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唯一的旁观者?——若美国加入,世界将开启新模式


如果美国响应一带一路倡议,它将让所有美国人都对未来充满希望,相信他们的后代会有更美好的生活。它还将向世人揭示,如果世界上两个最大的经济体能够做到这一点,那这个星球上就没有人类解决不了的问题


文|海尔格·策普·拉鲁旭(Helga Zepp-LaRouche)国际席勒学会创始人兼总裁  翻译|王晓波



当中国刚提出一带一路倡议时,几乎所有的美国智库机构都持负面看法,或者对此干脆不予理睬。但是,最近情况开始发生变化,除了那些强硬的新保守主义智库外,一些其它智库已经意识到,新丝绸之路计划对美国的许多企业来说蕴含着巨大的商机,特别是在习近平主席与特朗普总统在佛罗里达州海湖庄园举行了高级别会谈后。此次会谈前中美关系出现了一些困难,但会谈进行得非常成功,特别是在会谈中习近平主席再次明确地邀请美国加入一带一路倡议。

 

美国重建基础设施资金缺口大

如果双方能够合作,将会在许多方面获得收益,其中最显而易见的好处就是可以将一带一路倡议与特朗普在竞选期间承诺过的将投入1万亿美元用于基础设施改造的计划结合起来。他的这一方案应当在今年五月正式提出,但目前看来会遇到不小的阻力。

由于在过去的几十年里几任美国政府都没有对基础设施进行投入,造成美国在这方面存在着巨大的需求。除去那些近年来到访过中国的美国人,大多数的美国人都想象不到他们国家的基础设施建设已经远远落后于中国。华盛顿与波士顿之间736公里的“阿西尔高速公路”的平均时速是1小时105公里,其中只有一小段能达到1小时145公里,完全无法与中国长达约10多万公里的高速公路相提并论。现在中国高速公路的总长度是美国的50倍之多!而且美国的路面状况也很糟糕,甚至存在着隐患;桥梁和卫生系统也是如此,但它们都仍在使用中。从华盛顿到纽约,一辆汽车需支付高达115美元的过路费和汽油费。

据美国土木工程师学会预计,美国基础设施的实际投资需求是4.5万亿美元,如此数额巨大的资金也不可能指望私人资本市场,因为那些金融机构代表最近在与特朗普总统进行讨论时开出的条件是,十年内收回全部投资,并且还要确保每年11%到12%的回报率。

另一个棘手的问题是,基础设施项目需要通过收费系统获得资助,这在人口稠密的地区或许还有一些可能,而在那些人口稀少的地方则完全不可能。那些认为基础设施项目必须迅速收回成本并得到高额回报的想法则根本没有考虑到基础设施在国家整体经济中所起的作用。

一个国家基础设施的质量和数量是体现该国整体经济能力的重要指标。在现代经济体系中,应当将其大约50%的总支出用于基础设施的扩建和改造,因为通常这类项目的正常使用时间为20年到50年之间。规划得当的基础设施网络应当包括高速铁路、水路、公路、能源生产和分配、通信。技术发展水平和生产力越发达,对交通和基础设施的整体速度和效率要求也就越高,因为半成品和成品生产的各阶段就像一台复杂的机器,需要合理配置,才能有序畅通地运转。因此,应当根据整个生产力的提高幅度来衡量基础设施投资的回报。在这种情况下,依靠私人投资者给予资金支持是不现实的,只能由国家来承担起这一责任,因为它肩负着提高国民经济的整体效益的使命。

如果特朗普总统仍要求国会通过动用联邦预算来资助基础设施计划,他很可能会遭到民主党和部分共和党人的反对,就像他们以前否决了前任总统奥巴马的医改方案一样。但如果中国和其他境外投资者能够获得允许,通过私人资本市场的方式进行运作,那他们的投资就很有可能进入市场。

 

当地时间2017年2月28日,美国华盛顿,美国总统特朗普在国会发表重要政策演讲时,大谈反腐、基础设施建设等问题


美中互补性强需合作共赢

由于美国长期以来一直采取外包政策,利用国外廉价的劳动力,导致它自身的制造业目前缺乏一个完整的上下游产业链,这也成为影响其发展的又一阻碍。而另一方面,中国的产业链非常完整,在建设现代基础设施方面也有着极为丰富的经验,而且不仅限于国内建设,对参与其它国家的建设也颇具实力。

