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经济学人:投资人与经济机器

2014-06-06    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

Finance and Economics;财经;

Man and machine;投资人与经济机器;

The economic ideas of the world's most successful hedge-fund boss;
世界最成功的对冲基金经理的经济思想;

“The most beautiful deleveraging yet seen” is how Ray Dalio describes what is now going on in America's economy. As America has gone through the necessary process of reducing its debt-to-income ratio since the financial crash of 2008, he reckons its policymakers have done well in mixing painful stuff like debt restructuring with injections of cash to keep demand growing. Europe's deleveraging, by contrast, is “ugly”.
“这是我所见过的最美丽的去杠杆化”Ray Daio如此描述美国的经济现状。2008年经济危机以来,美国经历了为降低负债收入比而必须的的过程,他认为美国的政策制定者们在均衡棘手事务如债务重调和资金注入从而保持需求的持续上升方面做得可圈可点。相比之下,欧洲的去杠杆化显得“丑陋不堪”。

Mr Dalio's views are taken seriously. He made a fortune betting before the crash that the world had taken on too much debt and would need to slash it. Last year alone, his Bridgewater Pure Alpha fund earned its investors 13.8 billion Dollor, taking its total gains since it opened in 1975 to 35.8 billion Dollor, more than any other hedge fund ever, including the previous record-holder, George Soros's Quantum Endowment Fund.
Dalio的观点备受界内关注。在经济危机产生之前,他曾对经济局势做了一个断言,即世界经济需要大幅度地削减过重的负债。只去年一年,他的Bridgewater Pure Alpha基金就给投资者带来了138亿美元的回报,这也使得该基金达到自开创以来的358亿美元,并超过了包括以前的纪录保持者George Soros的 Quantum Endownment基金在内的任何一项对冲基金。

Mr Dalio, an intense 62-year-old, is following in the footsteps of Mr Soros in other ways, too. Mr Soros has published several books on his theories, and is funding an institute to get mainstream economists to take alternative ideas seriously. Mr Dalio, too, is now trying to improve the public understanding of how the economy works. His economic model “is not very orthodox but gives him a pretty good sense of where the economy is,” says Paul Volcker, a former chairman of America's Federal Reserve and one of Mr Dalio's growing number of influential fans.
在其他方面,现如今富有激情的已62岁的Dalio也在紧跟Soros的步伐。Soros至今已经出版了多本有关其理论的书籍,并正在资助一个机构,以便促使主流经济学家对另类思想加以重视。Dalio也在努力促进公众对经济运作过程的理解。美联储前主席Paul Volcker,作为Dalio日益增多且颇具影响力的粉丝之一,称其经济模式“并非绝对正统,但带给了他相当敏感的经济趋势把握能力”。

Whereas Mr Soros credits the influence of Karl Popper, a philosopher who taught him as a student, Mr Dalio says his ideas are entirely the product of his own reflections on his life as a trader and his study of economic history. He has read little academic economics (though his work has echoes of Hyman Minsky, an American economist, and of best-selling recent work on downturns by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff) but has conducted in-depth analysis of past periods of economic upheaval, such as the Depression in America, post-war Britain and the hyperinflation of the Weimar Republic. He has even simulated being an investor in markets in those periods by reading daily papers from these eras, receiving data and “trading” as if in real time.
不同的是,Soros把他的成功归于其学生时代的哲学家老师Karl Popper的影响。Dalio则说他的思想完全是自己作为一个交易商的生活感悟和对经济学历史研究的产物。他几乎没有读过正统的学术经济学(虽然他的著作得到了美国经济学家Hyman Minsky以及Carmen Reinhart和Kenneth Rogoff最近有关经济低迷的畅销书的回应),但是他对过去的经济剧变时期的情况作了深入分析,其中包括美国的经济大萧条,战后的英国和魏玛共和国的恶性通货膨胀。他甚至曾假装自己是当时的投资者,通过阅读当时的日报来获得数据信息,并进行现实般的“交易”。

In the early 1980s Mr Dalio started writing down rules that would guide his investing. He would later amend these rules depending on how well they predicted what actually happened. The process is now computerised, so that combinations of scores of decision-rules are applied to the 100 or so liquid-asset classes in which Bridgewater invests. These rules led him to hold both government bonds and gold last year, for example, because the deleveraging process was at a point where, unusually, those two assets would rise at the same time. He was right.
在20世纪80年代早期,Dalio就开始积累决策规律以备引导他日后的投资。以后的日子里,他会根据这些规律预测事实的准确度来修改它们。现在这项工作已由计算机来处理,从而得出大量决策规律的组合并将其应用于Bridgewater投资的约100项流动资产中。比如在去年,因为不同寻常的是,在去杠杆化进程中政府债券和黄金会同时涨价,这些决策规律指导他同时握有二者。果不其然,他是正确的。

What Mr Dalio calls the “timeless and universal” core of his economic ideas is set out in a 20-page “Template for Understanding” that he wrote shortly after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 and recently updated. The document begins: “The economy is like a machine.” This machine may look complex but is, he insists, relatively simple even if it is “not well understood”. Mr Dalio models the macroeconomy from the bottom up, by focusing on the individual transactions that are the machine's moving parts. Conventional economics does not pay enough attention to the individual components of supply and, above all, demand, he says. To understand demand properly, you must know whether it is funded by the buyers' own money or by credit from others.
Dalio所谓的“不受时间限制,放之四海而皆准”的经济思想核心陈述于20页的《用于理解的模板》中。他写于2008年雷曼兄弟(Lehman Brothers)破产后不久并于近日更新。该文件以“经济就像一台机器”开始,他坚信,这台机器可能看起来复杂,但实际上它是相对简单的,即使是在它“不被很好地理解”的情况下。Dalio通过对经济机器的移动组成部分——个体交易,来自下而上地模拟宏观经济。他说,传统经济学对个体组成的供应尤其是他们的需求关注不够。要恰当地了解需求,你就必须知道为它提供资金的钱是来自购买者自己还是从他人的借贷。

