爱思英语编者按:2010年11月1日零时为标准时点进行了第六次全国人口普查:中国总人口为1370536875人,其中普查登记的大陆31个省、自治区、直辖市和现役军人的人口共1339724852人,香港特别行政区人口为7097600人,澳门特别行政区人口为552300人,台湾地区人口为23162123人。大陆31个省、自治区、直辖市和现役军人的人口,同第五次全国人口普查2000年11月1日零时的1265825048人相比,十年共增加73899804人,增长5.84%,年平均增长率为0.57%。

【导读】

中国的人口一直都是让人欢喜让人忧。无疑,人多力量大,但是中国的人均数字总是惨不忍睹。计划生育政策旨在限制中国人口数量,而如今中国的低出生率却导致了其它问题。本文通过对比中美两国出生率、中位年龄、老年人口数等,探讨人口问题对中国经济社会发展的影响。人口问题是中国发展的软肋,需要得到妥善解决。

【原文与译文】

Demography

人口学

China’s Achilles heel

中国的软肋

A comparison with America reveals a deep flaw in China’s model of growth.

与美国相比,中国显示出其发展模式中的深层缺陷。

LIKE the hero of “The Iliad”,Chinacan seem invincible. In 2010 it overtookAmericain terms of manufactured output, energy use and car sales. Its military spending has been growing in nominal terms by an average of 16% each year for the past 20 years. According to the IMF,Chinawill overtakeAmericaas the world’s largest economy (at purchasing-power parity) in 2017. But when Thetis, Achilles’s mother, dipped her baby in the riverStyxto give him the gift of invulnerability, she had to hold him somewhere. Alongside the other many problems it faces,Chinatoo has its deadly point of unseen weakness: demography.

中国像《伊利亚特》中的那个英雄一样看起来战无不胜。2010年,中国在出口制造业、能源消费以及汽车消费等方面超过美国。过去20年来,按名义价值计算,每年中国的军费开支平均增加16%。国际货币基金组织(IMF)预测,到2017年,中国将取代美国成为世界最大经济体(从购买力平价方面看)。当忒提斯把她的孩子阿基里斯浸泡在冥河水中,赐予他刀枪不入的本领时,她必须抓住他身上的某个地方。与此相似,中国面临着一系列问题,其潜在致命弱点为人口结构问题。

Over the past 30 years, China’s total fertility rate—the number of children a woman can expect to have during her lifetime—has fallen from 2.6, well above the rate needed to hold a population steady, to 1.56, well below that rate (see table). Because very low fertility can become self-reinforcing, with children of one-child families wanting only one child themselves,Chinanow probably faces a long period of ultra-low fertility, regardless of what happens to its one-child policy.

过去30年来,中国的总和生育率——预计一名妇女在育龄期生育的孩子数——从远高于保持人口稳定比率的2.6降至远低于保持人口稳定比率的1.56(参见上表)。由于独生子女自己也只想要一个孩子,生育率会越来越低,无论计划生育政策有何变动,中国都可能会面临长时期的低生育率。

The government has made small adjustments to the policy (notably by allowing an only child who is married to another only child to have more than one child) and may adapt it further. But for now it is firmly in place, and very low fertility rates still prevail, especially in the richest parts of the country. Shanghai reported fertility of just 0.6 in 2010—probably the lowest level anywhere in the world. According to the UN’s population division, the nationwide fertility rate will continue to decline, reaching 1.51 in 2015-20. In contrast,America’s fertility rate is 2.08 and rising.

政府对计划生育政策做了轻微调整(尤其是如果夫妻双方都为独生子女,允许其生育一个以上的孩子),并且可能还会进一步调整。现在中国政府坚定实行这一政策,但是生育率仍然处于低水平,特别是在中国最发达的地区。据报道,2010年上海的生育率仅为0.6——很可能为世界最低水平。联合国人口司估计,中国的生育率将会继续下降,2015至2020年间会降至1.51。与之相比,如今美国的生育率为2.08且还在上涨。

The difference between 1.56 and 2.08 does not sound large. But over the long term it has a huge impact on society. Between now and 2050China’s population will fall slightly, from 1.34 billion in 2010 to just under 1.3 billion in 2050. This assumes that fertility starts to recover. If it stays low, the population will dip below 1 billion by 2060. In contrast,America’s population is set to rise by 30% in the next 40 years.Chinawill hit its peak population in 2026. No one knows whenAmericawill hit its population peak.

