Kompenzirana prosta trgovina kot rešitev za Rodrikovo trilemo?

Dani Rodrik je v knjigi The Globalization Paradox, obveznem branju za študente mednarodne ekonomije in globalizacije, še dodatno razdelal svojo znano trilemo, da povsem prosta trgovina ni istočasno združljiva tudi z nacionalno državo (suverenostjo) in demokracijo. Država se v tem trikotniku mora odpovedati enemu vogalu. Lep primer  tega so danes ZDA, kjer je Trump zmagal z glasovi volilcev v “Rust beltu”, ki jim je globalizacija (prosta trgovina in prost pretok kapitala) odnesla več kot 6 milijonov služb. Prizadeti ljudje v depresivnih regijah brez perspektive so glasovali za ekonomski nacionalizem, ki ga Trump udejanja z odpovedjo (spremembo) prostotrgovinskih sporazumov in uvajanjem carin. Hkrati se je treba zavedati, da financiranje trgovinskih deficitov z uvozom kratkoročnega finančnega kapitala povzroča nestabilnost na finančnih trgih in makroekonomsko nestabilnost.

Obstaja rešitev za to trilemo? Je mogoče ohraniti nacionalno suverenost in demokracijo, brez da bi se odpovedali (vsaj približno) prosti trgovini? Je mogoče ohraniti nacionalno suverenost in demokracijo, brez da bi se zapletli v trgovinske vojne?

Nagrajeni zgodovinar Robert Skidelsky v Project Syndicate pravi, da ja in navaja članek ekonomista Vladimirja Mascha “Compensated Free Trade” iz davnega leta 2010, ki ga nisem poznal. Masch je kot outsider podvomil v neomejen princip primerjalnih prednosti (več o tem v drugem postu) in predlagal, da državam, ki z globalizacijo izgubljajo v obliki velikega trgovinskega deficita in odliva delovnih mest, države, ki največ pridobijo (države s presežkom v bilateralni trgovini), to kompenzirajo.

Praktično to pomeni naslednje. Vsaka država določi, katere izdelke iz uvoza potrebuje in na koliko trgovinskega deficita je pripravljena pristati v trgovini z drugo državo. Presežni izvoz nad tem bilateralno določenim trgovinskim deficitom pa morajo države izvoznice kompenzirati. Imajo dve opciji. Prvič, da enostransko zmanjšajo svoj izvoz izdelkov, ki povzročajo največje neravnotežje v trgovinski bilanci z drugo državo. Ali drugič, da presežek nad določenim maksimalnim deficitom finančno kompenzirajo s prihodki od izvoznikov teh izdelkov ali iz svojih denarnih rezerv.

Zame je ta predlog (še) preveč revolucionaren. Je pa res, da je ta rešitev v svojem duhu blizu samoomejitvenim določilom v novi verziji sporazuma NAFTA, na katere sta pristali Mehika in Kanada. Res je tudi, da ta predlog boljši od uvajanja carin in posledičnih trgovinskih vojn. In je res, da je ta predlog v skladu z Brettonwoodskim aranžamjem po drugi svetovni vojni in da ni v neskladju s pravili GATT (WTO). In res je, da je tak aranžma mogoče relativno preprosto uveljaviti med velikimi “trgovinskimi bloki” – med ZDA, Kitajsko, EU in Japonsko.

Sam bom moral še malce “prebaviti” ta aranžma mednarodne trgovine, saj je daleč stran od duha proste trgovine, v katerem sem odrastel, v katerem živim in v katerem sam akademsko delujem. Do takrat pa je spodaj niz koristi tovrstnega aranžmaja, kot jih navaja Skidelsky.

Under this plan, policymakers would establish a ceiling for the trade deficit each year and impose limits on trading partners’ surpluses. (Any products needed from a surplus partner would be exempted from the partner’s export limit.) In the US case, this ceiling would largely affect China, Mexico, Japan, and Germany, which contributed $375 billion, $71 billion, $69 billion, and $64 billion, respectively, to the overall trade deficit in 2017.

Under CFT, a trade surplus country can reduce its exports to the set limit. But it could also exceed its export quota if its government paid the partner government a fine equal to the value of the excess exports, either collecting the necessary sum from its export producers or using its currency reserves. (The receiving government could use the fines to enlarge its own investment programs.) But if the surplus country tried to exceed its export limit without paying the fine, its surplus exports would be blocked.

This “smart” protectionism has several advantages over crude tariffs. First and foremost, it would automatically prevent trade wars. Because CFT imposes limits just on the trader’s surplus, any attempt by the surplus country to decrease the value of its imports from the US would automatically decrease the value of its allowed exports.

Second, CFT would confront, in one stroke for each partner, government subsidies, price and currency manipulations, and the other dirty tricks of international trade. In contrast to prolonged and often fruitless haggling over trade treaties, results would be obtained immediately.

Third, by re-balancing the financial and trading arrangements of the global economy’s participants, CFT would represent a step toward addressing its current dysfunction. CFT is not a complete solution, because it leaves open the question of who should adjust to whom. A reformed global payments system, which mandates symmetrical adjustment of global imbalances, would need to tackle this issue.

Fourth, because of America’s leverage, its adoption of CFT would “nudge” reluctant trade surplus countries to accept such a payments system. Global finance would have to operate within the limits that a balanced payments system establishes.

