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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

After delaying the Temasek deal in order to get a cut of the BOC shares for the social security fund, the MOF marches on relentlessly with a proposal to get some 1 trillion RMB worth of state assets from SASAC. I bet Li Rongrong is real happy about this. However, he might not have a choice. Bolstering the social security fund is a high priority for the Wen Jiabao's "social democratic" agenda. According to the article below, there are two hurdles. First, the social security fund, run by Xiang Huaicheng and Gao Xiqing, must persuade CSRC that it will not dump the circulated shares of SOEs into the market. It has gone as far as to promise CSRC that there would be a ten-year lock-in period in which the fund will not dump these shares. Gao Xiqing is fully aware of the interest of CSRC officials (avoid a prolonged bear market, like the one recently) and is playing exactly the right card.

The bigger hurdle is of course persuading SASAC to hand over 1 trillion worth in shares over, although that is still less than 1/10th of what SASAC holds. With the World Bank clamoring for more social security resources and Wen's "social democratic" lean, I think SASAC will eventually have to cave. My guess is that this hand-over will coincide with the experiment to form large state holding companies that oversee SOEs. Perhaps the social security fund will gain control over one such company. This will avoid the specialization problem. Really, does the like of Gao Xiqing really want to run the day-to-day affairs of some major SOE. I think not. The fund has wisely chosen to focus on getting dividend. The big question is whether SASAC will get something back in return for letting go of these assets.


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社保将获万亿净资产 财政系力推"第二汇金"
2005年12月27日11:27


  东方网12月27日消息:全国社保基金理事会正在推动一项可能是建国以来最大规模的产权转

移:将国资委掌控下的10%国资划转到社保基金。由此,社保基金最终将获得近1万亿元的净资产

,一举破解社保基金规模偏小的瓶颈。
  
  2005年12月9日,全国社保基金理事会理事长项怀诚透露:“作为资金来源主渠道之一的国有

资产和上市公司股权划拨工作正在积极准备之中。最近,中国政府领导就此作了‘
加快改革步伐’的重要指示,有关部门已经开始起草相应文件。随着国有资产和上市公司股权划

拨工作的全面展开,全国社保基金的规模可望得到进一步扩充。”
  
  经过向多方努力奔走和呼吁之后,一直困扰着项怀诚们等全国社保基金理事会领导的资金来

源问题最终得到了解决。
  
  项怀诚终于获得了可以在国有资产这块大蛋糕上切一大块的“尚方宝剑”。
  
  一旦滔滔的资金洪流的闸门被打开,全国社保基金再也不会困于资金之渴了。
  
  6万亿元的基金缺口
  
  据全国社保基金理事会最新的数据,截止到2005年底,全国社保基金的规模仅为2000亿元。

另一方面,世界银行的报告指出,2001年到2075年间,我国基本养老保险的收支缺口将高达9.15

万亿元。项怀诚据此测算:“如果采用辽宁社会保障改革试点方案,按照8%的个人缴费比例把全

国的个人帐户做实,同期的收支缺口仍将达到6.1万亿元。”
  
  6.1万亿元的社保基金缺口令项怀诚忧心不已。
  
  中国人口研究中心2003年的一项研究表明,目前,我国60岁和65岁以上老龄人口的年递增率

分别为3.53%和3.73%。到2030年前后,我国60岁以上的老龄人口预计将增加到4亿左右,相当于

现在欧盟15国的人口总和。到2050年,我国60岁和65岁以上的老龄人口总数将分别达到4.5亿和

3.35亿,其占总人口的比例分别为1/3和1/4。随着人口老龄化的迅猛发展,社会保障方面的支出

需求也将越来越大。
  
  项怀诚坦言:“应对人口老龄化挑战,我们必须精心谋划,早作准备。”
  
  2003年5月,项怀诚出任全国社保基金理事会理事长,他的一项重要责任,就是如何找钱。

项怀诚上任7个月后,“依法划转部分国有资产充实社会保障基金”被写入了十六届三中全会《中

共中央关于完善社会主义市场经济体制若干问题的决定》中。
  
  项怀诚拿到了一块向国资委“化缘”的金牌令箭。
  
  项怀诚向记者表示:“我们已经成立了一个由各个部门组成的国有资产划转小组,来贯彻十

六届三中全会的决定。”
  
  项怀诚所说的国资划转小组成立于2004年9月,由国资委牵头,参加单位有财政部、证监会

和全国社保基金理事会。
  
  目前,全国社保基金有四个资金来源:财政拨款、国有股减持和划转收入、彩票公益金收入

和自身运营收入。其中,中央财政拨款是基金目前最大的资金来源,然而从2001年开始,社保基

金中的财政拨款逐年减少。当年,社保基金资产总额为805.09亿元,其中财政拨入795.26亿元;

2002年,中央财政拨款和国有股减持的资金额为415.76亿元;2003年,社保基金本金增加部分仅

为50多亿,全部来自境外国有股减持收入,没有财政拨款。
  
  按照基金建立之初的预想,资金的筹集主要是依靠国有股减持收入。2001年暂停国有股境内

减持后,国企海外上市,虽然依然要按融资额的10%减持国有股,以充实社保基金,但这部分资

金相当有限。截至2004年,国有股减持部分收入261亿元,占全国社保基金总资产的15%左右。
  
  彩票公益金收入每年只有50亿元左右。
  
  由于基金投资渠道比较少,仅限于银行存款、债券和股票。在利率较低和证券市场长期低迷

的情况下,全国社保基金的投资收益几年来都徘徊在3%左右,难以指望靠投资收益来壮大社保基

金。
  
  因此“依法划转部分国有资产充实社会保障基金”成为项怀诚不得不抓住的一根稻草。全国社

保基金理事会为此专门成立了股权部,其主要任务就是处置划转的股权和进行股权投资。

划转方案揭秘
  
  本刊获得的最新消息是,全国社保基金理事会已经提出了初步的划转方案,划转将不会一步

到位,而是采取更为稳健的试点方式,试点成功后再全面推开。目前,全国社保基金理事会正会

同国资委等部门进行调研,征求企业对划转方案的意见。
  
  全国社保基金理事会认为,在划转范围上宜宽不宜窄。一是因为所有国有资产都应承担相应

的社会保障责任,二是因为如果划转范围狭窄,就很难筹集到足够数量的社会保障基金。在划转

总量上,至少不低于经营性国有资产总量的10%。在划转的步骤上,基本指导思想是,统筹规划

、重点突破、先易后难、注重实效。而且,由于国有资产的状况差别很大,可以在部分领域和行

业率先开展划转的试点工作,为以后的整体推进积累经验。
  
  本刊获悉,试点企业可能首先从已经进行股权分置改革的国资控股的上市公司选出。具体的

划转方案是试点企业将10%以上的全流通国有股划归社保基金持有,由社保基金享受这部分股权

的收益。
  
  中国资本市场的股权分置改革给了社保基金理事会一个寻求部分国资划转社保基金的最佳时

机。全国社保基金理事会认为,如果错过了这个筹集社保基金的最佳时机,将来很可能想划转也

没有了。为此,他们谋求把划转上市公司部分国有股充实社保基金作为股权分置改革的一项配套

措施。
  
  为了不给股改制造麻烦,全国社保基金理事会做出了一系列的让步,以换取中国证监会的支

持。比如,全国社保基金理事会保证通过“划转”而持有这部分国有股在10年内不转让,不进入市

场流通变现,以减轻市场扩容的压力,而且将来一般也不直接在证券市场内变现股票,而是考虑

采取多种方式,譬如借鉴盈富基金的模式,通过在场外向投资者发售基金的方式逐步变现,以吸

引场外资金入市。变现收入一般情况下将再投入股市,以保持市场资金平衡,维护市场稳定。
  
  为了说服国资委,全国社保基金理事会亦表示,对于划入社保基金的国有股,只行使收益权

和处置权,不参与企业经营管理,这样既不会改变当前的国有资产管理格局,也不会影响国资委

作为国有资产出资人对国有资产的监管工作。
  
  社保基金理事会一位人士向记者透露,国资划拨的比例为10%,划拨的范围是中央国资委监

管的国资和地方国资委监管的国资同时划拨,划拨的国资既包括上市公司的国有股也包括非上市

公司的国有资产。
  
  然而,知情人士透露,上述划转方案主要体现的是全国社保基金理事会的意志,而国资委则

认为国资的形态有很多种,不仅仅是股权的形式,划转部分国资充实社保基金,不一定划股权。

通过建立国有资本经营预算制度将部分国资的现实收益划转到社保基金,这是一种风险更小的选

择。
  
  由“减持”到“转持”
  
