2014年12月16日 星期二

中國為世界最大經濟體,人均年所得$2,500美元(中位數). 東莞某鞋廠童工猝死的問題

中國為世界最大經濟體,人均年所得$2,500美元(中位數). 東莞某鞋廠童工猝死的問題

Robert Reich

This just in from the International Monetary Fund: China has become the largest economy in the world, finally surpassing the United States. The U.S. became the largest world economy in 1872, surpassing Great Britain. Great Britain became the world’s largest economy in 1870, surpassing … China.

Being the world’s largest economy doesn’t mean having the world’s highest standard of living. The median household income in the U.S. is $52,000. The median household income in China is $2,500.

Is China's economy really the largest in the world?

For the first time in more than 140 years, the US has lost the title of the world's largest economy - it has been stolen by China, according to the IMF. But how reliable are the statistics underpinning this claim? The BBC's economics editor, Robert Peston, explains lower down why China matters to all of us.
The Chinese economy is now worth $17.6tn, slightly higher than the $17.4tn the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates for the US.
So for the first time since 1872, when it overtook the UK, the US has been knocked off the top spot.
The IMF calculated these figures by using purchasing power parity (PPP) which enables you to compare how much you can buy for your money in different countries. As money goes further in China than in the US, the figure for China is adjusted upwards.
Without the PPP adjustment, the IMF estimates that China's economy is worth far less - $10.3tn.
But how much faith can be placed in the accuracy of GDP figures supplied by China when even the current premier, Li Keqiang has doubted their validity in the past?
A declassified US diplomatic cable revealed that in 2007, Li, who was then secretary general of Liaoning Province, had told the US ambassador that Chinese GDP statistics were "man-made" and "for reference only".
Sign in China reading 'Development Prosperity'
But with a population of 1.36 billion people, China really should be the world's largest economy, argues Matthew Crabbe, author of Myth-Busting China's Numbers. He's spent more than 20 years looking at the country's figures and the facts behind them.
His reaction to China's new title: "So what?"

More or Less: Behind the stats

Listen to More or Less on BBC Radio 4 and the World Service, or download the free podcast
He points out that if you look at per capita spending power - the value of all goods and services produced within a nation in a given year divided by the average population for the same year - then, even adjusted for PPP, China ($11,868) is still lagging a long way behind not only the United States ($53,001) but also the likes of Turkmenistan ($12,863) and Suriname ($16,080).
So how easy is it to accurately measure the size of the Chinese economy or even just parts of it?
Not very, says Crabbe. "One of the key things that has to be understood is that distortions that happen at the village and provincial levels become amplified as they go out the statistical gathering chain.
"Year on year the GDP figures for each province grew faster than the national total, which logically and mathematically could not be."
He attributes part of this discrepancy to corruption but also says that inaccuracies became exacerbated by the sheer size of the country and the rate at which it was growing.
Inaccurate GDP figures can have serious consequences for companies that base investment decisions on them. Crabbe has a cautionary tale.
Christmas lights at a shopping mall in Beijing.
In 2005 the Chinese government readjusted its GDP figures and the statistics on which they were based, including retail sales. The consensus in the retail community at the time was that nobody really understood the true size of the retail market in China.
"I went through each of the sectors to see what the real size of each of those would be, how fast they were growing and therefore what the real size of the retail market was.
"My conclusion was that the real retail market at that time was half the value of the official government figure," he says.
Crabbe discovered there were problems with definitions of what retail goods actually were. The government figures included wholesale sales of consumer goods, some government procurement, and some business to business sales - so not everything that had been included was strictly retail.
It's difficult to gauge whether the accuracy of definitions and the data have really improved in recent years. But the IMF forecasts growth of 7.4% in China for 2014 and 7.1% in 2015, compared to US growth of 2.2% this year and 3.1% next year.
This means that the Chinese are unlikely to relinquish their number one status soon. In fact the IMF predicts that by the end of this decade the Chinese economy will be worth $26.98tn - 20% bigger than the US at $22.3tn.
But while the US held the top spot for 142 years, China may not be able to match that record - long term financial forecasts from the IMF and others indicate that by 2100 India could overtake them both.
Why China mattersRobert Peston, BBC Economics Editor
Robert Peston
The most important number in the world, for the past 30 years and next five years, is China's growth rate. For 30 years its economy grew at a mind-boggling rate - roughly 10% a year but that stopped when the global economy hit problems in 2008 and it fell very sharply.
Then the Chinese government did something remarkable and persuaded its banks to lend as if there was no tomorrow. They lent for investment and investment went up from an already extremely high 40% or so of GDP, to about 50% and the growth rate picked up again. There's been nothing like it in the history of capitalism. It's astonishing.
The Chinese have worked out that this new way of growing through debt funded investment rather than exports can't go on forever and is actually potentially quite dangerous. So they are trying to reconstruct the economy but it's not going desperately well and growth is now around 7%.
I'm not sure whether we can trust these numbers to be honest though. I think most of us would say that if we're slightly uneasy about most government statistics, then we're profoundly uneasy about China's statistics. We do know that China is slowing down and there is a big debate about how fast that should be happening.
But the big story that has influenced all our lives in the last 30 years has been the economic revolution in China. For years it improved our living standards by making the things we buy cheaper and cheaper. It gulled central banks everywhere into thinking they had inflation under control so they kept interest rates way too low for too long.
China generated these enormous surpluses, which it then lent to the US to finance its colossal deficit. China was the big economic force in the world - and it still is - but it's moving in the opposite direction and the speed at which it slows down and the way that it slows down influences all our lives.
We should be under no illusion that the really big thing in the world, which will have an impact on our living standards is what happens in China. Nothing else really matters in comparison.
Listen to More or Less on BBC Radio 4 and the World Service, ordownload the free podcast

童工悲歌 東莞鞋廠13歲少年猝死
李忠謙 2014年12月05日 15:54






沒做滿3個月 扣7成薪資


強撐工作 疑似過勞猝死




根據《國際勞工公約》的《第十五號公約》(有關開始就業最低年齡公約)第二條第三項規定:「(開始就業或工作之)最低年齡不應低於完成強迫教育所需之年齡,更不應低於十五歲。」該公約經中國全國人大常委會於1998年批准,而且還特別聲明「在中華人民共和國領土內及中華人民共和國註冊的運輸工具上就業或者工作的最低年齡為16 週歲」。

但關懷勞工權益的《中國勞工通訊》發現,中國目前仍存在大量輟學後從事經濟活動的兒童,尤其在廣東、浙江、福建等東南部經濟發達地區最為常見。童工幾乎都是來自經濟落後地區的貧困家庭, 雖然中國訂有《禁止使用童工規定》等法律,但執法部門查禁的行動並不積極,偏鄉大量的童工供給與資方對童工的大量需求,也讓童工問題在社會結構上難以根除。



在無數Made in China的沈默字體之下,讓人不禁想問。