit through the foot-wide pipes that drain the pits. The pipes remain closed until enough sewage accumulates in the pits to create good expulsion pressure; then the pipes are opened and everything bursts out into a large holding pond.

The temperature inside hog houses is often hotter than ninety degrees. The air, saturated almost to the point of precipitation with gases from shit and chemicals, can be lethal to the pigs. Enormous exhaust fans run twenty-four hours a day. The ventilation systems function like the ventilators of terminal patients: If they break down for any length of time, pigs start dying.

Consider what happens when such forms of massive pork production move to unregulated territory where Mexican authorities allow wealthy interests to do business without adequate oversight, abusing workers and the environment both. And there it is: The violence wrought by NAFTA in clear and understandable human terms.

The so-called “swine flu” exploded because an environmental disaster simply moved (and with it, took jobs from US workers) to Mexico where environmental and worker safety laws, if they exist, are not enforced against powerful multinational corporations.

False mental constructs of borders – the kind that cause US and Mexican citizens alike to imagine a flu strain like this one invading their nations from other lands – are taking a long overdue hit by the current “swine flu” media frenzy. In this case, US-Mexico trade policy created a time bomb in Veracruz that has already murdered more than 150 Mexican citizens, and at least one child in the US, by creating a gigantic Petri dish in the form pig farms to generate bacon and ham for international sale.

None of that indicates that this flu strain was born in Mexico, but, rather, that the North American Free Trade Agreement created the optimal conditions for the flu to gestate and become, at minimum, epidemic in La Gloria and, now, Mexico City, and threatens to become international pandemic.

Welcome to the aftermath of “free trade.” Authorities now want you to grab a hospital facemask and avoid human contact until the outbreak hopefully blows over. And if you start to feel dizzy, or a flush with fever, or other symptoms begin to molest you or your children, remember this: The real name of this infirmity is “The NAFTA Flu,” the first of what may well emerge as many new illnesses to emerge internationally as the direct result of “free trade” agreements that allow companies like Smithfield Farms to escape health, safety and environmental laws.

2009年3月25日 星期三

痙攣中的世界貿易

John Ross
《國際金融危機下的中國經濟》網誌
(citifc.blogspot.com)
2009年3月24日

我在本博客之前的一些文章裡曾經分析過目前的金融市場包括股價已經歷經了17個月的持續下滑,其下滑的速度之快可以和史上記載的最嚴重的一次金融危機(發生在1929年後)相提並論。從圖表一看,雖然從3月9日-11日的交易日裡華爾街的股價有所上升,但這不能打破整個下降的趨勢。到目前的股價的小幅上升只是使其下降率向自2007年10月開始的下降趨勢平均線靠攏。可以看到2007年10月之後的數周內道瓊斯工業指數的下降率都高於平均下降水平。

圖表一
從圖表二可以看到,自2007年10月開始的道瓊斯工業指數下降率已經接近1929年的下降速度,並且其下降速度已經遠遠超過20世紀以來除1929年外的其他幾次主要的下跌期。

圖表二
就像本人在這個月初的一篇文章裡所指出的那樣,如果考慮經濟下滑和生產性經濟之間的關係,主要的工業經濟國家數據都顯示折合年率的2008年最後三個月出口下降率事實上已經超過了1929年。
經濟合作與發展組織(OECD)發佈了截至到2008年世界貿易的最新統計數據。從其中一些國家最近幾個月的數據來看可以斷定這種急速下降的趨勢呈現一種普遍的態勢。


我們用三個指標來計算和衡量目前出口快速下滑的狀況:2008年12月份同比下降率、自去年每個國家或地區相較其最高峰與2008年12月的出口率之間的變化值以及折合年率的最後三個月出口下降率。

為了能跟美國歷史上出現過同等規模出口下降的情況進行比較,我們列舉了以下出口下降率,1929-30年的22.5%、1930-1931年的32.7%、1932-1933年的4%,之後部分出口開始得以恢復。據資料記載美國出口下降最快的時期是20世紀30年代的大蕭條時期, 1930-31年的出口下降率為32.7%,到1933年美國的出口下跌了66.2%,已經低於其1929年的水平。

如表格一所示,我們先把OECD區域看作是一個整體,再單獨把歐洲分離出來進行比較。首先我們看到整個OECD區域的出口自2008年4月的最高峰以來出現了大概30%的下降。折合年率到截至去年12月的最後三個月出口下降率達到了驚人的64%。

另外其他主要的G7經濟體的下降相對較緩些,自2008年6月最高峰以來出現26.9%的下滑,折合年率到去年最後三個月出口下降率也達到了57.8%。

在歐洲範圍內,其折合年率截至到去年12月的最後三個月出口下降率達到了50.4%, 而如果把一些東歐國家也計算進去的話,OECD歐洲區域的年下降率為67.0%.