1.56与2.08听来相差无几,但是长期而言却会对社会产生巨大影响。假设中国的生育率开始回升,直至2050年,中国的人口数量不会大幅减少,2010年为13.4亿,到2050年会稍低于13亿。但如若生育率持续在低水平,那么到2060年中国人口数会降至10亿以下。而相较之下,未来40年内,美国人口会增加30%。2026年,中国人口数会达到最高峰。无人知晓美国人口数何时会到达最高峰。

The differences between the two countries are even more striking if you look at their average ages. In 1980China’s median (the age at which half the population is younger, half older) was 22. That is characteristic of a young developing country. It is now 34.5, more like a rich country and not very different fromAmerica’s, which is 37. ButChinais ageing at an unprecedented pace. Because fewer children are being born as larger generations of adults are getting older, its median age will rise to 49 by 2050, nearly nine years more thanAmericaat that point. Some cities will be older still. The Shanghai Population and Family Planning Committee says that more than a third of the city’s population will be over 60 by 2020.

从中美人口平均年龄来看,两国之间的差异更为明显。1980年中国的中位年龄为22岁(高于和低于中位年龄的人数相等),这是年轻的发展中国家的典型特征。而如今中位年龄为34.5岁,与美国的37岁相差不大,更像是富裕国家。但是中国正在以史无前例的速度老化。一代代的成年人在变老,新生儿却在变少,其中位年龄到2050年会上升到49岁,几乎比美国老了9岁。一些城市甚至会更老。据上海市人口和计划生育委员会,到2020年,该市三分之一以上的人口会超过60岁。

This trend will have profound financial and social consequences. Most obviously, it meansChinawill have a bulge of pensioners before it has developed the means of looking after them. Unlike the rest of the developed world,Chinawill grow old before it gets rich. Currently, 8.2% ofChina’s total population is over 65. The equivalent figure inAmericais 13%. By 2050,China’s share will be 26%, higher than inAmerica.

这一趋势会对财政及社会产生深远的影响。最突出的一点是,中国还未富足到可以照料老年人,领养老金的人口数量就会骤增。不同于其它发达国家,中国会先变老后变富。目前中国65岁以上人口数占总人口数的8.2%,美国为13%。到2050年,中国会达到26%,高于美国。

In the traditional Chinese family, children, especially sons, look after their parents (though this is now changing—see story on next page). But rapid ageing also meansChinafaces what is called the “4-2-1 phenomenon”: each only child is responsible for two parents and four grandparents. Even with high savings rates, it seems unlikely that the younger generation will be able or willing to afford such a burden. So most elderly Chinese will be obliged to rely heavily on social-security pensions.

在中国传统家庭中,子女(特别是儿子)照料父母(尽管如今这一情况正在改变)。快速老化意味着中国如今面临着所谓的“4-2-1现象”:一位独生子女负责照顾双亲、祖父母和外祖父母。即使拥有高储蓄率,年轻一代也可能没有能力或者不愿意承担这种责任。所以,大多数年迈的中国人必须严重依赖社会养老保险。

Chinaset up a national pensions fund in 2000, but only about 365m people have a formal pension. And the system is in crisis. The country’s unfunded pension liability is roughly 150% of GDP. Almost half the (separate) pension funds run by provinces are in the red, and local governments have sometimes reneged on payments.

中国于2000年设立了国家养老基金,但只有3.65亿人享有正式养老金。如今养老金体系陷入危机。中国无资金准备的养老金债务大约为其国内生产总值(GDP)的150%。各省管理的养老基金几乎有一半赤字,地方政府有时还会拒绝支付养老金。

But that is only part of a wider problem. Between 2010 and 2050China’s workforce will shrink as a share of the population by 11 percentage points, from 72% to 61%—a huge contraction, even allowing for the fact that the workforce share is exceptionally large now. That meansChina’s old-age dependency ratio (which compares the number of people over 65 with those aged 15 to 64) will soar. At the moment the ratio is 11—roughly halfAmerica’s level of 20. But by 2050,China’s old-age ratio will have risen fourfold to 42, surpassingAmerica’s. Even more strikingly, by 2050, the number of people coming towards the end of their working lives (ie, those in their 50s) will have risen by more than 10%. The number of those just setting out (those in their early 20s, who are usually the best educated and most productive members of society) will have halved.

