经济学人 20210605 The new geopolitics of global business

The new geopolitics of global business
全球商业的新地缘政治

China and America dominate like never before
中国和美国前所未有地占据主导地位

2021年6月5日|

TWENTY YEARS ago this week the share price of a startup run by an obsessive called Jeff Bezos had slumped by 71% over 12 months. Amazon’s near-death experience was part of the dotcom crash that exposed Silicon Valley’s hubris and, along with the $14bn fraud at Enron, shattered confidence in American business. China, meanwhile, was struggling to privatise its creaking state-owned firms, and there was little sign that it could create a culture of entrepreneurship. Instead the bright hope was in Europe, where a new single currency promised to catalyse a giant business-friendly integrated market.
20年前的这一周,一家初创公司的股价在过去的12个月里下跌了71%,这家公司的掌门人是一个叫杰夫·贝佐斯的强迫症患者。亚马逊的濒死经历是互联网泡沫破裂的一部分,它暴露了硅谷的狂妄自大,与此同时,安然(Enron) 140亿美元的欺诈案,粉碎了人们对美国企业的信心。在这个时候,中国正在努力将摇摇欲坠的国有企业私有化,几乎没有迹象表明中国能够创造出一种创业文化。相反,光明的希望在欧洲,单一货币有望促成一个巨大的有利于商业的一体化市场。

Creative destruction often makes predictions look silly, but even by these standards the post-pandemic business world is dramatically different from what you might have expected two decades ago. Tech firms comprise a quarter of the global stockmarket and the geographic mix has become strikingly lopsided. America and, increasingly, China are ascendant, accounting for 76 of the world’s 100 most valuable firms. Europe’s tally has fallen from 41 in 2000 to 15 today.
创造性的破坏常常让预测看起来很愚蠢,即使按照这些标准,大流行后的商业世界也可能与你20年前的预期大相径庭。科技公司占据了全球股市的四分之一,而且其地域组合已经变得惊人地不平衡。美国和中国正在崛起,在全球100家最有价值的公司中占了76家。欧洲已经从2000年的41个下降到今天的15个。

This imbalance in large part reflects American and Chinese skill, and complacency in Europe and elsewhere. It raises two giant questions: why has it come about? And can it last?
这种不平衡很大程度上反映了美国和中国的科技水平,以及欧洲和其他地方的自满情绪。这提出了两个大问题:为什么会出现这种情况?它能持续下去吗?

In themselves, big companies are no better than small ones. Japan Inc’s status soared in the 1980s only to collapse. Big firms can be a sign of success but also of sloth. Saudi Aramco, the world’s second-most-valuable firm, is not so much a $2trn symbol of vigour as of a desert kingdom’s dangerous dependency on fossil fuels. Even so, the right sort of giant company is a sign of a healthy business ecology in which big, efficient firms are created and constantly swept away by competition. It is the secret to raising long-run living standards.
就其本身而言,大公司并不比小公司好多少。上世纪80年代,日本公司的地位飙升,但最终却崩溃了。大公司是成功的标志,但也是懒惰的标志。沙特阿拉伯国家石油公司,世界上第二大最有价值的公司,与其说是一个2万亿美元的力量象征,不如说是一个沙漠王国对化石燃料的危险依赖。即便如此,合适的大公司是健康商业生态的标志,在这种生态中,大型、高效的公司被创造出来,并不断地被竞争淘汰。

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