岑博智将于本文探讨民主社会主义、北欧国家及现实世界。

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MR. MICHAEL CEMBALEST: Good morning and welcome to the Eye On The Market podcast. This one's a travel log. With the first Democratic debates coming up this week, I thought it was a good time to share this analysis.

 

At the Democratic Party Convention in California earlier this month, the former Governor of Colorado was booed for saying that socialism isn't the answer, and the crowd there has company. Recent surveys of college students in the United States are shown as having a more favorable view of socialism than of capitalism. And when they're asked about some of the failed 20th Century socialistic experiments, the respondents say they're talking about Democratic Socialism instead. 

Okay. Fair enough, but let's take a look at where Democratic socialism is used elsewhere before the United States adopts it and, that's where, of course, it gets murkier because such societies are not that easy to find. Some people point to the Nordic countries as Democratic Socialism in action. 

 

And just to give you a refresher, the Nordic countries are, for our purposes, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands. They have an average population of just about 9 million and a GDP per country that averages about 5-percent of U.S. levels, and are very ethnically homogenous and more closed to immigration than the United States. 

 

Anyway, while some people point to these Nordic countries as Democratic Socialism in action, the Nordics themselves, many of them disagree with that. The former Prime Minister of Denmark said some people in the United States associate the Nordic model with some kind of socialism. Therefore, I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy.

 

Our models backed him up. While Nordic countries have higher taxes and greater redistribution of wealth than the United States, the Nordics are just as business friendly as the United States, if not more so. And examples include greater business freedoms in the Nordic countries, freer trade, even before the Trump tariffs, more oligopolies where companies have large market share, lower levels of state control over the private sector, and receptivity to foreign direct investment, et cetera, et cetera. 

 

And so--and as for the tax issue, while the Nordic countries may raise more taxes than the U.S., the gap results from regressive VAT and consumption taxes, and Social Security taxes, and payroll taxes, rather than from having much higher progressive income taxes.

 

So the bottom line is you can copy the Nordic model, if you like, but understand that it entails a lot of capitalism, a lot of pro-business policies, a lot of taxation on the middle class with respect to their spending and their wages, minimal reliance on corporate taxation, roughly the same as a percentage of overall taxes as the U.S., and plenty of co-pays and deductibles in its healthcare system. For all of the discussion about Nordic healthcare systems, which are excellent, they are quite different from anything related to Medicare for All proposals in the U.S., which do not have co-pays and deductibles.

 

So with the Nordic countries firmly rooted in capitalism and free markets, if I wanted to find an example of Democratic Socialism in practice, I'd have to look elsewhere. So I broadened my search and I looked for countries that relative to the U.S. are characterized by higher tax rates on corporations and individuals, more government spending, more worker protections restricting the ability of companies to hire and fire both domestic and foreign labor, less flexibility for companies to set wages based on worker productivity, more reliance on regulation, more constraints on real estate development, more antitrust enforcement, more state intervention in product markets, a shift away from a shareholder centric business model, more protections for workers in domestic industries through tariffs, and more constraints on capital inflows and outflows. 

 

I couldn't find any country that ticked off all of these Democratic Socialist boxes, but I did find one that came close. Argentina, which has defaulted seven times since its independence in 1816, which has seen the largest decline in its standard of living in the world over the last century, and which is on the brink of political and economic chaos again in 2019. 

 

So that's where my journey ended, halfway around the world from Scandinavia, where it began, and my conclusion is that a real life proof of concept for a successful Democratic socialist society hasn't been really--has not been found yet. 

 

And again, to reiterate, if you like that Nordic model, understand that it's heavily reliant on middle class taxation, not a lot of corporate taxes, plenty of co-pays and deductibles in healthcare, and a very business friendly private sector.

 

And so this month's Eye On The Market has some charts and tables that substantiate all of those points. 

 

FEMALE VOICE: Michael Cembalest’s, Eye On The Market, offers a unique perspective on the economy, current events, markets, and investment portfolios, and is a production of JPMorgan Asset and Wealth Management. Michael Cembalest is the chairman of Market and Investment Strategy for JPMorgan Asset Management, and is one of our most renowned and provocative speakers. 

