订阅

多平台阅读

微信订阅

杂志

ag体育平台|官网

ag亚游黑钱|优惠

移动应用

商业

英国脱欧,这个国家居然成了最大赢家

Richard Morgan 2019年03月03日

英国脱欧麻烦不断,却让这个国家成为了企业的新宠。

这对爱尔兰总理利奥·瓦拉德卡来说本该是个好年份。今年1月,爱尔兰政府宣布2007年以来首次实现财政盈余。2008年全球金融危机对爱尔兰的打击非常大,让爱尔兰政府受制于国际货币基金组织的情况一直延续到了2013年。重大“求生”举措,包括公务员最多降薪20%,冻结所有公共部门招聘和升迁,取得了回报。此前的状况一直令人不安。“凯尔特之虎”泡沫破裂以及与之相伴的破产、裁员和丧失抵押品赎回权让人记忆犹新。但爱尔兰政府重新实现了盈余。而此前,爱尔兰总理曾经登台很严肃的对媒体说:“没人会挨饿。”——大家可以想象一下那种措颜无地的情形。在瓦拉德卡公布预算计划前,食品短缺恐慌已经笼罩了爱尔兰,肇事元凶是其最大贸易伙伴,也就是英国的所谓“硬脱欧”(爱尔兰约一半的食品和牲畜进口来自于英国)。爱尔兰政府在其颁布的意外事件行动方案中警告说“宏观经济、贸易和各个行业将受到严重影响”。大量令人焦虑的新闻头条接踵而至。

这就是爱尔兰在2019年面临的悖论。它已经连续四年成为欧盟增长最快的经济体,GDP从2012年的2260亿美元增至2017年3340亿美元,总量超过丹麦,人均GDP约为法国或西班牙的两倍。然而,从2015年起,爱尔兰一直都沉浸在紧张气氛中。当年爱尔兰GDP猛增26%,部分原因是包括“税务倒置”在内的重新分类,税务倒置是指美国公司将总部迁至海外以寻求更低的企业税负。爱尔兰的经济看来就像是薛定谔的猫,既繁荣又虚假。没有人敢打开盖子来探究其经济增长究竟是源于实际,还是耍弄财务手腕的结果。

接下来英国脱欧来了。2016年,这个唯一和爱尔兰有陆上边界的国家,前殖民者通过公投决定脱离欧盟及其17.3万亿美元的共同市场。这场由堪堪过半票数(51.9%)引发的脱欧行动宛如一场莎士比亚悲剧,充满了虚荣和自大,塑造它的则是伦敦让人略感滑稽的混乱政治。从1886年英国首相威廉·格莱斯顿提出爱尔兰自治法案至今,英国当局还不曾因为党内背叛、议会否决和全面争吵陷入如此分崩离析的境地。在一个多世纪后,坚定沉着的英国人陷入了困惑和苦难中,进而彰显了勇敢爱尔兰人的冷静和清晰。据伦敦市自行估算,这让爱尔兰获得了吸引力,夺去了逾1.2万个本属于英国的就业机会。

剑桥大学欧洲法律教授、《Brexit Time》一书作者肯尼思·阿姆斯特朗说:“英国脱欧就像进行一次前所未有的比较。它放出了英国的恶魔,却让爱尔兰成了天使。爱尔兰显得很现代,就像英国当局得过且过的体系让英国显得像维多利亚时代的遗迹一样。”

换句话说,在英国内耗之际,拥有年轻劳动力、低税率而且说着流利英语的爱尔兰已经作势要猛扑上来。

It was supposed to be a good year for Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. In January, for the first time since 2007, the Irish goernment—which was so savaged by the global financial crisis of 2008 that it was under the International Monetary Fund’s thumb until 2013—announced a budget surplus. Drastic survival tactics had paid off, including cutting public-sector salaries by as much as 20% and freezing all public-sector hiring and promotions. It had been uncomfortable. The collapse of the Celtic Tiger bubble—with its bankruptcies, layoffs, and foreclosures—was anything but a distant memory. But Ireland was back in the black. Imagine the indignag亚游在线登陆|注册ity, then, for its top minister to step up to a lectern and tell the press four grim words: “Nobody will go hungry.” A panic over food shortages had gripped the country ahead of Varadkar’s budget announcement, sparked by the specter of a so-called “hard Brexit” by its top trade partner, the United Kingdom. (About half of Ireland’s food and live-animal imports come from the U.K.) The Irish government published a contingency action plan warning of “severe macroeconomic, trade, and sectoral impacts.” A flurry of tense news headlines followed.

Such is the paradox of Ireland in 2019. It has the fastest-growing economy in the European Union for the fourth-straight year with a gross domestic product that shot up from $226 billion in 2012 to $334 billion in 2017, a total that surpasses the GDP of Denmark and is roughly double the per capita count of France or Spain. Yet an uneasiness has permeated since 2015. That was the year the Irish GDP ballooned by 26%, inflated in part by a reclassification that included “inversions,” in which U.S. companies move their headquarters overseas in pursuit of lower corporate taxes. Ireland, it seemed, was Schr?dinger’s economy: both flourishing and feigning. Nobody dares lift the lid to find out if the gains are rooted in reality or financial sleight of hand.

Then came Brexit. In 2016, Ireland’s only neighbor by land and erstwhile colonizer voted to walk out on the EU and its $17.3 trillion common market. The move to secede, called Brexit and triggered by a slim majority (51.9%) in a national referendum, has unfolded as a Shakespearean tragedy of reckless vanity and hubris, shaped by quasi-comical political chaos in London. The British powers have not been as riven by intraparty defections, parliamentary defeats, and general acrimony since 1886, when then–Prime Minister William Gladstone announced his support for Irish Home Rule. More than a century later, stiff-upper-lip Britain’s tumble into confusion and calamity has heightened plucky Ireland’s reputation for calm and clarity and turned it into an attractive destination for upwards of 12,000 once-British jobs, according to the City of London’s own estimates.

“Brexit is creating a contrast that hasn’t existed before,” says Kenneth Armstrong, a professor of European law at the University of Cambridge and author of Brexit Time. “It has unleashed Britain’s demons and given Ireland a halo. Ireland seems modern just as Westminster’s system of muddling through makes Britain seem like a Victorian relic.”

In other words, as Britain self-combusts, Ireland—with its young workforce, low taxes, and English fluency—is poised to pounce.

1 2 3 4 5 下一页

我来点评

  最新文章

最新文章:

500强情报中心

财富专栏