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资本主义包容性增长

2013-04-19 14:49

2012年,皮尤研究中心调查发现,美国85%自称中产阶级的成年人认为,像他们这样的人,现在比十年前更难维持他们的生活标准。自称属于中低收入或下层阶级的人已经从2008年,成人人口的四分之一上升至现今的约三分之一。皮尤研究还发现,只有63%的受访者认为刻苦努力带来的是成功,而1999年该数值为74%。

这些统计数字,代表在世界最大的经济体中的普遍情绪,应引起其他地方的政府和商业领袖的重大的关切,尤其是在受到经济滞涨和青年失业上升的国家。事实上,今年1月,国际货币基金组织(IMF)下调了对欧元区经济增长前景的预测,至2013年的-0.2%。与此同时,来自西班牙的官方数据显示,2012年第四季度,失业率升至26%(近六百万人),自70年代中期以来最高的水平,青年失业率达到了55%。

对增长的需求从未如此重要——具体地说,这种包容性增长能够提供工作给广大的失业的年轻人,应对收入不平等水平的上升。然而,现今就如何实现可持续、包容性增长的讨论太专注于政府和决策者的角色。私营部门的作用——跨国范围、现金量和创新能力——一直被忽视。

公司应该把注意力转向3各主要区域,如果资本主义要展现出更具包容性的方式,满足社会最迫切的需求。首先,公司应该通过投资职业培训和培训生,努力克服技巧/岗位不匹配。劳斯莱斯和英国天然气等公司通过令人印象深刻的培训生计划为自己的企业创建一个招聘渠道。其他多个企业通过创建入门级职位,扩大了向目前处于失业状态的年轻人提供的岗位。

其次,正如加强国家劳动力的技能水平需要集体努力,同样的,支持中小型企业(SMEs),创建更广泛的商业环境也需要行业的承诺。2011财年,惠普在供应链中使用超过600家中小企业,占其供应商支出的近10%。惠普计划在2013年年底,将这个份额增加至超过15%,从而为英国经济增长的引擎提供动力。

同样,在2012年3月,由IBM领导的大公司财团创建了基于网络的供应商联系网,以方便小企业成为大公司的供应商。目前,供应商联系网的成员每年通过他们的全球供应链,购买超过1500亿美元的商品和服务。

最后,上市公司的管理必须为长期的服务,应该给予投资者更多的包容。例如,联合利华通过结束季度收益报告,拒绝了资本市场的短期压力,并将重点放在更大的社会利益上,而不仅仅是股东的利益。

但开明的公司需要开明的投资者。安大略教师退休金计划承诺为其投资的公司的管理实践提供支持,它已经从中收获了巨大的好处:该计划自1990年成立以来,年平均回报率为10%。

构成所有这些行动的基础的理念以及包容性资本主义概念本身的是,企业管理必须为长期的服务。遵循这种方法的公司关注他们未来的劳动力的技能,寻求建立忠诚而富有成效的供应商基地,使投资决策基于可持续的价值创造,而不是短期利润。

实现高回报率和采用长期管理方法之间没有矛盾。此外,随着企业开始采用这些实践,这种趋势将带动所有的公司:在更大的支持中,中小企业将能够投资于研究和发展,雇佣更多的员工。

反过来,大公司将获得更快的创新的好处,年轻人的失业比例将下降,空洞化的中产阶级——他们对未来生活标准的信心——将被逆转。目前国家政府未采取这种对共同繁荣的前景和包容性增长产生深刻的积极影响的举措。

Capitalists for Inclusive Growth

2013-04-19 14:49

In 2012, the Pew Research Center found that 85% of self-described middle-class adults in the United States believe that it is more difficult now than it was a decade ago for people like them to maintain their standard of living. The share of Americans who say that they are in the lower-middle or lower class has risen from a quarter of the adult population in 2008 to around a third today. And Pew’s research found that only 63% of those surveyed believe that hard work leads to success, down from 74% in 1999.

These statistics, which represent popular sentiment in the world’s largest economy, should raise significant concerns for governments and business leaders elsewhere, particularly in countries challenged by stagnant growth and rising levels of youth unemployment. Indeed, in January, the IMF revised its near-term outlook for eurozone growth downward, to -0.2% in 2013. Meanwhile, official data from Spain indicate that the jobless rate rose to 26% (almost six million people) in the last three months of 2012, the highest figure since the mid-1970’s, with the rate of youth unemployment reaching 55%.

The need for growth – specifically, the kind of inclusive growth that can provide jobs for the vast number of out-of-work young people and combat rising levels of income inequality – has never been more vital. Nevertheless, today’s debates about how to achieve sustainable, inclusive growth are too narrowly focused on the role of governments and policymakers. The role of the private sector – with its multinational reach, vast piles of cash, and ability to innovate – has been neglected.

There are three main areas to which business should turn its attention if capitalism is to function in a more inclusive way and meet society’s most pressing needs. First, companies should work to overcome skills/jobs mismatches by investing in vocational training and apprenticeships. Companies like Rolls-Royce and British Gas operate impressive apprenticeship schemes that add value for their businesses by creating a pipeline of talented recruits. Other initiatives have been established to scale up these efforts by engaging multiple companies to create entry-level positions for the significant number of young people who are currently unemployed.

Second, just as a collective effort is needed to strengthen the skills of national workforces, so, too, an industry commitment is required to support small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) as part of the wider business environment. In its 2011 fiscal year, Hewlett-Packard used more than 600 SMEs in its supply chain in the United Kingdom, representing nearly 10% of its spending on suppliers. HP aims to increase this share to more than 15% by the end of 2013 with the addition of a further 150 SMEs, thereby fueling what it rightly regards as the engine of UK economic growth.

Similarly, in March 2012, a consortium of large corporations led by IBM created the web-based Supplier Connection to make it easier for small businesses to become suppliers to large companies. Currently, the members of Supplier Connection purchase more than $150 billion in goods and services annually through their global supply chains.

Finally, public corporations must be managed for the long term, and should be rewarded by investors for being more inclusive. For example, Unilever has rejected the short-term pressures of capital markets by ending quarterly earnings reporting and broadening its focus to advance greater social interests, rather than just the interests of its shareholders.

But enlightened companies require enlightened investors. The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan is exemplary in its commitment to supporting the best governance practices in the companies in which it invests, and it has reaped large benefits from this approach: the Plan has earned average annual returns of 10% since its inception in 1990.

The idea that underlies all of these initiatives, and the notion of inclusive capitalism itself, is that companies must be managed for the long term. Companies that follow this approach are concerned with the skills of their future workforces; seek to build loyal and productive supplier bases; and make investment decisions based on sustainable value creation, not short-term profitability.

There is no contradiction between delivering high returns and adopting a long-term approach. Furthermore, as companies begin to adopt these practices, a rising tide will lift all boats: with greater support, SMEs will be able to invest in research and development, and to hire more employees.

In turn, large companies will receive the benefits of faster innovation, rates of youth unemployment will fall, and the hollowing out of the middle class – and its faith in future living standards – will be reversed. It is this type of profoundly positive influence on prospects for shared prosperity and inclusive growth that currently eludes national governments.

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