因此,中国不仅能够帮助像纽约、洛杉矶、波士顿、芝加哥、旧金山和华盛顿这样的城市进行所需的交通设施改造,还可以复制国内的做法,即用高铁将所有主要城市连接起来。比如在纽约、新泽西和费城这几个地区之间建立综合基础设施体系,类似中国的“京津冀交通一体化发展规划”。这样的规划很有必要,因为人们每天在居住地和工作场所之间浪费了大量的时间。中国的北京与上海相距800英里,但高铁的时速可以达到每小时185英里,因此从北京到上海只需5个多小时;而同样的距离,从纽约到芝加哥却需要花费19个小时。

通过再建全新的城市也能让美国获益良多,它们可以是那些位于美国中部人口稀少的几个州,它们可以按照科学城或者教育和研究中心的规划进行建设,或者它们也可以被建在需要大型基础设施项目的地区,比如在西南部干旱区修建水资源管理项目。最近从肯尼迪政府时期就被束之高阁的北美水电力联盟(NAWAPA)项目就已经按照二十一世纪的标准进行了更新改造。

与此同时,美国经济的转型与产业升级还意味着能够向日趋扩大的中国市场出口更多的商品,中国目前有近9亿的中产阶级人口,由于中国政府实行的结构性改革,他们的购买能力正在迅速增加。2016年,美国与中国的双边贸易额已经达到5196亿美元,同年双边的投资额也增长到1700亿美元。在过去的十年中,美国向中国的出口增长了11%,而中国对美国的投资则增长了5.6%。实际上,中美两国的经济具有很强的互补性,如果能够展开合作,将会实现经济显著增长。

而且美中合作并不仅限于两国之间,鉴于当今世界对基础设施建设、工业和农业的发展也有着极大的需求,两国企业联手开发国际市场能够实现美国、中国和第三方国家的共赢。

在一带一路倡议下,2014年席勒学会提出了修建世界大陆桥的构想。在不远的将来,它可以从南美洲的最南端智利和阿根廷一路向北,穿过美国中、北部,经白令海峡的海底隧道,与欧亚运输系统连接起来。这将为美国加入新兴的以太平洋为中心的世界打开大门,但它需要大幅度改善和扩展穿越加拿大的阿拉斯加铁路走廊,并且将它与美国新的轨道交通系统相连接。

这样一条长达约40000英里的现代化电气铁路,其中一半应当属于高铁系统,也意味着需要巨额的投资,因为修建铁路显然需要使用大量的材料、设备以及许多技术熟练的工人。特别是对年轻人的培训,会令人不禁想到罗斯福执政时成立的平民保育团,它对当时美国走出30年代的大萧条功不可没。罗斯福总统在谈及这一美国历史上和平时期最大的运动时曾说过,“它的成立是为了解决年青人教育和技术严重匮乏的状况,这一状况导致美国出现了许多吸毒成瘾的人和与吸毒有关的犯罪行为。”

 

民心相通开启人类文明新纪元

如果美国响应一带一路倡议,其所产生的最重要意义在于,它将让所有美国人都对未来充满希望,相信他们的后代会有更美好的生活,能够重获过去五十多年里失去的东西。此外,它还将向世人揭示,特朗普总统做出的让美国再次强大的许诺与其它国家的利益没有任何冲突,合作共赢的理念将使整个世界步入人类文明的新纪元。如果世界上两个最大的经济体能够做到这一点,那这个星球上就没有人类解决不了的问题。

如果仔细研究一下中国在过去三十年里在经济方面创造的奇迹以及取得的巨大成功背后的理论基础,不难发现,中国现行的经济政策与其对公民的教育息息相关。两者都遵循了儒家思想倡导的终身学习和不断创新的理念,而这其实与亚历山大·汉密尔顿、约翰·昆西·亚当斯、亨利·克莱、亨利·C·凯利和林肯所实行和发展的美国经济学体系中的理论是非常相似的。美国这几位总统都非常清楚,一个国家财富的最主要来源是全体人民创造力的发展,因此他们按照这一思路设计了相应的经济制度,目的就是在最大程度上激发科学技术的进步和创新发展。

还有一点也很有意思,美国的精神之父本杰明·富兰克林对孔子的著作很感兴趣,并从中获得了许多启发。从孔子身上他得到了这样的信念,即公民个体道德的改善是社会进步最为重要的因素。富兰克林在此基础上创建了自己的道德教育体系,它对美国的建国理念起到了决定性的作用。

由此看来,与中国在新丝绸之路方面展开合作还将在文化领域产生影响,就像当年的古丝绸之路一样,能够推动各国在艺术和哲学方面的交流。每个参与国都会将其在人文领域最优秀的传统呈现出来,同时了解其它文化的辉煌和璀璨,这对开拓视野、加深彼此的理解无疑是非常有帮助的。如果实现这一点,人类命运共同体的时代将指日可待。如果特朗普总统和习近平主席能够携手合作,那他们在带领人类走向更美好未来的历史进程中必将占有重要地位。



An only bystander ?

