香港新浪網 MySinaBlog
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andrew | 10th Oct 2006, 5:59 AM | 政治

1. 最低工資

香港打算行最低工資,有 d 人遊行,當然又有 d 人反對。

其實最低工資對於一個社會是利是害,都仲係經濟學家爭論的熱點。在以前,幾乎所有經濟學家都話最低工資只會增加失業率,理由係工資應由市場供求和公司的邊際利潤決定,如果要比高 d 人工,就唯有請少d 人。

但係自從99年David Card a和 Alan Krueger 的名作《Myth and Measurement: The New Economics of the Minimum Wage》問世後,經濟學界重新討論最低工資是利還是弊。呢項實證研究係調查快餐店在提高最低工資後,到底係請多左人定係請少左。結果發現,每間平均請多左一兩個人。呢項研究證明的是,低收入工作者的需求係非彈性的,即係需求唔係好受價格影響。都係有道理,快餐店無論點都係要請人洗晒d 碗、炸晒 d 薯條。

我唔係乜經濟學者,但係我諗呢個都係同 d 快餐店的模式好有關。係美國,快餐店的運作已進化到好有效率,即係好難再從營運模式中節省開支。咁香港的快餐店又係唔係?另外,同個社會的福利制度都好有關係。如果最低工資仲低過社會福利,即係做野賺的錢仲少過唔做,咁最低工資又吸唔吸引都 d 失業人士呢?

香港唔係一個民主社會,我覺得無必要咁快實行最低工資,應該要有好好的實證研究基礎,先好實行。在民主社會中,無可避免地會有 d 政客為左選票,答應為數眾多的基層實行最低工資,而唔理係咪真係對佢地、對整個社會好。民主社會係冇一個人可以話事,人人各取所需,呢個係民主社會要付的代價。但係香港無民主社會的權益,為何急不及待要付民主社會的代價?

係美國,好多窮人係住係 housing project,好多仲係世世代代咁住法。有些住係 housing project 的人,日日 party ,其實好有理由:如果自力更生的話,就要自己交租,自己養自己,當然冇人會有 incentive 咁做。結果係,housing project 的原意係想幫助窮人,但到頭來令佢地永遠唔能夠脫貧。所以有時,每實行一樣福利政策之時,雖然總會有好多團體出來話有 d 人幾慘幾慘,但係作為大眾,唔應該憑個人感受感情用事,應該比 d 研究機構好好研究出一套良好的方案。

2. 自由市場

上個星期弗利民係 Wall Street Journal 寫左篇 "Hong Kong Wrong",話香港脫離了「積極不干預」政策係大錯特錯。

其實完全的自由市場係咪真係最好,係一個好難回答的問題。我諗最好係在好似 Second Life 呢類的電腦遊戲裡面試下,睇下完全無政府管制的交易市場會發生乜事。

其實香港政府都干預左市場好耐同好多次,試問又有邊個政府會鐘意自然無為呢?乜都唔做,「政績」從何而來?而亞洲的經濟起飛也證明了計劃經濟都係可行。當然,有d 經濟學家會話如果唔計劃會飛得更高。

不過到而家已經好難想像,如果 Federal Reserve 唔加息控制通脹、唔發下言唱好下前景,會係一個點樣的世界。

------------------

Hong Kong Wrong


It had to happen. Hong Kong's policy of "positive noninterventionism" was too good to last. It went against all the instincts of government officials, paid to spend other people's money and meddle in other people's affairs. That's why it was sadly unsurprising to see Hong Kong's current leader, Donald Tsang, last month declare the death of the policy on which the territory's prosperity was built.

The really amazing phenomenon is that, for half a century, his predecessors resisted the temptation to tax and meddle. Though a colony of socialist Britain, Hong Kong followed a laissez-faire capitalist policy, thanks largely to a British civil servant, John Cowperthwaite. Assigned to handle Hong Kong's financial affairs in 1945, he rose through the ranks to become the territory's financial secretary from 1961-71. Cowperthwaite, who died on Jan. 21 this year, was so famously laissez-faire that he refused to collect economic statistics for fear this would only give government officials an excuse for more meddling. His successor, Sir Philip Haddon-Cave, coined the term "positive noninterventionism" to describe Cowperthwaite's approach.

The results of his policy were remarkable. At the end of World War II, Hong Kong was a dirt-poor island with a per-capita income about one-quarter that of Britain's. By 1997, when sovereignty was transferred to China, its per-capita income was roughly equal to that of the departing colonial power, even though Britain had experienced sizable growth over the same period. That was a striking demonstration of the productivity of freedom, of what people can do when they are left free to pursue their own interests.