  国有股“减持”补充全国社保基金的做法,曾是一大败笔。目前,全国社保基金理事会已获准

将国有股海外“减持”改为“转持”,今后国企海外上市,社保理事会将可以直接持有10%的股权,

择机出售。此举亦有望在国内市场试行。在后股权分置时代,全国社保基金理事会正在谋求部分

国有股在全流通后由社保基金“转持”。
  
  根据国务院2001年6月12日发布的《减持国有股筹集社会保障资金管理暂行办法》的规定,

国有股减持变现的资金是全国社会保障基金的重要来源。然而由于市场反应强烈,2001年10月,

中国证监会宣布国内A股暂停减持国有股,社保基金骤失一个重要财源。
  
  时隔4年,于2005年4月29日启动的股权分置改革,再次给了社保基金理事会一个机会,社保

基金“转持”部分国有股的呼声高涨。不过这一次有“对价”作为基础,社保基金的“转持”部分国有

股的举措或许不会重蹈当年的覆辙。
  
  全国社保基金理事会的上述谋划得到了一定范围内的认可。此前,中央汇金投资有限公司副

董事长汪建熙公开表示,应该考虑恢复在国内上市的企业减持国有股充实社保基金的做法。在股

权分置改革的形势下,这种减持已经有了全新的基础。应该在恢复新股发行之前重新实施这个政

策。这样,有利于国家保持对一些重点企业股权的长期持有。
  
  截止到2005年12月初,累计完成或正在进行改革的上市公司约300家,其市值约占沪深两市

1381家上市公司总市值的四分之一。各地纷纷推出股权分置改革时间表,许多地方计划到2006年

3月,基本完成股改。目前,摆在全国社保基金理事会面前的时间已经不多。
  
  知情人士透露,社保理事会首先要过的一关,是证监会,前者必须说服证监会同意社保基金

转持部分全流通的国有股。全国社保基金理事会副理事长高西庆原曾任证监会副主席,相信在说

服证监会方面,全国社保基金理事会的沟通成本不会很高。目前,社保基金的“转持”计划最大的

障碍来自于国资委。
  
  全国社保基金理事会有关人士证实,他们在尽力来推动这件事,但具体的工作还必须由国资

委来决定。
  
  2005年9月,项怀诚还在报怨:“写进十六届三中全会决议的划转国有资产充实社保基金这个

任务的落实问题也还没有很好解决。还有,我们曾经提出过一个研究报告,建议将3G牌照费划一

部分给全国社保基金。本来顺理成章,但相关部门都有不同意见。”时隔3月,项怀诚终于获得了

政府高层的支持,“有关部门已经开始起草相应文件”。

 动了谁的奶酪
  
  部分国资划转至全国社保基金,业内戏称之为“项怀诚将手伸进了国资委的口袋”。
  
  著名产权经济学家常修泽教授指出,据统计资料,国有企业总资产(不含金融类)1998年底

13.5万亿元,2003年底19.7万亿元,5年增长 45%;国有企业净资产(不含金融类)1998年底5万亿

元,2003年底达8.4万亿元,5年增长68%。可见,无论总资产还是净资产都是增加的,而且净资

产增长幅度超过总资产增长幅度二十三个百分点,平均每年增长10%左右。
  
  仅就2003年底的数据测算,划转10%国资给社保基金,那么社保基金将获0.84万亿元净资产

。无疑,项怀诚从国资委手中将切分到了一块巨大的蛋糕。
  
  经济学家吴敬琏指出,现有国有资产中有相当一部分是由现收现付制的“劳保”体系下职工社

会保障基金所形成的,将这部分资产通过社保基金理事会拨还给他们,于理于法都是应该的。从

中国的实际情况看,用国有资产存量解决政府对老职工的养老保险隐性债务问题,乃是惟一现实

的选择。
  
  财政部一位人士透露,国有资产划拨社保基金的问题早在10年前就提出来了,但一直没有实

施。当初,一部分应划拨到社保基金的国有资产划拨到了国资委,现在应该物归原主,还给社保

基金。
  
  不过也有担心认为,如果将一定比例的股权划转社保基金,社保基金就会马上变成各种国有

企业部分资产的所有权持有者,既包括一部分上市公司的股票,又包括一些非上市国有企业的股

本。社保基金成为部分国有股的持股主体,只不过国资委控股,而社保基金不控股。
  
  国资委一位官员向记者坦言,企业国有资产划转社保基金要涉及到许多问题,是一个很复杂

的过程,最基本的问题是社保基金持股后如何行使国有资产的监督管理职能;国有资产划拨后,

社保基金理事会如何处置这些国有资产,是转让股权还是持股经营?如果是转让股权该如果转让

?如果持股经营是优先股还是普通股?这些问题都需要详细的制度设计。
  
  财政系力推“第二汇金”
  
  最近,社保基金获准向正在进行股改的工行和中行分别注资100亿元进行股权投资,之前的

2004年社保基金已经向交通银行投资了100亿元。这将使全国社保基金成为了包括工行、中行和

交通银行在内的主要国有商业银行的大股东。这很容易使人联想到了目前工行、中行和建行的控

股大股东为中央汇金公司。
  
  中央汇金公司注册资本金为3724.65亿元。其规模未来要远远小于全国社保基金。目前汇金

公司除了持有上述三家国有商业银行的主要股权外,并曾分别向其他的银行和证券公司陆续注资


  
  而按照中央最新批准的社保基金扩大投资的范围,不但可对国资委管辖的169家中央企业进

行股权投资,又可投资财政部管辖的金融资产,包括商业银行、证券、保险等行业,还可投资资

产证券化产品。这样全国社保基金就可能和汇金公司一样成为国内一些商业银行等金融机构的主

要股东,由于全国社保基金的“财大气粗”,俨然另一个汇金公司的影子跃然纸上。
  
  从中央汇金投资有限公司副董事长汪建熙的公开表示中,我们似乎也隐约看到了某种可能性

。汪建熙表示:“目前正在改制的国有独资商业银行,对于社保基金来说,就应该是比较理想的

投资对象。社保基金可以代表国有产权长期持有重要国有企业的股权。”汪并称“汇金公司目前的

资金来源是外汇储备,这就要求它的投资要有一定的流动性,以应对国际收支风险。而社保基金

能够比汇金公司更长期地持有重要企业的股权。”
  
  在社保基金不断壮大的身影背后,我们似乎也看到了财政部所起的作用,在2005年12月9日

举行的“中国养老金投资、监管与资本市场发展研讨会”上,财政部副部长李勇承认,在促成社保

基金作为战略投资者分别投资入股中国银行和中国工商银行过程中,财政部起了不可忽视的积极

作用。
  
  本刊从财政部金融司了解到,包括金融类国有产权转让在内,有关金融类国有资产监管的一

系列规章将陆续出台。此前财政部向中国人民银行、银监会、证监会、保监会等发出公函,希望

对《金融类企业国有产权转让管理办法》的征求意见稿做出修改建议。似乎财政部正在制定目前

正在进行的金融改革的游戏规则。
  
  也是在上述这个会议上,李勇透露,财政部认为目前全国社保基金的发展还远远不够,将采

取措施支持发展壮大全国社保基金,包括支持社保基金进行境外投资试点。
  
  为此,李勇公开表示,财政部将从三方面积极支持全国社保基金做大做强。一是积极支持多

渠道筹集社保基金,除了继续通过预算支持以外,推动和配合有关部门开展划拨部分国有资产充

实全国社保基金的工作,同时,还将对划拨部分公共资源充实全国社保基金的可行性积极研究探

索;二是支持和配合有关部门起草和尽快出台全国社保基金条例,提高全国社保基金的定位,为

社保基金运作创造更好的环境;三是支持社保基金的业务创新和安全规范管理,提高基金收益,

进行境外投资试点,
  
  截至2005年9月底,全国社保基金总资产达1917亿元,另据项怀诚透露,2005年底全国社保

基金总资产达将达到 2000亿元。按照全国社保基金理事会的规划,全国社保基金比较理想的规

模最少也要1万亿元人民币。随着社保基金规模的不断扩大,其可用于商业银行、证券、保险公

司等的股权投资的资金也将会使人充满想象的。
  
  全国社保基金理事会是否也像汇金公司一样拥有在工行和中行的发言权?
  
  对于此疑问,一位接近谈判高层的人士说。“尽管社保基金出资比例与其他战略投资者相当

,但以战略投资者身份进入的可能性不大。”这番表白实际意味着社保基金不会向入股的商业银

行派出董事。
  
  工行有关人士则认为,社保基金本身具有特殊性,由于它投资规模大,即便不在董事会拥有

席位,对于工行的经营决策仍然具有发言权。社保基金有限参与商业银行的经营,有利于提高商

业银行运营的安全性。

Comments:
It's pretty unconceivable for me to imagine that SASAC would hand over regulation and supervision of SOE's to anyone else, but I don't think that this is what is being envisoned here. SASAC technically does not own any stock in SOE's and acts like an adminstrator/regulator.

What seems to be envisoned is for the social security fund to get 10% of the outstanding shares in SOE's which would entitle it to get 10% of the returns. I can't imagine that SASAC would allow itself to lose any regulatory or administrative power in this deal, and I do suspect that SASAC will end up with final authority to determine if the social security fund can buy and sell shares.

I have a feeling that the model for what the social security fund wants to do is less an SOE, than something like CalPERS the pension authority for the state of California.

Joseph Wang
joe@confucius.gnacademy.org
http://www.gnacademy.org/joe
 
Seeking counsel from elders seems to be a lost advantage. Experience usually translated into lessons learned that may contain pearls of wisdom that could have benefited the lost or struggling. Having survived my share of crises, I am using technology to share a thought or two. The main lesson is to never stop learning. Reading and seeking other points of view like visiting your blog is one way. Finding what is ultimately important leads one to appreciate actuality, efficiency and mindfulness. Helping others to see some of the forest through the trees is a benefit of age and maturity. mindfulness
 
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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Thanks Dylan for the correction. NBS is increasingly professionalizing, but don't let anyone fool you, their objective remains revenue maximization. The amount they charge for access to the census data is criminal:

NBS is going to try to make historical figures back to 1993 a bit more accurate Li said..."In order to ensure the comparability of GDP data over time, it is necessary to revise historical data in line with international practices. At present, NBS is working on the revision of data back to 1993 on the basis of revised GDP figures in the census year, using the trend deviation method which is widely adopted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Results of the revision will be released on another occasion."
# posted by dylan : 7:33 PM

Comments:
The main thing that the new figures do is to make a lot of the ratios reasonable. People had been criticizing China for a 60% investment rate, but if you adjust the GDP then investment ratios go down and consumption ratios probably go up since services are less capital intensive.

Joseph Wang
joe@confucius.gnacademy.org
http://www.gnacademy.org/joe
 
Looks like they are going to work with Angus Maddison, if the NBS decides to adopt the OECD method. I guess Maddison needs to revise his previous figures for China's economy as well (to incorporate the service sector findings).
 
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Dear Readers, the 2004 economic census reveals that there was in fact 2,300 billion yuan more in economic activity than previously thought. So overnight, the Chinese GDP jumped by 16.8 percent. Mao would have been ecstatic about this leap! This adjustment is long-anticipated since everyone knew that the service sector was grossly under-counted. It would be great if they somehow come up with revised historical GDP levels, but I don't think they will. In that case, we will end up with a huge jump in the GDP for 2004, which will make statistical analysis difficult.

Key Achievements of the First National Economic Census with New Changes of China's GDP Aggregates and its Structure
National Bureau of Statistics of China 2005-12-20 10:05:00


Li Deshui, Commissioner
National Bureau of Statistics
20 December 2005

I am going to present today a briefing on the key results of the First National Economic Census, and in particular, the GDP figures for the year 2004 based on the census results, as well as data use.

I. Main Characters of Economic Census

On July 2003, the State Council decided to conduct the first national economic census in 2004 by combining the former industrial census, the tertiary industry census and establishment census, and including in the economic census the construction sector. Its main purpose is to meet the needs of economic and social development, to better link up with the National Five-Year program and to push forward the comprehensive reform of national economic accounting system and statistical survey system. The reference time for the census was December 31st of 2004, and the flow data covered the whole year of 2004. The economic census covered all legal person units, establishments and self-employed individuals who were engage in the secondary and tertiary industries within the territory of China. With the joint efforts from governments and departments at all levels over the last two years, the major tasks of the census have been completed successfully. The following tasks have been fulfilled:

Setting up census organization and recruiting enumerators. The Leading Group of the First National Economic Census was set up under the State Council, with Zeng Peiyan, Vice Premier of the State Council, as the head, and its Office located at the National Bureau of Statistics. Governments at all levels and concerned departments also set up corresponding leading groups and organizations. Over 3 million as enumerators and supervisors were recruited, and another 10 million statistician and accountants from government agencies, enterprises and institutions were mobilized to participate in the census.

