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金钱改变一切:金融如何使文明成为可能 | 书评

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《Money Changes Everything: How Finance Made Civilization Possible》

《金钱改变一切:金融如何使文明成为可能》




金融政策之大观

 山姆·巴特金斯的书评

The Grand Tour of Financial Policy 

REVIEW BY SAMBATKINS



If you want to know everything about the financial history of civilization, Yale finance professor William Goetzmannio Money Changes Everything wonerything about the financial historyut it will fulfill most of it. The book delivers on its promise to trace the foundational elements of finance from Sumerian culture to the great economies of Athens and Rome, to Fibonacci and Marco Polo, to the complex financial instruments of today. This substantial tome is Goetzmann’s love letter to finance.


如果你想要知道人类文明中有关金融史的一切,耶鲁大学的威廉.哥茨曼教授写的《金钱改变一切》虽不能完全,但也能大部分满足你的这一愿望。正如其宗旨,本书追溯了基本的金融元素:从苏美尔文化到雅典和罗马的大经济体,到斐波那契和马可波罗,再到如今复杂的金融工具。这本巨著是哥茨曼对金融的一封情书。


Of course, no one book can capture all there is to know about financial history. But Money Changes Everything comes awfully close to a comprehensive review of financial infrastructure. It tracks the development of finance’s “hardware” (contracts, corporations, and banks) to its “software” (recording, calculation, algorithms, and probability theory). Beyond any critique, the book is fascinating. Who knew Louis Bachelier’s work on option pricing, stock prediction, and the development of Brownian motion (the random movement of particles) were developed before Albert Einstein’s work on motion? The intersection of war, nation-building, finance, mathematics, and even art is given an exhaustive analysis in this book.


当然,没有一本书可以涵盖所有的金融史,但是《金钱改变一切》几乎是对金融基础结构的全面评述。它追溯了金融“硬件”(合同,公司和银行)与“软件”(记录,计算,算法和概率理论)的发展。简直无可指摘。有谁知道路易斯•巴希利尔在期权定价,股票预测和布朗运动发展(粒子随机运动)方面的研究是在爱因斯坦研究运动之前的?此书针对战争、国家建设、金融、数学甚至包括艺术方面的综合因素都做出了详尽的解释。





Ancient and medieval finance

古老的中世纪金融




For many who follow history and the regulatory state, there are familiar trends that echo through our financial past. Typically, past is prologue. As early as 1,900 BCE, Rim-Sin, ruler of the Sumerian city-state of Ur, responded to a financial crisis by declaring all loans null and void. Later, he banned interest payments. Some scholars speculate that those interventions were responsible for capital and population shifts from Ur to nearby Lara. That’s just one regulatory folly—and perhaps not the first—out of many that occurred in history.


对于那些遵循历史道路和法治体制的人来说,金融史中也贯穿着许多他们熟悉的趋势。通常,过去是序幕。早在公元前1900年,苏美尔古城乌尔的统治者瑞姆辛就采用过规定所有贷款无效的方法来应对一次金融危机。后来,他禁止了利息的支付。一些学者猜测这些干涉措施导致了之后资本和人口从乌尔向附近城市拉惹的转移。那只是历史上为数众多的监管中的一个愚蠢行为—而且可能不是第一次。


Fast-forward to 396 BCE and the Athenian empire. Despite its prestige, grain dealers who “hoarded” their product faced the death penalty, making the modest punishment in Wickard v. Filburn seem like an afterthought. Beyond capital punishment, Athens set specific limitations on countless enterprises. Two-thirds of imported grain had to go to Athens. Athenian citizens were forbidden to ship to any other port. And, once grain was brought to the city, there were laws limiting profit margins. Regulators in ancient times evidently took their grain seriously.


快进到公元前396年的雅典王国,即使在外声势显赫,但囤积产品的谷物经销商却得面临死刑,这让在威克尔和弗兰伯一案中的适度惩罚成了一个可有可无的事了。除了死刑,雅典对无数企业设定了具体的限制。2/3的进口谷物必须运送到雅典。雅典市民不能运到其他港口。并且,一旦谷物进了城市,就有法律限制利润率。古老的监管者显然把他们的谷物看得十分重要。


Government power also extended to some of the novel financial and technological instruments that arose. Just as the internet, drones, and new financial products are regulated almost as soon as they are devised, throughout history the ruling class has often viewed innovation as a threat that must be micromanaged.