The success of laissez-faire in Hong Kong was a major factor in encouraging China and other countries to move away from centralized control toward greater reliance on private enterprise and the free market. As a result, they too have benefited from rapid economic growth. The ultimate fate of China depends, I believe, on whether it continues to move in Hong Kong's direction faster than Hong Kong moves in China's.

Mr. Tsang insists that he only wants the government to act "when there are obvious imperfections in the operation of the market mechanism." That ignores the reality that if there are any "obvious imperfections," the market will eliminate them long before Mr. Tsang gets around to it. Much more important are the "imperfections" -- obvious and not so obvious -- that will be introduced by overactive government.

A half-century of "positive noninterventionism" has made Hong Kong wealthy enough to absorb much abuse from ill-advised government intervention. Inertia alone should ensure that intervention remains limited. Despite the policy change, Hong Kong is likely to remain wealthy and prosperous for many years to come. But, although the territory may continue to grow, it will no longer be such a shining symbol of economic freedom.

Yet that doesn't detract from the scale of Cowperthwaite's achievement. Whatever happens to Hong Kong in the future, the experience of this past 50 years will continue to instruct and encourage friends of economic freedom. And it provides a lasting model of good economic policy for others who wish to bring similar prosperity to their people.

---

Mr. Friedman, the 1976 Nobel laureate in economics, is a senior research fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution.


[1]

總相信"上有政策,下有對策",就算有最低工資,要不守法的人總有法子

有些人好像曲解了最低工資的原意,以為是用來提升生活質素,竟要求最低工資為$30/hr...這樣真的有點離譜,不如$500/hr喇...


[引用] | 作者 shadowzo | 10th Oct 2006 10:01 AM | [舉報垃圾留言]

[2]

試問又有邊個政府會鐘意自然無為呢?
乜都唔做,「政績」從何而來?

說得對!政治家係要搵d野來攪下,咁先顯得自己有貢獻,做福人民嘛!想學老子的無為而治,可說極難。

其實只要完善的法例及對有需要人有公平、合理的福利系統,政府基本上不須做任何事情。難道政府會比本身做生意的人更清楚市場狀況、利害所在﹖

至於最低工資,還是不執行好,你夾硬要雇主多付錢,他們定必要員工多做事情或減少所有員工福利。「上有政策,下有對策」哦~

要執行,又要一筆行政費...而且最低工資到底多少才合理﹖又要按通脹、通縮而再定價,好不麻煩~


[引用] | 作者 艾力 | 10th Oct 2006 12:21 PM | [舉報垃圾留言]

[3] Re:
shadowzo :
總相信"上有政策,下有對策",就算有最低工資,要不守法的人總有法子
有些人好像曲解了最低工資的原意,以為是用來提升生活質素,竟要求最低工資為$30/hr...這樣真的有點離譜,不如$500/hr喇...

呢個好似係 CEO個最低工資喎....
真係要每年包兩張來回機票...


[引用] | 作者 andrew | 11th Oct 2006 10:02 AM | [舉報垃圾留言]

[4] Re:
艾力 :
試問又有邊個政府會鐘意自然無為呢?
乜都唔做,「政績」從何而來?
說得對!政治家係要搵d野來攪下,咁先顯得自己有貢獻,做福人民嘛!想學老子的無為而治,可說極難。
其實只要完善的法例及對有需要人有公平、合理的福利系統,政府基本上不須做任何事情。難道政府會比本身做生意的人更清楚市場狀況、利害所在﹖
至於最低工資,還是不執行好,你夾硬要雇主多付錢,他們定必要員工多做事情或減少所有員工福利。「上有政策,下有對策」哦~
要執行,又要一筆行政費...而且最低工資到底多少才合理﹖又要按通脹、通縮而再定價,好不麻煩~

之前先講完話小政府,又來最低工資,又來加商品稅,我諗都係得個講字。


[引用] | 作者 andrew | 11th Oct 2006 10:03 AM | [舉報垃圾留言]

[5]

只談最低工資是沒用的,應該加上最高工時,那才是一套。只有最低工資沒有最高工時,只是一個供老闆走法律空隙的遊戲。

例如:本來是每個月五千,每天工作十小時。如果只有最低工資(暫當五千五),老闆照給打工仔五千五一個月,但要求每天工作十二小時,那這個政策就適得其反了。


[引用] | 作者 Karl | 5th Feb 2007 5:22 AM | [舉報垃圾留言]