Saturday, October 25, 2014
4

我们欠埃及什么?

剑桥——直到现在仍然引发关于经济发展思考的问题是,我们可以做些什么来推动经济增长,减少世界各地的贫困问题?“我们”有时指的是世界银行,有时指美国和其他富裕国家,有时指发展经济学教授和学生挤在一间会议室上课讨论。整个发展援助复杂体系的基础都是集中在这个问题上。

但是,过去两年中改变突尼斯、埃及和利比亚的并不是外界为改善这些社团或经济状况而进行的努力,而是旨在改变各自国家的政治制度的基层社会运动。这项运动开始于突尼斯,该国爆发的革命将总统宰因·阿比丁·本·阿里的专制政权赶下台来,随后蔓延到埃及和利比亚,结束了穆巴拉克和卡扎菲更残暴、更腐败的政权统治。

那些冲上街道,冒着生命危险示威游行的人受够了这些制度造成的压迫和贫困。例如,埃及的人均收入水平仅为美国的12%,埃及人的寿命比美国人短10年。20%的人口生活极度贫困。

塔里尔广场的抗议者认为镇压性的政治制度、腐败的政府以及生活的每个领域普遍缺乏平等机会是导致埃及贫困的原因。他们认为现任领导者是问题的一部分,而不是解决方案的一部分。相比之下,大多数外国人问:“我们能做些什么?”,强调了地域或文化因素或一些纯粹的经济“贫困陷阱”,其影响应由外国援助和建议应对。

我们不应该有任何幻想,认为示威者开始的转型将会一帆风顺。以往的许多革命废黜了腐败的统治者,结果带来的是新的同样腐败、狠毒和镇压的政府。同样没有保证以前的精英将无法重新组建类似的政权。

事实上,穆巴拉克政权的军事堡垒现在控制着埃及,镇压、监禁和杀害敢于站出来的示威者。最近,在总统大选前,它已经推出了计划准备写一部新宪法,选举委员会以站不住脚的理由将23名总统候选人中的10位取消了资格。而且,如果该军事政权放松缰绳,穆斯林兄弟会将可能接管并组建自己的不代表民众利益的权威政府。

但是也有乐观的理由。魔鬼已经出了瓶子,人们都知道他们有能力推翻政府。更普遍的是,他们的政治行动会产生严重的后果。这就是为什么每次军方试图巩固其权力和压制异议者的时候,人们总会涌向塔里尔广场的原因。

虽然最终埃及人民将决定国家的命运,埃及政府是否能够采取决定性的步骤,最终走向更加包容性的政治机构,但这并不意味着外人无能为力。事实上,我们可以做的事情有很多——即使这些做法对最终结果起不了多大作用。

例如,美国今年将再次给埃及提供超过15亿美元的援助。但是接受援助是对象是谁?不幸的是,并不是正在试图改变自己国家未来的埃及人民,而是埃及军方和政治家。

我们坚决不能向埃及人民提供支持,停止本国镇压。这并不意味着削减外援。相反,尽管外援本身不会改变埃及的社会或经济状况,虽然有些将不可避免地被浪费,落入坏人之手,但是它仍然可以发挥一些积极作用。更重要的是,美国和国际社会可以共同努力,确保大量资金不是流向军方和政治家手中,而是基层事业和团体中。

事实上,外援也可以用来作为埃及全国对话的一个诱因。例如,外援可以一个由不同社会派别组成的管理委员会管理,包括在本次起义中发挥重要作用的民间社会团体和穆斯林兄弟会,人们可以清醒地认识到,如果委员会不同意,援助将不会发放。这将迫使军方和精英与他们向来不和的反对派团体合作。

除了带来重要的但政治上被边缘化的群体,这样的一个委员会也可能产生示范效应,成功地在小范围内分享权力,可能鼓励更大范围内的权力分享。这可能不是那种外部干预,可以彻底消除数世纪以来积累的镇压弊病,但我们需要停止搜寻一种不存在的灵丹妙药,而是做一些比供给埃及军队更好的事情。

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  1. CommentedYasser Shaaban

    Daron Acemoglu ,

    What a constructive essay that is :) , I , as an Egyptian see it all full of lies that you claim against the " Army" , well , of course , as you do work " for" the ones who staged the so called " Arab Spring" , mainly targeting the Egyptian Army , for whatever is going to unfold in the coming few months , after the fall of Syria , which is and has always been also staged and inevitable .

  2. CommentedProcyon Mukherjee

    Egypt is no more than an example where State capacity continues to be low in absence of institutions that can channelize public investments that spur job creation and growth. I have the same example as in the case of Nepal, where fall of monarchy led to anarchy and mayhem and its state capacity has changed only a whisker from the days of monarchy and absolutism.

    Aid is just one form with or without conditions and sanctions that could facilitate change. In most of history we have seen that it is not aid, but proliferation of trade and ideas leading to trade that had changed much of the conditions. The Egyptians must get the act together of finding their place in the market, whether domestic or foreign, which they are completely shut out from; politics and power seem to be flourishing with the polity under the veiled ignorance that the problem lies with controls and security.

    Procyon Mukherjee

  3. Portrait of Michael Heller

    CommentedMichael Heller

    My comment here is only to point out that elsewhere on this site I criticize the analysis of development which Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson promote and which is evident in this commentary. Readers may find it useful to see that alternative view:

    http://www.project-syndicate.org/blog/the--poor-economics--in--why-nations-fail-

    Like so many countries before it, Egypt will get a new and better central government under its own steam. People who are hoping to form the new government -- or at least to influence it -- have been assembling policy ideas ready for implementation over a very long period of time. I have taught one or two of them at masters level.

    Egyptians obviously want to be fully informed of divisions (both new and classical) that exist between the various bodies of knowledge about rapid modernization and the optimal procedures and sequences for achieving it.

  4. CommentedAhmed Gamal

    Well, I dont like the statement "if the military loosens the reins, the MB could take over". I disagree with describing the SCAF as if it protects democracy or revolution from any certain group. I disagree with many of the MB's principles, actions and decisions; however, they have a great support among Egyptian people and, in the presence of clean and real elections, they are gonna win!
    On the other hand, the fore-mentioned 10 presidential candidates, were disqualified based on legal issues and regulations. I echo what u said concerning SCAF, it is indeed not supporrting the revolution and democratic transform in Egypt!

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