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【华盛顿邮报】委内瑞拉:被腐败拖垮的经济


导读


  三十年前,委内瑞拉人以其生活水准是拉丁美洲最高而自豪,而在十七年的革命之后的今天,大多数委内瑞拉人在商店里甚至都买不到厕纸——哪怕这个国家的原油储备比沙特阿拉伯还多。局势如此危险的委内瑞拉到底是个什么样的国家?或者说委内瑞拉为什么会变成一个这样的国家?



正文



There has never been a country that should have been so rich but ended up this poor

委内瑞拉:应富未富的贫穷国家 


By Matt O'Brien May 19


People protest President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas on May 18, part of planned nationwide protests, marking a new low point in Maduro's unpopular rule. (AFP PHOTO / JUAN BARRETO)


Venezuela has become a failed state.


委内瑞拉已沦为失败之地


According to the International Monetary Fund's latest projections, it has the world's worst economic growth, worst inflation and ninth-worst unemployment rate right now. It also has the second-worst murder rate, and an infant mortality rate at public hospitals that's gotten 100 times worse itself the past four years. And in case all that wasn't bad enough, its currency, going by black market rates, has lost 99 percent of its value since the start of 2012. It's what you call a complete social and economic collapse. And it has happened despite the fact that Venezuela has the world's largest oil reserves.


根据国际货币基金组织(IMF)的最新预测,委内瑞拉有着世界最差的经济增长、最糟的通货膨胀和倒数第九的高失业率。同时有着世界第二高的谋杀率,公共医院的婴儿死亡率跟过去四年相比也飙升了100倍。这些还不是最糟糕的,委内瑞拉货币在黑市上的币值已经比2012年缩水了99%。这就是所谓经济和社会的双重崩溃。尽管委内瑞拉有着世界最大的石油储量,但这个国家究竟发生了什么?


Never has a country that should have been so rich been so poor.


从来没有一个国家像委内瑞拉这样本来应该富得流油,实际却落得穷的揭不开锅


There's no mystery here. Venezuela's government is to blame. Sure, $50-a-barrel oil hasn't helped, but it hasn't hurt so much that a "Mad Max"-style dystopia was inevitable. After all, every other country whose economy begins and ends at its oil wells has at least managed to avoid that fate. Which is to say that Venezuela is a man-made disaster. It's a gangster state that doesn't know how to do anything other than sell drugs and steal money for itself. Indeed, two of President Nicolás Maduro's nephews were arrested on charges of conspiring to bring 800 kilos of cocaine into the United States, the president's right-hand man is suspected of running a drug ring himself, and public money has a habit of disappearing into what could only be private pockets. Two ex-officials estimate that as much as $300 billion has been misappropriated the past decade. It's enough that Transparency International ranks Venezuela as the ninth-most corrupt country in the world. The only ones worse — Somalia, North Korea, Afghanistan, Sudan, South Sudan, Angola, Libya and Iraq — are a collection of rogue and war-torn nations.


问题并不神秘,这全是委内瑞拉政府的责任。确实,跌到50美元一桶的油价对经济没什么帮助,但还不至于让社会倒退回“疯狂麦克斯”式的反乌托邦境地。毕竟,其他依赖于石油的国家至少能够避免这种糟糕的经济崩溃。也就是说,委内瑞拉的处境是“人祸”。这个由帮派掌控的国家除了倒卖毒品和偷钱之外什么都不会。总统马杜罗的两个侄子都因为非法携带800公斤可卡因入境美国而被捕,总统的亲信也被怀疑执掌贩毒集团,国家的公共资金时不时地凭空蒸发,大概也都流进了私人的口袋。两位前政府官员估计,在过去的十年中有高达3000亿美元被盗用。这足以让透明国际组织把委内瑞拉列为世界第九腐败的国家,比委内瑞拉更腐败的国家包括索马里、北朝鲜、阿富汗、苏丹、南苏丹、安哥拉、利比亚和伊拉克——都是些流氓国家或是饱经战火的国家。


Venezuela is the answer to what would happen if an economically illiterate drug cartel took over a country.


想知道如果让对经济一窍不通的贩毒集团接管一个国家会是什么样子,那就看看委内瑞拉吧


This corruption hasn't just enriched the few. It has also impoverished the many. That's because the government has tried to control the economy to the point of killing it — all, of course, in the name of "socialism." Now let's back up a minute. It really shouldn't have been hard for Venezuela's government to spend some petrodollars on the poor without destroying its economy. All it had to do was send people a check for their share of the country's oil money. Even Alaska does that. And, to be fair, Venezuela was able to do so as well, as long as oil prices were in the triple digits. That's how its government cut poverty almost 30 percent its first 12 years in power.