由此可見,在貿易領域和相關的金融市場,目前的下降速度完全可以和30年代初爆發的大蕭條時期的衰退相提並論。兩者之間的差別並不是他們下跌的速度有所不同,而是其下跌持續期。1929年後的出口下降持續了4年,而目前所發生的出口下滑才發生了一年。

表一
讓我們再來看看每個國家的具體情況。表2顯示了經濟合作發展組織內最大七個國家-G7在2008年12月的出口情況,可以看到出口水平從去年最高水平下降了大約25%,而折合年率截至去年12月的最後三個月出口下降率都超過了50%。

總之,世界貿易正以30年代大衰退的下降速度在快速下滑,這種貿易急劇下滑不僅發生在小國家甚至已經完全影響到了世界大國。

表二

表三顯示了非G7的經濟合作發展組織內其他歐洲國家的出口下降率。可以看到表內的兩個較小經濟體國家-盧森堡和愛爾蘭的跌幅要明顯小於其他國家。其他國家的出口率與去年最高水平相比下降了至少25%,折合年率的出口下降率超過50%。

其中西班牙折合年率截至到08年12月的最後三個月出口下降率更是達到令人難以置信的99%,這或許可能是統計上有點失真。但是瑞典、波蘭、挪威的出口下降也同樣的嚴重,分別是79.1%、82.8%、83.1%。這樣的下降率表明至少在短期內的出口不只是在下降而是瀕臨崩潰。

表三

讓我們轉而來看看非歐洲經濟體國家的情況,如果不考慮其中兩個小的經濟體國家-新西蘭和冰島。如圖四所示,中國2008年最後三個月折合年率的出口下降率為53.3%,這看起來比其他國家要稍緩和一些。墨西哥和韓國的同比出口下降率大概在30%左右.南非和土耳其已經與其頂峰水平相比下降了40%左右。其他幾個國家如韓國、巴西、印尼、南美和土耳其的折合年率的出口下降率分別是70.7%、72.4%、78.2%、82.1%、90.1%,可以看到這樣的出口下降率是災難性的。

表四

表五所示,OECD關於今年1月的出口統計數據依然顯示這樣大幅下降的趨勢正在延續。其主要的區別是1月的實際出口下滑相比與2008年下降率顯得更加糟糕。

2009年1月出口數據跟各自的出口最高月數據相比,表內顯示五個國家的出口下降變化率分別是瑞士(29.8%)、南非(41.1%)、瑞典(41.4%)、挪威(46.3%)、土耳其(47.5%)。沒有任何的跡象表明目前這種出口快速下滑的趨勢將有所改善。

表五

總結上面的數據,在列出的三十四個國家裡有十四個國家的年出口下降跌幅超過70%,另外20個國家的下降率也超過了60%。有關去年最後三個月的出口下降率的公開報告顯示日本的下降率為51.9%,中國為53%,美國為54%,這跟其他多數國家大幅下降的出口情況相比確實要緩和些。

然而如此糟糕的年出口下降率說明世界貿易已經遭受了嚴重的打擊。去年最後三個月的數據顯示目前的情況已經相當嚴重並且這樣快速的下降顯然已經成為一種趨勢。同樣令人擔憂的是有七個國家的出口率與去年最高峰水平相比下降超過了40%,另外十九個國家超過了30%。

這裡有必要指出當今的世界貿易在世界經濟中扮演了極其重要的角色,其重要性已經遠遠超過了它在1929年的那次金融危機中所處的地位。現在美國的出口占美國GDP的12%,而其在1929年只佔7%。而這個比例在大多數國家可能更高。即使在其他同等的條件下,單憑如此快速的持續貿易下降率已經足夠說明現在的情況比1929年更加嚴重。

這中從金融業向生產性經濟轉移的機制在上述的下降趨勢中表露無疑。就像先前提到的那樣,目前金融市場的衰落程度幾乎與1929年的金融危機相同,而金融市場跟生產性經濟之間衰退並不完全一致。生產性經濟雖然也遭受嚴重的創傷,但其受下降的程度並不完全與金融市場相當。但是這不能表明目前下降到底部的金融市場會復甦。同時,雖然生產性經濟的下降趨勢和統計數據落後於金融市場,但其也將向金融市場的下降趨勢靠攏。

所有主要經濟體的最近數據顯示世界出口下降達到令人咋舌的程度。爆發在金融市場的危機正通過貿易萎縮開始影響到生產性經濟。現在可以這麼說在世界兩大經濟領域-金融市場和貿易中,兩者的下降率都已經完全可以和1929年那次金融危機的規模相比。我們必須要仔細的研究這種從國際經濟危機到國內經濟危機轉移的機制有多強大。同時,這種危機持續的時間也是至關重要的。到目前為止最嚴重的一次危機發生在1929年,這不僅是因為其快速的下降速度還在於它持續時間之長。20世紀30年代美國貿易和GDP持續下滑了長達四年,而目前金融市場的下滑已經持續了十七個月,貿易下滑還不足一年,GDP的下滑大概是六個月。

相當充分的數據表明世界貿易在2008年最後三個月內正處於痙攣的狀態。和金融市場的急劇下滑一樣,世界貿易也正快速的下滑,這使我們斷定目前的世界貿易的急劇下跌標誌著這場危機的嚴重程度不僅遠甚於二戰以後的幾次衰退,也幾乎趕上了1929年的那次金融危機。

表格註釋-2008出口最高峰月

1. 2008年1月
2. 2008年3月
3. 2008年4月
4. 2008年5月
5. 2008年6月
6. 2008年7月
7. 2008年8月
8. 2008年9月

WTO預測全球貿易額今年下滑9%

張環宇
《財經》
2009年3月24日

3月23日發表的WTO一份官方報告作出了如上預測。WTO總幹事帕斯卡爾·拉米(Pascal Lamy)稱,「貿易是提振世界經濟的強有力工具。」「G20峰會上,領導人們將獲得一個特別的機會,聯合起來並立刻行動,以遏制貿易保護主義進一步蔓延。」


按WTO的觀點,2009年貿易收縮主要受到四方面因素的影響:

