Angus Deaton wins the 2015 Nobel Prize in economics. Cesareo/Fotogramma/Ropi via ZUMA Press

邦弱国穷

普林斯顿—在苏格兰,我从小就认为警察是朋友,需要时可以求助。19岁时我第一次来到美国时,我向一名正在时代广场疏导交通的纽约市警察询问最近的邮局怎么走,他爆出一连串粗口,令我愕然。此后我一直处于懵懂状态,把我老板的急件丢进了垃圾箱——我觉得它和邮筒长得一模一样。

欧洲人对他们的政府的看法大多比美国人更加积极,对后者来说,联邦、州和地方政客的失败和不得人心乃是家常便饭。但美国各级政府征收税收,然后反过来提供美国人的生活离不开的服务。

与许多富裕国家的公民一样,美国人认为法律和监督制度、公立学校、针对老年人的卫生和社会保障、道路、国防和外交、以及国家队研究(特别是医学方面)的重金投入是理所当然的。当然,并非所有这些服务都能尽如人意,也不是所有人都能得到平等对待;但在绝大多数情况下人们还是照章纳税,如果花钱的方式令一些人感到不爽,就会引起激烈的公共争论,而定期的选举也使人们得以改变轻重缓急。

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