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新书速递|《经济学人》:西方自由主义正迷茫于前路在何方

2017-06-28 从余启 我与我们的世界 我与我们的世界

欢迎打开“我与我们的世界”,从此,让我们一起“纵览世界之风云变幻、洞察社会之脉搏律动、感受个体之生活命运、挖掘自然之点滴奥妙”。

我与我们的世界,既是一个“奋斗”的世界,也是一个“思考”的世界。奋而不思则罔,思而不奋则殆。这个世界,你大,它就大;你小,它就小。

欢迎通过上方公众号名称打开公众号“查看历史信息”来挖掘往期文章,因为,每期都能让你“走近”不一样的世界、带给你不一样的精彩


本期导读自由主义是一种意识形态、哲学流派,以自由作为主要政治价值,是一系列思想流派的集合,它追求保护个人自由,主张以法律限制政府权力,推崇自由贸易,支持市场经济等。


自由主义在启蒙时代生根,到了现在自由主义一词已经包含了许多不同的政治思想,从左派至右派,支持者的政治光谱分布相当广泛。


“自由”一词最早起源于拉丁文liber。牛津英语词典指出“自由”(liberal)一词的意思是“得体、高尚而慷慨的自由人”,以及文科(Liberal arts)一词代表的“免于受压抑的言论和行动自由”,到1776年-1788年开始转变为较正面的词汇“容忍、免于歧视的自由”。


“自由主义”一词直到19世纪初才出现,到19世纪将近中叶被广泛接纳,不过,在18世纪晚期,自由主义已成了几乎所有发达国家的主要意识形态。


自由主义与中国


Democracy’s discontent

民主的怨气

A grim diagnosis for Western politics

西方政治脉象堪忧


Edward Luce, author of The Retreat of Western Liberalism, believes that the liberal order cannot be fixed without a clear view of what has gone wrong

新书《西方自由主义的撤退》的作者爱德华·卢斯认为,如果不先弄清楚问题出在哪里,那么西方自由秩序的问题,就得不到解决。


FEW doubt that something big happened in Western politics during the past 12 months but nobody is sure what. Turmoil in Washington and London contrasts with centrist stability in Paris and Berlin. Edward Luce, a commentator for the Financial Times in Washington, is well placed to observe the shifts and shocks. “The Retreat of Western Liberalism” offers a brisk, timely survey.

几乎没有人不会认为,过去的12个月里,西方政治出了大问题,但与此同时,几乎没人确信,问题究竟是出在了哪里。美国以及英国,都有点乱,法国以及德国,中间主义还算稳定。驻扎在华盛顿的《金融时报》评论员爱德华·卢斯,拥有很好的机会来观察西方政治所经历的变化与震动。他的新书《西方自由主义的撤退》为我们提供了及时、明晰的解读。


“Fusion”, the longest of just four chapters, describes the successes of economic globalisation, but also the costs borne by the less well-off in rich countries, notably Britain, America and France. Next, “Reaction” attributes the recent “degeneration” of Western politics to slowing economic growth and to the rich taking an undue share of what little growth there is.

第一篇“聚变篇”,四篇中最长的一篇,对经济全球化所取得的成就进行了梳理,但也对发达国家中受益相对较少阶层所承担的成本进行了梳理,特别是英国、美国以及法国。随后,第二篇“反应篇”,把近期西方政治的“退化”归因于两点,一是经济增长乏力,二是富裕阶层在其中所承担的比他们应该承担的多。


“Fallout” moves to geopolitics and the decline of Western hegemony. America is still unequalled in hard power. At $600bn a year, its defence spending is more than the next seven biggest spenders combined. But it must compete now with China over which of them is to fix and police global norms of trade and finance. In soft power, the kind that convinces rather than coerces, America has lost heavily in recent years. Far from a model to copy, American society is widely viewed by outsiders with puzzlement if not suspicion. The latest Democracy Index (2016) from the Economist Intelligence Unit, a sister company to The Economist, demoted it from full to flawed democracy because the level of political distrust in the country has risen so high. None of that hands China victory in Mr Luce’s view. Rather than a new Chinese-led world order to replace the American-led one, he thinks disorder is likelier.

