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每日英語跟讀 Ep.922: Finland Has Faith In the Euro 經濟雖差 芬蘭擁抱歐元

· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English

每日英語跟讀 Ep.922: Finland Has Faith In the Euro

Finland is, in many ways, the anti-Greece.

芬蘭,在許多方面,是希臘的反面。

Like Greece, it is geographically far from the core Western European powers of Britain, France and Germany. And like Greece, it uses the euro currency. But unlike Greece, it is a model of sound governance and responsible use of debt.

像希臘的是,芬蘭的地理位置遠離英國、法國、德國等西歐核心強權。不同於希臘的是,芬蘭是穩健治理與負責舉債的模範。

Yet Finland’s economy is also not doing so great, with an 11.8 percent unemployment rate and with contracting gross domestic product in the last three years.

但是芬蘭的經濟不算挺好,失業率11.8%,而且過去三年國民生產毛額萎縮。

A number of American commentators have looked at Finland’s current economic troubles as a clear sign that what ails the eurozone is far deeper than profligate spending by the Greeks. Paul Krugman has made that case at The New York Times, Tim Worstall at Forbes and Matt O’Brien at The Washington Post.

某些美國評論者檢視芬蘭當前的經濟困境,認為這顯示出歐元區的毛病遠比希臘的揮霍更嚴重。保羅.克魯曼,提姆.伍思道和麥特.歐布萊恩分別在《紐約時報》、《華盛頓郵報》和《富比世》雜誌上發表了此一主張。

Alexander Stubb, the Finnish finance minister, thinks they’re wrong. I brought this up with him recently in Espoo, the Helsinki suburb where he lives. His vigorously defense what the euro has done for Finland, and his comments help explain why elite opinion about the euro is so different on the two sides of the Atlantic.

芬蘭財政部長亞歷山大.斯圖布認為他們都錯了。筆者日前在斯圖布位於赫爾辛基郊區埃斯波的住所提出這個話題。他為歐元給芬蘭帶來的好處強力辯護,而他的評論有助於理解何以大西洋兩岸菁英對於歐元的看法如此南轅北轍。

There are three main causes of Finland’s economic weakness. Nokia has gone from the world’s largest mobile phone maker to an afterthought, costing thousands of Finnish jobs and many more when its supply network is counted. Demand for paper, another major export, has fallen. And the economy of neighboring Russia, with which Finland has deep trade ties, has collapsed because of plummeting oil prices and Western sanctions.

芬蘭的經濟疲弱有三個原因。諾基亞從全球最大手機製造商淪為配角,數以千計的芬蘭人因此失業;倘若把供應網一併算進來,失業人數會更多。芬蘭的另一項主要出口項目是紙,需求也下滑。芬蘭與毗鄰的俄羅斯有很密切的貿易往來,而俄國經濟也因為油價重挫和西方的制裁而大壞。

Because Finland has used the euro since its inception, the value of its currency cannot adjust in ways that would cushion the overall Finnish economy from those shocks. If Finland still had its old currency, the markka, it would have fallen in value on international markets. Suddenly other Finnish industries would have had a huge cost advantage over, say, German competitors, and they would have grown and created the jobs to help make up for those lost because of Nokia and the paper industry and Russian trade.

因為芬蘭從歐元一登場就開始使用,所以無法藉由自行調整匯率的方式來降低芬蘭經濟所遭受的衝擊。假如芬蘭現在用的是原本的貨幣芬蘭馬克,在國際市場將會貶值。其他芬蘭產業將突然享有重大的成本優勢,像是對上德國的競爭對手,產業將持續成長,創造職缺,協助彌補因為諾基亞、紙業和俄國經濟走軟而損失的工作機會。

“Rubbish,” Mr. Stubb said. To evaluate the euro, you can’t just look at what he calls a current “rough patch” for the Finnish economy. You have to look at a longer time horizon. In his telling, the integration with Western Europe – of which the euro currency is a crucial element – deepened trade and diplomatic relations, making Finland both more powerful on the world stage and its industries better connected to the rest of the global economy. That made its people richer.

「一派胡言,」斯圖布說。他說,要評價歐元不能光看他所謂芬蘭經濟當前的「黑暗期」。你得從較長的時間範圍著眼。照他的說法,芬蘭與西歐整合歐元是關鍵要素,而這整合深化了貿易與外交關係,讓芬蘭在世界舞台上更有力量,芬蘭的產業與全球經濟也有更好的連結;這使得人民更富裕。

“In the early 1990s in the middle of a Finnish banking crisis and economic depression, we were a top 30 country in the world in per capita G.D.P.,” he said. “Then we opened up; we became members of the E.U. Now we’re always up there in G.D.P. per capita or whatever other measure you look at with Sweden, Denmark, Australia and Canada.”

「在1990年代初期,芬蘭銀行危機和經濟蕭條之際,我們的人均GDP(國內生產毛額)排在全球前30名,」他說。「然後我們開放了,變成歐盟的會員國。現在無論你是用人均GDP或其他衡量標準,芬蘭都和瑞典、丹麥、澳洲與加拿大位在同一個等級。」

As to whether the ability to devalue its currency would help deal with the current economic downturn, Mr. Stubb is similarly skeptical.

至於具備讓貨幣貶值的能力是否有助於處理當前的經濟衰退,他同樣存疑。

“Devaluation is a little like doping in sports,” he said. “It gives you perhaps a short-term boost, but in the long run, it’s not beneficial. Just like anyone else, we need structural reform, structural adjustment; we need to increase our competitiveness, and a little bit of luck.”

「貶值有點像是運動賽事服用禁藥,」他說。「或許能在短期內增進你的表現,但長期而言並沒有好處。跟任何其他人一樣,我們需要結構性的改革,結構性的調整;我們需要增強競爭力,再加上一點點好運道。」

Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/283515/web/

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