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2011年1月22日 (土)

日中GDP逆転―共に豊かさを問う時代

2011/01/22
--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 21
EDITORIAL: China now No. 2 in GDP
日中GDP逆転―共に豊かさを問う時代

Today's China, which has climbed from third to second place in the world's economic standings, in many ways resembles the Japan of four decades ago. A chorus will soon arise, if it has not already, of people in China questioning the meaning of wealth amid this economic leap forward.
 経済力の指標が3位から2位になる中国の姿は、約40年前の日本と重なる。躍進の中で、豊かさを問い直すうねりも本格化するだろう。

In May 1970, The Asahi Shimbun started publishing a series about the downside of Japan's economic growth, under the title "Down with GNP." At that time, Japan's economy was in the final stage of what was called the Izanagi boom of prolonged expansion, and Expo 70 was running in Osaka.
 「くたばれGNP」という連載を朝日新聞が始めたのは、1970年5月だった。いざなぎ景気の終末期。大阪万博が開かれていた。

Two years earlier, Japan had overtaken West Germany to become the second-largest economy in the free world. "Isn't there any other way to measure the affluence of a society?" asked the first piece in the Asahi series. It went on to highlight the undesirable byproducts of economic growth, such as waste, pollution, overwork and depopulation.
 その2年前に国民総生産(GNP)で西ドイツを抜き自由経済圏で2位に躍り出た。浪費、公害、過労、過疎など成長の暗部をえぐった連載の初回には「ほかに社会の豊かさをはかる物差(ものさし)はないのか」とある。

Japan's economic growth, however, would soon lose steam amid the negative effects of the "Nixon shock" and the oil crisis. Osamu Shimomura, an economist who was the chief architect of the government's economic policy aimed at doubling national income during the high growth era, declared, "Now that the economic environment has changed, we have to accept zero growth."
 間もなくニクソン・ショック、石油ショックに見舞われて日本経済は減速。所得倍増論のプランナー下村治氏は「環境が変わった以上、ゼロ成長しかない」と喝破した。

But neither Japan's political leaders nor the public accepted that new reality with such philosophical resignation. The country simply kept on pursuing economic growth even at the costs of sharply rising government debt and soaring land prices. In 1993, Japan switched its leading measure of economic output from gross national product to gross domestic product.
だが、為政者も国民もそこまで達観できず、国債増発や土地の高騰まで甘受しつつ成長にこだわった。その指標は、93年から国内総生産(GDP)になった。

Japan surpassed the former Soviet Union when it became the second-largest economy in the world. But the economic bubbles that formed in the late 1980s eventually collapsed. The government responded to the ensuing downturn with a string of fiscal stimulus packages composed mainly of public works spending. The government has since issued more and more bonds to finance these stimulus packages amid a revenue shortage. As a result, Japan's outstanding government debt is now close to 200 percent of its GDP.
 旧ソ連を抜いて世界第2位になる一方でバブルが崩壊。公共事業に偏った景気対策の連発や税収不足などで国債は増発の一途をたどる。残高は今やGDPの2倍に近い。

Japan's economic growth is too feeble to pull the nation out of deflation. The government has mapped out a new "growth strategy," but no one knows if it will be effective.
 成長力が弱く、デフレから抜けられない。「成長戦略」はできたが、その効果はあいまいだ。

The bigger question is whether government policies should focus more on the quality and security of life than on enlarging the economic pie. There has been little progress toward the fundamental reforms needed in taxation, fiscal responsibility and social security to deal with this question.
経済全体のパイを大きくするだけでなく、生活の質や安心こそ大切ではないか、との問いは膨らむばかり。だが、それに答えるはずの税財政、社会保障の抜本改革は、いっこうに進まない。

Japan's situation has much to teach people in China as they ponder the future course of their country.
 こうした日本の状況は、中国の人々が今後の進路を考える上で大いに参考になるに違いない。

China's per capita GDP is still one-10th that of Japan. But China has reached a stage of economic development where people are starting to demand a higher quality of life. Japan also went through an era when people's calls for more of freedom, justice, environmental protection and security had huge political repercussions, even while new cars sold like hotcakes. China seems bent on ensuring that its economy will keep growing at strong annual rates of 8 percent or higher, partly to ease the political pressure.
 中国のGDPも1人当たりでは日本の10分の1だが、ここまで来ると生活の「質」への要求が高まる。自動車が飛ぶように売れる半面、自由や公正、環境、安心への要求が政治を揺さぶることは日本で経験済みだ。政治への圧力を和らげるためにも、中国は年8%以上の高度成長を維持しようとしているようである。

China will eventually become an economic superpower. But there is also the danger that China may follow the path of Japan as problems accumulated through rapid economic growth, such as a wider income gap, inefficient investment and pollution, lead to the bursting of bubbles and economic stagnation. That's why pursuing only high economic growth would be risky for China.
 中国はいずれ経済超大国になろう。だが、格差の拡大や非効率な投資、環境汚染など経済のひずみが蓄積され、日本のようなバブル崩壊から停滞に陥る恐れもある。だからこそ、高い成長を追い求めるだけでは危うい。

Beijing should make serious efforts to ensure stability reigns in the lives of people and balanced economic development.
 国民生活の安定を図り、均衡のとれた発展の道を歩むことが必要だ。

Tackling this challenge effectively requires promoting democracy in both the political and economic spheres. China needs to end its current system in which the Communist Party and the government are solely responsible for economic management. Instead, it should opt for allowing business greater independence and individuals and households more freedom of choice.
それには政治と経済の両分野にわたる民主化が避けて通れない。共産党と政府が経済運営の全責任を負う方式を改め、企業の自律や個人と家計の選択の自由を拡大することだ。

What is true affluence? Japan has long struggled to find a satisfactory answer to this question. China will inevitably face the same question in coming years. As it tries to figure out an answer, a maturing China may find a new vision for its relations with Japan and the rest of the world.
 真の豊かさとは何か。日本が答えあぐねてきた問いを、中国もまた自問してゆくのだろう。その先に、成熟へ向かう中国と日本、そして世界の新しい関係が描かれる。

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