政府的权力也扩张到了一些陆续出现的新奇金融和技术工具上。正如互联网、无人机和新的金融产品几乎是在设计的同时就受到管制,在历史中统治阶级经常把创新当作一种威胁,必须专门管理。


Consider the medieval Knights Templar, who were among the first international bankers. As they were trained soldiers who took a vow of poverty and were financially backed by the church, they were perhaps ideally suited to handle other people’s gold and land. Kings and nobles often deposited valuables with the Knights; at one point, the English Crown Jewels were kept with the Knights Templar rather than in the Tower of London. Kings would also borrow from the Knights to finance military operations. Pensions and annuities were funded from this nascent bank.


想想中世纪的圣殿骑士团,那些国际银行家中的第一批人。因为他们是受过训练的士兵们,起了贫穷的誓,并在财政上得到教会支持,他们也许是处理别人黄金和土地的理想选择。国王和贵族经常向骑士寄存贵重物品;英国王权之物曾一度由骑士团来保存而不是存放在伦敦塔里。国王也会向他们借维持军事行动的资金。养老金和年金也由这个新生银行提供。


Government ultimately couldn’t abide the power of the Knights. Early in the14th century, King Philip IV of France became incensed that they wouldn’t cancel the debt he was accruing in his War with the English. So he ordered his troops to seize the Knights’ vaults and land, and imprison, torture, and execute all the Knights they could find.


政府最终无法掌握骑士的力量。在十四世纪早期,法国国王菲利普四世他们不会取消他在与英国的战争中所产生的债务而感到愤怒。所以他命令他的部队夺走骑士的金库和土地,并进行监禁、折磨,并处决了对所有可以找到的骑士。





China

中国




beyond war, betrayal, and frequent discussions of financially based artwork, a main theme of the book centers on China. Namely, how could a nation that invented metal coin age, paper money, and securitized lending not lead the world in finance? Why were all of the early corporate powers—e.g., the Dutch East India Company and the Honor del Bazacle (the oldest known corporation) — all formed in Europe? And why did China, of all places, adopt communism in the 20th century?


除了战争,背叛和对以金融为背景的艺术品的频繁讨论,书中一个主题集中在了中国。即,发明金属造币、纸币和证券化借贷的国家怎么可能不在金融领域引领世界?为什么所有早期的公司势力——例如,荷兰东印度公司和荣耀德尔•巴克斯(已知的最古老公司)都在欧洲形成?还有,为什么中国,在所有地方中,在二十世纪实行了共产主义?


According to Goetzmann, the answer is that “when financial innovations occurred in China, they were often appropriated for the benefit of the government, not the individual.” New private ventures were crowded out by state-run monopolies. This set the nation back compared to its early competitors, despite its innovative financial history.


据哥茨曼所说,“当金融创新出现在中国时,总是被政府据为己有,而不是个人。新的投资机会被政府的垄断企业排挤。这使得这个民族尽管有着它创新性的金融历史,也只能和它早期的对手相媲美了。


Goetzmann does have a particular academic focus on China, so prepare for numerous discussions on language, art, culture, and economics. (Curiously he fails to mention a major financial innovation by one of China’s neighbors: one of the first futures markets in the world, the Dojima Rice Exchange in Japan.) The comparisons between Europe and China constitute a considerable chunk of the book, arguably to the exclusion of other notable developments in finance.


Goetzmann对中国确实有特定的学术聚焦,所以为大量针对语言、艺术、文化和经济的讨论做好准备吧(奇怪的是他没有提到中国的邻国之一做出的一个重大金融创新:世界上第一个期货市场,日本的宝岛大米交换市场)。欧洲和中国之间的对比构成了此书相当大的一部分,甚至可以说是在金融方面排除了其他值得注意的发展。 




Today’s finance

今天的财政




Naturally, most of the second half of the book centers on the American experiment and the somewhat surprising divergence of thought between U.S. and British investors.


自然,这本书下半本的大部分集中在美国实验和某种程度上令人惊讶的美国和英国投资者的思想分歧。


Some argue that finance is more about avoiding risk than taking risks. Accordingly, Great Britain’s Henry Lowenfeld attempted to manage risk by heavily investing in bonds. National bonds currently have a zero risk-weighting, so it might make sense to arrange a portfolio largely of safe investments.