但是这只是一部分,问题涉及面更广。2010年至2050年间,由于劳动力人口占全国总人口比例会降低11个百分点,从72%下降到61%,因此劳动力会减少——虽然如今劳动力人口比重极大,但是该减少比例仍然很大。这意味着中国的老年人口抚养比率(65岁以上人口数与15至64岁之间人口数相比)将会攀升。如今这一比率是11——几乎是美国20比率的一半。但是到2050年,中国的老年人口比率将会增长三倍到达42,超过美国。更引人注意的是,到2050年,工作生涯结束的人口数(也就是50多岁的人口数)会增加10%以上。刚刚工作的人口数(这些人刚过20岁,通常受过良好教育且对社会奉献极大)将会减半。

Help wanted

需要帮助

The shift spells the end ofChinaas the world’s factory. The apparently endless stream of cheap labour is starting to run dry. Despite pools of underemployed country-dwellers,Chinaalready faces shortages of manual workers. As the workforce starts to shrink after 2013, these problems will worsen. Sarah Harper of the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing points out thatChinahas mapped out the age structure of its jobs, and knows for each occupation when the skills shortage will hit. It is likely to try to offset the impact by looking for workers abroad. Manpower, a business-recruitment firm, says that by 2030Chinawill be importing workers from outside, rather than exporting them.

这一转变也预示着中国作为世界工厂的终结。显而易见,源源不断的廉价劳动力之流正在开始干涸。尽管中国拥有大量未充分就业的农村居民,但是仍面临着体力劳动者短缺这一问题。2013年后,劳动力开始减少,这些问题会更为严重。英国牛津大学人口老龄化研究所的萨拉·哈珀指出,中国已经细致研究了职业年龄构成,知道何时何职业会出现技术劳动力短缺。中国很可能会寻求国外工人来消除这一影响。为企业进行人才招聘的公司万宝盛华估计到2030年中国将会从国外进口劳动力,而不是出口劳动力。

Large-scale immigration poses problems of its own.Americais one of the rare examples of a country that has managed to use mass immigration to build a skilled labour force. ButAmericais an open, multi-ethnic society with a long history of immigration and strong legal and political institutions.Chinahas none of these features.

大规模移民本身又会引起很多问题。美国设法雇佣大量移民打造出了一支技能熟练的劳动力大军,这一成功范例很少见。美国开放、多种族、移民历史长且有很完善的法律和政治体系,而中国并不具备这些特征。

In the absence of predictable institutions, all areas of Chinese society have relied on guanxi, the web of connections that often has extended family relations at the centre. But what happens when there are fewer extended families? One result could be a move towards a more predictable legal system and (possibly) a more open political culture. And, as shifts inChina’s economy lead to lower growth, Chinese leaders will have to make difficult spending choices; they will have to decide whether to buy “guns or walking sticks”.

由于缺乏透明机构,中国社会的所有领域都依赖关系,即以家庭关系为中心向外扩展的联系网。但是如果这种大家庭变得越来越少会发生什么呢?一个可能的结果是走向更为透明的法律体系及(可能)更为开放的政治文化。由于中国经济的改变会使得经济增长速度变低,所以中国国家领导人将必须在开支方面作出艰难抉择;他们必须决定是“买武器还是买拐杖”。

Chinais not unique in facing these problems. All rich countries have rising pension costs. AndChinahas some advantages in dealing with them, notably low tax rates (giving room for future increases) and low public expectations of welfare. Still,Chinais also unusual in two respects. It is much poorer than other ageing countries, and its demographic transition has been much more abrupt. It seems highly unlikely thatChinawill be able to grow its way economically out of its population problems. Instead, those problems will weigh down its growth rate—to say nothing of the immense social challenges they will bring.China’s Achilles heel will not be fatal. But it will hobble the hero.

中国并不是唯一面临这些问题的国家。所有的富裕国家都面临着养老金费用上涨的问题。在处理这些问题方面中国有其优势,主要表现在较低的税率(为未来增加留有空间)和公众对福利的较低期望。但是,中国的与众不同也体现在两个方面。较之其他老龄化国家,中国更为贫困且中国的人口过渡更为仓促。若不解决人口问题,中国的经济也不大可能会发展。这些问题反而会压低其经济发展速度——更不必说这些问题会带来巨大的社会挑战。中国的阿喀琉斯之踵不会造成致命威胁,但会阻碍国家发展。

【生词】

1. Invincible: If you describe an army or sports team as invincible, you believe that they cannot be defeated. 不可战胜的

eg. You couldn't help feeling the military's fire power was invincible.

2. Renege: If someone reneges on a promise or an agreement, they do not do what they have promised or agreed to do. 违约; 背信; 食言

eg. He reneged on a promise to leave his wife.

3. Spell: If something spells a particular outcome, often an unpleasant one, it suggests that this will be the result. 预示 (通常不好的结果)

eg. If the irrigation plan goes ahead, it could spell disaster for the birds.