——世界主要經濟體的貿易需求同時大幅放緩。

——貿易鏈的加長,意味著傳統意義上的產出國和消費國的簡單貿易變得更加複雜,中間品需要經過很多國家的再加工。這種複雜化,增加了貿易衰退所帶來的「放大效應」。

——貿易融資渠道的喪失。

——貿易保護主義的升溫,任何貿易保護行為都可能延長衰退時間,並令復甦更遲到來。

拉米說,「在過去30年中,貿易始終是世界經濟增長的重要支柱之一。貿易經常會超過產出的增長速度,特別是很多產品的生產過程遍佈世界各地,這可能會產生龐大的乘數效應。正因為此,一旦需求放緩,貿易可能會下降得更加明顯。其中,貿易融資渠道的堵塞是貿易大幅下降的重要原因,對於發展中國家來說,更是如此。」

WTO的預測並非無的放矢。按照目前已經公佈的數據,很多出口導向型經濟體在1月和2月均出現出口大幅下行,出口下降的影響也反饋至更多相關部門,工業產出低迷,採購經理人判斷悲觀,固定資產投資銳減。

3月10日,德國聯邦統計局公佈數據顯示,由於金融危機和經濟衰退導致全球貿易不斷萎縮,德國1月出口總額為666億歐元,較2008年同期大幅下降20.7%。該數據創下16年來的最大降幅,同時也是德國出口自2008年11月以來連續第三個月下滑。在世界另一出口大國日本,出口也遭遇兩位數巨跌。這令經濟學家紛紛調低對這兩個國家GDP增幅預期。

WTO報告除對2009年的整體貿易狀況作出了較為悲觀的預測外,同時指出,金融市場震盪和貿易保護主義抬頭,會延長貿易狀況恢復的時間。如果家庭消費支出不能恢復到正常水平之上,經濟恢復的步伐也將放慢。當然,在眾多不利因素對面,也存在著一些可能導致貿易狀況更快恢復的因素:信貸市場運行得到恢復,金融改革成功實現,銀行融資渠道重新暢通。這些因素均將加速經濟復甦的進程。■

2009年2月8日 星期日

全球破產颶風來臨

陳程
中國經營報
2009年2月8日

全球資本市場的股票市值已經從2007年的最高峰60多萬億美元滑落到目前的20多萬億美元。美國埋葬了獨立的投行,拯救了商業銀行,又把投行和商業銀行捆在一起。但是,將美林綁在美洲銀行上的結果是美洲銀行也陷入了泥潭,花旗和美銀是走向破產還是國有化,美國新任的奧巴馬政府也猶猶豫豫中抉擇。市場各方形成了共識:不管是哪種結果,全球實體經濟都將隨之陷入破產颶風當中。

信貸市場堅冰繼續增厚
美聯儲最新的季度銀行貸款活躍調查顯示,大量的銀行在過去三個月裡實質上大幅度勒緊了貸款標準,而且範圍幾乎是所有的貸款產品。將近60%的銀行收緊了在信用卡和消費者貸款上的貸款標準,80%的銀行收緊了商業房地產貸款的貸款標準。

該報告基於對51家美國國內銀行和23家外國銀行在美國分支機構調查所得。比如,花旗集團等金融巨頭宣稱自己計劃將援助資金轉為貸款支持實體經濟,但是,實際上它們可能完不成計劃,或者同時要求更多援助。

花旗宣稱,準備在未來幾個月內將所獲得援助資金中的365億美元用於發放抵押貸款。但之後該集團又宣佈在今年11月份以前還需要200億美元的資金,否則將陷入四分五裂的厄運,這也僅僅是在目前的市況下,如果市場惡化將需要更多。

美洲銀行甚至都沒有提出信貸增長的目標,因為其收購美林所留下的巨額債務仍然找不到出路。市場人士估計美洲銀行可能還需要數百億美元甚至有可能上千億美元才能解決目前的困局。狀況最好的富國銀行和摩根大通預期發放的貸款則更少。
歐洲2020研究所的最新研究報告認為,隨著經濟衰退的進一步加劇,金融業的問題仍然在朝著更嚴重的方向發展。該智囊機構匡算,「保守地估計,目前有可能蒸發的幽靈資產已經超過了30萬億美元。」該機構在2007年第一個預告了美國金融機構的次貸危機,也在去年初準確預期了一年內將會有10萬億美元的幽靈資產在這次危機中消失。

隨著花旗和美銀的股價不斷創出新低,兩家銀行破產或者國有化的消息繪聲繪色地傳著。 「市場人士已經意識到:如果破產,公眾股東的命運將類似於雷曼股東的下場;如果被國有化,則是AIG股東的結果。」 Knights基金管理公司董事總經理袁錦程介紹說。「總之,公眾股東終將這兩家問題機構的埋單者。」

奧巴馬拯救方案前途暗淡
奧巴馬新政府及美國銀行監管機構推出了兩個新方案,一個是包含了基礎設施建設、教育投資、返稅等一系列措施的8850億美元的經濟刺激方案,另一個是「壞賬」銀行或者是為眾多商業銀行的有毒資產提供擔保。

因為未獲得共和黨的支持,8850億的經濟刺激方案在參議院被拖延。該議案不僅在眾議院沒有獲得一名共和黨議員的投票支持,而且還有十多名民主黨議員反對。雖然在眾議院強行過關,但是在參議院,共和黨利用清除程序障礙成功阻擊了該方案。

同時,共和黨提出了完全不同版本的新方案。大約為4450億美元,僅相當於民主黨版本的一半,重點集中在減稅。這與共和黨一貫支持自由市場經濟,反對政府參與具體的經營活動的理念一脈相承。兩種方案的爭鬥將掀起一場有關到底如何拯救才更有效率的爭論。

