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【欧锦赛竞猜】靠电子商务拯救世界 Internet is a bane for developing economies

发布时间:2021-09-11 00:00
本文摘要:Last week, Jack Ma called for a new “e-WTO” with the aim of helping small businesses get on the Internet, as the best hope in the fight against poverty. This appeal came after Alibaba’s largest ever “Singles Day” a week earlier, with almos


Last week, Jack Ma called for a new “e-WTO” with the aim of helping small businesses get on the Internet, as the best hope in the fight against poverty. This appeal came after Alibaba’s largest ever “Singles Day” a week earlier, with almost US$14.3bn of merchandise sold in 24 hours. Alibaba’s social media accounts even reported that Premier Li Keqiang called CEO Jack Ma to wish him a successful day. “Singles Day” is now the world’s largest shopping day,dwarfing even the United States’ “Black Friday.”不久前,马云(Jack Ma)敦促创建一个新的、目的协助小企业利用互联网的“电子世贸组织”(e-WTO),并将此作为避免贫穷的仅次于期望所在。马云收到此番敦促一周之前,阿里巴巴(Alibaba)在“光棍节”(Singles Day)当天24小时内销售了创历史新纪录的将近143亿美元的商品。

阿里巴巴的社交媒体账户甚至声称,中国总理李克强也约见马云,预祝“双十一”取得成功。“光棍节”如今已沦为世界规模仅次于的购物狂欢节,甚至连美国的“黑色星期五”(Black Friday)都相形见绌。

These are the latest manifestations of a worrying obsession with e-commerce and the Internet in Asia’s largest economies. In March, Beijing announced its new “Internet Plus” plan to expand Internet connectivity. Premier Li, when describing it, brought up the “mobile Internet”, “cloud computing”, “big data”, “intelligent manufacturing” and the “Internet of Things,” in a manner similar to business leaders in America. Nor is this digital obsession restricted to China. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook’s headquarters received as much, if not more, media attention as his address on sustainable development to the United Nations days earlier.From the almost breathless manner in which business leaders use words like “innovation”, “the sharing economy” and “maker spaces”, it can sometimes be hard to distinguish real analysis from wild speculation when talking about the Internet and e-commerce. The assertion is that digital expansion would allow countries to skip entire stages of development, such as investing in real infrastructure, preventing life-threatening pollution, managing resources carefully, and installing value systems in an increasingly ethically-challenged world. What the focus on e-commerce actually represents is the continued inability of the developing world to free itself from Western ideas about models for economic growth and definitions of modernity.这是亚洲大型经济体令人担忧地醉心于电子商务和互联网的近期展现出。今年3月,中国政府宣告了新的“互联网+”(Internet Plus)计划,目的是不断扩大网络连通性。在刻画这一计划时,李克强总理以近似于美国商界领袖的方式提到了“移动互联网”、“云计算”、“大数据”、“智能生产”以及“物联网”等概念。

这种对数字化的着迷并不仅限于中国。印度总理纳伦德拉莫迪(Narendra Modi)在Facebook总部与马克丠克伯格(Mark Zuckerberg)的会面,受到的媒体注目与他在联合国就可持续发展议题公开发表演讲时一样多——如果不是更加多的话。在谈及互联网与电子商务时,从商业领袖嘴里不时喷出的“创意”、“共享经济”和“创客空间”中,有时很难辨别出有是确实的分析还是可怕的投机。有断言称之为,数字化扩展将使各国需要将一些发展阶段几乎跳过——如对实体基础设施展开投资,避免严重威胁存活的污染,谨慎管理资源以及在道德日益遭挑战的世界奠定价值体系。

对电子商务的注目实质上反映出有,发展中国家仍然无法挣脱西方关于经济快速增长模式的理念及对现代性的定义。The claim that the Internet will fundamentally transform development is unproven and untested. What is clear is that the Internet makes consumption easier, faster and more expansive than ever before. Analysts have thus looked to e-commerce and China’s Internet giants to help “save” China’s economic model from slowing down.互联网将彻底转变发展模式的断言既予以证实,也未经检验。

当下显著的是,互联网使消费显得比以往任何时候更容易、更加慢、更加无所不包。因此,分析师们开始确信电子商务以及中国的互联网巨头协助“解救”中国的经济模式免遭陷于快速增长上升。However, this is the last thing China and other developing countries need. The reality is that e-commerce reduces the private costs of consumption, but little, if anything, to reduce its overall social cost. Now, billions of locally-produced products have a massive carbon footprint, as they transported across large distances to faraway customers at a time when we need to be reducing our carbon emissions. In addition, internet retail relies on a growing global addiction to wasteful impulse-buying as driver of its business model —“Singles Day” and “Cyber Monday” are testament to that.但是,这是中国及其他发展中国家最不必须做到的事。现实情况是,电子商务减少了消费行为的私人成本,但很少、甚至显然没增加消费的整体社会成本。


