欧洲的新自由主义挑战

在过去的20年里,我一直认为西欧的高失业率是不可持续的。在1970年代末期,货币主义者断言只有通过失业率短暂而温和的上升才能控制在西方工业化国家逐渐蔓延并正在加速的通货膨胀。他们还认为当我们将来回顾历史时,会认为为回归有效的价格稳定性所付出的成本都是值得的。在英国和美国这样的论断得到的印证。但在西欧却并非如此。

在过去的25年里,随着货币政策的收紧和为应对通胀而提高利率,失业率也上升了。但在通胀得到控制之后,失业率却并没有下降—或者说下降得不多。如果说失业率并没有维持在“大萧条”时期的水平,但也高得足以使长期失业或对长期失业的恐惧成为一种刻骨铭心的经历。

连续好几代人的官方失业率都维持在10%或更高的社会是政府的经济管理失败的社会。因此,似乎西欧20年以来根本的政治平衡—一边是社团主义者的讨价还价和充足的社会保障,另一边使紧缩的货币政策—必然破裂。

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