贪污腐败不止养肥了少数人,也令大多数人陷入贫困。这是因为当局政府一直试图以“社会主义”为名垄断经济,也就扼杀了经济自身的发展。现在让我们回过头看看。委内瑞拉政府如果只想把一些石油美元用于扶贫,根本不至于毁掉它的经济,政府只需给穷人一张用出口石油换来的支票即可。政府执政的前12年也正是用这种方式解决了30%的全国贫困问题。


You can't keep redistributing oil profits, though, if there aren't any more oil profits to redistribute. Or at least not that many of them — which there aren't now. The first reason for that is that former president Hugo Chávez replaced people who knew what they were doing with people he knew would be loyal to him at the state-owned oil company. The regime's cronies were happy to take money out of the company, but not so much about putting what they needed back in so that they'd continue to be able to turn their extra-heavy crude into refined oil. As a result, production fell 25 percent between 1999 and 2013. And the second reason has just been that oil prices have fallen in half the past two years. Add those two together — selling less oil for less than before — and you have an economic death sentence for a country that doesn't have an economy so much as an oil-exporting business that subsidizes everything else.


但如果石油出口不再带来利润,那这种方式就不能继续,而这正是目前的情况——至少利润不够了。第一个原因是,前总统查尔斯把国有石油公司中有能力的管理人员换成自己的亲信。当权者的亲信们乐于将钱从公司中取出,但是却没有足够的资金返回公司以至于公司无法将多余的石油转为精炼油。。结果就是石油产量从1999年至2013年下降了25%。第二个原因是,在过去两年中石油价格腰斩。两个因素加起来就意味着——以更低的价格卖更少的石油——这对于一个没有自己经济产业、一切全靠石油出口来补贴的国家来说,无疑是死亡的宣判。


But Venezuela has gotten something worse than death. It has gotten hell. Its stores are empty, its hospitals don't have essential medicines, and it can't afford to keep the lights on. All the progress it had made fighting poverty has been reversed, and then some. The police are going after protesters, and vigilantes are going after petty criminals by, for example, burning a 42-year-old father alive for stealing $5. How has it come to this? Well, the underlying cause is that the government hasn't been content to just control the oil business. It wants to control every business. It tells them how much to charge, who's allowed to charge it, and even who's allowed to line up for it. Because that's the one thing Venezuela is well-supplied with now: hours and hours of lines.


委内瑞拉境遇比死亡更严重,简直到了地狱般的境地。目前,委内瑞拉的商店都空了,医院也没有基本的医疗用品,甚至不能正常启用电灯。所有曾在对抗贫困上所作的努力都已被颠覆。警察正在追究抗议者,治安维持会成员为了偷5美金活生生地烧死了42岁的父亲。究竟到了怎样的地步?当然,最根本的原因是政府还不满足于仅仅控制石油行业。而是想要控制每一行业。它告诉他们要付费多少,谁又可以去收费呢,甚至可以排队等候。因为这是委内瑞拉现在提供得最好的:时间与排队的时间。


Here's how it works — or doesn't, rather. Venezuela's government, you see, has tried to stop the runaway inflation that's resulted from all its money-printing by forcing companies to sell for lower prices than they want. The problem there, though, is that businesses won't sell things for less than they cost. They'll just leave their shelves unstocked instead. So to make up for that, the government has subsidized a select few by selling them dollars at well, well below market rates. Consider this: The Venezuelan bolivar is trading for 1,075 per dollar on the black market right now, but 10 per dollar at the government's most preferential rate.* (It has one other.)


这是它如何运作的——或者说是怎么不运作的。委内瑞拉的政府通过强迫公司去比他们所预想还低的价格来出售产品,以试图阻止由于印钞带来的恶性通货膨胀。不过,问题是企业不会以少于他们成本的价格销售。取而代之的是,他们的货架上将不再上货。那么为了弥补这个问题,政府对小部分商家进行补贴,对其以低于市场利率的价格抛售美元。考虑下此举的后果:玻利瓦尔立刻在黑市上以一美元兑1075玻币销售,但是以政府的最优利率计算,是1美元兑10玻利瓦尔。


That's like paying $1 to get $108. Now, the idea is that giving companies money like this will let them make money — giving them a reason to fill their stores — even when they sell at the prices they're supposed to. But that's not how it has always worked out. Think about it like this. You could either use the $107 the government has given you to buy, say, milk for $3 overseas that you're only allowed to sell for $2 at home, or you could just sell it for $107 in the black market right away. In the first case, you'd make about $71; in the second, well, $107. So it's not profitable for unsubsidized companies to stock their shelves, but it's not profitable enough for subsidized ones to do so when they can just sell their dollars for more than they can resell imports. That's why Venezuela has had shortages of basic goods — everything from food to beer to toilet paper and especially medical supplies — even before oil prices fell so far.