Formulating census program and launching publicity campaign. In line with the real situation in China and taking the experiences of other countries as reference, the census program was formulated after a series of consultations made at governments and departments at all levels, among experts, scholars and respondents, and after completion of pilot censuses. Central government and local governments at all levels appropriated special budget for the census. Census offices at different levels made use of different means to conduct extensive publicity and mobilization activities, so as to let all circles of the society and the public to fully understand the importance of the census.

Enacting census regulations and carrying out census according to law. The State Council promulgated the National Economic Census Regulations signed by Premier Wen Jiabao (No. 415 Decree of the State Council). A total of 5,337 cases were investigated involving providing false or incomplete data, or refusing to respond to the census. All these ensured the smooth conduct of the census.

Rigorously checking the census data and implementing post-census survey on data quality. Over 30 million questionnaires (not including those from individual households) were collected in the census with more than 1.06 billion records of first-hand raw data. Provincial offices submitted over 20,000 aggregated tables. Strict quality control measures were adopted at each stage of the census to ensure the quality of data from the census. Results of the post-census sample survey showed that the comprehensive reporting error was only 4.9 per thousand, within the 1-percent target.

In summary, the economic census proves that it is not only an important survey on national conditions and strength and a valuable practice of administration according to law, it is also a very useful fundamental work for implementing the scientific approach to development in an all round way. The economic census in general is successful. Abundance of detailed data are obtained which can truly reflect the achievements made and national strength gained since China adopted the reform and opening program.

II. Major Achievements of the Economic Census

1) Basic information was obtained on the real situation of the secondary and tertiary industries in China. Thanks to the economic census, we are in possession of rich basic information on the development of the secondary and tertiary industries. Key results were released to the public recently through Census Communiqués.

2) Development of registers and its databank system of establishments are taking shape. All the raw materials are now stored in economic census databank in the National Bureau of Statistics. It can produce not only national aggregates, but also detailed breakdowns such as data by region, by sector, by size of economic units and by ownership according to different needs for analysis and research. The National Bureau of Statistics is cooperating with the State Commission Office of Public Sector Reform, the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the State Administration of Taxation and the General Administration of Industry and Commerce in developing a system of updating the national registers of establishment.

3) The aggregated size of GDP and its share across industries was verified. Preliminary estimation using results from the economic census indicates that China’s GDP for the year 2004 was 15,987.8 billion yuan at current prices, representing an increase of 2,300 billion yuan or 16.8 percent over the preliminary estimated figure using regular annual statistical data. Of this total, the share of the primary industry was still the figure from the annual preliminary estimation, as the primary industry was not covered in the census. The value-added of the primary industry was 2,095.6 billion, and its share in GDP was 13.1 percent, or 2.1 percentage points lower than its share of 15.2 percent as was calculated from the annual preliminary estimation. The value-added of the secondary industry was 7,390.4 billion yuan, or 151.7 billion more than that from the annual preliminary estimation, while its share in GDP shrank from 52.9 percent to 46.2 percent, a drop of 6.7 percentage points. The value-added of the tertiary industry was 6,501.8 billion yuan, or 2,129.7 billion more than that from the annual preliminary estimation, and its share in GDP rose from 31.9 percent to 40.7 percent, an increase of 8.8 percentage points. Of the total increase of 2,300 billion in GDP, the increase of the value-added for the tertiary industry accounted for 2,130 billion or 93 percent.

It is the significant under-coverage of the tertiary industry in the regular statistics that lead to the above situation. Firstly, China had long being using the Material Product System (MPS) which was developed under the centrally-planned economic system in its national account statistics until 1980’s, resulting in very weak statistics for the service sector. In 1990’s, service statistics was enhanced along with the gradual integration of China’s national account system with the international standards of the UN System of National Account (SNA). However, basic statistics need time to be built. Secondly, the scope of tertiary industry is wide and complex with large number of units, which have no good means for accounting and statistics. Thirdly, along with the economic reform, China has seen a diversified economic development in terms of ownership, and in particular, a dynamic development of private and individual-run service activities. It is very difficult to conduct statistical surveys as they are very scattered with frequent changes, resulting in certain degree of under-coverage. For instance, for the 3 sectors of transport, storage, post and telecommunications; wholesale and retail trade, catering trade; and real estate, where private and individual ownership have taken a large share, the value-added was about 1,500 billion yuan larger than that from the regular statistical programs, accounting for 70 percent of the total increase of the tertiary industry. Fourthly, while many new services are mushrooming, data on their activities are often under-estimated, as they do not have necessary records for our regular statistics programs to make accurate account. For instance, recent years have seen rapid development of computer service, software, internet service and satellite data transmission, recreation, leasing, business services and household services. We have made estimation with related information in our regular statistics, yet they are far from adequate. Fifthly, some of the services affiliated to manufacturing or construction enterprises are estimated but classified into the secondary industry, while more others are neglected. The economic census helped to verify and make up the service activities that were not covered before, so that the structure of the three industries are more consistent with the actual situation in China and more in line with the general level of developing countries. Although the revision leads to some increase in the total size of GDP, the ranking of China’s per capita GDP is still beyond 100 in the world.

Provincial statistical bureaus also calculated provincial GDP estimates on basis of establishment data from the census and by using standardized compilation approaches developed by NBS. A joint review was conducted by NBS on the provincial estimates, which showed that the total of provincial estimates were close to the estimates of national GDP aggregates, and so was the structure for the three industries. Through the census, we are able to remove the “water” from the statistics of the manufacturing sector, in particular, from small size enterprises, that was accumulated from the past in some provinces, and to include that part of the value-added of the tertiary industry that was not covered by regular statistics programs. As a result, the total size and the structure of provincial GDP also changed. The economic census also contributes to reconciling basic data for national and provincial GDP compilation, standardizing accounting system and methodology, and promoting more scientific approach for statistical work on legal and standard basis. Statistical agencies are making efforts to improve service statistics and statistical surveys on small economic activities by summing up our past experience.

In order to ensure the comparability of GDP data over time, it is necessary to revise historical data in line with international practices. At present, NBS is working on the revision of data back to 1993 on the basis of revised GDP figures in the census year, using the trend deviation method which is widely adopted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Results of the revision will be released on another occasion.

According to the decision by the State Council, the census results will be used as a basis for the central government (including ministries) and for local governments in compiling 2005 national account statistics, in highlighting economic and social development for the 10th 5-year plan period, and in preparing the 11th 5-year development program and the 2006 annual development plan.

In the publication, utilization and analysis of the census results, departments and local governments concerned should continue to abide by the Statistics Law and the Regulations on National Economic Census, to protect business confidentiality and privacy of respondents, and to honor earnestly the commitments of not levying any penalties on respondents on the basis of census information.

Comments:
NBS is going to try to make historical figures back to 1993 a bit more accurate Li said...
"In order to ensure the comparability of GDP data over time, it is necessary to revise historical data in line with international practices. At present, NBS is working on the revision of data back to 1993 on the basis of revised GDP figures in the census year, using the trend deviation method which is widely adopted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Results of the revision will be released on another occasion."
 
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Monday, December 19, 2005

Holy smoke, the new left on the rise? When I was in China, I vaguely heard about this article written by Liu Guoguang, a preeminent, but "elderly" economist in China, criticizing the dominance of western economics in China. It was published in the premier economic journal in China Jingji Yanjiu (Economic Studies) in October. I finally got a chance to read it, and holy smoke, it is nothing short of an ideological attack against the likes of Lin Yifu, which this article criticizes by name. It also criticized Fudan University and the Kennedy School by name, and called for the "re-education" of scholars who return from studies abroad. This guy really wants to turn the clock back.

Some of his proposals might just gain some traction at the elite level, especially among Hu Jintao supporters, who are all domestically educated and perhaps feel indignant about the favorable treatment given to western trained economists. Fortunately, Lin Yifu (of Beijing U's CCER) is on very good terms with Wen Jiabao, and there has been a flurry of articles and blogposts criticizing Liu's article.

