驯服利维坦

斯坦福—成功的社会需要高效、实惠的政府卓越地行使其必要功能,而这包括为这些功能提供充足的收入。但过于庞大、中央集权、官僚主义以及成本高昂的政府会破坏个人的努力和责任,与私有经济不相容、挤出私人投资、消费和慈善,并以高税率破坏激励。这样的政府还可能挤出国防等必要政府功能。这就是今日欧洲的现状,美国也好不到哪里去。

公共选择经济学之父詹姆斯·布坎南刚刚去世,我们应该好好反思一下他先见之明式的警告。1986年,布坎南因将经济学家使用已久的对私人经济决策的有效分析引入对政府和政府官员行为的研究而获得诺贝尔经济学奖。布坎南认为,政客对私人利益的追求不可避免地会导致糟糕的结果。

布坎南的分析是举世瞩目的,它不仅与亚当·斯密关于对私人利益的追求会受“看不见的手”的引导,形成令人满意的社会结果的观点相悖,也与将政府视为仁慈规划者、会实施解决市场失灵问题的教科书“解决方案”的流行政策分析观点格格不入。

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