參議員約翰.麥凱恩說:「美國民眾發現這個計劃不像是一個刺激方案,而是一項支出方案。」而且高達8850億美元的刺激計劃過於浪費,並不能對美國經濟起到帶頭拉動的作用。方案的確是有「到處撒胡椒面兒」的嫌疑,計劃內容林林總總居然有數百項之多。

而「壞賬」銀行的方案越來越被現實證明是不可行的,首先是銀行各類有毒資產的定價問題異常複雜困難,同時市場估算收購成本將超過一萬億美元,這將導致該方案幾乎不可能得到國會的批准。

貨幣創造跌進流動性深淵
通過將利率降至歷史最低水平和無限制地印刷鈔票,全球的政治領導人和他們的中央銀行家正在竭盡全力地解決目前的流動性危機。與眾機構預期相反地是,銀行的資產負債表、家庭負債、公司破產或者政府赤字,這些黑洞迅速吞噬了巨量的貨幣創造,流動性仍然在迅速地消失。

流動性流速放緩甚至斷流將無數的公司現金流撤斷,進而推下了懸崖,進入了無底深淵。所有的市場參與者都在捫心自問:在過去十多年裡,我們是不是享受了我們本不應該享受的財富?我們是不是在還債?債務總額到底是多少?

在很多公司之間的不信任也已經達到了登峰造極的地步。沒有人能告訴你說,它們的訂單是否值得信任,因為每個行業的消費者都在取消訂單,或者只是停止購買,即使價格打折打到了歷史最低水平之下,過去幾周全球零售總額迅速下降說明了一切。

同時,通過國際貿易體系,全球每一個人都分享了過去三十年經濟繁榮的好處,只不過有人得到地多,有人得到的少而已。俄羅斯的億萬富翁、海灣的石油帝國、中國的商業樂園,發達經濟體所有那些能下金蛋的金融巨頭都將暴露在破產和償付危機當中。美國聯邦和州政府、英國和俄羅斯等經濟體的償付能力已經受到置疑,當然也包括那些巨型養老金,這些過去20年裡全球金融市場的主要玩家。

2009年,所有經濟體、所有公司乃至所有個人都必須試著評估自己真實的償付水平到底是多少,同時,要知道還有多少資產仍然在失去價值。金融公司失去了它們所有的信譽。越來越多的投資者不再相信金融市場上傳統的投資工具和測量指標。

流動性危機將升級為償付危機
為了給全球金融系統進行「緊急救援」,全球都在採取大量的金融救援措施,儘管這些措施對於恢復信貸系統來說是必要的。但是,隨著金融機構問題久拖不決,在這一過程中,世界實體經濟迅速退到了崩潰的邊緣。歐洲2020研究所認為,隨著美國金融業的破產,美國的消費者也將破產。

美國商務部公佈的最新數據顯示,美國個人消費開支去年12月份下降1.0%,該數據已經是連續6個月下降,這也是過去50年以來個人消費開支連續下降最長的時間。而華爾街的經濟學家預計,隨著失業率的上升,至少在今年一季度內,消費者支出將會呈現繼續下跌的態勢。

個人消費開支占美國國內生產總值的70%,是經濟增長的主要動力。個人消費的衰退,對於金融和實業企業來說都不是什麼好事情。對於全球經濟來說,由美國次貸危機引發的拖得時間越長,意味著此危機的惡化和升級就越有可能。

歐洲2020研究所的經濟學家Franck Biancheri博士認為,「目前全球經濟危機已經進入第四個階段,有毒資產問題將導致全球經濟發生癌變,最終的結果是全球各個經濟體將如美國的金融機構一樣:陷入償付危機。」

該研究所的報告指出,「流動性危機和償付危機不僅僅在於學術語言的不同,更重要的是其內在邏輯導致的結果不同。」一個很簡單的比喻是:如果你遇到臨時的現金流問題,銀行和家庭將會給你提供支持,而其中隱含的前提是你能通過工作和其他努力將錢歸還,而且這一經濟活動能讓所有人受益,銀行能從中獲得利息,家庭能從中獲得情誼。但是償付危機意味著你將不能償還你所欠下的債務,因為你的工作沒了,沒有了能帶來現金流的活動。

的確,通過全球化,世界各經濟體從中獲得了諸多好處。但是,同樣的是,危機也會通過全球經濟體系傳遞到世界各個角落。最終,這次危機將通過全球貿易體系將美國的償付危機轉化和擴大為全球償付能力破產浪潮。

2009年1月8日 星期四

資本主義能夠阻止氣候災難嗎?

李民騏
譯者:龔權
《綠葉》雜誌
2008年第12期
新浪博客 : http://blog.sina.com.cn/greenleafxp
英文原載 1: Climate Change, Limits to Growth, and the Imperative for Socialism, Monthly Review, July-August 2008

作者為美國馬薩諸塞大學經濟學博士。2003-2006年任加拿大約克大學政治學系助理教授。2006年至今任美國猶他大學經濟系助理教授。新著 The Rise of China and the Demise of the Capitalist World-Economy近期將由英國Pluto Press出版。

摘要:
氣溫再升高約兩攝氏度,人類就將陷入氣候災難。阻止災難,單靠節能減排的技術改造作用有限,必須壓縮全球經濟規模,但資本主義的本性就是無止境的擴張。要麼終結資本主義,要麼陷入氣候災難!人類必須拋棄資本主義,代以全球民主計劃經濟,在確保人類基本需求下,收縮經濟。