Fifth, in terms of economic benefits to the US, implementing CFT would stimulate the return of off-shored enterprises and jobs, thus restoring the country’s industrial potential and social balance.

From a historical perspective, CFT essentially amounts to a unilateral activation of the scarce-currency clause (Article 7) of the Bretton Woods Agreement, which allowed the International Monetary Fund to declare “scarce” the currency of a country running a persistent trade surplus, permitting other members to discriminate against its goods. It is consistent with Article XII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (the WTO’s predecessor), which states that any country “in order to safeguard its external financial position and its balance of payments, may restrict the quantity or value of merchandise permitted to be imported.”

In short, CFT addresses trade deficits, overcomes the limitations of tariffs, fights trade manipulation, corrects current mainstream economic theory, and is a necessary step toward re-establishing a feasible global payments system. In a nutshell, it overcomes the Rodrik trilemma: one can have the nation-state, democracy, and globalization at the same time.

Vir: Robert Skidelsky, Project Syndicate

2 responses

  1. Malce drugačno idejo, ki bi lahko ravno tako reševala problem trgovinskih deficitov in vojn je objavil tudi Warren Buffett leta 2003 v članku America’s Growing Trade Deficit Is Selling The Nation Out From Under Us. Here’s A Way To Fix The Problem–And We Need To Do It Now. (http://archive.fortune.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2003/11/10/352872/index.htm)

    Buffett sicer govori za ZDA,vendar bi verjetno lahko isti pristop vpeljale vse države s trgovinskim deficitom.

    We were taught in Economics 101 that countries could not for long sustain large, ever-growing trade deficits. At a point, so it was claimed, the spree of the consumption-happy nation would be braked by currency-rate adjustments and by the unwillingness of creditor countries to accept an endless flow of IOUs from the big spenders. And that’s the way it has indeed worked for the rest of the world, as we can see by the abrupt shutoffs of credit that many profligate nations have suffered in recent decades.

    The U.S., however, enjoys special status. In effect, we can behave today as we wish because our past financial behavior was so exemplary–and because we are so rich. Neither our capacity nor our intention to pay is questioned, and we continue to have a mountain of desirable assets to trade for consumables. In other words, our national credit card allows us to charge truly breathtaking amounts. But that card’s credit line is not limitless.

    The time to halt this trading of assets for consumables is now, and I have a plan to suggest for getting it done. My remedy may sound gimmicky, and in truth it is a tariff called by another name. But this is a tariff that retains most free-market virtues, neither protecting specific industries nor punishing specific countries nor encouraging trade wars. This plan would increase our exports and might well lead to increased overall world trade. And it would balance our books without there being a significant decline in the value of the dollar, which I believe is otherwise almost certain to occur.

    We would achieve this balance by issuing what I will call Import Certificates (ICs) to all U.S. exporters in an amount equal to the dollar value of their exports. Each exporter would, in turn, sell the ICs to parties–either exporters abroad or importers here–wanting to get goods into the U.S. To import $1 million of goods, for example, an importer would need ICs that were the byproduct of $1 million of exports. The inevitable result: trade balance.

    Because our exports total about $80 billion a month, ICs would be issued in huge, equivalent quantities–that is, 80 billion certificates a month–and would surely trade in an exceptionally liquid market. Competition would then determine who among those parties wanting to sell to us would buy the certificates and how much they would pay. (I visualize that the certificates would be issued with a short life, possibly of six months, so that speculators would be discouraged from accumulating them.)

    For illustrative purposes, let’s postulate that each IC would sell for 10 cents–that is, 10 cents per dollar of exports behind them. Other things being equal, this amount would mean a U.S. producer could realize 10% more by selling his goods in the export market than by selling them domestically, with the extra 10% coming from his sales of ICs.

    In my opinion, many exporters would view this as a reduction in cost, one that would let them cut the prices of their products in international markets. Commodity-type products would particularly encourage this kind of behavior. If aluminum, for example, was selling for 66 cents per pound domestically and ICs were worth 10%, domestic aluminum producers could sell for about 60 cents per pound (plus transportation costs) in foreign markets and still earn normal margins. In this scenario, the output of the U.S. would become significantly more competitive and exports would expand. Along the way, the number of jobs would grow.

    Foreigners selling to us, of course, would face tougher economics. But that’s a problem they’re up against no matter what trade “solution” is adopted–and make no mistake, a solution must come. (As Herb Stein said, “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”) In one way the IC approach would give countries selling to us great flexibility, since the plan does not penalize any specific industry or product. In the end, the free market would determine what would be sold in the U.S. and who would sell it. The ICs would determine only the aggregate dollar volume of what was sold.

    • Meni je pa osupljivo, da je zadnji vikend v osrčju Slovenije potekalo srečanje globalnih mogočnežev iz Trilateralne komisije in kako je to šlo mimo nas. Za to srečanje se ve že več kot eno leto, od lanske jeseni iz zadnjega srečanja na Poljskem. Pa vendarle je bilo kot tih, neopazen veter, neverjetno. Medijska mašinerija do zadnjega hipa ni niti vedela kje natanko srečanje bo (Grand Hotel Union) kaj šele, da bi imela podroben dostop do diskusij.

      Ta globalistična elita, ki se reklamira tudi z vrednotami demokracije, vladavine prava in človekovih pravic se med temi potencialnimi ovirami več kot odlično znajde in jih že desetletja zlorablja v svoj prid. Kaj so se zmenili bomo pač videli v naslednjih nekaj letih.

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