编者按:2005年7月15日,我国著名经济学家、中国社会科学院原副院长、现任特邀顾问刘国光同志,就当前经济学教学和研究中的一些问题谈了一系列看法。他谈了九个方面的问题,分别是:一、当前经济学教学与研究中西方经济学的影响上升、马克思主义经济学的指导地位削弱的状况;二、造成这个状况的原因分析;三、关于意识形态领域两个相互联系的倾向性问题;四、关于马克思主义经济学与西方经济学的关系问题;五、关于正确对待西方经济理论的问题和正确对待新自由主义经济学的问题;六、经济学教育究竟是意识形态的教育还是分析工具的教育;七、关于经济学的国际化与本土化的问题;八、关于中国的经济改革与发展究竟是以马克思主义经济学为指导还是以西方经济学为指导的问题;九、关于怎样克服目前倾向性问题的一些意见。他说,我谈的有些话是别人也讲过的,因为这是大家共同感觉到的问题,所以不能不重复,但这些观点大多是我自己的看法。现经刘国光教授本人同意,我们将他的上述谈话在我网站发表,以飨读者。
一、当前经济学教学与研究中西方经济学的影响上升、马克思主义经济学的指导地位削弱和边缘化的状况令人堪忧
一段时间以来,在经济学教学与研究中,西方经济学的影响上升,马克思主义经济学的指导地位被削弱和被边缘化,这种状况已经很明显了。在经济学的教学和研究中,西方经济学现在好像成为了主流,很多学生自觉不自觉地把西方经济学看成我国的主流经济学。我在江西某高校听老师讲,学生听到马克思主义经济学都觉得好笑。在中国这样一个共产党领导的社会主义国家,学生嘲笑马克思主义的现象很不正常。有人认为,西方经济学是我国经济改革和发展的指导思想,一些经济学家也公然主张西方经济学应该作为我国的主流经济学,来代替马克思主义经济学的指导地位。西方资产阶级意识形态在经济研究工作和经济决策工作中都有渗透。对这个现象我感到忧虑。
二、造成当前西方经济学影响上升、马克思主义经济学的指导地位下降的原因存在这种状况有内外两方面的原因。
外部原因是:第一,以美国为首的国际资产阶级亡我之心不死,中国社会主义是美国继苏联之后又一个要消灭的目标,这个目标是既定的。所以美国不断地对我们进行西化、分化;第二,社会主义阵营瓦解之后,世界社会主义运动处于低潮,很多人认为社会主义不行了,马克思主义理论不行了;第三,中国由计划经济向社会主义市场经济转变,一些人因此误认为马克思主义经济学不行了,只有西方经济学才行。这是外部原因。
内部原因比较多,总的说来,新形势下我们对于意识形态斗争的经验不足,放松了警惕,政策掌握失误,特别是教育部要负相当的责任!具体说来有以下几点:第一,高等院校经济学的教育方针不明确,目标不明确。到底是以马克思主义经济学为指导来教育和培养学生,还是双轨教育,即马克思主义经济学与西方经济学并行。现在许多人都讲双轨制,北京大学经济学院院长几年前就讲现在实行“双轨制”,学生因此疲于奔命,很苦。学生既要学马克思主义政治经济学,又要学西方经济学。表面上看是并重,实际上是西方经济学泛滥。并重的结果是马克思主义经济学的地位下降,西方经济学的地位上升。一些高等学校在经济学、管理学等学科的本科生、研究生教育中取消了政治经济学的课程,只要求掌握没有经过科学评论的西方经济学的原版教材。一些学校的研究生比如经济专业、管理专业的研究生,入学考试不考马克思主义政治经济学,只考西方经济学。这是教育方针的问题,这样的教育方针是根本错误的!
第二,教材问题。马克思主义政治经济学要与时俱进,现在的教材也在改进,这几年大有进步,特别是抓了马克思主义基础理论研究和建设工程,但是还不够成熟,数量也不多,没有引起学生广泛的兴趣。同时,西方经济学教材大量流入。人民大学有一个“工作室”,专门做这个事情,当然它也是很有贡献的,引进外国文献也是好的,但是它大量引进西方经济学教材的版本,冲击国内经济学的教学。有一位教授说,从上个世纪九十年代中期开始,中国经济学教材开始发生比较重大的改变,中国经济学教育从以政治经济学即马克思主义经济学为主,向以西方经济学为主发生着转变,如今,西方经济学已成为主流的经济学教育体系,因为教材的改变反映出教学重点的改变。有同志说,世界上没有一个国家像中国这样高频率地引进外国经济学教材。他说,传统经济学教学模式转型的主要标志就是西方经济学的理论、教学体系和教材的运用,其中很重要的是教材的运用。这说明我们现在已经转型了。
第三,教师队伍、干部队伍的问题。“海归”派回来很好,可以充实我们的经济学队伍,充实我们关于西方经济学的知识,这是好的一面。但是他们中的一些人没有经过马克思主义的再教育,就进入教师队伍和研究人员队伍;不经过评论、原本原汁地介绍西方的东西,却是有问题的。有些原来在国内接受过马克思主义的教育,出去后把马克思主义忘了;有些理工科的学生出国学经济,学管理,其中很多人没受过马克思主义的教育。上海复旦大学一个研究所的所长,他希望这个局面越来越好,认为送出去培养是中国经济学提高最快的办法。他说,训练有素的海外军团回流浪潮将加快,不断充实到内地主要大学经济学教学队伍里,势头势不可挡。我认为他的这个说法是有问题的。没有经过马克思主义再教育,没有受过训练,就走上讲台的这种做法流弊很大。另外,我们自己培养的马克思主义政治经济学教师队伍在不断萎缩,高校对马克思主义经济学教师队伍的培养和投入很少,奖励也很少。奖励也只有海外人奖励搞西方经济学的。这个情况是很糟糕的。孙冶方奖是国内的,但是处于惨淡经营之中。
还有是影响了干部队伍,比如对党校省部级干部班的教育,如果让主张以西方经济学为主流的教师去教他们,那会是个什么样的结果,可想而知。现在干部的思想也在变,虽然很多干部不是学西方经济学出身的,但是也在受影响。地方一些干部在国企改革问题上,在公有制和私有制的问题上,在维护群众利益的问题上,都站在我们共产党的对立面,比如在房地产领域都是在维护开发商的利益,把老百姓的利益完全置之脑后,这就是受影响的表现。还有,一些地方提拔干部,规定必须到哈佛大学、肯尼迪学院进修才能提拔。这些都不是很正常,这是崇拜西方。第四,领导权问题。领导权很关键。现在有的领导权不在我们手里。高校的校长、院长,系、研究室、研究所的主任,校长助理等等,还有主要部委的研究机构的领导,到底是不是马克思主义者,我相信他们中大多是马克思主义者,但是有的领导权被篡夺了。中央一再强调,社会科学单位的领导权要掌握在马克思主义者手中。我觉得应该检查一下,现在到底掌握在什么人手中。比如北京某大学一些领导岗位,由西化色彩很浓的人担当。我不知道是什么原因,这些人为什么这么受重用?我觉得领导权一定要掌握在坚定的马克思主义者手里。因为一旦掌握在非马克思主义者手中,那么教材也变了,队伍也变了,什么都变了。复旦大学张薰华教授对这个状况很担心,他说只要领导权掌握在西化的人手中,他们就要取消马克思主义经济学,排挤马克思主义经济学。所以我说一定要注意,各级领导必须是真正的马克思主义者,而不是红皮白芯。我上面讲到的四个问题,我想中央也注意到了,但是高教部门没有检查,没有落实。
三、关于意识形态领域两个相互联系的倾向性问题
最近,中国社会科学院院长陈奎元同志分析了当前意识形态领域存在的两个相互联系的倾向性问题,一个是两种迷信、两种教条主义,一个是左倾右倾问题。我觉得他分析得很有道理。所谓两种教条主义,一个是迷信、空谈马克思主义,而不是与时俱进地发展马克思主义;一个是迷信、崇扬西方发达国家的、反映资产阶级主流意识形态的思想理论,把西方某些学派、某些理论或者西方国家的政策主张奉为教条,向我国思想、政治、经济、教育、文化等各个领域渗透。上述两种教条主义,第一种教条主义还是存在的,但是在当前不是主要的,其影响在下降。马克思主义者吸取了过去的经验教训,都在不同程度地向现代化的方向努力,力求与时俱进,进行理论创新。而第二种教条主义即西方教条主义在意识形态领域和经济社会中的影响力在上升。比如在经济学领域,北京大学出版社出版的《经济学是什么》这本书竟然只讲西方经济学,不讲马克思主义政治经济学,把马克思主义经济学排除在外,这实际上是否定马克思主义经济学,其流毒很大。西方经济学思想的影响上升是当前的主要危险。我们国家是共产党领导的社会主义国家,这是我们历史的选择,是最基本的国情。坚持共产党的领导,实行社会主义制度,必须以马克思主义为指导,包括经济学和经济领域要以马克思主义政治经济学为指导,一切淡化或者取消马克思主义的企图都会削弱共产党的领导,改变社会主义的方向,或者改变颜色,即共产党还在领导,但是已经变色了。所以这是一个主要的危险。因此我们不能把经济领域里的东西看淡了。
陈奎元同志指出的另一个倾向性的问题,与两种教条主义的倾向有联系。他说,从改革开放到现在二十多年的时间里,我们在思想领域始终把克服“左”的教条主义当作主要任务,已经取得了决定性的成果,在思想理论领域和改革开放的实践中,来自“左”的干扰已经日渐式微,当前突出的倾向性问题是资产阶级自由化的声音和倾向正在复苏,并且在顽强地发展蔓延。奎元同志提出的问题很值得我们重视和关注。反“左” 反右并不是长期不变的,“左”和右发展下去都能葬送我们的社会主义,所以应该有“左”反“左”、有右反右。目前主要的倾向是什么,要不要提出反右防“左” 的问题,这个问题我觉得是很重大的问题,中央应当考虑,特别是在经济学领域。
四、关于马克思主义政治经济学与西方经济学的关系问题
马克思主义政治经济学与西方经济学的关系问题是个常识问题,但是也是个有争论的问题。
现在我们的大学里有两门基础经济学或者基础经济理论,即马克思主义的政治经济学和西方经济学,事实上是双轨制,这是根本错误的。关于政治经济学与经济学的分野,我很同意中国人民大学卫兴华同志的分析,他说,无论从经济理论的发展史看,还是从经济学发展的层次看,并不存在政治经济学和经济学的严格区分。从一定意义上说,政治经济学就是经济学,或者简称为经济学,经济学就是政治经济学。马歇尔的“经济学”他自己说就是政治经济学,斯蒂格里茨、萨缪尔逊等的经济学实际上也是政治经济学。但是不同的政治经济学或者经济学在体系、理论框架、理论观点等方面有差异性,比如有马克思主义政治经济学或经济学和非马克思主义政治经济学或经济学的差别。马克思主义政治经济学与非马克思主义政治经济学的差别,就是马克思主义经济学与非马克思主义经济学的差别。也就是说,政治经济学与经济学没有什么差别,但是有马克思主义与非马克思主义的差别。习惯上我们所称西方的经济学是指非马克思主义的经济学或非马克思主义的政治经济学,因为马克思主义经济学或马克思主义政治经济学也是从西方来的,所以把西方经济学称做非马克思主义经济学更合适一点。
至于马克思主义政治经济学或马克思主义经济学与西方政治经济学或西方经济学在我国经济学教学和理论研究中的关系,如果说中国是一个马克思主义指导下的社会主义的国家或者社会主义市场经济的国家,那么这种关系就应该很明确,即马克思主义经济学应该是指导、是主流,西方非马克思主义经济学应该是参考、借鉴。前者是指导,后者是参考;前者是主流,后者是借鉴。在这个问题上有两种意见,一种是以上海财经大学程恩富为代表的,他说,不能把现时期世界主流经济学即西方经济学当作我国社会主义国家的主流经济学,后者必然是与时俱进的马克思主义指导下的现代政治经济学;另外一种是以北京大学林毅夫为代表的,他最近在一个关于中国经济学发展与回顾的研讨会上说,十四届三中全会政府确定了建立社会主义市场经济的目标以后,市场经济体系中有关经济学的内容在教育界基本被承认,这就是现代西方主流经济学。他说,不管在教学人数上还是教育内容上,到现在应该承认西方主流经济学在中国的主导地位。上述两种意见是尖锐对立的。如果西方经济学真的在中国成为主流、主导的地位,取代了马克思主义政治经济学,那长远的后果可想而知。不管你愿不愿意,最终要导致改变社会主义的发展方向,取消共产党的领导,或使她变色。我认为,两门基础经济理论的观点不能成立,应该是一门基础经济理论,即用与时俱进的、发展的马克思主义政治经济学作为经济学教学的主体、经济研究的指导思想和经济政策的导向,不能是双轨的。当然,对于西方经济学中发映社会化大生产和市场经济一般规律的理论,只要不违反社会主义原则,我们要尽量吸收、借鉴到与时俱进的马克思主义经济学理论中来,作为马克思主义经济学的消化了的组成部分。
新的马克思主义政治经济学的内容体系应该包括这么一些内容:一是政治经济学的一般理论;二是资本主义经济;三是社会主义经济;四是微观经济;五是宏观经济;六是国际经济。当然中间有许多交叉重复,逻辑上怎么处理、体系上怎么编是另外一个问题。这样我们就可以把西方经济学的精华,把西方经济学当中反映市场经济一般的内容吸收进来,作为与时俱进的马克思主义政治经济学的一部分新的内容。至于西方经济学的体系和其他内容,可以开设一些课程比如西方经济思想的课程、西方经济思想流派的课程、西方经济思想专著的课程等来对专门的学生介绍,但是我们不要突出这些内容,因为对我们有用的东西已经吸收进马克思主义经济学中来了。总之,我主张只能有一门基础经济理论,即马克思主义经济学,要单轨,不能双轨,这是个教育方针的问题。