第三篇“辐射篇”,关注点转向了地缘政治与西方霸权的衰落。目前,美国的硬实力依然全球无敌。美国每年的国防开支有6000亿美元,比后面七个国防开支大国的国防预算总和还要多。不过,现在,美国不得不面临来自中国的竞争,特别是在全球贸易金融规范的制定和维持方面。软实力方面,主要体现在说服力而非胁迫力,美国近年来已节节败退。美国社会,已不再是其他国家追随的模范版本,而是令人迷惑,让人怀疑。经济学人智库(EIU)最新的《2016年全球民主指数》就把美国从“完全民主”降到了“缺陷民主”,主要是因为美国的政治不信任状况已到了非常高的水平。不过,在卢斯看来,这并不意味着中国模式即将胜利。卢斯认为,美国领导的世界秩序不会被中国领导的一套新秩序所取代,更可能的发展趋势是失序或无序。


A final brief chapter, “Half Life”, suggests lines of defence and restoration for liberal democracy. People’s trust in politics and government must be recovered, he argues. A combination of stagnant living standards for the broad middle of society and an accumulation of unusable extra wealth by the rich has pushed fairness to the top of public argument. Parties of the right should aim to rationalise and improve, not slash, welfare. Parties of the left should fuss less about identity politics or “personal liberation” and return to their old position as defenders of those struggling to make ends meet. Mr Luce likes the idea of a “universal basic income”, paid to all citizens with no strings attached, but notes that governments would need to be tough about not extending it to all comers from across the world, drawn by its promises. He notes, too, that despite the hostile caricature of the welfare scrounger, most people want not a handout, even a comfortable handout, but meaningful work, the kind that gives a sense of purpose.

最后一篇“半衰篇”,提出了维护、恢复自由民主的几条路径。卢斯认为,必须修复民众对政治与政府的信心。社会中广大中产阶层生活水平踟蹰不前,富裕阶层所积累的资金财富投资无门,使得公平成为公共舆论最为关注的议题。右翼党派应以理性的态度来处理福利问题,并对其进行完善改进,而非削减。左翼党派不能再绕着身份政治或“个人解放”大做文章,而应找回曾经的角色,为入不敷出的中下阶层服务。卢斯很是赞赏适用于所有公民而不附加任何条件的“普遍性基本收入”这一想法,但卢斯同时指出,政府也需要恪守底线,不能让它也适用于所有外来移民。卢斯还指出,实际上,绝大多数人都不想要施舍,即使是很有尊严的施舍,人们想要的反而是有意义的工作,因为它能赋予人以活着的意义,更何况,社会上普遍存在对福利寄生虫的讽刺挖苦。


Mr Luce is a shrewd observer who has worked in Asia as well as the West. As an intern at the European Union in Brussels and speechwriter for the treasury secretary in Washington during Bill Clinton’s administration, he has seen government from the inside. He believes in liberal democracy and cares about its future. Despite its title, “The Retreat of Western Liberalism” is not bleak or elegiac. Mr Luce is not suggesting that liberalism is done for. He says sensibly that liberal democracy cannot be shored up without a “clear-eyed grasp of what has gone wrong”. A more analytical book might have spelled out further what exactly liberal democracy is, how to tell when it is going right and how it differs from capitalist competitors across the globe. At rapid pace and with telling statistics, Mr Luce nevertheless gives a knowledgeable tour through the unmapped terrain in which Western politicians and governments must now operate.

卢斯既有亚洲工作经历,也有西方工作经验,他的观察洞若观火。卢斯曾在欧盟布鲁塞尔总部做实习生,也曾于克林顿政府时期在华盛顿做过财政部长的演讲撰稿人,这样的经历使他能从内部视角来观察政府这一角色。卢斯肯定自由民主,并关切其未来发展。《西方自由主义的撤退》一书,尽管书名显得有点丧气,但并不是在传达自由主义的未来一片黯淡,更不是自由主义的挽歌。卢斯想要传达的,不是自由主义已经溃败。卢斯明确表示,如果“不搞清楚哪里出了问题”,自由民主就得不到拯救。该书若能对诸如“究竟什么是自由民主”、“自由民主运行良好的标准是什么”、“自由民主与遍布全球的资本主义有何区别”等问题有更深入分析的话,那将是一部完美的著作。不过,卢斯以明快的节奏以及详实的数据,还是给我们带来了一次学识盛宴,让我们对西方政界人士以及政府目前必须面对的政治环境有了全新了解。



往期精彩:


意识形态|《经济学人》:国家竞争靠“实力”,美好生活靠“主义”

通俄门|《华盛顿邮报》:奥巴马曾“密战”普京干预美国大选

世界风云榜|《全球创新指数报告》:创新是能力,也是动力

俄欧情怨|《欧洲歌唱大赛》:去年激情满满,今年柔情绵绵

诗图一家|《在人间》:代际更替,循环往复,永无止境

新书速递|《男性之隐》:一百位男性受访者倾吐心声


注:

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