4. Map out: If you map out something that you are intending to do, you work out in detail how you will do it. 设计

eg. I went home and mapped out my strategy.(以上注释及例句出自柯林斯高级英汉双解词典)

【备注】

1. Demography(人口学):是拉丁语demos(人民)和graphein(描述)两字复合而成的,在1882年日内瓦国际卫生学和人口学大会上被正式认可。人口学一词最早出现于法国人口学家A.吉亚尔所著的《人类统计或比较人口学大纲》一书中。人口学是研究人口发展,人口与社会、经济、生态环境等相互关系的规律。人口学包括:人口理论、人口统计学还包括研究人口与社会、经济、生态环境诸现象间的相互关系的规律性和数量关系等分支学科。

2. Achilles heel(阿喀琉斯之踵):阿喀琉斯,是凡人泊琉斯和美貌仙女忒提斯的宝贝儿子。忒提斯为了让儿子炼成“金钟罩”,在他刚出生时就将其倒提着浸进冥河,遗憾的是,乖儿被母亲捏住的脚后跟却不慎露在水外,全身留下了惟一一处“死穴”。后来,阿喀琉斯被赫克托尔弟弟帕里斯一箭射中了脚踝而死去。后人常以“阿喀琉斯之踵”譬喻这样一个道理:即使是再强大的英雄,他也有致命的死穴或软肋。

3. The Iliad(«伊利亚特»):是古希腊盲诗人荷马(Homer, 800BC-600BC)的叙事诗史诗,是重要的古希腊文学作品,也是整个西方的经典之一,是荷马史诗中直接描写特洛亚战争的英雄史诗。《伊利亚特》的主题是赞美古代英雄的刚强威武、机智勇敢,讴歌他们在同异族战斗中所建立的丰功伟绩和英雄主义、集体主义精神。

4. energy use(能源消费):指生产和生活所消耗的能源。能源消费按人平均的占有量是衡量一个国家经济发展和人民生活水平的重要标志。人均能耗越多,国民生产总值就越大,社会也就越富裕。在发达国家里,能源消费强度变化与工业化进程密切相关。随着经济的增长,工业化阶段初期和中期能源消费一般呈缓慢上升趋势,当经济发展进入后工业化阶段后,经济增长方式发生重大改变,能源消费强度开始下降。

5. Nominal Value(名义价值):已发行证券的明确价值,这个价值长期维持固定,相对于随着市场波动的市场价值 (出自http://zhengquan.szpt.edu.cn/cidian/gscaijingbook/listChs.asp?id=983

6. IMF(International Monetary Fund,国际货币基金组织):根据1944年7月在布雷顿森林会议签订的《国际货币基金协定》,于1945年12月27日在华盛顿成立的。与世界银行同时成立、并列为世界两大金融机构之一,其职责是监察货币汇率和各国贸易情况、提供技术和资金协助,确保全球金融制度运作正常;其总部设在华盛顿。

7. Thetis(忒提斯):海洋女神,海神涅柔斯(Nereus)和海洋女神多丽斯(Doris)的女儿,是他们的女儿之中最贤慧者。

8. purchasing-power parity(购买力平价):购买力平价理论最早是由20世纪初瑞典经济学家古斯塔夫·卡塞尔提出的。简单地说,购买力平价是国家间综合价格之比,即两种或多种货币在不同国家购买相同数量和质量的商品和服务时的价格比率,用来衡量对比国之间价格水平的差异。

9. UN’s population division(联合国人口司):1946年成立,最初为人口处,1969年改为人口司,是联合国秘书处所属的职能机构,在秘书处和人口委员会领导下,执行人口委员会委托的有关人口项目的研究和管理工作。主要任务是向联合国各机构及各国政府提供并说明世界及各国的人口情况,以供制订经济和社会发展计划之用。人口司经常搜集各国人口数据,加以审查、评价,做出预测,并研究世界人口发展趋势;了解各国人口研究的进展及人口政策的制订、执行情况,并给以指导和帮助。人口司还出版各种有关人口问题的报告,汇编其他资料,主办有关人口问题的国际性专题讨论会。

10. Manpower(万宝盛华):万宝盛华成立于1948年,公司年度总收益超过220亿美元,为雇主提供涵盖整个雇佣生命周期和商业周期的一系列服务,包括人才推荐服务、临时和合同派遣服务、员工测评和筛选、培训服务、转职推荐服务、外包和咨询服务等。(注释出自http://baike.baidu.com