五、正确对待西方经济理论和新自由主义经济学
西方的非马克思主义经济学或者西方非马克思主义政治经济学,由古典的西方经济学或古典的西方政治经济学发展到现代西方经济学或现代西方政治经济学。古典的西方经济学有科学的成份,也有庸俗的成份,其科学的成份被马克思主义政治经济学所吸收。现代西方经济学也有科学的成份,有反映现代市场经济一般规律的成份,也有反映资产阶级意识形态的成份,如私有制永恒、经济人假设等。其科学成份值得我们借鉴和学习,但其基于资产阶级意识形态的理论前提与我们根本不同,所以整体上它不适合于社会主义的中国,不能成为中国经济学的主流、主导。在西方经济学当中曾经居于主流地位的新自由主义经济学,其研究市场经济一般问题的分析方法有不少也可以借鉴、学习,我们不能完全否定它,但是新自由主义经济学的核心理论是我们所不能接受的。
西方主流经济思想特别是新自由主义经济理论的前提和核心理论大体上包括:第一,经济人假设。认为自私自利是不变的人性。这个假设是我们所不能接受的。马克思主义有“社会人”和“历史人”的人性理论,当然也不否定私有制下人有自私自利的一面;第二,认为私有制是最有效率的,是永恒的,是最符合人性的,是市场经济的惟一基础。这不符合历史事实;第三,迷信市场自由化、市场原教旨主义,迷信完全竞争的假设和完全信息的假设。其实这些假设是不存在的,比如所谓的信息完全的假设就是不可能的,消费者的信息不如生产者,垄断者的信息优于非垄断的大众,两者在市场上是不平等的;第四,主张政府作用最小化,反对国家对经济的干预和调控。大约是以上四点,可能还可以举出其他几点来。这几点同马克思主义,同社会主义,同中国的国情都格格不入,自然不可以为我所用。这里我就不一一分析了,因为这四点每一点都可以做一大篇文章。
对于西方非马克思主义经济学的正确态度,早在改革开放初期的1983年,我国研究西方经济学的权威学者——北京大学的陈岱孙先生就提出了几个观点:第一,因为社会经济制度根本不同,所以西方经济学作为一个整体不能成为我国国民经济发展与改革的理论;第二,在若干具体问题的分析方面,西方经济学的确有可以为我们参考借鉴的地方;第三,由于制度上的根本差异,甚至在一些技术性的具体问题上,我们也不能照搬西方国家的某些经济政策和措施;第四,对外国经济学说的内容的取舍,根本的原则是以我为主,要符合我国的基本国情。他说,我们既要承认外国经济学在其推理分析、计算技术、管理手段等方面有若干值得参考借鉴之处,但是我们又不要盲目推崇、生搬硬套。陈先生讲的这几条,有很重要的现实意义。而北大现今某些头面经济学者,却不再提陈先生的主张了。有许多我们尊敬的学者都受过西方经济学的教育,比如陈岱孙,还有中国人民大学的高鸿业、北京大学的胡代光等,他们在如何对待西方经济学理论的问题上是一致的。我的西方经济学的知识很少,他们是专家。但是我在接受马克思主义的启蒙之前,在西南联大也接受过正规的美式的西方经济学理论教育,解放前半殖民地市场经济的体验我也是有的。我们感到,西方经济学虽然有用,但整体上不适合于中国,适合中国的一定是与时俱进的、不断创新的马克思主义经济学。现在有一些年轻的经济学家,他们西方经济学的根底很不错,可以说不比推崇西方主流经济学的人士差,如上海财经大学的程恩富、中国社会科学院的左大培等,他们根据中国的情况,不主张在中国推崇西方主流经济学。我觉得他们的路子是对的。
有些人不愿意别人批评新自由主义,说什么批评者把新自由主义当成了一个筐,什么都往里装。其实新自由主义经济学也包括一些有用的东西,我们不是一概否定它,我们否定的是它的理论前提和核心理论,我们不能让它来指导、主导中国经济的改革和发展。为什么要讳言新自由主义呢,如果你是真心实意地为中国特色的社会主义市场经济贡献力量的话,如果你也是不赞成新自由主义的理论前提和核心理论的话,你就不必担心批评新自由主义会伤及无辜。如果你赞成他们的理论前提和核心理论,那你自己就跳进框框,怪不得别人。令我纳闷的是,这种言论也来自官方体改学会组织的论坛。
马克思主义者对西方经济学向来是开放的,但曾经一度不开放,那是错误的,是左倾,是教条主义。马克思主义过去是开放的,现在也是开放的,马克思主义本身就是开放的,但有些西方经济学者不是这样对待马克思主义,张五常就是这样一个人,他要把马克思主义埋葬,并且钉上最后一个钉子。很多人到现在还在吹捧张五常,中央党校、北京大学请他讲学,怎么能够把给马克思主义定钉子的人请过来,到处吹捧,这是什么道理!
六、经济学教育是意识形态的教育还是分析工具的教育
经济学的教育既是意识形态的教育,也是分析工具的教育。但是那些提出中国经济学要以西方经济理论为主流的人认为,经济学的教育不是意识形态的教育,而是分析工具的教育。一些人还提出经济学要去政治化。他们提出这样的问题是不奇怪的。但我们要明确经济学是社会科学,不是自然科学。自然科学没有意识形态的问题,没有国界的问题,没有什么资产阶级的天文学与无产阶级的天文学、中国的天文学和世界的天文学之分,因为自然科学主要是分析工具的问题。但社会科学不同,它反映不同社会集团的利益、不同社会阶层阶级的利益,不可能脱离不同阶级、不同社会集团对于历史、对于制度、对于经济问题的不同看法和观点。马克思主义政治经济学一点也不讳言意识形态的问题,同时也非常注意分析方法和叙述方法。可以说,马克思主义经济学既是意识形态的,又是注重方法的。西方经济学作为社会科学事实上脱离不了意识形态,脱离不了价值观念,虽然它极力回避意识形态问题,宣扬所谓抽象的中立,但是经济人假定不是意识形态的问题吗?宣扬私有制永存不是意识形态的问题吗?宣扬市场万能不是意识形态的问题吗?这些都是它的前提。所以经济学教育不能回避意识形态,经济学也不能去政治化,去政治化的实质是去马克思主义化。把这个问题放在明处,不是更科学一点吗?
北京大学中国经济研究中心一位名教授就主张,经济学教育不应该是以意识形态为主的教育,而应该是以分析工具为主的教育,他特别强调逻辑方法包括数学逻辑的教育。当然,逻辑方法是很重要。数学在经济学当中只是一个辅助工具,这在经济学的明白人当中都是有共识的。但是逻辑方法是不是经济学惟一的方法?我们知道,马克思主义经济学讲的研究方法和叙述方法有两套,即历史方法与逻辑方法,马克思主义经济学是历史方法与逻辑方法的统一。《资本论》就是历史方法与逻辑方法的统一。就是研究和叙述经济学要有逻辑的规律次序和历史的规律次序,要有一个历史的价值判断,而且要把两者统一起来,即在强调逻辑抽象的同时,还要强调历史的实感、质感、价值判断。
我在1983年带社科院的一个学者访问团去纽约,当时福特基金会组织我们和美中经济学教育委员会开了一个座谈会,会上我跟普林斯顿大学华裔教授邹至庄先生有一个交锋。他说,到美国学习经济学的中国理工科出身的留学生很快就能适应,因为理工科出身的学生逻辑接受能力强,而文科出身的就不适应,所以美国大学的经济学教育招的主要应该是理工科的中国留学生,而不招学文科出身的。我当时就反对这个说法,我说经济学不仅仅是一门逻辑的科学,它也是一门历史的科学,学习经济学或研究经济学只会逻辑抽象的方法而没有历史的方法、没有价值判断是不行的。会上争论很激烈,其他美国人没有说话,当时张卓元他们都在场。这场争论到现在还在继续。北大这位教授提出中国经济学不能搞意识形态教育,经济学教育要以传授工具方法为主,而方法里头要以逻辑为主,不提历史方法。而我们马克思主义政治经济学就是既要历史方法,又要逻辑方法,政治经济学要历史方法与逻辑方法的统一,不能只是个逻辑的方法。在这里我顺便讲一下,这个美中经济学教育委员会是美国几个大学组织的,旨在促进互派留学生和学术交流,通过福特基金会慢慢地贯彻它的目的,当然它也做了一些好事,比如它帮助培养了一批经济学人才,介绍了一些西方经济学的知识,对我们社会主义市场经济是有用的,但是另外一方面它也做了西化中国的工作,它相当成功地达到了自己的目的。
七、关于经济学的国际化与本土化的问题
在关于经济学教学模式的讨论中,现在沸沸扬扬地提出了所谓国际化与本土化的问题。有人提出经济学没有国界,说基本的经济理论是反映人类共同的规律,没有什么东方经济学、西方经济学,没有什么各个国家的经济学。北京大学就有名人明确提出这个观点。他们说,所谓经济学的国际化与本土化的问题,实际上是一般理论与特殊问题的关系,国际化就是指一般理论,本土化就是指特殊问题;国际化就是向一般理论接轨,向西方理论接轨,本土化就是要考虑中国的特殊情况。还说,不能因为有特殊情况就否认有一般理论,因为一般理论是放之四海而皆准的,西方经济理论是放之四海而皆准的。这些都是盲目崇拜西方经济学的说法。
从一定意义上说,马克思主义是“国际化”也是“本土化”的。马克思主义与中国具体实际相结合是一个老问题,我们永远都需要努力。问题是他们讲的国际化、本土化是排挤马克思主义的。他们讲的是西方经济学的国际化与本土化,是用西方非马克思主义理论来代表放之四海而皆准的一般理论,代表普遍规律。这些人不反对西方经济学的本土化,也不反对联系中国的实际,其中有些人还是主张应该有中国经济学,但主张按照西方的模式来建立中国的经济学,比如清华大学某教授就说,可以有中国特色的经济学派,但是其理论框架是和西方经济学一致的,是西方经济学的分支。有些人则根本反对建立中国的经济学。对此,中国人民大学有同志说,国际化不是中国经济学教育的全部内容,他认为,要构建中国经济学的教育体系,西方主流经济学和西方发达国家并不是中国教育变革的惟一模式。我认为他讲的是对的。他说,马克思主义经济学在这个过程当中应该扮演什么角色,西方经济学在这个过程当中应该扮演什么角色,二者分别应该处于什么地位,是需要研究的。我认为他的说法至少是一种客观的说法。当然,我们主张马克思主义经济学应当成为主导,西方经济学只能是借鉴。
我再顺便谈一个问题,就是现在中国经济学界有一部分人对诺贝尔奖很有兴趣。他们认为,诺贝尔经济学奖是惟一能代表经济学世界先进水平的奖项,因此获得诺贝尔奖是中国经济学界奋斗的目标。有的人还以一种先行者的口气说,我们这一代不行了,赶不上诺贝尔奖了,但是一定要培养下一代、再下一代去获得诺贝尔奖。他们说,我们要向经济学的世界先进水平前进,包括拿诺贝尔奖。又说,诺贝尔经济学奖代表西方主流经济学理论的成就,要拿诺贝尔奖,首先就要掌握西方主流经济学。对于诺贝尔奖特别是自然科学的诺贝尔奖,我们要肯定它的意义。经济学的诺贝尔奖获得者也有在市场经济的一般理论、方法或者技术层面作出贡献的经济学家,以及像印度人亚马森这样有人文关怀的诺贝尔经济学奖获得者,是值得我们尊重的。但是,诺贝尔奖从来不奖给马克思主义经济学者,诺贝尔和平奖就更不用说了,因为社会科学有意识形态性,评奖者有政治上的偏见,有意识形态的偏见,因此诺贝尔奖不是我们追求的目标。当然,如果我们有些学者的经济学研究和理论,在不违反社会主义原则的前提下,能够获得诺贝尔奖,这也不是坏事,但是我们不必吹捧这个奖,更不能把它作为我们经济学教育的奋斗目标。因为对于中国经济学理论真正作出马克思主义贡献的人一定是得不到诺奖的。现在,我觉得我们对诺贝尔奖吹捧得很厉害,弄那么大的规模,连主要国家领导人都重仪接见,根本没必要。除了在设诺奖的国家瑞典国王以外,这种团队规模的接见现象在世界上也是没有的,我国为什么要这样做,说明有人在刻意推崇西方经济学,领导上可能不知道。这里我再强调一下,就是诺贝尔奖获得者是值得我们尊重的,许多获奖者没有意识形态的偏见。我并不是排斥诺贝尔奖,我只是说我们不要追捧它。
八、中国经济改革和发展以什么理论为指导
这是一个重大的问题,是涉及中国向何处去的问题。有人认为,建立和建设现代市场制度,没有西方的理论为指导,这一艰巨的历史任务是不能完成的。还说,我国的经济体制改革一直在黑暗中摸索,只有在受到西方经济学原理的启迪,并运用它来分析中国的问题后,才提出了应当发挥市场的作用、建立商品经济的主张。我很尊重说这句话的经济学者,但是我不同意他的这个观点。
第一,中国经济改革和发展是以西方理论为指导的说法是不符合实际的。中国共产党领导的经济体制改革,从十一届三中全会提出计划与市场相结合,到十一届六中全会确认了商品生产和商品交换,到十二大提出计划经济为主、市场调节为辅,到十二届三中全会提出中国社会主义经济是公有制基础上的有计划的商品经济,到十三大提出有计划的商品经济是计划与市场内在统一的体制,国家调控市场,市场引导企业,到十三届五中全会又提出计划经济与市场调节相结合,最后到十四届三中全会提出建立社会主义市场经济为我国经济体制改革的目标。从十一届三中全会到十四届三中全会,期间经历了曲曲折折,主要是我们中国人总结我们中国的历史经验教训,也参考了外国的历史经验教训,包括前苏联的历史经验教训,在以与时俱进的马克思主义为指导下,目标一步一步明确起来。在这一过程中,我们看不出西方经济理论有什么指导作用。这是非常明显的。在这个过程中,邓小平同志起了相当大的作用,他1979年在接见美国不列颠百科全书的副总编、1985年接见美国企业家代表团时,就提出过社会主义为什么不可以搞市场经济。