如今,不顾一切我们必须增加碳排放之际,数十亿计地方生产的产品在横跨千里送往很远的消费者手中的同时也产生了极大的碳足迹。此外,网络零售依赖全球更加著迷于浪费性冲动购物作为此种商业模式的推动力——“双十一”和“网络星期一”(Cyber Monday)即为证明。Thus, e-commerce increases the divergence between what the individual pays and what society suffers. If one accepts that our economic model thrives on under-pricing goods and services to promote relentless consumption by externalising its true cost (such as greenhouse gases and carbon emissions), then e-commerce, by making goods cheaper, worsens the economy’s market failure. This will only lead to greater costs being placed on the majority due to the external costs central to underpriced consumption. The institutions society depends upon to draw the balance between consumption, protection and conservation—be they governments, watchdogs or international agencies—are put under enormous pressure as production and consumption become far easier and faster through the Internet.因此,电子商务激化了个人开支与社会成本之间的不均衡。


The truth is that the ability to access Facebook or Alibaba is simply not a priority for a majority that has yet to fulfil their basic needs. How would “the Internet of Things” lead to real development outcomes for the global poor? How would the majority gain access to the rights of life—food, water, sanitation, healthcare, education—through e-commerce?事实是,需要采访Facebook或阿里巴巴对于大多数仍并未符合自身基本市场需求的人而言显然不最重要。“物联网”如何为全球贫困人口带给确实的发展成果?多数人又如何通过电子商务取得还包括食物、水、公共卫生、医疗、教育在内的生命权?Hoping that the Internet, by supposedly unleashing consumption and entrepreneurship, will help the poor is merely another example of wishful economic thinking: where helping those at the top would hopefully trickle down to the poor. Even in the United States, with its decade-long head start in digital connectivity, it has yet to be seen how e-commerce helps the lives of the unemployed and the working classes—if anything, it has taken jobs away. Part of the savings from e-commerce has come at the expense of labour, by providing fewer jobs with less job security and fewer benefits than traditional employment. This is not a model to be repeated in the developing world where millions are looking for a decent job and still lack secure access to basic needs as well as the social safety nets meant to be provided by the state.期望互联网——通过所谓获释消费和创业精神——能协助穷人只是又一种一厢情愿的经济思维:顶层富人获益的同时有可能向穷人下渗一些益处。即使在数字化相连领域领先了10年的美国,也仍未看见电子商务对失业者和工薪阶层的生活有什么协助——如果说有什么影响的话,也是夺去了就业机会。



To be fair to China, Beijing has yet to reveal the full details of the “Internet Plus” plan or its significance in its future development program. Over the next five years, China is currently predicted to spend about Rmb2tn, or $313bn, on the Internet — a large amount, to be sure, but dwarfed by the Rmb17tn, or $2.6tn, that China will spend on environmental protection.公平而言,北京方面仍未透漏“互联网+”计划的全部细节或在其未来发展规划中的重要性。目前预计中国未来五年将在互联网领域投放大约2万亿元人民币(合3130亿美元)——可以认同,这是一笔巨额投放,但与中国将在环境保护上开支的17万亿元人民币(约合2.6万亿美元)比起就较小了。However, the risk remains that Chinawill be distracted by a lop-sided view of the economic benefits of e-commerce. This risk is not limited to China. Prime Minister Modi has called for a national fibre optic network and pledged the construction of hundreds of “smart cities.” These goals seem outlandish given the very real development issues that plague India, such as the lack of consistent and adequate access to adequate sanitation and clean water. Funding the pipes that would carry the latter rather than optic cables would certainly make a great deal of sense, yet it is only the investment in Internet connectivity that attracts the attention and interest of politicians and investors.然而,风险仍然不存在:关于电子商务经济效益的片面观点将集中中国决策者的注意力。


The issues faced by China, Indiaand the developing world have no precedent in human history, and seeking solutions via archaic economic models and technology fads is sheer folly. Their economic development has already led to huge environmental degradation: China’s official news agencies now use the term “doomsday” to describe air pollution.中印以及整个发展中世界所面对的问题在人类历史上没先例,通过过时的经济模型和技术风潮谋求解决方案意味著是可笑的。这些国家的经济发展早已带给了大范围的环境退化:中国官方新闻机构如今用“世界末日”一词来形容国内的空气污染。

Billions of poor have yet to have their basic needs met, let alone share in prosperity. These are the people that those involved in “maker spaces” or “the sharing economy” conveniently ignore. After all, the poor don’t have anything to share in what so far is an “un-sharing” global economy typified by widening economic disparities. The Internet will surely not solve these problems, and more free-riding consumption is the last thingChina orIndia needs. Using the Internet as a crutch must not distract from the tough work of development.数十亿收的贫困人口仍没能符合自身的基本市场需求,更加不用说分享兴旺。他们就是被那些参予“创客空间”或“共享经济”的人只能忽略的群体。却是,在目前为止仍为“非分享”且发展差距日益不断扩大的全球经济中,穷人没什么可可供共享。互联网必定无法解决问题这些问题,更好的搭便车式消费是中国和印度最不必须的。

利用互联网作为拐杖无法影响为发展所要代价的艰苦希望。By extension, China and India must have “dreams” that are bigger than the Internet. They need to take the lead in figuring out a new model of development for the 21stCentury that intelligently leverages science and technology, but without being seduced by musings about e-commerce that mask deep structural flaws of current economic models. Resolving those pressing issues should be the real “innovation” that lies at the heart of any development program.更进一步而言,中国和印度必需有比亲吻互联网更大的“梦想”。他们必须坚决为21世纪寻找一种新的发展模式——智慧地利用科学技术,同时无法因著迷掩饰了当前经济模式深层次结构缺失的电子商务而误入歧途。解决问题这些严峻问题才是应当居住于所有发展规划核心的确实“创意”。