这就好比支付1美元即可获得108美元一样。如今,这样的想法就像给公司钱就会让他们挣钱一样,即使当他们要以他们所要支付的价格出售时,你也要给理由让他们补充货物。但是总是这样并不能解决问题。这样去想想。你要不使用政府给你进货的107美元,去购置海外的3美元牛奶,但在委内瑞拉你只以2美元出售,或者你马上在黑市以107美元的价格卖了这笔钱。第一种方法,你将会挣71美元;第二种,一切顺利的话,你能挣107美元。那么对于不能得到补贴的公司就没有动力去存货,对于能得到补贴的公司,如果他们直接换美元比再次销售进口货物更挣钱时,补贴是不足以补偿其利润损失的。那就是为何委内瑞拉缺乏基本货物——从食物到啤酒到卫生纸,尤其是一切医疗用品——从油价下跌前至今依旧如此。


Why doesn't the government just get rid of this exchange-rate system then? Because as difficult as it is to get someone to understand something when their salary depends on them not understanding it, it's even more so when their embezzling depends on it. In other words, having the power to decide who gets dollars and who doesn't means that you have them yourself, and can skim a little — or $300 billion — off the top if you're so inclined. And the Chavistas have been. It's true that this isn't exactly smart politics or economics in the long run, but in the long run they'll have moved their money into Swiss bank accounts and Miami condos. In the meantime, though, there's a country to loot.


为何委内瑞拉政府不摆脱这一汇率兑换体系呢?因为这和让人去理解某物一样难,当他们的薪水依赖于这群不理解汇率兑换体系的人,或者说当他们需要依赖此体系挪用公款时,这会变得更加困难。换言之,有权力去决定把钱给谁,就意味着你自己能中饱私囊。如果你愿意你可以从总收入中掠走一点,或者3000亿美金。查尔斯一直都是这样做的。诚然,从长远看,这并不是什么明智的政治或经济方案,但是长期以来,他们都将他们的钱转移到了瑞士银行的账户中或是在迈阿密购置公寓。不过,与此同时,委内瑞拉这个国家也被彻底洗劫一空。


*Update: Venezuela recently consolidated its 6.3 and 13 bolivars per dollar exchange rates into a single 10 bolivars per dollar one.


更正:委内瑞拉近日合并了1美元兑换6.3和13玻利瓦尔的汇率,改为10玻利瓦尔兑1美元。


[备注:委内瑞拉存在三种合法汇率,一是官方汇率,1美元兑6.3玻币,适用于食品、医药、工农业基本原材料如种子化肥畜药等,由国家外贸公司分配,涵盖全国70%的用汇。二是由2013年、2014年先后设立的两种补充汇率合并而成一种补充汇率,仍简称SICAD,由委内瑞拉央行拍卖,适用于一般性生产领域,目前定价为1美元兑换12玻币,今后将视市场情况逐步上调,涵盖全国30%的用汇。三是外围汇率,用于外币兑换。此处是合并了官方汇率与补充汇率。]


外媒简介



《华盛顿邮报》是美国华盛顿最大最老的报纸。该报被许多人评为是继《纽约时报》后美国最有声望的报纸。而其尤为擅长报道美国国内政治动态。

在该社前总编辑·本莱德利的带领下,《华盛顿邮报》被打造成了世界上最有影响力最受关注的媒体之一。提供了当代新闻调查的新思路,并且创立了新闻报道、发表和阅读的新模式





学习笔记



1.Mad Max:《疯狂麦克斯》,该系列电影中提到,当汽油短缺而成为稀有物资的时候、人类会用鲜血去换汽油。


2.Dystopia:an imaginary place or state in which everything is extremely bad or unpleasant.反乌托邦,反面假想国,敌托帮(极度恶劣的假想处境或状况)。


3.Transparency Internationa:透明国际,国际反腐机构,简称TI,是一个非政府、非盈利、国际性的民间组织。总部设在德国柏林,以推动全球反腐败运动为己任,今天已成为对腐败问题研究得最权威、最全面和最准确的国际性非政府组织,目前已在90多个国家成立了分会。它的研究结果经常被其他权威国际机构反复引用。


4.correput:

A.willing to use their power to do dishonest or illegal things in return for money or to get an advantage贪污的;受贿的;腐败的;营私舞弊的

e.g. Corrupt officials accepting bribes

接受贿赂的贪官污吏

B.dishonest or immora不诚实的;不道德的

e.g. The whole system is inefficient and corrupt.

整个体系都效率低下并且腐败堕落。

C. containing changes or faults, and no longer in the original state已变换的;有缺陷的;有错误的 

e.g. Corrupt software

被破坏的软件


5.Illiterate: not knowing very much about a particular subject area(对某学科)了解不多的,外行的


6.Bolivar:玻利瓦尔,委内瑞拉的货币单位


7.Runaway inflation:恶性通货膨胀,是一种不能控制的通货膨胀,在物价很快地上涨的情况下,就使货币失去价值。




 翻译:邓小雪 & 颜琪琳

            校对&策划:杨霭琳





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