A huge amount of Bridgewater's efforts goes into gathering data on credit and equity, and understanding how that affects demand from individual market participants, such as a bank, or from a group of participants (such as subprime-mortgage borrowers). Bridgewater predicted the euro-zone debt crisis by totting up how much debt would need to be refinanced and when; and by examining all the potential buyers of that debt and their ability to buy it. Mr Volcker describes the degree of detail in Mr Dalio's work as “mind-blowing” and admits to feeling sometimes that “he has a bigger staff, and produces more relevant statistics and analyses, than the Federal Reserve.”
Bridgewater公司花了大力气来收集有关信贷和普通股的数据,并分析其是如何影响单个市场参与者比如一家银行和一群参与者(比如次级抵押贷款者)的需求的。该公司通过对需要再贷款的债务总值的合计,以及对欧元区债务潜在购买者的数量和他们的购买能力的研究,成功预测了欧元区的债务危机和其发生的时间。Volcker如此描述Dalio工作的细节详细程度——“叹为观止”,他也承认,在有些时候“他(Dalio)有更强大的团队,并能给出比美联储更中肯的统计数据和分析”。

Two sorts of credit cycle are at the heart of Mr Dalio's economic model: the business cycle, which typically lasts five to eight years, and a long-term (“long wave”) debt cycle, which can last 50-70 years. A business cycle usually ends in a recession, because the central bank raises the interest rate, reducing borrowing and demand. The debt cycle ends in deleveraging because there is a “shortage of capable providers of capital and/or a shortage of capable recipients of capital( borrowers and sellers of equity) that cannot be rectified by the central bank changing the cost of money.” Business cycles happen often, they are well understood and policymakers are fairly adept at managing them. A debt cycle tends to come along in a country once in a lifetime, tends to be poorly understood and is often mishandled by policymakers.
Dalio的经济模式中有两种核心的信贷周期:通常持续5-8年的商业周期和长期的(“长波”)债务周期,后者长达50-70年。一次商业周期一般在经济衰退中结束,因为在经济衰退期,中央银行会提高利率,以降低贷款和需求。债务周期结束于去杠杆化过程中,此时“缺乏有能力的资金提供者或资金接收者(股权的贷方和卖方),而中央银行却无法通过改变资金成本来加以调节。”。商业周期时常产生,它们易于理解,也是政策制定者们善于控制的;然而,对某个国家而言,债务周期往往在人一生中只发生一次,所以他们对此不甚了解且往往处理不当。

An ordinary recession can be ended by the central bank lowering the interest rate again. A deleveraging is much harder to end. According to Mr Dalio, it usually requires some combination of debt restructurings and write-offs, austerity, wealth transfers from rich to poor and money-printing. A “beautiful deleveraging” is one in which all these elements combine to keep the economy growing at a nominal rate that is higher than the nominal interest rate. (Beauty is in the eye of the beholder: Mr Dalio expects America's GDP growth to average only 2% over a 15-year period.)
中央银行通过降低利率来解决一般情况下的经济衰退。而去杠杆化远非如此简单,据Dalio称,它通常需要均衡债务重调与销账、财政紧缩、财富由富有阶层到贫困阶层的转移以及钞票印刷之间的关系。所谓“美丽的去杠杆化”是指能综合所有提及的因素从而保持经济的名义增长率高于名义利率。(所说的美丽是在旁观者眼中的:Dalio预期在为期15年的时间里,美国的GDP平均增长率仅为2%)

Print too little money and the result is an ugly, deflationary deleveraging (see Greece); print too much and the deleveraging may become inflationary, as in Weimar Germany. Although Mr Dalio says he fears being misunderstood as saying “print a lot of money and everything will be OK, which I don't believe, all deleveragings have ended with the printing of significant amounts of money. But it has to be in balance with other policies.”
印制过少货币的结果是“丑陋”的、通货紧缩的去杠杆化(比如希腊);印制过多则会导致类似德国魏玛的通货膨胀的去杠杆化。Dalio说“我并不同意所有去杠杆化都要大量地印制货币,那么只要印制钞票就会万事大吉的观点。但是这(货币的印制)确实需要和其他政策均衡作用”。即使他说自己担心被人误解。

Mr Dalio admits to being wrong roughly a third of the time; indeed, he attributes a big part of his success to managing the risk of bad calls. And the years ahead are likely to provide a serious test of whether the economic machine is as simple as he says. For now, he is in a more optimistic mood thanks to the European Central Bank's recent moves, in effect, to print money. Although he still expects debt restructuring in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland, on top of that in Greece, he says that the “risk of chaos has been reduced and we are now calming ourselves down.”Here's hoping he is right again.
Dalio承认他可能在犯第三次错误,而事实上,他把自己成功的大部分归功于对错误预测的风险的把握上。而且,过去的几年似乎是对他严峻的考验——验证经济机器是否同他说的一样简单。就现在来说,因为今日欧洲中央银行正实行的货币印刷举措,他处于较乐观的心态。即使他仍希望西班牙、葡萄牙、意大利和爱尔兰尤其是希腊的债务重组。他说“混乱的风险已被降低,我们正在逐步安定下来”。这一次,我们希望它仍然是对的。



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