1992年他从理论上阐明了计划与市场是方法和手段问题,不是社会主义与资本主义的选择的问题,不是“姓”社“姓”资问题,但是社会主义与资本主义的界限还是要讲究,但不是在手段问题上讲究。这些重要的创见都不是西方经济理论,怎么可以说中国改革是在西方理论的指导下进行的?再从参与、形成中国经济改革理论的老一辈经济学家来说,薛暮桥、孙冶方、顾准、卓炯等一大批探索社会主义条件下商品经济、市场经济有功劳的开拓者,都是坚定的马克思主义者,他们不是受西方理论左右的人。后来的经济学理论工作者虽然受了西方经济理论的影响,但是他们中的大多数也是坚持马克思主义的。受西方影响比较大的中青年的经济学工作者的大多数也能够以市场经济的一般理论为社会主义服务。只有少数人用自由化、私有化为暴富阶层代言,来冲击马克思主义,干扰社会主义经济建设。应该说,这些人起的是干扰的作用,而不是指导中国经济改革的作用。我想,这些人倾向用西方经济学取代马克思主义经济学,这是个历史的插曲,历史的误区,经过努力,可能引导他们走向正确的道路。
第二,中国经济改革与发展是以西方理论为指导的说法会误导中国经济改革和发展的方向。因为,中国要建立的是社会主义的市场经济,而不是资本主义的市场经济;要坚持公有制为主体、多种所有制经济共同发展的基本经济制度,而不是私有化或者不断向私有化演变;要坚持宏观调控下的市场调节,而不是市场原教旨主义,主张市场万能论,把国家的一切正确调控说成是官僚行政的干预;坚持为保证效率而适当拉开收入差距,同时要强调社会公平、福利保障,而不是极力扩大社会鸿沟,为暴富阶层说话。要做到这些,都需要马克思主义的政治经济学来指导,而不能用西方经济理论特别是新自由主义经济理论来指导。一旦中国经济改革和发展由西方新自由主义指导,中国的基本经济制度就要变,势必走向“坏的资本主义市场经济”的深渊。只要经济基础变了,共产党最后就掌握不了政权,私有制的代表就要掌握政权。现在我国的房地产商是咄咄逼人呐!发了那么大的财还对政府这也指责那也指责,就很说明问题。中国的改革一旦由西方理论特别是新自由主义理论来主导,那么表面上或者还是共产党掌握政权,而实际上逐渐改变了颜色,那么对大多数人来说,这是一个像噩梦一样的危险。
九、克服经济学领域一些倾向性问题的意见
这个问题应该好好地做文章,因为这个事情太重要了。我只讲几点。第一,教学方针要明确。教育部要管这个事情。现在我们要明确,只有一个经济学基础理论课程,而不是两个。马克思主义政治经济学是惟一的经济学基础理论课程,西方经济学是作为吸收、借鉴的部分。西方经济学作为体系,作为学派和学术名著来介绍,我们还是需要的,需要向专门的学生介绍,但是不要突出它。
第二,教材。要加强马克思主义基础理论研究工程的建设,要吸收各方面的专家,包括坚持马克思主义的学者和西方知识比较多的学者,这样便于我们吸收、借鉴西方的东西,当然要经过改造。我们还要鼓励多种马克思主义政治经济学教材的写作和创新,鼓励对马克思主义经济学做专题研究,包括政治经济学的体系、方法和具体的理论问题,都要进行专题研究,在专题研究的基础上才能形成教材。马克思主义经济学教科书要有多种,不应该只有一种。马克思主义可以是多学派的,但是必须是马克思主义的学派。对西方经济学教材和名著,我们要组织有质量的马克思主义的科学评说,而不是教条主义的评说。只要在教学方针上明确不能以西方经济学教材为主,就可以有效地扭转局面。
第三,队伍。我们欢迎西方留学的“海归”派回来充实我们对西方经济学的知识,充实我们对市场经济一般的知识,但是对于这些同志要进行再教育,特别是理工科出去的,过去没有接受过系统的马克思主义教育,要进行马克思主义的教育。对那些过去接受过马克思主义教育的,回来后有必要的也要进行重新教育。不经过再教育的“海归”派,可以从事其他工作,但是不能从事教师的工作,不能从事决策研究的工作。土、洋出身的学者教员在待遇上应该一律平等。党校的教员更要慎重选择,特别是党校的中高干部培训班的教员一定要慎重选择。否则我们的干部队伍受影响西化了,在实践中搞私有化,导致经济领域都变色了,而中央还不知道。第四,领导权。确确实实地要检查一下我们的高校领导干部,包括校长书记、校长助理、院长、系主任、研究室主任、研究所所长等等,是不是掌握在真正的马克思主义者手中,不是就换,让他去做别的工作。这是个很重要很重要的问题,不能够等闲视之!在这个问题上,教育部不能太马虎了!因为关系到国家的命运。在一些高校和一些研究机构,我知道就有一些西化很严重的人在那里工作。总之,领导岗位一定要掌握在马克思主义者手里。当前要切实地检查和清理,因为不仅仅是教育系统,包括国家的财经系统的一些领导岗位特别是一些研究机构的领导岗位还掌握在非马克思主义者手里。
今天我们谈的主要是理论领域的问题,教育领域的问题,意识形态领域的问题。马克思主义不能被人取代,意识形态不仅仅是在政治、法律、军事、文化领域,经济本身也有意识形态问题,而且非常非常重要。基础变了,上层建筑也要跟着变。这个马克思主义的基本道理,我恐怕有些人还不明白。