 

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鉴于2020 年的美国总统大选民主党首场辩论会即将于本周开始,这篇分析可谓正合事宜。在月初召开的加州民主党大会上,前任两届科罗拉多州州长因为宣称「社会主义不是我们的答案」而被公众大喝倒彩。事实上,这次并非单一事件:据近期调查显示,美国大学生赞同社会主义多于资本主义。当被问到二十世纪尝试推行社会主义却遭遇滑铁卢时,受访者坚称他们所指的是「民主」社会主义。这种说法确实不无道理,但是在全球最大的经济体实行民主社会主义之前,让我们先了解在民主社会主义在世界其他地方的运作方式吧。可惜的是,民主社会主义的运作并非一目了然:奉行民主社会主义的国家世上难寻。

有人说北欧国家正在实行民主社会主义,但不是所有北欧人都同意这一说法,其中丹麦总理拉斯穆森(Rasmussen)更说:「在美国,有些人会将北欧模式与某种社会主义联系在一起。因此,我想澄清一点。丹麦远非社会主义计划经济。丹麦奉行的是市场经济」1我们的模型支持了他的说法:虽然北欧国家税收较高,财富再分配力度较大,但毫无疑问北欧的社会环境与美国一样,两国都是有利营商的。具体例子包括企业自由度较大、贸易自由度较高、寡头垄断的情况更普遍,以及国家实施的经济管控对商业竞争造成的影响较小。诚如本期《放眼市场》全文内所阐释,虽然北欧国家的税收高于美国,但税收差额通常来自累退增值税/消费税和社会保障税而不是累进所得税。

总结:如果您愿意,您也可以效仿北欧模式,但您要明白,这个模式需要推行「大量」资本主义和亲商政策, 对中产阶级的支出和工资征收「庞大」税项,对企业税收的依赖程度极低,以及医保体系中病患者需要共同承担高昂医疗费用和免赔额。

从许多衡量指标来看,北欧国家对待私营部门的方式甚至比美国更加亲商

资料来源:世界银行、经合组织、世界经济论坛、菲莎研究院、瑞士经济研究院和《华尔街日报》。
散点图:美国与北欧国家在亲商政策方面的多个不同指标的比较(以营商自由度、创业容易程度、自由贸易政策、外商直接投资接受程度、房地产权的保护、资金的自由流通以及经济全球化来衡量)、寡头垄断的情况(以银行资产的集中度、所有企业之间的竞争和服务行业的竞争来衡量)以及国家规管市场竞争造成的影响(以政府对市场竞争力及国家所有权的规管造成的影响来衡量)。相比美国,北欧国家的亲商政策更多及寡头垄断的情况更普遍,国家实施的经济管控及国有所有权较少)。

谁在为北欧国家的社会福利项目埋单? 每一个人,尤其是中产阶级

资料来源:经合组织,2018年
表格:消费税、社会保障税和工资税占美国国内生产总值的百分比

鉴于资本主义和利伯维尔场深深植根于北欧国家,如要找到实践民主社会主义的例子,就得另寻他方。于是我扩大了搜索范围,寻找对比美国具有以下特点的国家2:

  • 个人和企业税率较高,政府开支较高
  • 限制公司雇用和解雇能力的工人保护措施更多,公司根据工人生产率设定工资及/或雇用外国劳工的灵活性较小
  • 更加依赖监管法规,对开发房地产市场设有更多限制,更多反垄断执法情况,国家对产品市场施加更多干预;而且偏离了以股东为中心的商业模式
  • 通过征收关税和实施非关税壁垒给予工人和国内产业更多保护,对资本流入和流出设置更多限制

我找不到任何一个国家符合「所有」这些民主社会主义的特点,但我确实找到了一个比较接近的国家:阿根廷。自从1816年宣布独立以来,阿根廷出现了7次债务违约事件,自1900年以来遭遇了世界上相对生活水平的最大跌幅,到了2019年,阿根廷再次濒临爆发政治和经济动乱危机的边缘。从斯堪的纳维亚开始,绕了地球半圈,我的旅程到此为止了。现实生活中要找到成功推行民主社会主义概念的国家,犹如寻找失落了的亚特兰蒂斯城,所有存在证据尚有待发现。