china rural village Zhang Peng/LightRocket/Getty Images

中国贫困的终结?

北京——中国最受瞩目的统计数据之一很可能是过去35年来中国民众的脱贫人数。有 超过8亿人口摆脱了贫困,这一数字十分巨大——而且的确是非凡的壮举。事实上,没有哪个国家在如此短的时间内将如此水准的减贫变成了事实。但那些被落在后面的成百上千万中国人该怎么办?

中国政府决意完成这项任务,目标是到2020年将农村贫困基本降为零。中国官方首先在2015年联合国做出了这项承诺,并在其后的官方场合下一再重申。但履行这一承诺——需要改善约4,500万民众的福祉,这一数字大约相当于苏丹人口总量——需要付出巨大的成本。

像许多重要事业一样,减贫也无法逃脱边际收益递减的法则:某件事做得越多,收效就越低。就像给手表上弦:你拧得越紧,发条的阻力就越大,螺母移动同样的距离就需要花费更大的力气。

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