有些人认为,比起冒险,金融更多的是规避风险。因此,大不列颠的亨利·劳温菲尔德试图通过大力投资债券来控制风险。国债现在有一个零风险权重,因此建立一个大部分由安全投资组成的证券组合是不难理解的。


As John Maynard Keynes observed, however, Americans are more risk-tolerant; they have a fascination with stocks, dividends, and greater returns. It was American Edgar Lawrence Smith in the 1920s who discovered the “equity premium”: over the long-term, stocks beat bonds. Later, Harry Markowitz and Bill Sharpe proved that a diverse portfolio of stocks and bonds could be just as safe as all bonds and return a far greater profit. The technology of finance extends not just to instruments like stock puts and calls, but to the new math and theory that prove there are better ways of making money and advancing progress.


然而,约翰·梅纳德·凯恩斯观察到,美国人更愿意冒险;他们更喜欢股票、股息和更大的回报。正是20世纪20年代美国的埃德加劳伦斯史密斯发现了“股票溢价”:从长期来看,股票击败了债券。后来,哈利·马可维兹和比尔·夏普证明,一个多样化的股票和债券投资组合可以和所有都是债券的投资同样安全并得到更大的收益。金融技术不仅延伸到金融工具上,例如看跌期权和看涨期权,也延伸到证明了有更好的赚钱方式并继续推进这个领域的新的数学知识和理论上。


According to Goetzmann, the first element of finance is the reallocation of economic value through time. Whether it’s charging interest, the modern mortgage, the concept of net present value, or a complex derivative, how economic actors value and discount money over time is a central tenet in both finance and regulation. Today, regulators struggle with the value to place on emitting a ton of carbon dioxide and how much to discount the potential benefit of an avoided emission centuries into the future. At a 3% discount rate, a particular rule may move forward. However, considering some rules forecast benefits generations into the future, a 7% rate can reduce the monetized gains to practically zero.


哥茨曼认为,金融的第一要素是通过时间对经济价值的再分配。无论是收取利息、现代抵押贷款、净现值的概念,还是一个复杂的衍生,经济行为者如何随着时间估算和贴现货币在金融和监管中都是一个中心原则。今天,监管者为了如何对一吨二氧化碳的排放进行估值,以及对避免排放为未来带来的潜在好处折现伤透了脑筋。若折现率为3%,则可能实行某条特定规定。然而,考虑到一些规则预测未来会受益,7%的折现率可以将经济上的收益减少到几乎为零。


As the author notes, mathematics aids in the calculation of how money changes over time or the acceptable level of risk, but many decisions are moral and political regardless of the arithmetic. In the past, banning interest used to be de rigueur even though that meant the lender lost money on virtually every deal. Today, political considerations often masquerade as moral imperatives, obscuring the rational decisions that should be guided by economics and mathematics. Doubling the minimum wage and the over-time threshold are sold on moral grounds, with specious economic arguments floundering in the background. Despite the litany of rigorous research, many decisions by those in today’s governments don’t revolve around established financial or economic literature.


作者指出,在随着时间的推移金钱如何变化或可接受的风险水平的计算中,数学起到了帮助,但许多决定具有道德和政治性质,与算法无关。在过去,即使出借人几乎每一场交易都会有损失,禁止利息的使用依然不可少。今天,政治方面的考虑经常伪装成道德命令,掩盖了应该由经济学和数学引导除的理性决定。倍增的最低工资和加班的门槛买的是道德的帐,背后却是似是而非的经济论证在无力挣扎。虽然有着冗长而严谨的研究,许多由今天的政府做出的决定并不围绕建设金融或经济文献。


In sum, Goetzmann’s work is a fascinating tour through the history of currency, finance, probability, and risk. Regardless of the reader, there will doubtless be several surprises in each chapter. From the libertarian perspective, the common theme through this historical journey is the innovative brilliance of our species to devise new technology to solve intricate problems—and how those innovations are often banned or curtailed by monarchs, dictators, and politicians acting in their own self-interest. From Ur to Wall Street and Silicon Valley, past is prologue in regulation.


总之,哥茨曼的著作是一次关于货币、金融、概率和风险历史的迷人的大观。不管读者是谁,都无疑将在每章都收获好几个惊喜。从自由意志主义者的角度上来考虑,历史长河中的共同主题都将是我们物种的创新才华,由此设计出新技术来解决错综复杂的问题——以及这些创新如何常常被君主、独裁者和政客们为了自己的利益所禁止或限制。从乌尔到华尔街和硅谷,在监管方面,过去只是序幕。



SAM BATKINS is director of regulatory policy at the American Action Forum

山姆·巴特金斯是美国行动论坛管制政策的主管



声明

 



思想库报告意在传递国际智库思想,译介文章观点不代表本研究院观点或立场。

     

     译:Interns

     校:杨雅慈

     审:Tina



编辑 | Tina

制作 | Tina


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