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让一个国家或地区的人们充分发挥自身能力的最好方法莫过于实现社会公平。而阿马蒂亚·森Amartya Sen)在其名作《正义的理念》中指出,真正的社会公平不是要求平等对待所有人,而是要给予穷人和那些遭遇逆境者更好的待遇。仅仅在公共财政或法律面前平等是不够的,还得考虑个人和社会群体在竞争起点上的不同。有见及此,自1990年以来的每一份联合国发展报告都表明如果某地的公共政策能把民生放在首位,则其经济和政治都会变得更加强大。

但这种理念却尚未在欧盟的精英决策圈里扎根,那些心怀善意的经济学家和政治家的人相信自己正在通过平衡预算和控制支出(通常由削减在医疗、 教育和基础设施预算)等手段做着正确的事。这些政策制定者在缺乏实证证据的情况下都认为今天的财政削减将带来明天的经济繁荣。

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