一、氣候災難日益臨近
聯合國政府間氣候變化專門委員會(IPCC)2007年評估報告證實,人類活動確實對工業革命之後的全球變暖負有主要責任,使用化石燃料和土地開發等方式所產生的二氧化碳等溫室氣體,是全球變暖的直接原因。委員會所發佈的一些新的證據顯示,氣候變遷越來越快,其潛在影響很可能比委員會報告的預期嚴重得多。沿照現行的經濟和社會發展趨勢,世界正走向前所未有的氣候災難。

有證據顯示,北冰洋最快有可能在2013年就進入無冰之夏,這大約比委員會計算模型的預期提早了近一個世紀。當北冰洋冰塊在夏季完全融化時,格陵蘭島冰原的解體也將不可避免。海平面將因此在本世紀內上升五米以上,全球50個最大城市中有一半將受到威脅,上億人口將淪為環境難民。

如今全球氣溫比工業革命以前約高0.8攝氏度,與過去100萬年間地球最高平均氣溫相比,相差也不足一度,同時還每十年上升0.2攝氏度。以大氣中已存在的二氧化碳濃度計算,另外還有0.6攝氏度的長期變暖效應。隨著北冰洋冰原可能在夏季消融,北冰洋將吸收而非反射太陽輻射,這也將導致再升溫0.3攝氏度。考慮到所有這些因素,全球氣溫即將比工業革命前高兩攝氏度,這被廣泛認為是氣候轉變的臨界值。

兩攝氏度的升溫,有可能導致非洲、澳大利亞、南歐和美國西部出現大範圍的乾旱和沙漠化,亞洲和南美的冰川剝蝕,兩極大規模的冰蓋瓦解,以及15%-40% 的動植物滅絕。更糟糕的是,這還將引發劇烈的氣候反饋,如危險的海洋酸化,大量的凍土融化,甲烷釋放,以及海洋土壤碳循環系統的瓦解。氣候變遷將因此有可能陷入人類無法控制的境地。

世界頂級地球系統科學家詹姆斯·拉夫洛克(James Lovelock)認為,如果全球氣溫上升接近三攝氏度(與前工業革命時期相比),且大氣中二氧化碳濃度超過500ppm(百萬分之五百),那麼地球上的海洋及熱帶雨林都將淨排放溫室氣體。隨之,全球平均氣溫將持續升高六攝氏度,海平面上升至少25米,90%的物種滅絕,地球上大部分地區不再適合人類居住,人類數量有可能減少80%。

戈達德太空研究所(GISS)負責人、世界權威氣候學家詹姆斯·漢森(James Hansen)主張,為了避免海平面上升、格陵蘭島與南極冰原的融化以及大規模物種滅絕,全世界應致力於將氣溫限制在不高過2000年一攝氏度的水平。根據現有的委員會模型,這意味著大氣中二氧化碳濃度不能超過450ppm。然而,在最近的研究中漢森又指出,委員會模型沒有考慮到多種潛在的氣候反饋。地質氣候學證據顯示,「如果人類還想維持一個與文明發展、生物適應的環境相似的星球」,那麼大氣中二氧化碳濃度必須降低到350ppm左右。而現在的二氧化碳濃度為387ppm,並以每年2ppm的速度上升。

由此可見,人類的生存和文明已危如累卵。

形勢如此嚴峻。許多人將他們的希望寄托在對全球資本主義系統的生態改造之上,堅信扭轉氣候變暖趨勢只是個技術問題,在現存社會制度內能夠完成這一目標。

然而一個緊迫且不能迴避的政治問題在於:現存的社會制度——全球各種形式的資本主義——果真能夠有效地解決全球氣候變遷的危機和避免最災難性的後果嗎?

如果不能,那麼另外一種替代性的社會經濟制度的最低要求是什麼呢?它必須擁有制度能力來防止這種危機,甚至,在這種危機無法避免時,足以幫助人類渡過災難。

二、追逐增長:資本主義的天性
眾所周知,資本主義是一種以追逐利潤和積累資本為根本目標的經濟系統,個人資本家、公司和國家均參與激烈的市場競爭。為了在競爭中生存、成功以及追逐更大的利潤,資本家、公司與民族國家都不得不不停地、無限地擴大生產和積累資本。因此,在資本主義制度條件下,除了經濟危機時期,經濟產出總趨於增長。

理論上說,如果能耗強度降低很快以至於抵消了經濟增長,那麼能源消耗水平並不必然增加。但是在資本主義運行方式下,這不僅難以實現,甚至會引起相反的結果,因為任何能耗強度的降低都將使能源產品更便宜,廉價能源產品反過來又鼓勵人們消耗更多的能源。因此,能耗強度的降低(比如能源效率提高)會導致更快的資本積累(經濟增長),而幾乎不會減少能源消耗絕對量。

事實正是如此,資本主義經濟增長一直伴隨著能源消耗的增加,也就是溫室氣體排放的增加。自1973年始,雖然世界經濟相對疲軟,能源消費卻以每年2%的速度增長。按這樣的速度,從現在起到2050年,世界能源消費將增長130%。以這樣的趨勢發展,如果希望將二氧化碳的排放量保持在一個合適的水平,那麼世界能源消費的排放量就必須大幅度降低,否則經濟產出的規模就必須明顯縮減。

降低能耗、減少排放的技術改造,前景如何呢?
三、穩定氣候的技術局限
為了防止或減緩進一步的全球變暖,必須大幅減少溫室氣體,尤其是因燃燒化石燃料所產生的二氧化碳的排放。二氧化碳排放量決定於能源消耗排放強度(每單位能源消耗排放量)、經濟產出能耗強度(每單位產出能耗)以及經濟產出水平(以GDP衡量),即:二氧化碳排放量=經濟產出×能耗強度×排放強度。