——Once the United States joins the Belt and Road

Initiative, A New Paradigm for Mankind can begin


by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, Founder and President of the German Schiller Institute



While initially almost all US thinktankswere negative concerning China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), or simplyrefused to even take note of it, there has recently been a shift. Except forthe hardcore Neocon thinktanks, several now have started to report about thetremendous business opporunities the New Silk Road project would also mean forUS enterprises. But especially since the very successfull, despite difficultcircumstances, summit between President Xi Jinping and President Trump inMar-a-Lago, Florida.

The most obvious of many areas of suchcooperation naturally would be the link between the Belt and Road Initiative andthe planned $1 trillion infrastructure project Trump has promised in hiselection campaign, which is supposed to be presented in May. There are severalroadblocks to be overcome for this to happen.

The infrastructure requirements of the USare enormous due to decades of long non-investment by the previousadministrations. Except those Americans who have actually been in China, mostof them have no idea how far behind US infrastructural development is ascompared with China. The Washington-Boston 736 km Acela“high speed”line averagespeed is only 105 km/h with only very short segments at 145 km/h, by nomeans  high speed as compared to theapproximately 130,000 kilometers of China, over 50 times as much! The roads arein terrible, dangerous condition, and so are the bridges, sanitation systems,etc, but their use is still extensive. For a trip between Washington and New York one has to pay thesubstantial amount of $115 in tolls and gas per car.

The American Society of Civil Engineers ata recent conference put out the estimate that the real infrastructureinvestment requirements are actually $4.5 trillion.There is no way thefinancing of either these amounts will come from the private equity market, asrepresentatives of this sector in recent discussions with President Trumpexpressed prohibitive conditions, such as a 11-12% return per annum, and a fullreturn of the capital invested within ten years. Also problematic is the ideathat the infrastructure should be financed by a toll system, which would maybework narrowly in densely populated areas, but not at all in thinly inhabitedones. But the very idea, that there should be an immediate direct return oninfrastructure, misses completely the function of infrastructure for thegeneral economy.

The quality and density of infrastructurerepresents the precondition for the productivity of an economy as a whole, anda modern economy requires approximately 50% of its total expenditures for theexpansion and modernization of infrastructure, since the life expectancy ofvarious categories is between 20 and 50 years. A well planned infrastrucureplatform is an integrated system of high-speed rail lines, waterways, highways,energy production and distribution, communication, as well as so-called soft infrastructuresuch as health and education systems, etc. The higher the technologicaldevelopment and productivity of an economic space is becoming, the moreimportant the speed and efficiency of the transport and density ofinfrastructure in general will need to be, since all the various levels ofproduction into semi-finished and finished goods work together like acomplicated maschine, where each part has a role for a harmonious function.Thus, the return on the infrastructure investment is actually measured by theincrease of the productivity of the entire economy, and the financing thereforecan not be left to the private investor, but it has to be the responsibility ofthe state, who is devoted to the common good of the national economy.

If President Trump would simply requestCongress to fund the infrastructure program by the Federal budget, he would runinto the same opposition of the Democrats and part of the GOP that alreadyprevented the repeal of Obamacare. And if China and other foreign investors wouldsimply invest by means of the private equity market, provided that would beallowed, these investments would be exposed potentially to the fluctuations ofthe markets.

Due to decades long policies of outsourcingto cheap labor countries, the US manufacturing sector presently lacks acomplete upstream and downstream industry chain, which is another impediment.China on the other hand, has such a complete upstream and downstream industrychain, and it also has a vast experience in building of modern infrastructuresystems, not only from its experience in China itself, but also having builtthem in other countries.

China could therefore not only help thosecities with the greatest transportation needs, such as New York, Los Angeles,Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington DC, but it could also help toreplicate what China is doing domestically, namely to connect all major citieswith fast train systems. For regions like the one between New York, New Jerseyand Philadesphia for example, an integrated infrastructure system like theplanned system for“Integrated Transport Development”of theBeijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, would make a lot of sense, since people arelosing every day many hours in commuting back and forth between living quartersand work. While it takes only five hours to travel the distance of 800 milesfrom Beijing to Shanghai at an average speed of 185 mph (298 km/h), it takes 19hours from New York City to Chicago, about the same distance!



