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屈于金融家的政府神奇地造出了数万亿美元的赤字/空账。而应付这些赤字/空账的良方之一就是从谷歌地球观察全球经济。

在‘‘谷歌地球’’的帮助下,人们可以找到任何路线,抑或一处度假胜地;你还可以选择任何一个去处,它能为你提供不同于媒体见闻的视角,当然也不同于证券交易分析师和咨询师的建议。‘‘谷歌地球’’建立了一个直观的、基础的平面视野来观察人类所渴望的实体经济。它展现了环境和经济是相同的。具有完整性。它不撒谎,不欺诈,让你来做结论。在你眼前的是实实在在的勤劳付出,无论生活如常还是一团乱麻,明天的太阳照常升起。

显而易见的是第一产业即农田和大型露天矿场等,还有城市中心和交通、供水和供电的基础设施。这就是实体经济,也是美国能被称为富裕国家的理由,相比之下,中国和海地也许就是被称为贫困。与多米尼加共和国相比,海地的土地边境甚至是裸露的,在‘‘谷歌地球’’上,地震如何影响首都的可视化效果是不同于任何其他媒体的。

纵观世界历史,很多时期的文明都承认,土地的劳作者们创造主要财富,后来又加上了作为第二产业的工匠和制造商。在现代西方经济学的早期,在传统中国和日本,商人、贸易商、资金和高利贷的经销商都是‘‘寄生的’’,在著名的圣经中,他们是货币兑换者和收税员。

既然舶来品已经成为金融圈的毒药,那么,这就值得我们对世界实物布局进行实实在在的查证。谷歌的美好第一眼是看不到的,并不引人注目,而随后就能注意到它、理解它。除了显而易见的茂盛绿油油的农田和糟糕的棕色沙漠之外,人类活动的强度也代表了人类成果和财富的集聚。聚焦一个现代城市,谁会拒绝考虑建筑和工程所用的无形软件的贡献呢?如果不是比尔·盖茨及其他‘‘异常’’同事的贡献,我们仍然会依靠着手指来书写,也许就不能为现代设施设计方案、开列清单或执行经营管理计划。因此,我们现在所拥有的实物世界的财富,并不只是在第一产业和第二产业之外的空间中显而易见的:在美观的复杂基础设施和建筑物中,服务交流信息网十分巧妙,并通过竞争实现信息的共享。亚当·斯密(Adam Smith)也许会赞同这个观点:国家财富某种程度上能够在‘‘谷歌地球’’上章显出来。

仅看经济数据就可以给我们留下有悖常理的印象。希腊一个是一个很小的经济体,正在抓住1550亿美元的救助贷款换得几个星期的喘息机会。这些钱摞起来就是一堆1.5km高的百元钞票。美国债台高筑,达14.29万亿美元,还需要2万亿美元来偿付给公务员、退休养老人员和即将到期的财政债券的持有者。这些到顶了?难道经济图表显示的债务就是一个窟窿吗?美国的GDP约14万亿美元,其中农业1500亿美元,汽车4000亿美元,粮食7000亿美元,服装4000亿美元,住房1.6万亿美元。这看起来相当充足了。但别忘了卫生保健(等的就是这个)还有1.5万亿美元。金融和保险是7000亿美元,还有其他服务、咨询,8000亿美元。这些都如何成功变成现实?

‘‘谷歌地球’’的个人使用者,可以放大查看雷曼兄弟前CEO或他的伙伴以及众多幻想家门的豪宅,看看这些由‘‘资助人’’根据经济情况所给予的‘‘理性报酬’’。在惊叹它们的奢华的同时,人们会这样问道:这是谁的成本效益呢?这些世界前50名的豪宅所有者是金融魔法师吗?会等同于400万的农民的价值创造吗?

假如我能与肯尼斯·鲍尔丁(Kenneth Boulding)一起写作他的论文《地球:宇宙飞船》的结语,我会敦促中国政府继续面对富有挑战性的物质现实,管理13亿人民及其环境,并且不用“把债务和环境灾难作为GDP的增长”成本的歪曲真相来衡量社会进步和福利。

One antidote to the multi-trillion dollar deficits/defaults magic coming from governments craven to financiers is to view the global economy according to Google Earth. People use Google Earth to help find a street they are heading for, or check out a vacation spot from the air, and that is very neat. But searching anywhere you choose on Google Earth can give a different perspective to what you hear in the media, and certainly from stock exchange analysts and consultants. Google Earth sets out a visual, primarily superficial view of what now people yearn for as The Real Economy. It shows the environment and the economy as the same thing. It has integrity. It does not lie and cheat and it lets you draw conclusions. The industry, the industriousness, is there before your eyes. And the sun will come up on it tomorrow, either business as usual – or maybe chaos.

Obvious is primary industry – farmlands and big opencut mines, but also the urban centers and infrastructure for transport, water, and power. This is the real economy, and shows American can be called rich, and China, and that Haiti is poor. Even Haiti’s land is denuded compared across the border with the Dominican Republic, and the visualization of how an earthquake can impact on the capital is different from any other medium.

Throughout history in many civilizations, workers of the land are acknowledged as producing primary wealth, and as an afterthought, artisans and manufacturers as a secondary industry. Merchants, traders, and dealers in money and usury were parasitic, in the early days of modern Western economics, in traditional China and Japan, and famously in the Bible’s money changers and tax collectors.

Now that exotic has become toxic in finance circles, it is worth a reality check on the physical layout of our world. There is beauty in Google Earth that first does not meet the eye. Beyond the obvious good green farmlands and bad brown deserts there are intensities of activities that represent concentration of human effort and wealth. Zooming into a modern city, who would dismiss the contribution that intangible software has made to all that architecture and engineering? If it wasn’t for the Bill Gates and fellow geeks we would still be counting longhand on our fingers, and unable to compute the designs and inventories, management and operations plans for modern facilities. So the wealth of the physical world we now have is not just manifest from outer space in primary industry, and in secondary industry: the clever service communication network of information shared and struggled through competition to achieve it is there in beautiful intricate infrastructure and buildings. Adam Smith would agree that the wealth of nations can show up to some extent on Google Earth.

Looking just at economic data gives us a perverse picture. Greece, a tiny economy, is gasping for a breather bailout loan for a few weeks of respite of $155 billion. That’s a stack of $100 bills 1.5km high. America had a debt ceiling of $14.29 trillion and needed another 2 trillion to pay public servants, pensioners and owners of Treasury “securities” coming due. Ceiling? Don’t economic graphs show debt as a hole? America’s calculated GDP is about $14 trillion. Farms $150 billion. Vehicles $400 billion. Food $700 billion. Clothes $400 billion. Housing $1,600 billion. Fair enough. . Health care (wait for this) $1,500 billion. Finance and insurance is $700 billion and other services, consultancies, $800 billion. How does that pan out in reality across the land?

Google Earth allows individuals zooming in on any of the mansions owned by former CEO of Lehman Bros, or his fellow cornucopia visionaries, viewing horizontally, marveling at opulence according to their patrons in economics rationally rewarded, and asking, whose cost-benefit is this? These top 50 mansion owner financial wizard/fakes equate to 4 million large scale farmers? Financial products outclass American agricultural produce by a factor of ten? Google Earth checks reality.

If I was with Kenneth Boulding penning an epilog to his essay, “Spaceship Earth”, I would urge Chinese government to continue getting out there to the challenging physical reality of managing 1.3 billion people and their environment and to measure progress and welfare without the smoke and mirrors that define a debt and an environmental catastrophe as “additions” to GDP.

: http://www.coulterexergy.com/archives/989

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