化石燃料首先用於發電,其次就是直接應用於工業、交通、農業、服務業以及日常生活等領域。
全球發電量的四分之三依賴於化石燃料。減少發電造成的二氧化碳排放量,有三種技術可能:碳收集和儲藏,核電能,可再生能源發電(如地熱能,風能,太陽能,潮汐能,波浪能,海洋環流,等等)。

如果發電過程中釋放的碳可以被回收且儲藏於地底而非排放到大氣中的話,那麼排放量就可以降低。碳收集儲藏有可能實質性地增加發電成本、降低能源效率(因為碳回收和儲藏的過程也消耗能源)。用於儲藏大量的碳的防漏設施,現在還缺乏足夠的質量保證,同時這項技術的可行性仍未被證實,所以不能在現存的發電廠中應用。這意味著,在最理想的情況下,碳收集和儲藏技術在全球發電廠中的大規模應用至少還需要幾十年。

核能發電的前景也不明朗。安全隱患自不待言。德國能源觀察組(The German Energy Watch Group)指出,世界上被探明了的鈾儲量對現在的需求水平最多可支持70年,2020年之後鈾的供應就將出現短缺。另外,因為核電廠的規劃和建造耗時都很長,這意味著最近10-20年間即將退出使用的全世界一半的核電廠將很難被替代。

利用可再生能源發電也並非萬靈藥。「可再生發電」裝備和廠房,需要工業部門用化石燃料和非可再生性礦產建造。與傳統電力相比,可再生性能源發電成本依然很高。風能與太陽能——兩種最重要的可再生性能源——都具有不穩定和間歇性的特點,不適合作為基本電力供應,難以取代傳統能源的地位。

除了生物質能燃料,可再生能源只能用於發電,而不能直接用於他途。

化石燃料初級消費中,目前用於發電的只佔三分之一,其他三分之二用作交通、工業、農業、服務業和居住領域的液態、氣態和固態的燃料。

在化石燃料最終消費總量中,約有40%用於交通行業,24%用於工業,23%用於農業、服務業以及居住領域,還有13%用作化學工業原料。

電力顯然不能代替化石燃料作為化學工業原料。電力也很難代替化石燃料使用於航海、航空、貨運、高溫作業等行業,不易為工業中的重型機械、建築業和農業供電。雖然將電力客車代替汽油車技術上可能可行,但還不成熟,要成為主流技術有可能還需要幾十年。

再說,三個單位的煤才能發一個單位的電,因此將交通、工業和其他行業都電力化,只會增加而非減少二氧化碳排量。為了穩定氣候,除非在發電過程中去碳(即將碳回收、核電和可再生能源發電取代傳統的化石燃料發電),否則將這些行業電力化沒什麼意義。

生物質能燃料是惟一液化和氣化的可再生能源2。然而由於受到土地和水的限制,生物質能燃料也只可能滿足世界對液態和氣態燃料需求的很小一部分。更為糟糕的是,最近研究發現:如果考慮到土地開發過程以及土壤流失的釋放量,生物質能燃料其實比傳統的化石燃料釋放出更多的溫室氣體。

即使克服了以上所有的經濟和技術上的難題,全球發電方式的轉型可能得需要幾十年,而將全球所有工業和交通運輸行業的基礎設施電力化更需要再多出幾十年的時間。屆時,全球性的生態危機已經無可挽救了。

既然技術改造難以短時期內全面見效,那麼要想阻止氣候變暖,全球經濟規模就必須收縮。

四、經濟收縮:穩定氣候的基礎
委員會報告認為,為了將全球變暖限制在2.4和2.0攝氏度(與前工業時代相比)之內,相應地大氣中的二氧化碳等價物——包括二氧化碳和其他所有的溫室氣體的影響——的濃度要穩定在490ppm和445ppm。這就要求全球二氧化碳排放量在2000-2015年間到達頂峰,然後逐步回落,到2050年比 2010年下降50%和85%。

不過,這一預測未能將一些最新的研究進展考慮進去。北冰洋夏季冰原現在有可能消失,北冰洋將吸收更多的熱量,因此二氧化碳濃度達到490ppm很可能導致全球氣溫上升2.7攝氏度,而不止報告所提出的2.4攝氏度,從而將全球氣溫帶向升高3攝氏度的關口。據詹姆斯·拉夫洛克預計,這將無異於人類的集體自殺。即使全球氣溫只上升兩攝氏度,一些主要的生態災難仍將不可避免,並引發危險的氣候反饋。如果目標真是穩定氣候以及創造一個足夠安全的界限,全球排放量還需要更為巨幅的下降。

從2000年開始,全球二氧化碳的排放量以每年3%的速度遞增。按照這種趨勢,2010年全球二氧化碳排放量將比2000年高34%。這意味著,如果要將二氧化碳等價物濃度穩定在490ppm和445ppm,到2050年全球排放量需要比2010年的水平下降63%和89%,而不是50%和85%。
下面針對445ppm與490ppm這兩個不同的要求,設計兩套關於排放量減少與經濟增長的組合方案。

表一顯示的是,為了到2050年將二氧化碳濃度穩定在490ppm,所需要的能耗強度、排放強度和經濟增長在此期間應有的組合。在這些方案中,對能耗強度、排放強度下降的估算都是盡量樂觀的。如前所述,雖然在許多領域,用電力直接替代化石燃料在技術上存在著很大困難,甚至不可能,但是,所有方案都假設到2050年50%的化石燃料的最終消費將被電力化。