The United States would also benefitgreatly from the construction of entirely new cities, which could be located inthe very thinly populated areas in the central states of the US. They could bescience cities, as education and research centers, or they could be locatedwith other needed large infrastructure porjects, such as water managementprojects for the drought endangered regions of the Southwest. One such project,which is on the shelf since the Kennedy administration is the North AmericanWater and Power Alliance, NAWAPA, which has recently been upgraded for the 21stCentury.

On the other hand, such an upgraded USeconomy could also export into the expanding Chinese market where a middleclass of now approximately 900 million people is enjoying a quickly increasingbuying power, due to the structural reforms implemented by the Chinesegovernment. In 2016 the bilateral trade volume between the US and China wasalready $519.6 billion, bilateral investment grew to $170 billion in the sameyear. Over the last decade US exports to China grew 11%, Chinese investments tothe US grew 5.6%. The potential for all of these categories to grow, if the twocomplimentary economies of the US and China would link in the described way, isenormous.

Such US-China cooperation would naturallynot be limited to bilateral exchanges, but given the vast requirements for  infrastructure, agriculture and industrialdevelopment in the world, joint ventures almost anywhere in the world would bea Win-Win- perspective for the United States, China, and the third partycountry. With the huge potential of the Belt and Road Initiative to developinto the World Land-Bridge proposed by the Schiller Institute in 2014, in thenot so distant future there can be the construction of a fast train system fromthe southern tip of South America in Chile and Argentina all the way up throughCentral and North America and via a tunnel under the Bering Strait connect tothe Eurasian Transport systems. This would provide the gateway for the UnitedStates to join the newly emerging Pacific-centered world. This would requirevastly impoving and expanding the Alaska railroad corridors through Canada andconnect that with the new rail line system in the US.

Such a perspective of approximately 40,000miles of modern electrified rail, about half of which should be fast trainsystems, will also mean an enormous investment into  industrial production to supply the necessarygoods and materials, as well as the training and education of the skilled laborneeded to accomplish such a huge task. Especially for the training of the youth one can go back to theexperience of Roosevelt's  CivilianConservation Corps, the CCC-programm, which contributed significantly to helplead the US out of the depression in the 30's. Roosevelt called the CCC ◊thegreatest peacetime movement this country has ever seen.“ It was created toaddress the dire lack of education and skills of the youth, a condition whichin todays America takes the form of a very large drug addiction and drugrelated crimes.

At the summit between President Trump andPresident Xi Jinping they decided to set up four permanent dialogues, one ofthem devoted to economic issues.  Thisgroup of experts could start to explore the project of the US joining the BRIimmediately.

The most important aspect of the concept ofthe US joining with the Belt and Road Initiative however will be to inspire thewhole population with hope for the future, a better future for generations tocome, something which has been lost in the last five decades. It would alsodemonstrate, that President Trump's promise to make America great again, is notin contradiction to the interests of other countries, but that such a Win-Wincooperation would move the entire world into a new era of human civilization.If the two largest economies of the world would work together in this way,there will not be any problem on the planet which could not be solved.

If one studies the economic theory behindthe tremendous success of the Chinese economic miracle of the last 30 years,one will find that present Chinese economic policies, basing themselves on theeducation of its citizens, very much in coherence with the Confucian principleof lifelong learning and innovation, are actually very close to the economicprinciples of the American System of economy, as it was developed andimplemented by Alexander Hamilton, John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, Henry C.Carey and Lincoln. All of these men understood that the most important sourceof wealth of a country is the development of the creative powers of their ownpopulation. And therefore, they designed a system of economy that furtheredexactly that in order to catalyze the greatest rate of scientific andtechnological progess and innovation.

It is also fascinating that the realspiritual father of the American Republic, Benjamin Franklin, was completelyexcited and inspired by the writings of Confucius, from whom he took theconviction that the moral enoblement of the the individual was the absolute keyfor the improvement of society. Franklin based his own system of moral teachingon Confucius, which was decisive for the spirit of the foundation of America. Avery similiar intellecutal closeness existed between President Lincoln and thefounding father of China.

The collaboration with the New Silk Roadshould therefore have a cultural dimension, and exactly like the ancient SilkRoad, lead to an exchange of art and philosophy. It should do so to bringforward the best traditions and highest expression of humanity of eachparticipating country, and in doing so, people will discover the unexpectedbeauty of the other cultures and this knowledge will lead to admiration andopen new horizons. The epoch of a community of a shared future is within reach.If President Trump and President Xi Jinping will join hands for this collaboration,both of them will have a place in history for having led Mankind to its truedestiny.