毕竟东流去

(美国的再工业化基本上是一个不可能完成的任务。)

几天前有媒体报道,奥运开幕前夕,美国代表队的运动服引发了争议,因为它们全部由中国厂家生产。有政客称,美国运动员应该穿美国制造的运动服,穿中国制造的运动服可耻。不少美国网民扬言抵制美国代表队的赞助商拉夫劳伦。

无独有偶,6月底还有一则消息,一名美军士兵拒绝接受部队配发的军靴,因为它是由中国生产的。他要求部队给他换一双美国产的军靴。在要求得到满足之前,他只好光着脚值勤。

6月中旬,美国外贸部门公布了一项数据,2011年美国进口了价值360万美元的国旗,其中330万美元来自中国。消息一出,媒体大哗,认为让中国生产美国国旗令人难以接受,应该由美国自己生产,“最不济也要交给加拿大来做”。

以爱国名义抵制别国制造,让人想起当年中国人的抵制日货运动。我想这应该和美国目前失业者比较多有关系。按官方统计,美国目前的失业率是8.2%,比前两年下降不少,但这里面没有包括多次求职失败、最终放弃求职的人。有美媒估计,实际失业人数占劳动力总数的15%。当一个美国人长期找不到工作,又看到周围的产品全是中国制造,难免会产生被中国人夺去饭碗的想法。

抵制外国产品的背景,正值美国 “再工业化提速”。早在2009年底,奥巴马就开始强调“再工业化”战略,力图通过回归实体经济,吸纳更多的人就业,以重振美国经济。近来媒体对这方面的报导突然多了起来,可能是因为美国的再工业化似乎取得了一定进展。7月,麻省理工学院的一项调查显示,有14%的美国企业明确打算将部分制造业务迁回本国,不过部分企业表示它们受到了政治上的压力。

美国能否实现再工业化?有些东西一旦失去,再要回来是很难的。美国在上世纪60年代曾花了不到年10的时间实现载人登月,但如今它想再次登月,没有10年以上恐怕不行,因为登月完全是美苏争霸的产物,缺乏可持续性。30多年不搞,登月计划背后的产业链已经没了。制造工艺、技术规格都发生了很大变化,产业工人也换了好几拨了。即便土星5号火箭和登月舱的图纸还在,美国还是要走吃透技术、重新设计、验证可靠性等一系列程序,这些没有十年的时间是完不成的。

如果美国人下定决心,不顾一切地登月,它还是能做到。但实现再工业化对美国来说,基本上是不可能的任务。冰冻三尺,非一日之寒,美国的去工业化在冷战时期就开始了。当时为了集中资源与前苏联搞军备竞赛,美国将部分民用产业向海外转移。欧洲、日本还有亚洲四小龙,都是受益者。苏联解体后,美国先是发展互联网,随着又大搞房地产业以及相关的金融衍生品。制造业来钱太慢,美国不再玩了。它先是转到了东南亚,然后又被中国夺去。到了本世纪,中国已经成为无可争议的世界工厂,在许多工业产品上达到了极高的占有率。

中国能成为世界工厂并非偶然,因为它拥有良好的投资环境、完善的基础设施,素质相对较高而且吃苦耐劳的劳动力,再加上一个有十三亿人口的庞大市场。这是他国很难复制的优势。不管媒体如何妖魔化代工工厂,爱心人士怎么抗议,苹果也不会把它的生产线搬回美国。这跟人力成本无关,而是因为它的产品的整个产业链都在中国,配套的厂商在中国,中国还是它的一大市场。苹果就是再有钱,也不会傻到把生产线搬回去,这等于要让它重新布局供应链。今后几年,可能会有美国企业选择在美国建厂,但这些个案并不能撼动中国世界工厂的地位,也不能帮助美国实现再工业化。

其实,再工业化对美国和全世界都没有什么好处。博士顿咨询集团估计,到2015年,中国工人工资将是每小时4.41美元,而美国是26.06美元。对于劳动密集型企业来说,工人多干活少拿钱,产品才有竞争力。人力成本仍然是不得不考虑的因素,所以企业仍然会将工人的工资控制在一个有竞争力的水平。工人低工资会影响到占美国GDP70%的服务业,服务业为了生存,也只好压低价格。所以,大规模工业化一旦成功,反而会使美国整体的收入水平降低。工业品即使生产出来了,也打不开销路。

在世界经济一体化时代,任何国家工业化都逃避不了竞争。中国人口众多,已经占住的产业不会轻易让出来,否则会影响到上千万人的生计,这也注定美国的再工业化难以成功。青山遮不住,毕竟东流去。今年正值总统大选,会有一些美国企业出于政治原因说些漂亮话,但真正付诸行动的可能性是很小的。

下图:拒穿中国制造军靴、光脚值勤的美军上士Steve Adachi


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