同時,雖然碳回收、核能和可再生電力均存在種種限制,在各種方案中,我們仍樂觀地假設,50%、75%甚至100%的化石燃料發電量到2050年將實現去碳化(年均排放強度相應降低1%、1.7%和2.7%)。

能耗強度到2050年將下降33%、45%和55%(年均能耗強度相應降低1%、1.5%和2%)。隨著能耗強度下降33%,世界平均能源效率將達到現在發達資本主義國家平均水平。如果下降45%或55%,將可與今天西歐國家的能源效率水平相當。

發達國家的能源效率水平之所以較高,不僅因為有高級技術的支持,還因為其能源密集型的產業被大規模地轉移到全球「外圍國家」。因此,外圍國家能否達到發達國的能源效率水平,還是個大問題。表一各方案並沒有將這一障礙考慮在內。

另外,各方案中的三個因素:排放強度、能耗強度和經濟增長,並不必然是互相獨立的。比方說,碳回收技術會改變排放強度,但同時可能對改善能耗強度或經濟增長的潛力產生負面影響,反之亦然。但在各方案中,這些問題都被樂觀地忽略不計了。

給定排放強度和能耗強度的降低,我們便可以計算出和排放量降低目標相契合的經濟增長的最大速度。例如,在方案一當中,假設50%的化石燃料發電量將在 2050年前被去碳化(意味著排放強度以年均1%的速度遞減),同時能耗強度在2010-2050年間也以年均1%的速度降低。與之對應,為了將排放量降低63%,此間平均經濟增長速度必須不能超過負0.4%,即經濟必須收縮。同樣的,在第九個方案中,假設100%的化石燃料發電可以在2050年前去碳化(意味著排放強度以年均2.7%的速度降低),能耗強度以2%的年均速度遞減,那麼2010-2050年間平均經濟增長速度也不能超過2.3%。

由表一可以清楚地看到,在所有假設方案中,排放強度和能耗強度的降低量比全球資本主義經濟歷史上任何時期(即委員會所說的正常時期)都要多,所有的方案都是以以往歷史水平三至九倍的速度改善,因此這些假設都是非常樂觀的。但是即便如此,在其中多數方案中,世界經濟的增長仍將在事實上陷入停頓。在其中一個方案中,世界經濟則需要絕對緊縮。再加上世界人口約每年增加百分之一,只有最為樂觀的方案才能得出人均GDP正增長的結果。

下面來看第二套方案。

表二是為達到排放量減少89%的要求而設計的方案。其餘假設均與表一相同。結果表明在所有方案中全球經濟都必須緊縮。在方案一到三(與歷史上全球資本主義的表現相比,這些假設的排放強度和能耗強度的降低情況都極為樂觀),為了達到排放量減少的目標,世界經濟必須在2010年之後縮減三分之二到四分之三。

表一和表二兩套方案證明,經濟停頓或緊縮是阻止氣候災難的惟一選擇。但是無止境地擴張,是資本主義的天性和命根所在,經濟停頓或緊縮,無異於讓資本主義滅亡。因此,只要局限在資本主義框架內,任何樂觀的技術改進都無助於實現氣候穩定。

五、與虎謀皮:指望資本約束其擴張天性
是本文作者過於悲觀了嗎?或者資本主義的「活力」、「創新性」、「適應性」以及「彈性」等等被錯誤地低估了?主流環境運動的代表人物,如萊斯特·布朗(Lester R.Brown)3和艾默裡·洛文斯(Amory Lovins)4均曾試圖說服我們:奇妙的技術將拯救人類。在他們看來,經濟擴張、利潤追逐、資本積累,與生態的可持續的發展之間並沒有本質的衝突。

如前所述,全球能源系統實現去碳化,還存在許多技術難題。布朗和洛文斯則極度誇大了技術革新的潛能。但是即便許多高效的可再生能源技術迅即出現了,其應用也將被資本主義內在的對技術擴散的障礙所延遲。新的技術是「知識產權」,那些不能承擔使用費用的國家和人民將不被允許使用。

再者,與新奇的消費品比如手機和手提電腦不同——這類消費品可以在現有生產線中製造,而世界能源系統的去碳化則要求對世界經濟基礎設施進行徹底更新。這意味著去碳化的步伐,即使在最理想的情況下,也只能遵從資本運轉的法則,只能跟隨在長期固定資產的折舊更新之後。考慮到很多廠房設備和其他長期固定資產將在未來的半個世紀甚至是更長的時間內繼續存在,表一和表二所假設的去碳化效率可謂是極端樂觀的。

從純粹技術角度看,解決氣候變暖危機最簡單直接的辦法就是立即停止一切的經濟增長,有秩序地縮小這個世界的物質消費規模,直到溫室氣體的排放量降低到合理的程度。很明顯,這可以通過現有的技術來完成。如果所有的去碳技術都被盡快推廣至全世界,即使世界經濟規模減小很多,也依舊會擁有滿足全世界人口最基本的物質文化需求的生產能力(表二中方案一和三將大致與上世紀60年代的物質生活水平持平)。


然而,在資本主義經濟體系中,只要生產資料和剩餘價值仍然被各個資本家控制,那麼巨大的誘惑和壓力將促使和迫使他們將相當大比例的剩餘價值轉化為資本積累。除非剩餘價值被整個社會所控制,否則資本積累將不可中止,即經濟增長不可能中止。

不僅如此。存在著巨大的收入不平等和財富分配不均的資本主義,無法做到既有秩序地減少經濟總量,又同時滿足全球幾十億人口的基本生活需要。對於資本主義來說,經濟增長本來就不只是追逐的目標,同時還是用以減輕其社會痼疾的不可或缺的藥方。

主流環境主義者將他們的願望(或信仰)一方面寄托於科技奇跡,另一方面寄托於對當權者的道德勸說。然而,只要資本主義系統完整無損,資本主義的運動定律就將照常運作,個人願望再強烈,也無法改變或對抗資本擴張的本性!那些徹底的環境主義者遲早要在可持續發展和資本主義之間做出選擇。

氣候災難已是全球共識。指望資本會因此進行自我約束,將其擴張邏輯服從於避免氣候災難的人類共同目標,有可能嗎?

