looking lost Neil Moralee/Flickr

更加沉闷的科学

伯克利—过去25年来,世界最顶尖经济学家中间起了一场激烈的争论。争论的问题是商业周期的性质是否随着二战结束后的“辉煌30年”的结束而发生了根本性转变。在这30年终,经济增长迅速、就业充分,并且通胀十分温和。经济学家的观点可以分为三派。

首先亮出观点的是拉里·萨默斯(Larry Summers)1991年的讨论论文《长期货币决策应该如何决定?》(How Should Long-Term Monetary Policy Be Determined?)。萨默斯不相信经济学的基本现实已经发生了改变,因此他的关注点在于技术性问题——试图防止20世纪70年代标志辉煌年代结束的通胀性扰动卷土重来。他的办法是加强中央银行的技术官僚独立性。政客应该设定目标,但应该避免微观管理经济或实施遇到意料外情况必然失败的严格规则。萨默斯指出,技术官僚更适合根据2—3%的年度通胀目标推进政策。

接着加入争论的是保罗·克鲁格曼(Paul Krugman)1998年的论文《归来兮:日本的崩溃和流动性陷阱的回归》(It’s Baaack: Japan’s Slump and the Return of the Liquidity Trap)和第二年出版的著作《萧条经济学的回归》(The Return of Depression Economics)。克鲁格曼认为,央行已经成功地将通胀预期锚定在低水平,但没能让经济回归正轨。欧洲和美国的经济,克鲁格曼指出,已经告别了辉煌,回到了二战前的“萧条经济学”模式,其主要特征是总需求不足、通缩风险、金融危机和流动性陷阱。

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