Comments:
One interesting thing about the New Left is that that speech consistently refers to Marxist economics as opposed to Marxist-Leninist-Maoist economics. This is consistent with the white paper on democracy that gave people permission to not talk about Mao.

The other interesting thing is that it contrasts Marxist economics with "Western" economics whereas Marx was German.

My personal opinion is that its a good idea to have a diversity of opinions, and having a New Left try to come up with unorthodox policies to deal with some of China's problems isn't a bad thing.

Joseph Wang
http://www.gnacademy.org/joe
joe@confucius.gnacademy.org
 
Is Liu Guoguang a new left? I don't think so. I would probably accept him as a new left if he understands modern Marxist political/economic theories, e.g. the "analytical Marxism" by such people as John Roemer. But I don't think he knows such things. and of course he hardly understands "western economics" either. Yet he (and some other people) still think they are qualified to talk about Marxism or modern western economics.

The entire debate about economic policy and economists that is going on now in China is disgusting. People hardly know what economics as a scientific discipline really is, and its differences from economic policies, yet they think they are entitled to get excited and debate about them.

As for people like Liu Guoguang and some of the people he praises, they are just hopeless. If Thomas Kuhn is right, their ideas will disappear only when they disappear.
 
New Left in a Chinese context means something different than "New Left" in a Western concept, just like neo-conservatism in China means something very different than in the West.

I wouldn't be too harsh about Chinese scholars misunderstanding Western theories and discussions, since Western scholars tend to misunderstand Chinese theories and discussions. The language barrier is pretty huge.

In any case, the economic issues that China faces are complex enough that anything that contributes to healthy debate is a good thing. It's a bad idea for any ideology to be dominant, and the Chinese New Left does form a very potent challenge to the current governing orthodoxy.

I do think that it is a mistake to think of the Chinese New Left as trying to "return to the past."
They aren't. What does seem to be the case is that the Chinese New Left is tossing away the baggage of Leninism and Maoism and starting with a clean slate It will be interesting to see what they are coming up with.

Joseph Wang
joe@confucius.gnacademy.org
http://www.gnacademy.org/joe
 
No one says China does not need any debate about its economic policies---it needs a lot of genuine debates. But if people like Liu want to talk about "western" economics or Marxist theories, (and especially if the essay is published in an academic journal, e.g., Jingji Yanjiu), then they should at least know what they are talking about. Throwing out gabage is not debate, and it only obfuscates things further. Liu himself admits he doesn't know "western" economics well, yet he's criticising it. And he actually doesn't know that he doesn't know (modern) Marxist/Marxian theories either.

And sure, these terms as "left" or "right" or "new left" mean different things in different countries (there are academic surveys available about this issue), and of course I agree that there are some genuine New Left scholars in China. But Liu Guoguang? No.

BTW, economics as a scientific discipline of course has implications to but is still different from economic policies. And, science has no borders.

What's disgusting in China is that there were popular surveys in which the public was asked about which economist's work they trust. This can only mean one of two things: 1) the public don't know what science means, i.e., science is not democracy and voting on scientists is meaningless; 2) the work of Chinese economists is so poor that even an ordinary folk without much background in the discipline is able to judge their work. Either way, it's an ugly picture.
 
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Friday, December 16, 2005

In the course of exchanging an email with a colleague, I am suddenly reminded of a story that a Shandong provincial government official told me when I was in Beijing recently. He said that cadres with university or graduate school experience do not get promoted as rapidly because they are unwilling to take small bribes (meaning they will only take large bribes, out of pride). In contrast, those (like the speaker himself) who are willing to take all kinds of bribes are able to build up a greater cash reserve with which to pay his superiors bribes. Therefore, they get quicker promotions. He calls this phenomenon "counter natural selection" (ni taotai). It seems that things are moving even beyond factionalism into some kind of cash market for offices.....

The central government takes this very seriously and wants to stop it, but who knows....

Comments:
Something else to keep in mind is because land is collective owned, any effort to sell land is going to meet with the resistance of the entire village.

I have read suggestions to change the land tenure system to invididually owned lots. I don't think that this is a good idea since the consequence of this is that local governments will be able to pick off the lots one by one instead of having to face the entire village.
 
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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Dear Readers, I am sure many of you have heard about the Dongzhou Massacre already. There is a lot of media hype about why it happened. How serious is the problem? I attach some commentaries I jotted down after a private-sector round-table I attended recently, as well as Willy Lam's latest editorial on the AWSJ.

Shih: Overall, I think the pressure for rural unrests has diminished compared with five years ago. There was a time in the mid to late 90s after the 1994 tax restructuring when the centralization of revenue put many local governments (especially at the county and township level) in dire straits. There are many stories of extremely harsh tax collection targets at the township level and serious wage arrears (often for over a year) at the county and township level. High tax collection targets forced many township officials to employ “irregular” means to collect taxes from farmers, often leading to bloodshed. Otherwise, the provision of public goods collapsed in many localities.

Since 1999, the central government has greatly increased transfer payments to the local level to alleviate some of this stress. Overall, the regime will boost transfers to rural areas in the next few years (from 120 billion RMB this year to over 500 b RMB in five years).As far as we can tell, it is having generally positive effects in local fiscal situation and local provision of public goods. The fiscal transfer system itself has improved. In my research, I found that while central transfers to county used to be regressive (more money to rich counties) in 1993, it was neutral by 2000 (both rich and poor counties had equal chance of getting transfers). This is the result of increasing categories of central transfers focused on the rural area (education, salaries for local officials, poverty alleviation…etc.). True, not all of this transfer is used for intended purposes. My research shows that roughly half of the transfers are siphoned off to pay for wages and bonuses for local officials, but the other half is generally used for the intended purposes.

The big improvement came in 2001 with the tax-for-fee reform which eliminated most categories of extra fees that local governments were levying on farmers. This year, even regular agriculture tax was abolished. Since the Wen Administration has made burden alleviation a high priority, local governments are in general complying with these policies. My coauthor and I traveled to some 15 counties around China and found near uniform compliance to these edicts.

The problem is that central transfers are insufficient to fulfill the revenue appetite of local governments, and they have found inventive ways to raise extra revenue. Two main channels to raise money include school fees and land confiscation. School fees in many areas have grown to equivalent to one or even two times that of the average income of a farming household. The administration is aware of this problem and is trying to deal with this with more transfers for education. The more salient problem is the problem of land confiscation which is more prevalent in relatively affluent areas, where land is more valuable. Since farmers have no property rights over land, the local government can legally take farm land and redistrict it to industrial or commercial real estate at little cost. It has become a favorite way of raising revenue for middle-income and some rich counties. This has led to extremely violent confrontation between fairly well-off farmers and the local government. The clashes are especially violent because these farmers often have some means of defending themselves and they know the true value of the land they occupy.

The political implication of all of this is that while the pressure for rural instability will lower in the next few years, we will witness incidents of extremely violent confrontations between farmers whose land has been confiscated and the local government. We recently witnessed such an episode in Guangdong province.


AWSJ

COMMENTARY

China's Spiraling Unrest
By WILLY LAM
December 14, 2005

The ugly incident of police firing on unarmed peasants in the southern Chinese village of Dongzhou suggests that the nation's spiraling rural unrest has reached the point where the Beijing leadership is in danger of losing control of vast tracts of the countryside. And that it feels left with no choice but to turn a blind eye -- or even actively connive -- in the use of brute force to silence dispossessed peasants.

The cause of the Dec. 6 unrest is a familiar one in today's China. Peasants evicted from their land without proper compensation, in this case to make way for a power plant which developers, acting in collusion with local cadres, wanted to build in the agricultural and fishing village of Dongzhou, only a short drive away from Hong Kong. After their repeated attempts to petition county and provincial authorities fell on deaf ears, the peasants resorted to a nonviolent protest. Security forces responded with tear gas and then, when they still refused to disperse, gunfire a few hours later -- killing tens of villagers according to eyewitnesses. There followed several days of white terror, as police cordoned off the area, searched every house, and took away the alleged "ringleaders." It wasn't until last Saturday that the official media admitted anything had happened in the village. The official New China News Agency claimed it was a "serious crime" caused by "a very small number of instigators," and that only three villagers were killed "by mistake."

The violence comes amid evidence of a further steep rise in the number of riots, demonstrations, and other instances of civil unrest this year. The Ministry of Public Security admits that there were 74,000 "mass incidents" in 2004; and academics in Beijing familiar with rural problems say that the number of confrontations between peasants and police has continued to increase since then.

Aware of the scale of the problem, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have taken some initial steps to try and address rural grievances. Agrarian taxes are being abolished. New regulations are being drafted to allow peasants to migrate to and seek work in the cities. The centuries-old petition system, whereby penniless peasants trek thousands of miles to present their grievances to mandarins in provincial capitals and even Beijing, has been overhauled. Indeed the leadership has given specific instructions that the petitioners not be ill-treated -- and that the police and courts investigate their complaints thoroughly.

But no attempt has been made to seriously address the most common cause of complaints, the expropriation of large plots of land and displacement of tens of thousands of residents. Property developers as well as owners of mines, oilfields and hydroelectric stations find it easy to bully peasants, most of whom are poorly educated and have no recourse to legal help. One of the most explosive peasant uprisings last year took place in northern Sichuan Province, where tens of thousands of farmers clashed with police over the damming of the famous Dadu River for the purpose of constructing a hydroelectric facility. Again, the lowly peasants were no match for a coalition of local officials and power monopolies, in many cases run by retired senior cadres and children of senior leaders.

Despite their lip service to policies such as "putting people first" and "building a harmonious society," the Hu-Wen leadership are -- at the very least -- turning a blind eye to the scheming of such powerful local interests all over China. For example, the bulk of the coal mines -- in whose inhumane bowels at least 6,000 miners perish every year -- are run by networks of regional cadres, "red" entrepreneurs and financiers, local triad bosses, as well as the police and paramilitary officers. This explains why, as the recent peasant protest in Taishi village in Guangdong province, illustrated, officials can easily call upon armies of thugs to beat up demonstrators -- as well as Chinese and foreign reporters covering the scandals.

Even more disturbing, the killings in Dongzhou raise the possibility that the Hu-Wen leadership has gone beyond turning a blind eye to local grievances and is now willing to actively connive in their suppression. Alarmed by the recent series of "velvet revolutions" in neighboring Central Asian nations such as Kyrgyzstan, Beijing has begun taking a tougher stance against anyone deemed a threat to the Communist regime. That includes not only Internet users and nongovernmental organizations, but even peasants who have themselves been the victims of exploitation.

After all, President Hu, as an obedient student of Chairman Mao Zedong, is sure to be familiar with one of the Great Helmsman's most famous sayings: "A spark from heaven can set the whole plain ablaze." So rather than run the risk of the wrath of isolated villages coalescing, and turning the entire countryside into a ball of fire that would topple the leadership from power, the Hu-Wen team would rather err on the side of "caution" -- even when that involves aiding and abetting instances of local tyranny.