《京都議定書》要求發達資本主義國家在1990-2012年間將二氧化碳排放量減少5%,結果卻不降反升。1990-2005年間,日本增加了16%;歐盟區自上世紀90年代中期起趨向於增加;英國保持一個平穩的趨勢,主要是因為英國大規模地從使用煤炭轉向北海的天然氣;至於美國,乾脆拒絕簽署議定書,其排放量增加了22%。

諷刺的是,俄國是自上世紀90年代以來惟一一個大量降低了二氧化碳排放量的大經濟體。由於眾所周知的原因,在這一時期,俄國經濟產出和人口都有所下降。從1990-2005年,俄國的二氧化碳排放量減少三分之一,年均減少2.7%。

世界經濟只有經歷三倍於俄國90年代的經濟崩潰那樣規模的收縮,到2050年全球排放量才會下降約三分之二,這不過僅僅將大氣中二氧化碳等價物的濃度穩定在大約490ppm的水平。如前所述,這仍然不足以達到必需的水平。

除了發達國家,自1990年起,中國、印度、巴西等新興工業國的排放量也開始大幅增長,並呈後來居上之勢。

對資本積累的追求如此狂熱,氣候穩定還有什麼指望呢?有什麼靈丹妙藥保證資本主義系統可以與氣候穩定共存呢?

指望資本主義改變積累本性,停止經濟擴張,無異於與虎謀皮。要麼終結資本主義,要麼陷入氣候災難!這就是人類今天面臨的選擇。

六、全球民主計劃:阻止氣候災難的惟一選擇
2007年6月14日,《金融時報》刊登了捷克總統瓦茨拉夫·克勞斯的一篇古怪的文章:《危險的並非氣候而是自由》。

我們生活在奇怪的年代,一個異常溫暖的冬天就足以讓環境運動者和他們的追隨者們提出激進的對策去對付天氣……全球暖化的癔病成為真理與宣傳言論對戰的最重要的例子。反對這個「已經建立的真理」是需要勇氣的。……我認為對自由、民主、市場經濟和繁榮造成最大威脅的,恰恰是野心勃勃的環境主義者而非共產主義。這種意識形態試圖用一種中央的(如今是全球的)計劃控制代替人類的自由及自發演進。

接著,這個自詡為自由捍衛者的捷克總統(他顯然是弗裡德裡希·哈耶克的信徒)威脅道,科學家「有義務聲明他們的政治和價值立場,以及這究竟多大程度上影響了他們所選擇和理解的科學證據」。

我們得承認,當全球資產階級已就氣候變化達成政治共識、認為環境問題不能再被忽視的時候,克勞斯敢於將阻止氣候災難與「自由」對立起來,也是需要番勇氣的。

只有一個極端的資本主義的辯護士和社會主義的反對者才能做出如此古怪的論斷。不過,從另一個角度看,克勞斯比任何主流的環境主義者都更接近真理:人類確實需要一個全球性的中央計劃才能克服現在氣候變暖的危機,如果這一中央的基礎是一個自覺的、理性的、善於合作的民主機制的話。

在新體制下,全球能源應用方式要根據可再生能源的要求進行根本性的改造。絕大部分的經濟基礎設施都將逐步更換;農業依據可持續發展的要求進行重組,擺脫對化肥的依賴;重組交通系統,可再生電力將在鐵路和公共交通中扮演重要角色;世界經濟規模將根據溫室氣體排放量降低目標的要求而縮小。所有這一切都要在不損害全人類基本需求的條件下完成。

在全球性的民主中央計劃經濟體制內,經濟收縮並不可怕。經濟收縮,首先用以取締軍火、私人游泳池、大多數的私人汽車、各種奢侈品、廣告,等等領域,而人類最基本的需求,食物、醫療、公共交通、文化教育等,則是資源配置的首選。

古巴,資源短缺並遭受長期封鎖,卻成為全球公認的真正實現了可持續發展的國家。全球範圍,再加上民主計劃體制,所能取得的成就肯定會比古巴大得多。


1 本文原名「氣候變遷、成長的極限和全球社會主義的未來」,以英文發表於美國《每月評論》(Monthly Review)2008年7/8月合號。允許本刊轉載。正文與註釋都有所刪節。

2 雖然有許多對氫經濟的討論,但氫本身並不是初級能源的原料,不存在天然儲藏的氫可被開發。氫作為燃料是由水產生,這個過程需要能量投入。因此,氫只是能量儲藏的機制(正如電池一樣),其環境影響決定於製造它的能源。

3 萊斯特·布朗,地球政策研究所負責人,著有《B模式——拯救地球延續文明》、《生態經濟:有利於地球的經濟構想》等。——譯者注。

4 艾默裡·洛文斯,美國洛基山研究所負責人,著有《自然資本論——關於下一次工業革命》、《企業與環境》等。——譯者注。