Mr. Lam is a veteran China scholar and journalist specializing in party politics and foreign affairs.

Comments:
One question I have. Why Guangdong? Is it because it is close to Hong Kong and Western media, or is there something odd about the Guangdong provincial government that causes these sorts of outbreaks? I have read that Guangdong has been notably less enthusiatic about local elections than other provinces such as Zhejiang, but that information may be dated.

Joseph Wang
joe@confucius.gnacademy.org
http://www.gnacademy.org/joe
 
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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Enclosed is yet another excellent article on the BOC-Temasek issue. Again, this reflects the complicated game that goes on between the various agencies and between Wen and Huang Ju. Zhou at the PBOC under the encouragement of Huang Ju obviously want to speed up the listing process by bringing in whoever wants to invest big bucks in the banks. Premier Wen, perhaps for ideological and perhaps for factional reason, wants to slow down the process. The MOF and the CBRC are both used to slow down the PBOC's push to list these banks rapidly. In the mean time, the MOF wants a slice of the action by having the social security fund buy a slice of the BOC. The problem for China is that there aren't that many strategic investors willing and able to plunk down so much money, and this politicking only serves to decrease the pool of potential investors. By the time you try to list ICBC, you are--to put it in the words of someone close to the listings-- "scraping at the bottom."

Investors should note that leftist ideologues are making a surprising come-back in China these days, with Liu Guoguang, a well-respected economist with some influence on the leadership, recently saying that Marxist economics should take the place of western economics in Chinese universities. Of course, the suggestion is ridiculous and would never take hold, but it shows that the leadership is again sympathetic to leftist discourse (therefore prompting the likes of Liu to say such things). As I said in a previous posting, the current leadership grew up entirely under Mao and is definitely less cosmopolitan than the previous leadership.


China regulator defends bank sales to foreigners
By Richard McGregor in Beijing
Financial Times
Published: December 5 2005

China’s top bank regulator has strongly defended the handling of overseas investments in local financial institutions, saying the rules of entry ensured that foreigners would not be able make speculative windfalls from their purchases.

Liu Mingkang, head of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, said he expected a decision soon over the sale of a stake in the Bank of China, one of the country’s big four state lenders, to Temasek Holdings, a Singapore state investment company. The debate over Temasek’s application to buy a stake in BoC has become a public symbol of a backlash within sections of the Chinese government to the sale of stakes in local banks, insurers and brokerages to foreigners.

All the indications remain that the BoC’s main shareholders will approve the Temasek application, although possibly with a smaller stake than the original application. BoC said on Monday that Temasek’s application had yet to approved by the bank’s shareholders and submitted to the CBRC for final clearance. The backlash was sparked in part by the successful initial public offering of China Construction Bank in late October in Hong Kong, which gave a short-term boost to the value of the holdings of its foreign strategic investors.

The BoC and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the country’s largest lender, both have plans to attract investors in preparation for overseas listings. Until the end of October, the CBRC had approved 19 investments by foreign institutions in 16 local banks, with more announcements expected soon on further purchases.

The government has encouraged foreigners to take mostly minority stakes in the large state and city commercial banks as part of a broad-ranging effort to force the institutions to modernise their management systems.

Many Chinese banks were technically insolvent in the late 1990s, before the government began an extensive reform programme, spearheaded by taxpayer-funded recapitalisations worth tens of billions of dollars. “In order to lower the cost of (the financial sector) restructuring, we have encouraged co-operation with foreign banks,” Mr Liu said.

Mr Liu said the foreign investors were constrained by three-year lock-up periods and the necessity for them to commit resources and management to improving the Chinese banks. “With that in mind, we can see the chance for overseas strategic investors to make speculative profits is very small,” Mr Liu said. Mr Liu said that the performance of CCB’s shares since their listing – they have risen by a little over 8 per cent – showed that the issuance had been “fully priced”, and not overpriced.

Mr Liu acknowledged that the glut in Chinese industrial capacity meant that there could be an uptick in the non-performing loan ratio in the event of any economic downturn. “Awareness is a very important thing - so long as we can raise the industry’s awareness about the risks in the future, especially during any re-adjustment to squash the overcapacity, I don’t think it’s a big problem,” he said.

Comments:
I don't think that this comment has anything to do with interagency rivalry at all.

The big issue is that in June, Bank of America committed $3 billion to buy 10% of CCB. With current share prices that investment looks like a bargain leading to some complaints that CCB should have asked for more. Liu's comments were intended to counter those criticisms and allay fears that BoA would flip the shares.

Also, I don't think that BoC or ICBC is doing to have any problems getting investors, so I really don't understand the "scraping the bottom of the barrel" comment.

Joseph Wang
joe@confucius.gnacademy.org
http://www.gnacademy.org/joe
 
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Monday, December 05, 2005

Dear Readers, a friend of mine emailed me about an interesting issue. What is the status of the AMC bonds, which are mostly held by banks which sold NPLs to the AMCs. According to the CCB prospectus (see below), the State Council issued a decree in 2004 further clarifying its obligation to the holders of the AMC bonds. But, the CCB prospectus further states that "the notice is not a legally binding guarantee and, as a result, we cannot assure you that we would be able to enforce it under the law." Perhaps a certain reader in Hong Kong can further comment on this fact.

My comment:
This is an interesting topic that goes to the heart of the PRC legal system. Strictly speaking, a law isn't a law until it is passed by the NPC, but that is rarely the case for specific issues. Usually, specific issues are dealt with through State Council decrees or decrees issued by one of the subordinate agencies under the State Council. The last sentence merely recognizes that a State Council decree does not have the same force as an NPC law. Basically, if a State Council decree is over-turned, which happens quite a lot, a claimant would have little standing in court to go after the State Council. However, I think in this case the difference is academic. The Chinese government knows that it must honor the AMC bonds or face massive loss of confidence in the financial sector. When it comes to the financial sector, a lot of the guarantee is implicit, but the Chinese governnment has consistently shown a great willingness to honor implicit guarantees, whether it be for depositors, banks, or for foreign investors. In this case, they have made explicit the guarantee with a SC decree, which has much more force than a decree issued by the MOF itself.

Passage from the CCB Prospectus:

"In 1999, our predecessor, China Construction Bank, received a ten-year bond
with a face value of RMB 247.0 billion issued by Cinda and RMB 3.0 billion in cash in exchange for the disposal to Cinda of nonperforming assets with an aggregate principal amount of RMB 250.0 billion. See ""Our Restructuring and Operational Reform.'' Cinda's ability to make full and timely payment of interest and principal on the bond depends primarily on the availability of proceeds generated from its
disposition of non-performing loans it holds. In the absence of credit support or additional assets, Cinda may not be able to repay the principal or interest on the bond as it becomes due.

In connection with our restructuring, as approved by the State Council, the
MOF issued a notice dated September 15, 2004, which provides that (i) beginning January 1, 2005, in the event that Cinda is unable to pay any interest on the bond to us in full, the MOF will provide Ñnancial support, and (ii) when necessary, the MOF will provide support with respect to Cinda's repayment of the principal of the bond. We have been advised by our PRC legal counsel, Commerce & Finance Law OÇces, that (i) the above-mentioned notice is a valid and eÅective legal document, (ii) the MOF is not authorized to rescind the notice without the State Council's approval and there is no reason to believe that the State Council will rescind or approve the rescission of the notice, and (iii) the notice should be deemed as support provided by the MOF based on the sovereign credit of the PRC for Cinda's payment obligations with respect to the interest on and principal of the bond.

We believe the MOF will meet its obligations under the notice. However, the
notice is not a legally binding guarantee and, as a result, we cannot assure you that we would be able to enforce it under the law."

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Friday, December 02, 2005

Well, now that my life is somewhat back in order after my trip, I would like to provide a couple of observations from my trip to China.

First, I was quite taken back by how pessimistic foreign investors, especially those in the financial sector, are about the Chinese economy. Many talked about the "post-Olympic" crash. The PBOC is definitely aware of this expectation and is doing everything they can to prevent this from happening. I suspect that the leadership as a whole is aware of this and is directing all government agencies to prevent this. But part of the strategy seems to be to slow down foreign involvement in the financial sector. The leadership probably reasons (understandably, in my opinion) that it can still directly control Chinese financial institutions, so it is better to keep most of financial assets in Chinese hands to prevent any rapid outflow or crash.

The Communist Party also confronts its own difficulties. The Hu-Wen Administration is focusing on domestic welfare issues. Direct central transfers to rural areas will increase by four to five folds (to approximately 500b RMB) in the next five years. With tax collection increasing at such a healthy rate (surpassing 20% of GDP this year), they will be able to accomplish it. I actually went down "to the basic level" to observe how fiscal transfers are being spent. On a whole, I have been impressed that at least half of the central transfers are being spent on their intended purposes. Schools are being built; highways are being built....etc. True, much of the money is wasted, but the infrastructure and services provided really provide marginal improvements on the livelihood of the farmers.

The other issue that the Party is confronting is the "diversification of interests" issue. Traditionally, the CCP is mainly concerned with providing "warmth and a full stomach" to the masses in China. As the economy grows, especially in coastal areas, people want more than just "warmth and stomach." Party sources say that the regime is pretty worried about what the Chinese people will demand in the future and are coming up with plans to deal with the "diversification" of interests.

Is the welfare drive necessarily good for the foreign investment community? For foreign direct investors, the domestic welfare drive will drive up labor costs in the short-run because farmers are not as desperate to get out as before (also, there is currency appreciation risks). In the long-run, however, the drive to improve rural education will continue the flow of high quality human capital to foreign investors. Rural education was on the verge of collapse in the late 90s, but it has enjoyed an upswing in the past two years.

For financial investors, the leadership and hence the bureaucracy is perhaps more closed off to foreign lobbying than before (with the exception of the PBOC). Foreign investors will on a whole have less access to the policy making process. This might increase the risk premium for investing in China. The weird thing is, however, that it is not stopping the torrent of money being poured into Chinese financial institutions. Go figure. Perhaps someone can enlighten me about this.

Comments:
The Western banks that are investing on China have a long term view (i.e 10 to 20 years). Ass long as economic growth remains as it has over the last two decades, the Western banks really don't care too much about the details of specific policies.

Also, ownership is pretty irrelevant as far as cash outflow. As long as the RMB is non-convertible, it doesn't matter who owns the banks.

Joseph Wang
joe@confucius.gnacademy.org
http://www.gnacademy.org/joe
 
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